24 Hours of Umbria Jazz 2010
At 12:00 noon, David Binney's Quartet welcomed the audience at Teatro Morlacchi. Binney displayed an intense, yet sensitive style, never crossing the line that separates energetic and masterful technique from pure instrumental athleticism. With him were the musicians seen often in his 55 Bar performances in New York City: Jacob Sacks on piano, Zack Lober on bass and Dan Weiss on drums. Sacks and Weiss turned their solos into an amused rhythmical battle and seemed to stage an ironic jazz version of High Noon. Almost to counterbalance them, when Lober's turn came, he preferred a smooth diminuendo, full of pathos. Then Binney came back, and the audience kept asking for more.
David Binney Quartet
In the afternoon, two concerts awaited: Giovanni Guidi and his Unknown Rebel Band, with trombonist Gianluca Petrella, at Teatro Morlacchi and the De Vito/Warren Duo at Oratorio Santa Cecilia. Guidi, a talented young pianist with an already impressive series of projects in his portfolio, was discovered by Enrico Ravaas happened to Stefano Bollani some years agoand now regularly features in the trumpeter's New Quintet.
The Unknown Rebel Band stems from the paraphrase used by Time Magazine to describe the Tien An Men student who faced the tanks during the 1989 revolution. The music, composed by Guidi and arranged by Dan Kinzelman, took inspiration from sources as diverse as Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, Carla Bley's compositions, and Max Roach's "We Insist! Freedom Now Suite." The other rebels of the band represented the most interesting brass musicians of the new Italian generation of jazzmen: Gianluca Petrella on trombone, Flavio Sigurtà and Mirco Rubegni on trumpet, Daniele Tittarelli on alto and soprano sax, Dan Kinzelman on tenor sax and clarinet, David Brutti on baritone and bass sax, Mauro Ottolini on trombone, Giovanni Maier on double-bass, João Lobo on drums and Michele Rabbia on percussion.
The other concert of Perugia's afternoon featured Italian singer Maria Pia De Vito and Welsh pianist Huw Warren, who presented a duet developed on the Aristotelian concept of dialektos. As De Vito pointed out, their aim was to refer not only to the complex articulations of human language, but also to the similarity between our idiom and the singing of birds. Taking inspiration from this parallelism, the duo performed a completely acoustic setDe Vito's trills almost literally metamorphizing into a nightingale's song in the ethereal atmosphere of the fully restored baroque Oratorio Santa Cecilia.
A quick walk along Corso Vannucci, with an Italian ice cream in your hands, and it's time to move towards Arena Santa Giuliana for the evening concerts. It's an hour before the beginning of the performances and the open air tiers start filling right now with jazz lovers, some happily wearing T-shirts of previous editions of the festival, their eyes sparkling with expectations. Herbie Hancock and Tony Bennett's names are filling the air.
From the very first minute, Hancock's concert revealed itself to be twofold. On the one hand, he presented his new Imagine Project, with songs such as John Lennon's masterpiecewhich was inspirational to the whole workand "Don't Give Up," featuring vocals by Kristina Train. On the other hand, he contoured these pop selections through arrangements interspersed with rhythmical changes, heightened by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta's sensitivity. The heavily synthesized sounds introduced some of his funky 1960s/1970s jazz hits, starting with "Watermelon Man" and "Chameleon" and ending with a reprise of "Cantaloupe Island." Hancock's choice of hyperbolically distorted notes, backed by Greg Philliganes on keyboards, reached its height when he finally embraced the keytar and started jamming with Tal Wilkenfeld on bass and Lionel Loueke on guitar.
A short break, with just enough time for a few comments, and Tony Bennett's performance began, opened by his daughter Antonia, with Lee Musiker on piano, Gray Sargent on guitar, Paul Langosh on bass and Harold Jones on drums. Bennett, his voice, charm and charisma unscathed by the passage of time, tipped, tapped and twirled on his classic crooner repertoire, with the smooth, at times softly whispered, "The Way You Look Tonight," his touching version of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," and a joyful "The Good Life," jokingly dedicated to Lady Gaga. With his energetic presence and long-held final notes, Bennett seemed to gentlemanly mock the mythicizing of youth, reminding us that it's still hip to be square.