Jazz in Italy is a welcome and profound genre that the Italians embrace. Umbria Jazz is the most famous Italian Jazz festival. Umbria Jazz is a festival organized for ten days in July as Perugia embraces with devotion, the best of International and Italian Jazz.
Origins of Umbria Jazz
This festival was born officially in 1973 on August 23. There were concerts of Thad Jones, Aktuala & Mel Lewis Orchestra, where they found young Dee Dee Bridgewater. This was a live show in the natural theatre of Villalago in Piediluco, and it was organized to thank a Carlo Pagnotta effort, who was a Jazz music lover and merchant of Perugia. In the first few years, the show’s formula was completely different than it is today. Initially, it was a concert, an itinerant free tour in some of the beautiful locations of Italy such as Villalago, Piazza del Popolo in Todi, the Albornoz Fortress in Spoleto, Piazza IV Novembre in Perugia, Piazza San Francesco and the Romano Theater in Gubbio in Umbertide.
The Festival Now
The first edition of the festival dates to 1973, and since then Umbria Jazz gained popularity as one of the most important Jazz festivals held in Italy. This year in 2019, it will be from Friday, July 12th to Sunday 21st in Perugia. There will be different kinds of music this year for everyone, and the main venues of this festival are the Santa Giuliana Arena and the Morlacchi Theater. The former has big names performing, and the latter is dedicated to orthodox Jazz.
At the Ristorante La Taverna and the Bottega del Vino, there are musical lunches, aperitivi, and dinners. The open-air concerts are free, and they take place at the Giardini Carducci and the Piazza IV Novembre. Adding to this, every day there will be a traditional Street Parade.
This festival is spread across throughout the city in various venues, and this includes the outdoor stadium, Santa Giuliana Arena is used for significant acts. Many of the Gigs are free, and this consists of the National Gallery, Teatro Morlacchi, wine bars, and other outdoor stages. Visitors can enjoy watching the street parade led by a local marching band.
The Significance of Jazz
The first festival began in 1973, and then it continued as the Umbria Jazz festival, and it is held in July during the second and third week. Its significance is witnessed by artists who played in the previous years, and it includes some jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis and is joined by B.B. King, James Brown, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton. This Jazz festival also involves the pop and rock genres with Santana, Elton John, Van Morrison, Phil Collins, Sting, and many more famous musicians in participation.
The Umbria Jazz Festival was a travelling show, initially taking place in Perugia only. The Santa Giuliana became the stage for famous artist’s concerts drawing big crowds. However, the other venues Oratorio Santa Cecilia and Pavone Theatre were smaller but hosted pure Jazz sounds offered in an intimate atmosphere. In fact, Carducci Gardens and Piazza IV Novembre also hosted free daily concerts with various music genres and involved different audiences but did not deter with the quality of live performances.