All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Jazzin' Around Europe

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

33

Messina Sea Jazz Festival 2013

Messina Sea Jazz Festival 2013
Francesco Martinelli By

Sign in to view read count
Messina Sea Jazz Festival 2013

Messina, Italy

July 17-21, 2013

Messina, the city on the Sicilian side of the Straits connecting the Thyrrenian and the Ionian seas—for the geographically challenged, that bit of sea on the point of the Italian boot—is not on the list of the most famous Italian or even Sicilian touristic locations. Overshadowed, in its own province, by Taormina—and by the cultural as well as environmental riches of other cities—it serves mainly as the point of entry, its harbor busy with ferries for visitors coming by train or car.

The Straits area is prone to earthquakes, and in 1908 a disastrous tremor destroyed the city—with over 70.000 dead, one of the most terrible seismic events of the modern era, wrecking most of the historical buildings. Messina was rebuilt on a modern plan, and its pleasant center, with big regular avenues, lacks the exotic charms of the narrow street and alleys of other Italian cities. But the savvy visitor can find plenty to enjoy here: the view of the straits is unique; the sea crystal clean due to the strong permanent currents; the swordfish and tuna fresh; and the granitas to die for. Even other Sicilians will concede that Messina is the capital of the grainy iced lemon juice or cream-topped coffee.

Founded by Greeks on the site of its harbor—a sickle-shaped peninsula offering natural repair to ships, and using a crescent-shaped city as logo, Messina has more than this mythic connection to jazz. The area was infamous for the two giants, Scilla and Cariddi, who stood guard on the straits' narrowest point, sinking the ships trying to pass by—a myth born from the currents that can reach eight or nine knots, truly a river running into the sea, that would deviate ships on its rocky coast. In modern times, the same names were given to the first steamboats used to cross from the Island to the Continent, as Sicilians say; pretty much the same sort of ships used on the Mississippi. And after the earthquake, among the many emigrants to the USA was a boy from Messina who made his name in music: Pete Rugolo, arranger for Stan Kenton and producer of Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool (1957) sides for Capitol. Messina gave his good share of musicians to jazz: other greats with roots on the Sicilian side of the straits include Joe Pass (Passalacqua), Chick Corea (mother's side), and Joe Lovano—not a bad crop!

Enters pianist Giovanni Mazzarino, one of the major players in Sicilian jazz today. A worldwide career as both a leader and appreciated accompanist for vocalists did not diminish his love for the island, and for the past few years he's organized a festival-cum-summer workshop in the city where he now resides, Piazza Armerina, on a hill in the center of Sicily. Due to local political uncertainties, the festival was not bound to happen this year, so he swiftly moved his operation to Messina, aided by longtime friends and followers of his music, so that with the sponsorship of the town, the university and the port authority, a last-minute program of high quality was put together and took place from July 17-23 in fabulous locations all along the sea.

A full program ran in these locations. In the morning and afternoon, workshops and seminars, dozens of students worked with some of the best Italian musicians—vocal instructors Loredana Spata and Flora Faja; drummer/vibraphonist Mimmo Cafiero (who, with Spata, runs the Open Jazz Lab school in Palermo); sax wiz Francesco Cafiso; bassists Riccardo Fioravanti and Nello Toscano; drummer Stefano Bagnoli; guitarist Giuseppe Mirabella; and pianist/trumpeter Enrico Rava, Maria Pia De Vito and Fabrizio Bosso. In addition, late-night jams took place on the charming marina, lead by other musicians including pianist/arranger/big band leader Cettina Donato, whose first CD on the Jazzy label, 2013's Crescendo, drew a lot of attention.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read The Slovenian Experience: Jazz Festival Ljubljana 2017 Jazzin' Around Europe
The Slovenian Experience: Jazz Festival Ljubljana 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 18, 2017
Read WDR Jazzfest 2017 Jazzin' Around Europe
WDR Jazzfest 2017
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 8, 2017
Read Bergamo Jazz 2016 Jazzin' Around Europe
Bergamo Jazz 2016
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: April 18, 2016
Read Kit Downes and Tom Challenger: Organ Crawling Jazzin' Around Europe
Kit Downes and Tom Challenger: Organ Crawling
by Duncan Heining
Published: March 23, 2016
Read Ensemble Denada in Pisa Jazzin' Around Europe
Ensemble Denada in Pisa
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: December 29, 2015
Read North Sea Jazz Festival 2015:   The Roller Coaster Has Taken Off Jazzin' Around Europe
North Sea Jazz Festival 2015: The Roller Coaster Has...
by Joan Gannij
Published: July 11, 2015
Read "The Slovenian Experience: Jazz Festival Ljubljana 2017" Jazzin' Around Europe The Slovenian Experience: Jazz Festival Ljubljana 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Tal Wilkenfeld Live At The Belly Up Tavern" SoCal Jazz Tal Wilkenfeld Live At The Belly Up Tavern
by Jim Worsley
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Nick Millevoi" What I'm Listening to Now Nick Millevoi
by Vincenzo Roggero
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Festival Trieste Loves Jazz 2017" In Pictures Festival Trieste Loves Jazz 2017
by Joze Pozrl
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "15 Italian Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About" Building a Jazz Library 15 Italian Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Pharoah Sanders at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Pharoah Sanders at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Notable and Nearly Missed 2017" Bailey's Bundles Notable and Nearly Missed 2017
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 24, 2017