The Florence Jazz Fringe Festival’s Swinging Nights


September 13-17: Florence Jazz Fringe Festival. Various venues. Free admission.

The Jazz Fringe Festival arrives as the end-of-summer event in the streets and squares of the Oltrarno area of Florence, south of the river Arno. It will take place in 21 different areas and with 200 international guest artists in the 50 performances scheduled. The Santo Spirito square, however, will be the main hub throughout the five consecutive days.  Music will enliven streets, squares, churches and green spaces.

The theme is closely linked to the River Arno, using it as a metaphor. Organizer Furio di Castri says “tracing a river’s course means exploring, searching for sources and discovering the unknown,” just as Florence Jazz Fringe Festival designed to do by introducing talented guest artists such as Bojan Z, Giovanni Falzone and Gianluca Petrella.

The first night will be inaugurated at the Torre San Niccolò (Sept 13, 9 pm). Serbian pianist Bojan Zulfikarpasic will be the main act, accompanied by a vertical performance dance company, Cafelulé. This group comprises professional contemporary dancers, who explore the relationship between movement and body through verticality and horizontality. This type of choreography moves away from the mundane stage set-up; instead nature and architecture become the set design.  3 O’Clock Jump will continue the evening starting 10:30 pm at Negroni, (Via dei Renai 17R). This 18-piece big band specialises in classic and contemporary jazz and swing.

On the Lungarno beach (Piazza Poggi), three installations known as the Night Towers will be built, eight metres (26 feet) high, placed 21 metres (69 feet) apart, and each one will host one member of a band who will be playing together. This set-up places the audience directly in the centre. The beach will host a different band every evening starting from Sept 14 – 17. The line up for the Night Towers is: il Trio Bobo made up of musicians Faso, Meyer and Alessio Menconi (one of the most appreciated guitarist internationally), providing a mix of jazz, rock and funk (Sept 14). Gianluca Petrella will conduct two of the most creative musicians of today’s generation, Michele Papadia and Stefano Tamborrino. Their concert inspired by African-American music will blend afro-beat style with nu-jazz and hip-hop (Sept 15). Giovanni Falzone will wow the audience with his Border Trio, blending jazz and punk to create a contagious yet energetic mood (Sept 16).

The last night of Night Towers will showcase I Feel Good Productions, known as pioneers of vintage-remix, for their ability to mix techno and house with a classic sound. Their style features elements of jazz, funk, swing and soul. This type of arrangement has recently become increasingly popular in Europe (Sept 17). All specified events for the Night Towers will take place at Piazza Giuseppe Poggi at 10:15 pm.

For those I never knew by Alessandro Di Puccio and Alessandro Fabbri will pay homage to the late jazz pianist Luca Flores, using music as a form of narration. Originally the title of Flores’ album released in 1995, the audience will learn more about his short life; the experience of mental health issues which lead to his suicide (age 38). The same story was retold in Il disco del mondo by Walter Veltroni and adapted in the film Piano, Solo with Kim Rossi Stuart and Michele Placido, (Sept 14, at 6 pm, Sala Vanni).

A fusion of dance and music is evident in Lievi Sussurri, a site-specific choreography, which will take place at 5:30 pm in the courtyard of the Specola Science Museum (Sept 14, Via Romana 17).  Pasquale Mirra’s enchanting music is meant to reflect the slow movement of time through expressive choreography.  In Guillem Alonso Meets the Alessandro Galati Trio, Catalan tap dancer Guillem Alonso performs alongside pianist Alessandro Galati at 9:20 pm (Sept 15, Sala Vanni, Piazza del Carmine 19).

All five days been made possible thanks to the artistic cooperative society Zenart, and is directed by Furio di Castri, Italian double bass player and founder of the Florence Jazz Fringe Festival.  

For further information, visit (karen gee)