Casale Monferrato – Monfrà Jazz Fest arrives for the last two concerts at the end of a very long and fantastic edition, but not before presenting to the public the third part of the 2023 review called “Wine and Spirits”, which was staged right after the first days of the festival. harvest on the hills of Monferrato, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Before we talk about the penultimate week of the festival, we should mention the success of the tasting concert at Birreria Moonfrà on August 31 with the duo Smokey Notes (guitar Simone Menicacci and vocals Suzanne Maiolani) playing a repertoire from country to pop. rock offering its own version of the classics by Lenny Kravitz, Alanis Morisette, Chris Isaac and many other authors.
But above all, it was the concert on September 1 that made the Fest special, becoming an absolute premiere, capable of paying tribute to the history and culture of winemaking in this territory. The audience found themselves in the Mazzetti di Altavilla, on top of the hill, on the very day that the historic distillery began producing pomace for the 177th time since its foundation. In the park, organized by the Materia Prima restaurant, a tasting dinner, which, as master distiller Sanzio Evangelisti recalls, is based on products from zero kilometer, a selection in keeping with the sustainable spirit of this festival, followed by two hours of music. In the center of the evening – a bold project “Bohemians” – “Dedication to Giacomo Puccini”.“, with the task of translating the spirit and music of the Tuscan composer, who died 99 years ago, into a jazz tonality. The idea was born precisely in Colleretto Giacosa (Turin), in the homeland of the librettist who, together with Illica, created most of Puccini’s libretto, from another native of those places: Enrico Perelli, who conceived this formed quintet, and also from him on the piano, the voice of Valentina Nicolotti, capable of work very well in both lyrical and light registers, from the electric guitar myth like Max Carletti, from Luca Bigio on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet and Francesco Parodi, drums. Perelli builds a fascinating narrative that begins with the dialectal voice of Giacosa, recorded on an old gramophone, on which the immortal verses of “Vissi d’Arte” are inserted. Of course, the piece is an amusing game of rereading: “O mio babbino caro” becomes a ballad with a slight South American accent, “Un bel di vederemo” is an intricate fusion prog arrangement, and even “Dolci baci e languid carezze” is nicely defiled. a riff bordering on hard rock and Led Zeppelin, but the real beauty of the concert is how these extraordinary musicians manage to capture the innermost essence of each song, contained in its harmony, and play with it, amusing and exciting the audience. . Their Nessun Dorma is creepy.
The day after the festival resumed, the Concerto nel Bosco, scheduled for June, in front of Moncuco’s hermitage in Odalengo Grande. This time, no storm can stop the performance in a place that has been a must for MonJF for many years, where the musicians and the audience are literally among the trees. The years, according to the memoirs of the mayor of Odalengo Grande, Fabio Olivero, during which the Hermitage itself benefited from music, from the first meetings, when it was strangled by acacias, to this edition, where you can visit the interior. The trio, formed by keyboardist Alessandro Toselli, performed in front of the church; Andrea Dalla Valle, drums, and Carmelo Scafidi on double bass, interpreters of the perfect jazz for the relaxing atmosphere of the place. Classical standards such as Satin Doll, Take the A Train, in a sentimental mood, nice funky interpretation of summer time, gentle brush strokes on the snare drum, virtuosity that carries on a dialogue with the chirping of leaves. After all, the inevitable agnolotti in Odalengo’s Pro loco diner is no less applauded.
And on Sunday, September 2, we are in the middle of the rows of the Marco Botto Vini company in Sala Monferrato (which has just become a sustainable municipality) with the performance of the “Vintage Vocal Trio Les Moirettes”: a vocal trio composed by Cecilia. Minella, Giulia Zanellati and Diana Russo, capable of entertaining audiences with a fresh and lively repertoire like them: an endless recapitulation of divinely harmonized classics from the tumultuous swing era. But when they replicate modern classics in the same style, things get interesting: they come up with amazing reimaginings of the Seven Nation Army, or the Spice Girls’ Wannabe, or even Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. The audience cannot sit still and finally succumb to the temptation, dancing among the vines.
Last two appointments
Nearly five months since the start, Monfrà Jazz Fest is still seeing two meetings ending in 2023. On September 7th at 21:00 the last “tasting concert” will take place at the Moonfrà brewery on Via Visconti 9 in Casale Monferrato, the place dedicated to the Fest exhibitions in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. The quartet will perform with three Monferrato musicians who are actively involved in the activities of the Le Muse Academy and in the organization of the Festival in the rhythm section, namely: Andrea Rogato (piano), Gigi Andreone (double bass) and Riccardo Marchese (drums). They will accompany Mila Ogliastro, a Genoese singer well known in Italian jazz clubs, as well as a composer and arranger.
Closing on September 9th with a concert that already promises to be a party worth experiencing together: the public and the many people who worked on a program of almost 40 meetings. The assignment takes place in a place that is part of MonfJF’s history: The Magnoberta distillery at Strada Asti 6 in Casale Monferrato. At 21:00 there will be a production of “Let’s dance” with The Kitchen Swing Band or Alberto Gandin, guitar, Marco Serra, drums, Gigi Andreone, double bass, Mara Panico, vocals, Andrea Rogato, piano. But it’s actually a real dance party, as the evening’s animator will be Lindy Hoppers of The Kitchen Swing, directed by Nicole Pipino. For those who wish, at 19.00 a tour of the distillery. If you also want to dine from 20:00, gourmet street food from Il Vetusto Monferrato is available. And then the inevitable tastings. Booking 329.4514585. Entrance to the concert is free, drinks are paid.
For information www.monjazzfest.it.