If you like Jazz, You will love Emilia Romagna
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Let’s admit it: if you think about the Emilia-Romagna, the first thing that comes up to your mind is certainly not “Jazz”. If you brainstorm a little bit, other associations and ideas will pop up; personally, I immediately think about piadina, Parma ham, Bologna, the Adriatic coast, lifeguards and mosaics, but I suppose it depends also on the cultural and historic environment I grew up in. I’m talking about the 80s and in particular about a trip when I was at middle school, that brought me for the first time to Rimini, Ravenna and Ferrara back in 1994.
So what’s there between Emilia-Romagna and Jazz?
On the one side, the ironic senior tradition of liscio (ballroom dance) music in the balera dance halls, a well-established song-writing and rock vocation, and the phenomenon of hit clubs that characterises the Adriatic nights. On the other side, the passion of a music that owns its soul to the Southern States and cotton-picking, brothels and the blue cries of the poorest class of black population.
Actually, for the past 20 years Emilia-Romagna has been living a re-birth of this music genre, with increasing space and attention being devoted to it. The ultimate evidence for this is Crossroads, an travelling music festival that will see major international jazz artists performing from the end of February to early June.
Last Sunday the 18th edition was inaugurated at Fabrizio de Andrè Theatre in Casalgrande Padana (RE), with the ice-breaker performance of Paolo Fresu Devil Quartet.
From then on, nearly 100 days of music are waiting for us, that will touch 20 cities with more than 500 artists along the Via Emilia from 1st June.
In May the festival will stop in Ravenna and for the 10 days it will invade the city with evening concerts at Dante Alighieri Theatre, live performances in different venues and the traditional Aperitifs, free afternoon concerts in venues of the city centre.
It would be challenging – maybe boring as well – to try to sum up all the themed itineraries of this brand new edition, there’s plenty of them so I’d better redirect you to the detailed programme for that. Don’t’ worry though, the festival will surely offer a comprehensive overview on the world of jazz, including giants of the genre, such as – my personal sneak peek – Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Billy Cobham, Kenny Garret, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Paolo Fresu, Enrico Rava and Roberto Gatto.
If you love music above all, it’s about time you take some days off, leave work, family and laziness apart and turn your car around toward Emilia-Romagna – with a good jazz CD on, of course.