The Summer Sounds Like Jazz (And Much More) in Monforte d’Alba

16.06.2021, by Luca Testoni

Another peculiar summer, with scaled-down and socially distanced audiences, but with an unchanged desire to enjoy good live music under the stars.

In the heart of the Langhe area, a music festival has shown its strength holding its own against everything and everyone. Its name is “Monfortinjazz” and, for 45 years now, it has been a reference point among the Italian celebrations of live jazz music (and much more).

Last year just three, very significant evenings were held in the heart of Monforte d’Alba, as a reaction to the health emergency and to many months spent in silence. This year, the Horszowski Auditorium at the top of the medieval borough will host five.

Just like in 2020, Paolo Fresu will be the opening act. Last year he performed at the head of a stellar quintet, including Tino Tracanna (tenor and soprano sax), Roberto Cipelli (classic and electric piano), Attilio Zanchi (double bass), Ettore Fioravanti (drums); this year the Berchidda-born trumpetist, one of the most successful Italian jazz exports, will perform on June 27th (at 6 PM and again at 9.30 PM) in a duo with bandoneonist Daniele Di Bonaventura. After their successful collaboration with Corsican choir A Filetta called “Mistico Mediterraneo”, and a record of the same name recently released with ECM, Paolo Fresu and Daniele Di Bonaventura will meet again in Piedmont in the more intimate form of a duo.

Paolo Fresu & Daniele Di Bonaventura

The only non-jazz event, on July 3d at 9.30 PM, will feature Francesco Bianconi. Just last year, on the 20th birthday of his band Baustelle – one of the most original voices in Italian pop – Bianconi released his first solo album “Forever”, where he challenged himself as a songwriter and musician and focused entirely on the essence of song.

Francesco Bianconi
Francesco Bianconi

On July 10th at 9.30 PM there will be a performance by Quinteto Astor Piazzolla, the Argentinian band created by the eponymous Piazzolla foundation and directed by the late musician’s wife, Laura Esacalada. Their latest record “Triunfal” includes a selection of hits by the master of new Argentinian tango, from the 1960s up to his international success in the 80s.

Quinteto Astor Piazzolla
Quinteto Astor Piazzolla

For a real-life experience of great American jazz, don’t forget to save the date of July 18th. At 9.30 PM the mike will go to Brad Mehldau, one of the most lyrical and intimate voices of contemporary jazz piano. For his concert in Monforte d’Alba he will perform with his well-oiled, magical trio featuring Larry Grenadier at the double bass and Jeff Ballard at the drums.

Bred Mehldau Trio
Brad Mehldau Trio

Raphael Gualazzi will perform a double show (at 6 and again at 9.30 PM) as a grand finale on July 25th. For his piano solo recital, the talented multi-instrumentalist will perform a selection of his best jazz-adjacent pieces, as well as his very own interpretations of international blues and soul gems.

Raphael Gualazzi

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