Friday 12 July 2013

40 years of Umbria Jazz

One of Italy’s most prestigious and famous festivals has opened its arms to jazz lovers for the 40th time in its history and is currently celebrating four decades of music in the Umbrian city of Perugia. 

The festival was initiated back in 1973 by Carlo Pagnotta, a local Jazz enthusiast who remains the artistic director to this day. Pagnotta, along with the Italian musician Renzo Arbore who is the president, continue to head the event that has become one of the most important jazz venues in the world. 

Back in 1973 nobody would have imagined the importance this festival would have on the music scene, and not only in Italy; today it is a well known and world esteemed event. The thought of hundreds of jean clad ‘hippies’ descending en masse onto the streets of 70’s provincial Perugia is an interesting one and they must have caused a flurry of concern amongst the local inhabitants who were probably unused to guitar toting, denim clad individuals sleeping in ancient doorways. 

With a brief break in the late 70’s early 80’s Umbria Jazz has attracted a whole host of starry names too numerous to mention. In recent years the festival has changed and no longer concentrates on Jazz alone, hence names such as Chet Baker, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughn and Dizzy Gillespie have been supplanted by Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Elton John, Sting and the artist formally known as Prince.  

Miles Davis

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