Some of the world's best jazz musicians will return to Italy's rural Tuscany this year to perform concerts under the stars, once again accompanied by the wines of Castello Banfi.
The Montalcino wine estate, long a sponsor of the wildly popular Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival in Rome, initiated a spin-off festival five years ago in the Tuscan hilltop town's medieval fortress. Dubbed an immediate success, the concerts ranging from traditional to jazz fusion return to the hills of Tuscany once again this year, with the wines of Castello Banfi being poured as the beverage of choice. Nine nightly concerts will run from the 11th through the 21st of July, starting each night at 10 p.m. and wrapping up around midnight.
Two special evenings (July 17 and 18) will be dedicated to performances by local Tuscan groups and the first-ever "Castello Banfi Award for Jazz" will presented to local artists in recognition of their contribution to local culture and to celebrate the magical combination of music, wine and Montalcino's spectacular concert setting.
Thursday July 11 - ENRICO RAVA QUARTET (Enrico Rava, Javier Girotto, Ares Tavolazzi, Fabrizio Sferra)
One of Italy's best known jazz musicians, Enrico Rava will play with his quartet a homage to the jazz greats Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker.
Friday July 12 - JAZZ TRIBE (Ray Mantilla, Bobby Watson, Jack Walrath, Ronnie Mathews, Curtis Lundy, Victor Lewis)
The Music of Jazz Tribe is fresh, exciting and innovative. The compositions are challenging and stem from a 20-year collaboration - - not a salsa band but a new sound that unites Latin and African influences.
Wednesday July 17 - Thursday July 18 - LOCAL GROUPS
Friday July 19 - JACK WALRATH - HOMAGE TO CHARLES MINGUS
Saturday July 20 - LORENZO TUCCI - "SWEET REVELATION" (Lorenzo Tucci, Daniele Scannapieco, Pietro Lussu, Dario Roscoglione)
An extraordinary group of young virtuosi, that demonstrates great talent and maturity. The "Sweet Revelation" journey that starts at the origins of jazz with interpretations of great masters such as Cole Porter and arriving at more recent artists like Wayne Shorter.
Sunday July 21 - SARAH JANE MORRIS (Sarah Jane Morris, Scott Firth, Greg Leppard, Auson Pearse, Henry Thomas)
Sarah Jane Morris, who many remember for her triumphant performance at the Sanremo Festival, is one of the most refined singers of recent years. As a complex personality who has traversed the European music scene, her versatility is broad. She has sung with Kurt Weill and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and recently appeared in concert with Chrissie Hynde and Sinead O'Connor, among others.