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