We The Italians | Italian entertainment: Umbria Jazz Festival

Italian entertainment: Umbria Jazz Festival

Italian entertainment: Umbria Jazz Festival

  • WTI Magazine #130 Aug 22, 2020
  • 80

Each year, during the month of July, the lovely Perugia (the capital city of Umbria Region) usually houses the most important Italian Musical Jazz Festival. Well known in Italy but also abroad, the Umbria Jazz is proud of its considerable achievements and its exceptional fame gained during the time.

This year, due to the impossibility of respecting the Covid requirements, the Festival has been obliged to close its doors (not the first time in the history). Despite this, the enthusiasm of the Festival’s organizers has not been undermined and they have thought about some acceptable alternative for the month of August 2020.

Let’s step back for a moment in order to know better the history of the illustrious Umbria Jazz. The first edition was held in 1973, with the debuting concert in a small town near Terni and other two nights in Perugia. From the beginning, the new idea had a considerable success which inspired Carlo Pagnotta, a jazz enthusiast Perugian merchant, to propose an artistic plan to the Umbria Region. The ambitious project was approved and the Festival started to grow year by year, especially thanks to the participation of worldwide celebrated musicians, such as George Coleman, Art Blakey e Dizzy Gillespie.

From 1978 to 1982, the Umbria Jazz experienced a sudden setback because of the chaos and the instability developed during the so-called “Years of Lead”.

From 1982 great news were introduced both in the organization and in the structure of the Festival. Primarily, the decision of performing the concerts in just one city, Perugia. Then, after the creation of the Umbria Jazz Association, a non profit organization, the structure of the Umbria Jazz was consolidated in a Foundation, which is still in place, whose President is the famous Italian singer and musician Renzo Arbore and the artistic Director is Carlo Pagnotta.

Furthermore, something was changed also on the musical side: not only jazz singers and performers, but a wide range of interpreters started to be invited, from the rock genre to the blues one. Memorable were the shows of Elton JohnCarlos SantanaJames BrownDonna SummerEric ClaptonEarth, Wind & FireSimply Red and B.B. King.

From 2003, the most important concerts are held in marvelous Perugian locations:  the Santa Giuliana Arena where Ornette ColemanVan MorrisonBobby McFerrin, the Earth, Wind & FireJames Brown and the Manhattan Transfer performed; the Pavone Theatre and the Morlacchi Municipal Theatre; the Perugia Dome (for the gospel chorus) and others. Plus the historical IV November Square and the charming Carducci Gardens, where free entrance performances take place.

Even if the 2020 Umbria Jazz Edition has been canceled, the Foundation has organized the “Jazz in August”, some Jazz controlled concerts from the 7th to the 10th of August. The event will be held In IV November Square in Perugia, with the best of the Italian Jazz and all the necessary measures in order to maintain the safety and the well-being of all the participants.