Jazzmi 2021: The Die is Cast

30.09.2021, by Luca Testoni

The die has been cast, and the program for JAZZMI 2021 has been unveiled.

One thing is for sure: the festival, first conceived by Associazione JAZZMI, Ponderosa Music & Art and Triennale di Milano, in collaboration with Blue Note Milano, is starting again this year with renewed enthusiasm. Last autumn, the second wave of Covid-19 put a stop to the festival after only four nights. This year, luckily, the atmosphere is much different. A lot of optimism is in the air, thanks in no small part to the fact that the Scientific-Technical Committee (CTS, the Italian Covid Task Force) has just approved an increase in the capacity of theaters and concert halls.

«JAZZMI has reached its sixth edition, with the peculiarity of maintaining the elements of its first one», explains Luciano Linzi, who together with Titti Santini is one of the festival’s artistic curators. «That is to say, the ample space granted to different styles of jazz, a genre that is still very dynamic and always able to create something good from its experiments; secondly, the creation of sections where the jazz universe is analyzed in more depth through exhibitions, book launches or panels; the fact that many of its performances are free of charge and scattered around the city, suburbs included; and the festival’s wide accessibility ».

At a time when Milan’s live music scene is still painfully frozen, the numbers of JAZZMI 2021 look even more impressive. From October 21st to October 31st it will include 400 musicians, as well as a total of 200 events held in 60 different venues throughout the city. Alongside its two main venues, which are the Triennale theater and the Blue Note Milano club in via Borsieri, JAZZMI 2021 will be hosted by spaces as diverse as the Loggia dei Mercanti and Volvo Studio Milano; the Casa degli Artisti and the Paolo Pini, a former psychiatric hospital; the Corvetto and Dergano neighborhoods; piazza Bisceglie and piazza Selinunte; Casa Jannacci and the Padiglione Chiaravalle. And we can’t forget its excursions outside the city: in San Donato Milanese, Trezzano sul Naviglio, Buccinasco and Carugate.

At a festival where the dialogue between jazz and other genres is a precise political choice, it will not surprise us to find once again performances by a godfather of hip-hop such as Grandmaster Flash, on October 31st at Conservatorio Verdi; singer-songwriter Capossela, with a double show at Blue Note on October 23rd, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his debut album “All’una e trentacinque” with guitar star Peter Bernstein accompanied by Jesse Davies, Doug Weiss and Roberto Gatto; Alex Britti, performing an unusual duet with trumpeter Flavio Boltro on October 27th at Teatro Dal Verme; and the duo formed by Mario Tronco (a member of Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio) and Peppe Servillo from Avion Travel, performing a homage to Lucio Dalla on October 26th at Teatro Dal Verme.

As for Italian jazz, JAZZMI 2021 will mark the first appearance at the festival of two Italian trailblazers such as trumpeter Fabrizio Bosso and saxophonist Stefano Di Battista, both playing live at Teatro della Triennale, on October 26th and 30th respectively.

Sardinian artists feature prominently on this year’s program: on October 24th, at the Milan Conservatorio, Paolo Fresu will perform a show centered around the musicians from his own recording label Tǔk; and we suggest you keep an eye (and ear) on the “Giornale di Bordo” project, an ensemble bringing together the Sardinian trio formed by Antonello Salis, Paolo Angeli and Gavino Murgia and American drummer Hamid Drake (on October 24th again, this time at the Triennale). But there’s more: On October 22nd, at the Triennale, guitar innovator Angeli will perform a solo show focusing on his interpretation of pieces by Radiohead, while saxophonist Murgia will share the stage with DJ Gruff.

And what about breakthrough artists? You truly will not want to miss the two evenings renamed JAZZMI FUTURE, scheduled for October 28th and 29th at the Teatro Filodrammatici. Performances by saxophone talents Sophia Tomellieri and Stefano Alessandrini (the latter performing as part of the Storytellers ensemble) will leave you speechless.

The loosening of anti-Covid restrictions has also brought back to the festival a substantial number of foreign musicians. A few names? Extraordinary saxophonist-composer Tim Berne, who will perform on the 23rd at the Triennale as the frontman of Broken Shadows, a band which also includes Chris Speed, Reid Anderson and Dave King. Their show will focus on jazz giants hailing from Fort Worth, Texas: Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman and Julius Hemphill. And more: the duo formed by accordionist Vincent Peirani and saxophonist Émile Parisien, two French superstars revisiting the magic of tango, on October 29th at the Triennale. The same venue will also host performances Sons Of Komet frontman Theon Cross (October 23rd); Roberto Fonseca and his trio (October 27th); the trio including Marcin Wasilewski and Joe Lovano (October 29th); young American vibraphonist Joel Ross (October 29th); and London jazz talent Moses Boyd (October 30th). The opening show will be hosted by Blue Note on October 21st, and feature the duo formed by Richard Bona and Alfredo Rodriguez. On that same evening, the Alcatraz will host a performance by José James, one of the most intriguing voices on the NY blues, jazz and R&B scene). Back to the Blue Note, the club will host a show by Incognito singer Tony Momrelle on October 23rd as well as French virtuoso vocalist Camille Bertault.

For more information, go to JAZZMI’s official website, where you will also find the latest guidance about venue access and Covid safety rules.

More info via mail (info@jazzmi.it); Facebook (@jazzmilano); Instagram (@jazzmilano); and Infoline +39/3515398855 (Mondays to Fridays, from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M).

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