Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Umbria, 40 Years On

The jazz festival in Perugia turns 40 with flair

Branford Marsalis at the 2013 Umbria Jazz Festival 
Roberto Gatto at the 2013 Umbria Jazz Festival
The Teatro Morlacchi in Perugia, Italy, 'round midnight 

When you see photos of the Piazza IV Novembre at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia in 1973, it looks the same as now. A mass of humanity fills the piazza and spills down Corso Vannucci. Jazz fans and medieval Italian piazzas don’t change much in four decades. Still, 40 is old for a jazz festival. In 2013, Umbria celebrated its anniversary with a star-studded program.

The big names play in Arena Santa Giuliana, a 5,000-seat outdoor stadium at the base of the old hill town. This year they included Diana Krall (still Ms. Cool), Chick Corea/Herbie Hancock (as a duo, unfortunately), Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (enlightened historicism), and the Keith Jarrett Trio. Stefano Bollani’s recital of Ravel, Gershwin and Bernstein with a 95-piece orchestra was impeccable and inspired. Jan Garbarek, Gilberto Gil and John Legend also appeared.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published