• New: Torino Jazz Festival 2020: Salif Keita, Vernon Reid, Bireli Lagrene, Peter Erskine and…many more!


    April 25 – May 2

    The eighth edition of the Torino Jazz Festival, a tribute to jazz in all its many expressive forms, runs from April 25 to May 2, 2020. The program features big-name international stars, experimental artists and a host of local talent. As always, the festival’s 8 days abound in original productions. Over the course of the past two editions, the TJF – Torino’s showcase springtime cultural event – has, thanks to its focus on contemporary jazz culture, staked its claim to notoriety on the international jazz scene, creating its own distinct identity.

    Directed by musicians Giorgio Li Calzi and Diego Borotti, the TJF will be hosting hundreds of artists on the stages of Torino’s OGR, jazz clubs and at concert halls throughout the city, from the Piccolo Regio to the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory, and many other locations, with admission at affordable prices. The TJF continues to grow. Along with all the big shows, the 2020 festival will also be serving up a slew of jazz-oriented initiatives, including our Torino Jazz Meetings, featuring presentations by jazz-sector professionals, and Jazz Blitz jams in unconventional locations. This year’s program is still a work in progress, but here’s a taste of the events you can look forward to:

    Salif Keita – Un Autre Blanc (April 30, OGR, sole Italian date) Direct descendent of the founder of the Mali Empire, Sundjata Keïta, Salif Keita was cast out of his home community for being albino. Luckily, outside Mali he has been able to pursue his career in music. And that music, which incorporates various traditional West African styles, combining them with contemporary European and American forms, has led to worldwide success. Today, Salif Keita is the undisputed patriarch of contemporary African music. A champion of world music in the 1990s, he was among the first to embrace immigration themes in his songs. He has collaborated with top international artists, as seen on his album Papa (1999), produced by Vernon Reid, who will also be performing at the TJF this year. Celebrating a career that spans 50 years, Keita has recently put the icing on the cake and released what he calls his final album, Un Autre Blanc. It’s a celebration of his own humanity in the guise of “another white”, and an outcry for the civil rights of albinos everywhere, especially in Africa, where in some parts they continue to be the object of harsh   discrimination. The record is also a tribute to his beloved homeland, Mali.

    Zig Zag Power Trio, featuring Vernon Reid, Will Calhoun & Melvin Gibbs (April 30, Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory Auditorium, first European date). Three music legends take the stage: Vernon Reid and Will Calhoun, founding members of Living Colour, along with bassist Melvin Gibbs (known for his work with the Rollins Band and Arto Lindsay). Look forward to a high-energy groove that’s totally contagious, as the trio trips out on the funk and jazz roots they share. In appearance, their hard rock pasts seep into the background as they take a free-wheeling dive into musical freedom. But make no mistake, this is one rough and ready power trio. Here’s what The New Yorker had to say about them: “A power trio that brings in the noise, the funk, the rock, and the jazz.”

    Bireli Lagrene & Charlier/Sourisse. The Multiquarim Big Band in Remember Jaco Pastorius (April 28, OGR, first Italian date). The death of Jaco Pastorius left a huge void in the music world. Over the course of his career, Pastorius was the backbone of Weather Report during the band’s glory years; he recorded with Herbie Hancock, accompanied Joni Mitchell, and played alongside high-profile guitarists like Pat Metheny, Mike Stern and Biréli Lagrène. The French virtuoso, living heir to Django Reinhardt’s manouche tradition, has sought to make this tribute even more spellbinding by leaving aside his guitar and picking up the fretless bass, instrument of choice of Jaco Pastorius. Accompanied by a super-energized big band, this performance features music from records that saw Pastorius as band leader, along with immortal material from the Weather Report songbook.

    Peter Erskine Trio (April 25, Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory Auditorium) Multifarious like few other drummers, Peter Erskine is a world jazz icon whose work has written countless pages of music history. Voted Modern Drummer Magazine’s best drummer ten times, he has played with, among others, Weather Report, Joni Mitchell, Michael Bublé and Diana Krall. Winner of two Grammy Awards, Erskine of late has turned his attention to work as band leader. This acoustic trio sees him teamed up with red-hot piano man Alan Pasqua and bass genius Darek Oles.

    First-ever collaboration between the Teatro Regio Torino Philharmonic Orchestra and the Torino Jazz Festival (April 27, Teatro Regio) Performance featuring Italian saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Gianluigi Trovesi, along with his ensemble and special guest, trumpet wizard Fabrizio Bosso, and the TRT Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Stefano Montanari, with arrangements by Corrado Guarino. This performance features compositions by Trovesi, who on this occasion will be playing clarinet. The music explores themes nearest and dearest to the composer, which span folk dances, Renaissance and Baroque music, jazz improv and interpretations of music by Giuseppe Verdi and Franz Schubert.

    In honor of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Italian Museum of Cinema and the Torino Piemonte Film Commission: For this year’s celebration of the seventh art by the City of Torino, the TJF presents a special event, and a European exclusive, in which music and cinema take center stage in a colossal co-production by the TJF and Italian Museum of Cinema to celebrate this double birthday. On Wednesday, April 29 at Cinema Massimo, the Bill Frisell Trio, led by a contemporary jazz legend known for his sallies into genres unbound, joins forces with New York-based filmmaker Bill Morrison, acclaimed for his experimental weaving of music and film imagery.

    The Torino Jazz Festival is a project of the City of Torino, brought to you by the folks at the Torino Foundation for Culture.


    February 12, 2020

  • In essence, Jazz!

    The 7th edition of the Torino Jazz Festival takes place from Friday, April 26 to Saturday, May 4.
    The program features international artists and original productions by the best local jazz musicians. It is a surprise-filled rundown of big-name artists like Joshua Redman, Fred Frith, Enrico Pieranunzi, Jon Balke, Randy Brecker, Bugge Wesseltoft, Kyle Eastwood, Stefano Di Battista, Eivind Aarset, John Paul Jones, Michel Portal, Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Ernst Reijseger, Jim Black, Sidsel Endresen, Deborah Carter, Don Menza, Flavio Boltro and Enrico Rava, who’ll be playing in concert halls and clubs, where the spirit of jazz at its most authentic mixes it up with a host of all-new lineups and alternative performances. The 2019 edition also sees an expanded schedule of outdoor performances, promising a festival atmosphere bounding through the streets of the city. For the second year running, the TJF presents evening performances at OGR Torino – the city’s old railroad mechanical services depot, today a symbol of urban transformation that has become a vital crossroads for contemporary culture in a city projected on an international level.
    The 2019 TJF  serves up 12 concerts at popular prices, with tickets from €5 to €12 and 70 free-admission shows, plus 40 free-admission Jazz Blitz shows


    The Torino Jazz Festival continues its musical journey, riding the wave of last year’s tremendous success and a cavalcade of high-quality performances. The 2018 program offered audiences a thoroughly convincing jazz experience, thanks to the unremitting care and dedication that the festival’s staff put into it, as well as to the appearances of local talent from the city of Torino’s own jazz pantheon. Of course, that success was also made possible by audiences thrilling to an array of world-class musicians and the involvement of a tried-and-true network of jazz clubs throughout the city. Besides performances in packed venues, droves of music lovers were also treated to shows that filled the city’s streets and open-air markets with the sounds of jazz – our Jazz Blitz concert offerings in unconventional locations. Such overwhelming success led the City of Torino to provide further support for the Torino Jazz Festival this year, recognition of an enthusiastic turnout on the part of local crowds and visitors, to whom our sincere thanks go out. A sign that Torino has stepped onto the world stage of jazz, and that our city and its annual jazz festival have become a beacon for this art form, a magnet for practitioners and enthusiasts alike. We owe a lot to all the people who continue to make the Torino Jazz Festival a truly special event, from the musicians to the hard-working folks behind the scenes, including this year’s artistic directors Diego Borotti and Giorgio Li Calzi.

    For the 2019 edition, we’ve sought to raise the stakes by asking the dynamic duo to expand what was already a hefty program of jazz concerts, with extended scheduling, more performances and additional venues across the metropolitan area. Performances by world-class artists and the best jazz musicians on the Torino scene today promise to make this, the seventh edition of the Torino Jazz Festival, a showcase of quality entertainment that will prove to be a benchmark for years to come. Nine extraordinary performance-filled days and nights await, to the delight of hard-core jazz fans and neophytes alike. The program also includes shows for children and young people. As the legendary Enrico Rava – whose 80th birthday we’ll be celebrating with a concert in “his” Torino – once put it, “When everything works, it’s a perfect democracy, which only jazz can create.”

    Chiara Appendino
    Mayor of Torino
    Francesca Leon
    Commissioner of Culture


    Is it possible to hold a jazz festival in a large city featuring a program that breaks the molds, where local artists play alongside big-name international stars; a festival that boasts extremely affordable ticket prices; where audiences, the true protagonists of any cultural process, reply with a resounding “Yes!”? That might seem almost utopian in a country like Italy, which apparently has little interest in exploiting its extraordinary cultural resources. But last year such a utopian dream came true right here in Torino, thanks to the Torino Jazz Festival, the musicians that took part, the staff, and the people who came out to enjoy the performances. This year audiences will be reaping the rewards of their dedication, inasmuch as we’ve worked to come up with a creative festival that communicates jazz, which is considered the musical mainstay of the 20th century, to the vastest, most variegated audience imaginable. Not a commercial festival by any means, but one designed with a demanding audience in mind – like the denizens of Torino and those who make their way to the city for the express purpose of soaking up the sounds of the Torino Jazz Festival.

    We feel that what makes our focus distinct is the excellence of the festival’s venues and fine-tuned, time-tested work groups, our original productions that are the result of artistic residencies, our attention to the social context, through high-quality programming featuring performances spread out evenly among theaters and jazz clubs, and the utmost stylistic variety. In more abstract terms, we feel that music – especially the kind that pays little heed to marketing, that preserves the kernel of humanity responsible for generating it, a spontaneous and vital flow of expression – has the power to build communities around shared artistic experiences and values. We certainly hope the sounds of the Torino Jazz Festival sooth the soul of this city, and we are confident that our artistically inclined audiences will once again place their bets on music that’s alive, contemporary and bursting with vivid imagery. Music with the power to save us all.

    Giorgio Li Calzi and Diego Borotti
    Artistic Directors

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