Crossroads 2017 - Jazz and more in Emilia Romagna
Almost one hundred days of music on the road: from February 26 the journey of Crossroads, a wandering festival all over Emilia-Romagna, begins again. More than sixty concerts, continuing up to June 1, with stops in about 20 cities: constantly changing sound and geographic landscapes, these are the keywords of the 18th edition of Crossroads.
The more than 500 artists involved and the thousands of km to travel to follow them from the first to the last evening will create a unique concert series, with its 360° panoramic view of jazz, a wide range of improvised music, ethnic sounds and very interesting mixes of musical genres.
Among the new features of the 2017 edition, one worth noting is the return, in grand fashion, of the main square of Bologna: the regional capital will host Snarky Puppy, a band that has become a true cult, with a lot of attention from young audiences, by mixing fusion, orchestral jazz and progressive rock (April 24, Estragon Club).
Among the “artists in residence” the ones that stand out are: Paolo Fresu, Enrico Rava and Fabrizio Bosso, the three trumpet players who best represent Italian jazz and who have been guests of this festival many times throughout its history.
It is in fact Paolo Fresu who will kick off Crossroads 2017, on February 26 at the Teatro De André in Casalgrande: his first performance on schedule sees him at the head of the Devil Quartet. Complimenting the electric vibes of this longstanding group will be the acoustic sound of Fresu’s historic quintet, which will play in Imola (April 21, Teatro Ebe Stignani). But Fresu can also be heard in more unusual groups, passing from one extreme to the other: from the intimate and peculiar sounds of the duo with the Sardinian guitar played by Paolo Angeli (April 7, Castel San Pietro Terme, Bo, “Cassero” Teatro Comunale, as part of Cassero Jazz) to the immense orchestral jubilation of “Pazzi di Jazz” (Crazy for Jazz), which will see Fresu playing as a soloist together with an orchestra and chorus of 250 very young musicians, in a program dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie. This colossal original production will also involve Tommaso Vittorini, Ambrogio Sparagna and Alien Dee (May 8, Ravenna, Teatro Alighieri).
Enrico Rava is instead the star of two exquisite duets: the first, open also to shades of Latin-American music, with the guitarist Roberto Taufic (March 17, Fusignano, Ra, Auditorium Corelli), the second, more focused on jazz, with the pianist Geri Allen (May 17, Correggio, Re, Teatro Asioli). In San Mauro Pascoli (April 18, Villa Torlonia) you can instead listen to Rava in a more structured contest: his New Quartet.
The evening of April 27 in Imola, Rava will perform on the same stage as the quartet of Fabrizio Bosso: a dialogue among the artists in residence of Crossroads which is also a rare meeting of the top musicians in Italian jazz. Bosso will play also on April 20 in Modena (La Tenda) with the Spiritual Trio, one of his most vivacious groove groups, and May 1 in Forlì (Teatro Diego Fabbri) as a special guest of an original production together with the Italian Jazz Orchestra: the program includes the songs of Nat King Cole with the voice of Walter Ricci, with the direction of Fabio Petretti.
But Crossroads 2017 will see in its artistic cast many other big Italian names: from the timeless duo Musica Nuda with Petra Magoni and Ferruccio Spinetti (March 10, Rimini, Teatro degli Atti) to the exuberant Roy Paci, who will come back to the stage as a virtuoso soloist on the trumpet in a quintet co-directed by the trombonist Mauro Ottolini (April 30, Russi, Ra, Teatro Comunale), up to the international quartet of the drummer Roberto Gatto (April 9, Castel San Pietro Terme, Bo) and with Francesco Cafiso, a saxophonist no longer enfant but certainly still a prodige (with the sextet “La Banda”, the April 23 in Russi, Ra).
There will also be many different international guests of great acclaim: from the guitar of John Scofield, with his new project strongly infused with country (March 20, Rimini, Teatro Novelli), to the magnificent rhythmic structures of the saxophonist Steve Coleman with the trio Reflex (April 1, Ferrara, Jazz Club Torrione San Giovanni), the picturesque interplanetary forays of the Sun Ra Arkestra (April 3, San Lazzaro di Savena, Bo, Sala Paradiso) and the quintessential trumpet of Tom Harrell (April 26, Parma, Casa della Musica). Piacenza will then host two important events: the Dionysian fervor of the quintet of the saxophonist Kenny Garrett (March 5, Teatro President) and the incandescent touch of the Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba (in a quartet on March 15, Conservatorio “G. Nicolini”).
The Italy-USA jazz axis will have many noteworthy moments. From overseas, there will be several historic masters of jazz such as the drummer Joe Chambers (with the quartet Passport: March 11, Ferrara); the trumpet player Eddie Henderson (with a quartet that will feature Piero Odorici as another solo voice: March 16, Solarolo, Ra, Oratorio dell’Annunziata); Regina Carter, the most eminent jazz violin player around (March 28, Castelfranco Emilia, Mo, Teatro Dadà); Avishai Cohen, a trumpet player who is lighting up the New York scene (April 5, Parma); and a new talent on the saxophone, James Brandon Lewis (March 4, Ferrara).
The 360° look at national jazz will instead be completed by the participation of the well known yet surprising duo with Gianluca Petrella on the trombone and Giovanni Guidi on the piano (March 3, Fusignano, Ra); by the quintet of Karima, vocalist of noteworthy television fame here in a new repertoire: the songs of Burt Bacharach (March 8, Massa Lombarda, Ra, Sala del Carmine); the crossover between jazz, rock and classical created by Quintorigo together with Roberto Gatto (March 23, Fusignano, Ra); the expressive poetic world of the bandoneon player Daniele di Bonaventura in a duo with the piano player Giovanni Ceccarelli (March 31, Fusignano, Ra); two projects with very particular and refined vocalists, one in the group CORdas of Alessia Obino (March 24, Massa Lombarda, Ra) and the duo of John De Leo and the piano player Fabrizio Puglisi (April 8, Castel San Pietro Terme, Bo). The Teatro Comunale in Dozza will host two less mainstream groups: “Rumì” with the vocalist Luisa Cottifogli, with her modernist rediscovery of traditional Romagna folk music (March 25), and the Bill Evans tribute of the trio all leaders with Pietro Beltrani, Roberto Bartoli and Massimo Manzi (March 26).
Other big stars will come in the month of May, when the program of Crossroads will incorporate the program of the festival Ravenna Jazz, which will be held from May 5 to 14 with concerts of great importance at the Teatro Alighieri and particular and refined concerts in various clubs and bars around downtown. The important moments of the 44th edition of the Ravenna jazz festival will be the evenings at the Alighieri with two cult artists: the guitarist Pat Metheny, an absolute reference for generations of musicians and listeners, who will perform in a quartet with Antonio Sanchez, Linda Oh and Gwilym Simcock (May 7), and the drummer Billy Cobham, champion of fusion since the end of the sixties (May 13). At the Cisim in Lido Adriano the Trio Bobo will play (the name under which the guitarist Alessio Menconi plays with the rhythm section of the Storie Tese: Faso and Christian Meyer; May 5), and the guitarist Marc Ribot, guru of the avant-garde scene of downtown New York (May 9, in solo). Mama’s Club will be the home of many vocalists: of Laura Avanzolini (who will be busy both in the evening concert in a trio and as a teacher at the classic seminar “Mister Jazz”, May 10) and of the American Avery*Sunshine, a vibrant interpreter of all African American music (May 11, in duo). Exciting evenings also at the Teatro Socjale in Piangipane: May 12 with the clarinet player Nico Gori, who will dust off the rhythms of traditional swing with a wide range of instruments and with a tap dancer on stage; May 14 with the saxophonist and singer Grace Kelly, a very young and phenomenal soloist capable of going back and forth among jazz, funk and rock. The club Bronson in Madonna dell’Albero, new entry among the concert locations of 2017, will welcome the Istanbul Sessions led by the saxophonist Ilhan Ersahin: a hypnotic mix of Turkish scales, dub rhythms and jazz improvisations (May 6).
Besides its obvious inclination for the many stylistic branches of jazz music, Crossroads always offers a look at “other” genres: world music, alternative indie, various mixes, and many other experiments in creative and improvised music. Among the most enthralling things will be the possibility, among these many directions of music, to listen to a trio co-directed by the Cuban pianist Omar Sosa together with the singer and Senegalese kora master Seckou Keita (March 12, Bagnacavallo, Ra, Teatro Goldoni). A cocktail of exoticisms is what will be proposed by Banda Magda, led by the Greek singer and accordion player Magda Giannikou (April 2, Modena, Off Modena Live Club). With Leyla McCalla, singer and multi-instrumentalist who alternates between the cello and the banjo, we will be taken deep into New Orleans, with creole, Haitian and folk sounds (April 6, Modena, La Tenda). In the music of the French-Benin singer Mina Agossi you can hear jazz and blues, besides her evident African roots (April 13, Gambettola, Fc, Teatro Comunale). A true queen of world music with Central African roots is the singer Carmen Souza, who will be in Savignano sul Rubicone (Fc) with a trio co-led by the bassist Theo Pascal (April 28, Cinema Teatro Moderno).
Added to all of this, there will be a long and intense musical trail which will be held entirely in Correggio (Re, Teatro Asioli), under the name “Correggio Jazz”. A festival within a festival that, besides the already mentioned Enrico Rava and Geri Allen, will host the seductive piano sounds of Danilo Rea (May 16); the exciting one man band of the very young multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier (May 18); the new group “Almost Romantic” of the saxophonist Cristiano Arcelli (May 20); the polychrome revisitations of international folklore of the Fabbrica dei Botti led by the violist Paolo Botti (May 22); a tribute to Stevie Wonder of the duo piano-sax with Dado Moroni and Max Ionata (May 23); the imaginative soundtracks (for movies never filmed) of a quartet that brings together Javier Girotto, Jon Balke, Furio di Castri and Roberto Gatto (May 25); the big band of the Tower Jazz Composers Orchestra, 24 elements directed by Piero Bittolo Bon in a production commissioned by Crossroads in collaboration with Jazz Club Ferrara (May 27); the trio of the pianist Carla Bley with Andy Sheppard and Steve Swallow (May 28); the double program that brings together the trio of the trombone player Filippo Vignato, recent winner of Top Jazz as the best new Italian talent, and the quartet of Roberto Gatto, which includes the most interesting young local jazz artists (May 31); the audacious “Monkian” revisitation of the Tinissima Quartet of the sax player Francesco Bearzatti (June 1).