I-Jazz’s 60 festivals restart with Vicenza Jazz



The 15th of June signals a new phase for the majority of organisations linked to I-Jazz, bringing their dedication and energy to the fore and highlighting their ability to see beyond the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 crisis. Across Italy, theatres and venues will once again host live performances after closing their doors for over three months. Over 60 Italian festivals are linked to the I-Jazz association, who have ‘mapped out’ summer events taking place in every part of the country - a positive signal for the whole sector. 

The Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza provides the location for Vicenza Jazz. The theatre is the first venue to reopen to the public (and performance industry staff) beginning with a special one-off event Jazz Is Back!. The event will be a marathon of four line-ups with top musicians including the cream of Italian jazz, featuring three duos (Paolo Fresu and Daniele di Bonaventura, Claudio Fasoli and Paolo BirroGianluigi Trovesi and Umberto Petrin) and one trio (Luca Aquino, Giovanni Guidi and Flo). The evening will be free, invitation-only event dedicated to medical staff - doctors, nurses and administrative staff – who have worked tirelessly during the last few months of the Covid-19 emergency. Others can watch the concert live on TVA (digital channel 10 in the Veneto region, channel 273 for the provinces of Trento and Bolzano, and channel 832 on Sky and Satellite TV), or on the web via TVA apps for IOS and Android.

Beyond Vicenza, there are a whole host of other activities kicking off from the 15th of June. In Firenze, thanks to Musicus Concentus and Music PoolSala Vanni will open its doors, a momentous occasion made possible by changes made to the floor seating in the venue in line with the required regulations. Naomi Berrill will grace the stage on the 15th of June, and the following day Barbara Casini and Alessandro Lanzoni present the project “Viva Eu” – a record dedicated to the Brazilian composer Novelli. Guano Padano will be playing in Milan on the 15th, a concert organised by Ponderosa at the Triennale dell’Arte as part of the Triennale Estate programme. In Puglia, Bass Culture marks the first post Covid-19 concert at midnight on the 14th of June (fully in line with safety regulations) with the THINKABOUTIT collective, who will play at the Offician degli Esordi venue in Bari.

I-Jazz Association members in the Veneto region have put together lengthy and wide-ranging summer programmes, including special editions of Sile Jazz and Jazz Area Metropolitana, spanning the provinces of Treviso, Venice and Padova. These have been organised by the nusica.org association (directed by musicians Alessandro Fedrigo and Nicola Fazzini) and will feature more than 20 concerts. A particular emphasis has been given to younger Italian artists. Concerts start from the 20th of June and continue throughout July, names include Kurt Rosenwinkel, Greg Hutchinson, Dario Deidda, Roberto Gatto, Matteo Bortone and more.

Two symbolic musical evenings will take place on the 18th of July and the 19th of August, proposed by Bergamo Jazz Festival (officially postponed until 2021) as part of an initiative at the Lazzaretto in the city. Bergamo was one of the places in Italy worst hit by the Covid-19 emergency. Big names such as Enrico Rava, Gianluca Petrella, Rosa Brunello and Francesco Chiapperini feature at the summer concerts, curated by Maria Pia De Vito, who despite the lockdown ran the “Italian Jazz for Bergamo” live streaming initiative together with I-Jazz, helping to raise funds for the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital via the Cesvi organisation. 

Elsewhere in Lombardy the AmbriaJazz Festival has been confirmed, taking place from the 10th of July to the 14th of August with 11 concerts hosted in the splendid Valtellina area. Many Italian musicians will be playing, including Pasquale Mirra, Tino Tracanna, Marco Badoscia and Marcello Allulli. In Mantua, part of the You Must Believe in Spring series of concerts (organised by the 4’33” Association) will still be going ahead, with three concerts on the 25th June, 16th July and 23rd of July, dedicated to female-led projects: Eleonora Strino Trio, Gaia Mattiuzzi’s Roaming Minds and the Vocione duo with Marta Raviglia.

Despite the regular Novara Jazz festival being postponed to 2021, the Rest-Art Association has organised a series of summer events – Novara Jazz Summer – from the 3rd of July to the 6th of September, with over 25 concerts taking place in Novara and Varallo, including special activities dedicated to children and the elderly. The programme has a particular focus on young, talented Italian jazz musicians.

In Trentino Alto-Adige a wide range of concerts are taking place this season organised by Trentinojazz, as part of NonSole Jazz Festival, Panorama Music, Lagarina Jazz and Suono Di-Vino, with over 25 dates between the 15th of July and the 17th of September, featuring some prestigious names from the national scene.

The high-profile Musiche dal mondo-GoGo Jazz festival, organised by Circolo Controtempo promises eight days of concerts (29th July – 1st August, and the 4th, 5th, 6th and 25th August) in Gorizia and Nova Gorica near the Slovenian border in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. A host of artists are taking part, including the Tesi-Vaillant-Picconi Trio, Fabrizio Bosso & Luciano Biondini, Aly Keyta & Hamid Drake Duo.

Piacenza Jazz Festival, a key festival in Emilia Romagna, has been postponed until October. It was one of the first Italian festivals to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Until then, the internationally-renowned Area Sismica have done a great job putting together Musiche Extra – Ordinarie e Musica Inaudita in the region, running from the 20th of June to the 2nd of August with 9 concerts and 4 artist-in-residence projects featuring (among others) Michele Rabbia and Marco Colonna.

In Tuscany the music continues all summer – Music Pool have organized four large-scale concerts in the Teatro Romano in Fiesole in July (with, among others, Gianluca Petrella, Ginevra di Marco, Tosca) as part of Estate Fiesolana. Stefano Cocco Cantini’s Grey Cat Festival in the province of Grosseto has been confirmed with this year dedicated to Italian jazz, running from the 26th of July to the 14th of August. Big names include Enrico Rava, Enrico Pieranunzi and Danilo Rea. 

Empoli Jazz Summer Festival reaches its 11th edition this year. Concert dates run from the 15th to the 28th of July with an additional date on the 6th of August, with a mix of well-known artists and young talents: Maria Pia De Vito, Javier Girotto, Michelangelo Scandroglio, Ginevra di Marco and Gaia Nanni.

Pescara Jazz Festival, organised by Ente Manifestazioni Pescaresi, was the first Italian jazz festival to confirm their 2020 line-up in the face of Coronavirus and potential restrictions. “It will be a renaissance” confirms the artistic director Angelo Valori, on the occasion of the 51st edition of the festival. The roster features the Paolo Fresu “Devil Quartet”, Ralph Towner & Aires Tango, Gianluca Petrella, Roy Paci & Enzo Favata and Roberto Ottaviano.

Stefano di Battista’s quartet show on the 1st of July kicks off the open-air summer season at Casa del Jazz in Rome. Fondazione Musica per Roma has curated the production of the festival which continues into September with a host of big names and stand-out line-ups. Access to the Park will be subject to current anti-Covid restrictions. Other activities in the region include the new French-Italian jazz and improvised music festival Una Striscia di Terra Feconda (which translates as ‘a stretch of fertile ground’) directed by Paolo Damiani and Armand Meignan. The festival will go ahead in Rome, Palestrina and Caprarola, with three date ranges in the pipeline: 24th-25th July, 30th July-1st August, and 5th-8th September. The festival will host many artists including Cristina Donà, Louis Sclavis, Sandrine Bonnaire and Paolo Fresu. 

Fara Music Festival in Fara in Sabina (in the province of Rieti) will also enrich the musical offerings of the Lazio region this summer with dates in August and September featuring nationally-renowned musicians such as Fabio Zeppetella, Dario Deidda and Gabriele Mirabassi.

The region of Le Marche is also offering a significant concert programme, despite the difficulties, centring around Ancona Jazz Summer Festival (organised by Spazio Musica) with this edition dedicated to musicians from the region. 12 concerts will go ahead from the 9th of July to the 15th of August. Artists include Gabriele Mirabassi, Silvia Manco, Stefano Bedetti, Gianni Cazzola and many others.

Fano Jazz Network has confirmed the Fano Jazz by The Sea festival, taking place from the 24th to the 31st of July, with a ‘live city edition’ focusing on local artists but also with an international presence – Michael League and Bill Laurance (from Snarky Puppy fame) will play as a duo as well as Fresu, Petrella, Biondini, Bosso, Salis and Aires Tango. 

The 2020 Premio Internazionale Massimo Urbani prize has been confirmed. This year is the 34th edition and will take place in Camerino on the 27th and 28th of June. Dino Rubino and Nico Gori will be part of the panel of judges, with Seby Burgio, Massimo Moriconi and Massimo Manzi making up the accompanying trio.

GezziamociBasilicata’s Jazz Festival organised by the Onyx Jazz Club association in Matera has been confirmed with a quality line-up and around 10 events programmed over several weeks from the 28th of June onwards.

Paolo Fresu’s Time in Jazz (presented at the end of May) boasts around 60 events spanning from the 9th to the 16th of August. This out-of-the-ordinary edition of the festival - named Anima • Ànemos – taking place as usual in Berchidda and other locations in Northern Sardinia which form part of the same circuit. Guests include Fabio Concato, Rita Marcotulli, Antonello Salis and Daniele Silvestri. 

The prestigious Nuoro Jazz Festival is also confirmed for its 32nd edition. Directed by Salvatore Maltana, from the 18th to the 28th of August. Key names in Italian Jazz will perform, including Paolo Fresu’s quintet, Dado Moroni, Max De Aloe, Bebo Ferra, Francesca Corrias and many others. 

The 20th edition of Musica Sulle Bocche, directed by Enzo Favata, will also grace Northern Sardinia this summer. Concerts are planned for the town of Castelsardo and other neighbouring locations. 21 concerts will take place between the 19th of August and the 6th of September.

The programme for the Locomotive Jazz Festival in Salento (with Raffaele Casarano at the helm) is being finalised. Concerts are being planned over several months from August to December.

In Calabria, this year’s Peperoncino Jazz Festival produced by the Picanto association will go ahead, offering a long musical programme of events between July and September (with Danilo Rea as one of this year’s names). The concert locations include some of the most picturesque areas in the province of Cosenza. In the same region in August, the Mediterraneo Interiore festival takes place, organised by the association for the Development of Alto Jonio area. 

Good news from the Musikante Association this year, who are putting together the Battiati Jazz Festival 2020 in Sant’Agata li Battiati (province of Catania) with three dates confirmed (11th and 25th of July and the 8th of August) and a roster featuring mostly local musicians. 

This summer will be packed with great events for the jazz world. The autumn and winter will usher in another wide range of festivals and programmed events, with Torino Jazz Festival and Moncalieri Jazz Festival on the horizon, as well as the postponed Piacenza Jazz and Vincenza Jazz (due to go ahead back in the Spring), and many more. 

Italian trumpet giant Paolo Fresu recounts: “During these long months of lockdown, we’ve faced tremendous solitude. Personally, I’ve found new ways of communicating online, via projects involving myself and others. For me it’s been a way to live musically, and I’ve found it useful to rediscover aspects of myself and to rethink my close relationship with sound and creativity. It’s also been a precious moment to realise that I can’t live without music, without the air in my trumpet and my flugelhorn. On the 15th of June live performances in Italy get the go-ahead and I’ll be playing at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, stepping back into the role of communicating, of sharing, of excitement. All the reasons why I decided to make music my life’s work.”

These past months in Italy have been particularly difficult for festivals and event programming” – says Corrado Beldì, President of I-Jazz and Artistic Director of Novara Jazz. “There’s been a fear of not being able to start things up again, but it’s also been an opportunity to reinforce the sector with new projects for communication, sustainability, education and solidarity among members and colleagues. “Italian Jazz for Bergamo” was a great initiative which had a real unifying effect among I-Jazz festivals. Being able to put on events again has provided much-needed oxygen for everyone, from technicians to musicians and organisers. Finally, from the 15th of June we can come back to making music, in every region. We are enthusiastic about this rich programme of events which does Italian jazz proud.”