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Portland Jazz Festival: A Celebration of ECM

Carlo Pagnotta’s Umbria Jazz organization is becoming an empire. It started 33 years ago with a small festival that has now become a vast 11-day, July bacchanal that takes over the Italian hill town of Perugia. But Umbria Jazz has also administered events in Melbourne, Australia and Birdland in New York and even Slovenia. There will be an Umbria presentation at the Blue Note in Tokyo in May of 2007. And, for 14 years, there has been a winter festival in the ancient tabletop hill town of Orvieto.

For five days and nights over New Year’s 2007, the Orvieto festival observed the well-established Umbria Jazz formula: street parades; concerts in various venues starting before noon and ending at 2 or 3 a.m.; jazz lunches and dinners in well-chosen restaurants; special projects. A broad representation of the strongest Italian players appeared, including pianists Stefano Bollani and Danilo Rea, trumpeters Paolo Fresu and Fabrizio Bosso, tenor saxophonists Daniele Scannapieco and Gianni Basso, and vocalist Roberta Gambarini.

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