It's been eight years since the first edition of "Jazz Wide Young", the first jazz festival organized by the association ExWide in Pisa. And from that distant 2010 the small review has evolved into one of the most articulate and interesting posters on the national scene. The new season of "Pisa Jazz", started on January 10th with the sold-out for the concert by the guitarist Julian Lage at the Teatro Sant'Andrea, proposes a program of 14 initiatives distributed among the Teatro Verdi, the Lumière, the ExWide Club, the Pontecorvo Depot and precisely the Teatro Sant'Andrea, in the months that will go from January to May of the current year. A rich program in which excellent names of international jazz go hand in hand with some of the best young talents of Italian jazz.
On Thursday 1st February at ExWide Club, the "Blue Velvet" quartet will take center stage, born of the artistic collaboration between Alessandro Lanzoni and Ben Wendel, tested in the last years by a series of tours. Ben Wendel, former leader of the band Kneebody, is one of the stars of the current saxophonist scene and is distinguished by the genius and the great originality of its melodic lines. Alessandro Lanzoni, a 25-year-old Florentine pianist, is one of the most important revelations of Italian jazz. The two are flanked by one of the best American rhythms in circulation such as the young but already well-established Joe Sanders, (Charles Lloyd, Gerald Clayton, Roy Hargrove) and the great Greg Hutchinson (Ray Brown, Hoe Henderson, Peter Bernstein, Joshua Redman and Kurt Rosenwinkel).
The next events of February will be concentrated at the Teatro Sant'Andrea and will see the expected return of Baba Sissoko and Antonello Salis, already guests of the concerts organized by Pisa Jazz but for the first time in a duo (Sunday 11 February), and that of Simone Graziano with his quartet "Frontal" with which he has climbed the heights of many classifications in the sector and with which he made his debut in Pisa.
In March the Teatro Verdi will be the protagonist with the two most important concerts of the season. On March 21st, in exclusive Tuscany, unmissable appointment with the solo plan of the Cuban master Gonzalo Rubalcaba, a true star of the world jazz: 15 nominations at the Grammy Awards, won in 2002 - with Jay Newland and Charlie Haden to production - as Best Latin Jazz Album; he has collaborated with the greatest jazz musicians in the world, from Dizzy Gillespie to Herbie Hancock, from Richard Galliano to Ron Carter.
On March 29, however, always in exclusive Tuscany, will stage the stage of the Teatro Verdi the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra that since the '50s, was the group that led and who embodied the musical thinking of Sun Ra. An ever-evolving ensemble, today led by the historic saxophonist Marshall Belford Allen, who continues to follow the founder's musical precepts, keeping alive the tradition and the original spirit of the great band. The concert will also be the inaugural event of the first edition of the "Utopia, Italy" Festival, in the 50 years since the death of Martin Luther King.
Two other important concerts will take place in April, at the Lumière; Thursday 19th evening of funk made in Italy with James Senese and Napoli Centrale, whose current line-up is the band that recorded "Nero in mezzo" by Pino Daniele, perhaps the most famous album of the late Neapolitan artist. On April 26, he remained in the territory of funk and black music with Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles; Cory Henry is an immensely talented organist and keyboard player (3 Grammy with Snarky Puppy) is a true champion of his instrument, the Hammond B-3, which has been playing since he was only 2 years old. This latest project with the "Funk Apostles" makes the idea of the proposal very clear, since the monicker, and is an incredible explosion of funk, gospel and jazz.
Among the other guests of the festival there will be the saxophonist quartet Ivan Mazuze (originally from Mozambique but living in Norway), one of the best current expressions of world jazz, in concert at the Teatro Sant'Andrea on Sunday 18 March. And then the "Ghost Horse" project, a sextet evolution of the Hobby Horse trio led by saxophonist Dan Kinzelmann (March 22nd, ExWide); the "Sub Rosa" duo of the guitarist Roberto Pianca and of the pianist Glenn Zalesky (5 April, ExWide); always from the stable Up (or Snarky Puppy) the quartet of the American singer Lucy Woodward (April 7, ExWide); and the fourth edition of "Fonterossa Day" (15th April, Teatro S.Andrea), the mini-festival dedicated to the independent label of double bassist and composer Silvia Bolognesi, with five concerts for a day inspired by avant-garde sounds, free jazz and to conduction. The review will end on Friday 11 May at the Pontecorvo Depot with the exceptional "Sons of Kemet" quartet led by the English saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings.