This is the final stop of this tour. We arrived in Novara after a 7am lobby call from Treviso. I can't complain about the lack of sleep as everything went so smoothly schedule wise over the last three weeks. In order to survive tours such as these, you have to learn to catch a nap whenever and wherever you can. Just have a look at Ken Vandermark's recent Facebook postings to see how brutal things can get!
After a much needed nap we headed out to the City Archives for a series of solo performances featuring the members of Hyper +, Samuel Blaser and myself. This was followed by a reception to open a short conference for Italian jazz presenters. Local wines and unbelievably delicious Gorgonzola was served for all present. We met with the director of the archive, many jazz presenters and critics, and the NovaraJazz artistic director, Corrado Beldi.
Now, Corrado was basically the person that instigated and made possible this whole tour in the first place. He contacted me via email after he had met in Germany with our very own Rainbow Robert of CoastalJazz. He has been the director of NovaraJazz for over 10 years. But, not unlike Ken Pickering, artistic director of the Vancouver Int'l Jazz Festival, Corrado is an arts lover, supporter of the local scene and a tireless promoter of creative music in this region of Italy. He has presented a who's who of the international music scene, including Evan Parker, Anat Fort, Barry Guy, Rob Mazurek, Fire Orchestra, in addition to Italy's finest creative musicians.
His passion for great music is complemented by being a collector of paintings and sculptures, following in the footsteps of his father, an industrialist and inventor of innovative processes in construction materials. Corrado's day job is to oversee the human resources of his company, which helps him balance his life long interest interest in the arts. His family's collection includes works by Moholy-Nagy, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul Klee, and Georges DuBuffet, among many others. Corrado was kind enough to invite me to his family home after our afternoon concert at Beldi Park (named after his father!) in Oleggio to take me on a tour of the villa grounds and to see this most impressive art collection.
The afternoon concert took the music to an entirely other level from our concert in Badoere the day before. The crowd, that seem to appeared out of nowhere, was treated to some pretty incendiary playing by all. It was a beautiful crowning moment to a memorable tour.
As I'm writing these lines, Hyper + and Sammy are on their way to Venice, where they will perform another concert sans moi. I said my farewell to Corrado, but not without exchanging a few good words on future collaborations (a possible clarinet duo with Giancarlo Trovesi and performances with Gordon Grdina's Haram are in the works!). I am enjoying a last supper of fine risotto and a glass of Montepulciano, will go enjoy the cool air and sights of Novara at night before wrapping things up by heading out to Malpensa Airport in the morning with a long flight home.
Life is good...
PS: a big thank you to all the individuals who made this tour possible, and who also made my visit so memorable; Corrado Beldi, Novara Jazz Festival volunteers, Alessandro Fedrigo, Nicola Fazzini, Luca Colussi, Giorgia Masiero and the SILE Jazz Festival team, Samuel Blaser, Alexander Hawkins, John Edwards, Oliver Weindling and The Vortex Jazz Club, Théo and Valentin Ceccaldi, Sylvain Darrifoucq, Benoît Delbecq, Dorothée Zumstein, Michelle Agnes Magalhaes, Joëlle Léandre, Lisen Rylander Love, Fabian and Josef Kallerdahl, Jon Fålt, Joe Williamson, Raymond Strid, Mattias Risberg, Isak hedtjärn, Alfred Lorinius, Nils Berg, and Per-Åke Holmlander.