Home for the Holidays with ‘Jazz4Christmas’

Tuscans, again in lockdown, think longingly of holiday traditions with streets filled with shoppers, meeting friends for an aperitivo in the evening or finding that perfect gift along with gluhwein and a bratwurst at the Heidelburger Christmas market in Piazza Santa Croce.  New Year’s Eve normally brings gala dinners and live music in the piazzas until dawn.  With the online Jazz4Christmas series, what could be cozier than to settle into your favorite chair with a cup of Florentine hot chocolate or a glass of wine and enjoy top notch entertainment featuring talented musicians from Tuscany and all over Italy?  From traditional big band, to swing, to improvisational to funk, the organizers planned a variety of live-streamed performances filled with joy and energy.

For six evenings, from December 26 to December 31, Jazz4Christmas will be live streamed for free at 9 pm on the Facebook pages of Musicus Concentus, Pisa Jazz, in addition to the Music Pool You Tube channel.  Each concert can be found additionally on demand the following day from 11:30 am on the Facebook pages as well as in January on Jazz in Tuscany.

The series kicks off on the Feast of Santo Stefano, December 26, with the Nico Gori Swingtet.  Those tuning in can expect Florentine clarinet player Gori and his band to deliver a lively concert featuring big band favorites by Benny Goodman, Count Basie as well as Gori’s original songs.  This event could be the perfect opportunity to put on your dancing shoes, roll back the rug and boogie to the upbeat tunes inspired by the swing music of the 1930s and 40s. Following this, Maurizio Franco, musicologist and jazz historian, presents “The History of Jazz,” (Sunday, December 27), a century of jazz from the roots to the contemporary streamed live from the Oblate Library. The GAL project takes the stage on Monday, December 28, with a repertoire comprised of unreleased songs infused with soul and electronic music.  Giulia Galliani, Andrea Mucciarelli and Andrea Beninati offer an irresistible combination of introspection and modernity.

Jazz4Christmas presents MUZIKI on Tuesday, December 29. Keyboardist and composer Franco Santarnecchi, vocalist Titta Nesti, cellist and flutist Ellie Young, drummer Piero Borri (formerly in the Waves Orchestra), explore free improvisation starting from original themes of their composition and fragments of jazz standards and popular music, to draw on different timbres and musical colors. Again, live from the Oblate Library, Francesco Martinelli of Pisa, jazz promoter and a professor of the history of European jazz, presents an evening of blues with guitarist Lorenzo Marianelli and double bassist Fabrizio Balest on Wednesday, December 30.

There will be no New Year’s Eve in the streets and piazzas on Thursday, December 31, but Jazz4Christmas, for its grand finale, has organized a special performance of toe-tapping rhythms of funk with the group Funk Off highlighting the versatile vocals of Serena Brancale.  On Friday, January 1, 2021, all the festival events will be available in a musical marathon that will start at 12 noon.  For complete information, see the Music Pool website.  (rita kungel)