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My Summer in Italy

Italy is a country of diverse regions. You would think this is because of its length, and you would be right, but you only need to traverse its width for three different venues (two in the same province) to find variety not only in regional landscapes, food, wine and even in Italian jazz.

Summer is a great time to hear jazz in Italy and enjoy all the musical diversity. It began for me this past July on the 10th in Montalcino, a small, hilly town in the heart of Tuscan wine country where the Brunello is king. Giampiero Rubei, proprietor of Alexanderplatz, Rome’s leading jazz club, and producer of many summer jazz festivals (including the ongoing, three-month spanner at Villa Celimontana, near the Colosseum) is the man behind “Jazz & Wine” in Montalcino. The sponsor is Castello Banfi and they provided a tour of its extensive vineyards, which featured wine tasting (the Brunello-Poggio Alle Mura ’97-did the Banfi crest proud but its Summus-a blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon-was also a winner) and a lunch at one of Banfi’s on-site restaurants that rendered me incapable (almost) of eating dinner. A jewel of a hotel, the Vecchia Oliviera, is operated by a young owner who, at three consecutive breakfasts, played tapes of Miles & Gil, Louis and Diz. Very helpful for the digestion along with the cappuccino.

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