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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Torino Jazz Festival, April 2024

By Ferruccio Martinotti 

The liaison between the first italian capital and jazz has a long and pretty interesting story: in 1934 one of the first European Hot Club is established here; in 1935 Louis Armstrong holds a concert; as do Duke in 1950 and Bechet in 1952. In 1956, Miles, Bud Powell and Lester Young play at Teatro Nuovo, igniting not only the audience (Enrico Rava defined it his own strike on Damascus way) but the memory of future generations as well. From 20th to 30th of April, Torino hosted the 12 th edition of TJF, dedicated to the 50 th anniversary of Duke’s death, the following is a snapshot of the gigs we attended. Hey ho! let’s go!

Dave Holland Trio, Teatro Alfieri. Along with Jaleel Shaw on sax and Eric Harland on drums, the elegant Maestro is still playing very well his role and the result is the super comfort zone of a classy, ready to drink jazz. Sounds good as warm-up for the rest of the festival.

Dave Holland. Photo by Alberto Desanctis

Selebeyone, Hiroshima mon amour. Things are getting serious. Steve Lehmam proves, once more, that the mix free+hip-hop could be a swell, second to none, if you’re able to surf it. And they are more than able: the double MC of Bandimic from Senegal and the legendary High Priest is terrific, saxes and electro by Lehman/Lasserre electrocuting the air with the powerful drumming of Damion Reed firmly setting the frame.

Selebeyone.  Photo by Alberto Desanctis

Fatoumata Diawara, Teatro Regio. In the hype of the opera house of the city, the amazing musician from Mali is a tremendous force of nature, moving the audience to dance while singing about infibulation and women’s role in Africa: chapeau! A horns section and a chorus on stage would have enriched the final outcome.

Ghost Horse, Bunker. One of the TJF acts we were more intrigued to see live and the gig was totally worth it. A very original proposal played on the low frequencies of bari guitar, trombone, tuba, bari horn along with alto sax: sheer class and high technical skills don’t spoil the warmth of the performance.

Sakina Abdou, Casa Teatro Ragazzi. Sheer emotions in the intimacy of this small venue by the french tenor saxophonist who is delivering a sincere, passionate, intense, solo, keeping off the traps of this kind of challenging performances.

Down bit Duke, Cap 10100. This multimedia project by the great Stefano Bearzatti & co. shows a cut-up of scenes from Preminger’s movie Anatomy of a Murder and its Ellington’s soundtrack, sampled on stage by sax, bass, drums. The enormous risk of “pastiche effect” is totally avoided by the geniality of the result.

Roscoe Mitchell and Michele Rabbia, Sala 500 Lingotto
. To see the "Legend of Jazz" embodied by this old, thin, little, tailor dressed man stepping on the stage and sitting behind that huge contrabass sax is very, very touching. Rabbia is not a drummer, he is the drum, wholly melting himself with his instrument, played with sticks, brushes, hands, elbows, mouth, brooms and bells. Never seen something like this before.
 Roscoe Mitchell. Photo by Alberto Desanctis

John Zorn, Auditorium Lingotto. He was the superstar of the 2024 TJF and a sell out of 1400 people in the marvelous cherry wood hall confirmed it. Accompanied by Jorge Roeder on bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums and Julian Lage, perhaps the greatest guitarist around today, Zorn (easy to predict) doesn’t take prisoners but playing only one hour with zillions of records as repertoire in not justified.

 John Zorn. Photo by Alberto Desanctis

The End, Hiroshima mon amour. It was the red mark in our agenda and, needless to say, you don’t go wrong with the Man. Along with Ander Hana on bass and Borge Fjordheim on drums, his bari sax, flute and electro, played like Johnny Ramone played his Mosrite guitar, were even able to interplay with the amazing ethiopian voice of Sofia Jernberg. Off the scale.


Monochromios said...

I have attended the concert by John Zorn.
Why do you believe his playing for "just one hour" is unjustified?
I was pleased with the quality of the music, and the quantity did not matter to me.
Just my opinion.