The Firenze Jazz Festival is back for another edition, sweeping through the Oltrarno with its fast beats and smooth sounds. Dropping the “fringe” of the first two editions, the music festival, part of Estate Fiorentina, promises nearly 70 hours of music, 150 artists and more than 50 performances on Florence’s “Left Bank” from September 11 to 15.
The event shines a light on the prolific jazz scene in Italy, promoting the work of veteran greats in the genre alongside the newest talents. But a city as international as Florence is bound to host a few out-of-town guests, and this year’s edition doesn’t disappoint: musicians like California native Mark Lettieri, guitarist for the jam band Snarky Puppy, and the Brit Moses Boyd, performing with his group Exodus, will take the stage in piazza del Carmine, the festival’s ultra-lively hub. On September 14, American legend Marc Ribot will preview some of his music from his album Songs of Resistance, in collaboration with Musicus Concentus; Ribot’s newest project speaks volumes with its contemporary relevance, tinged with elements of social activism, antifascism and sustainability.
This year’s edition will also be bigger than ever, with even more locations and a unique dedication to the father of the Italian Renaissance, famously begun right here in Florence all those centuries ago, Leonardo da Vinci. For the 500th anniversary of the master’s death, the Jazz Festival will feature the pop-up restaurant Le Tre Rane, run by Ruffino, the event’s main sponsor. In a tribute to the original Renaissance man, whose many credits include pre-empting the world of nouvelle cuisine, chef Simone Cipriani will offer original dishes inspired by Leonardo at his restaurant Essenziale, paired with Ruffino wines, while street food enthusiasts will find a whole host of food trucks, music setting the scene as you chow down.
One major addition is the Manifattura Tabacchi, the city’s newest cultural hotspot and an icon of industrial archeology. Head over to the former tobacco factory on September 15 for the 2019 Firenze Jazz Festival’s closing party, with a performance by C’mon Tigre, renowned for their blend of jazz, post rock and electronic sounds. End the night on the dance floor, with an electronic music jam session by ex-Subsonica bassist PierFunk, producer and DJ Pisti, Fabio Giachino on piano and synth and Mattia Barbieri on the drums.