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Umbria Jazz Winter, Days 3-5: December 30, 2011-January 1, 2012

Umbria Jazz Winter, Days 3-5: December 30, 2011-January 1, 2012
Sara Villa By

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Days 1-2 | Days 3-5

Umbria Jazz Winter #19
Perugia, Italy
December 28, 2011-January 1, 2012
Stan Tracey Trio
Stan Tracey started the morning of his 85th birthday in the best possible way: playing jazz for an audience which was enthusiastic to share his music in such an iconic moment. Opening "Panama Red" with his impeccable, swinging vibrato and an elegant essentialism, Tracey showed a cheerful sense of happiness throughout his selection, and a naturally gentle, classic style in his beautifully subtle sense of rhythm is.

It was easy to imagine a Woody Allen scene developing in his mind as he winked, playing smoothly, backed by Clark Tracey's sharp drum intro in "Don't Mean a Thing" and a series of increasing double bass accents by Andrew Cleyndert, enhancing the pianist's mastery and refined, humorous mood.

Franco Cerri Quartet

An Italian giant of jazz guitar whose never-ending list of collaborations features the dream of every guitarist—playing on stage, side-by-side with Django Reinhardt in 1949—Franco Cerri, in his flourishing professional jazz career is also renowned for the generosity with which he has shared his talent and passion with other generations of jazz guitarists, including those studying at the Civica Jazz School he founded in Milan.

He has the enthusiasm of a child and the gentlemanly style of a passionate musician who has always loved his audience with the same affectionate joy and warmth he feels for his music. His style is pure grace, with a touch of delicate humor that the audience of Umbria Jazz Winter could see sparkling through the air on "Fine and Dandy." His soft touch turned "Days of Wine and Roses" into a lullaby-like romantic pearl.

Cerri's mystical and heartfelt style was symbolized by his choice of Plato's quote on music: "It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."

Joining the guitarist were an extremely spiritual Hammond organist, Alberto Gurrisi on "Unforgettable," and sensitive double bassist Daniele Mencarelli in the bossa nova central section of the set. Drummer Andrea Melani was swiftly smooth throughout the concert, particularly on "Ultimo Corcovado," mixing the Brazilian atmosphere of the original song with his own personal lyricism.

Cerri's solo piece—an exquisite arrangement of Ennio Morricone's theme for the 1984 film Once Upon a Time in America—was a memorable moment of touching delicacy and its emotional depth brought the audience to happy tears.

Chano Dominguez—Flamenco Sketches

Chano Dominguez's exploration of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959) within the cultural context of flamenco seemed not only the natural evolution of "Flamenco Sketches," but also a highly stylish form of musical syncretism.

The elegantly crafted arrangements were immediately shining in " So What," a delicate solo piano intro slowly followed by drummer Manuel Masaedo's brushes, a percussive double bass by Mario Rossy and the flamenco hand-clapping and heel-thumping of flamenco dancer Daniel Navarro. Blas Cordoba's voice mingled with Masaedo's percussion so easily and smoothly as to seem another instrument.

Dominguez managed to mix in his style the percussive nature of the Flamenco's beats with the essential texture of Miles' original pieces. The flamenco core of the concert was iconized at the centre of the stage by Daniel Navarro and his bullfighter moves, and by singer Blas Cordoba's mystically inspired voice. The Spanish folk musical context imbued all the arrangements without overpowering them. The balance of melody and beat was superb, and the rhythmical changes a delicacy for the ears.

Danilo Rea Trio—with Ares Tavolazzi and Ellade Bandini

After the duo concert with Michel Camilo, which sounded like the encounter of two almost opposite souls—the flamboyant rowdy and the lyrical romantic—pianist Danilo Rea opened the morning of the third day of Umbria Jazz Winter #19 with drummer Ellade Bandini and double bassist Ares Tavolazzi.

The project was a jazz tribute to The Beatles. Their songs, artfully metamorphosed into jazz, were interpreted with impeccable touch on the piano, and a rhythmical palette on both drums and bass of astonishing sensitivity.

The piece was clearly not a simple homage, but a full reworking of the original versions which were smoothly mixed with the signature elements of the trio: Rea's marvelous climaxes, Bandini's surgically precise brush beats in "And I Love Her," and Tavolazzi's's pulsating sound which, on "Come Together," sounded like a giant's heartbeat.

Paolo Fresu & Alborada String Quartet

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