The Italian Almanac

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Umbria Jazz festival

Italian News - May 5

Umbria Jazz has unveiled a glittering line-up for this year's edition of Europe's biggest jazz festival. The spotlight will be on jazz and blues guitarists, opening with Eric Clapton on July 7 and closing with Carlos Santana ten days later. Other guitar stars at the festival include John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny but there will also be a host of other top names from the world of jazz, pop, R&B, rock and soul.

The festival, now in its 33rd year, has also organized a special section in honour of New Orleans, as part of a drive aimed at raising money for the devastated city. A number of musicians from the birthplace of jazz will perform at Perugia, with the Neville Brothers, soul singer Irma Thomas and pianist and singer Davell Crawford all taking a turn on stage.

The festival has longstanding ties with New Orleans, having welcomed a number of top artists from the city over the years, including some of its best-known gospel choirs such as the Zion Harmonizers, led by Sherman Washington, who performed in the Upper Basilica of St Francis of Assisi in 1988.

Umbria Jazz, which was founded in 1973 by Carlo Pagnotta, runs for a full ten days and is scattered around various locations in the medieval town. However, visitors can enjoy concerts across the town throughout the period of the festival: in theatres, on the streets, in restaurants, parks and clubs, as well as at the spectacular underground fortress of Rocca Paolina.