Saturday, December 18, 2010

Luciano Ligabue, Trieste December 16th, 2010

Fifty-year old Luciano Ligabue, or “Liga” (as he’s also affectionately called by his adoring fans) put on a highly energetic and sold-out show in Trieste’s wonderful PalaTrieste arena in front some 6,000 fans. And not surprisingly, given also his rather rugged and cool good looks, most of the fans were young (and not so young) women! Between him and his fellow compatriot Vasco Rossi, you could say that Liga is also about the closest it comes to an Italian version of “The Boss”!

Thanks to the folks over at Azalea Promotion, the singer from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy made his way through a great repertoire of 24 songs, including your correspondent’s favourite, “Ballando sul mondo” (Dancing On The World). A great version of it can be found on YouTube. Another lovely and poignant song is “La verita’ e’ una scelta” (Truth Is A Choice). A memorable rendition of this song can be seen during his concert in Verona’s ancient Arena. During his Trieste concert Liga was joined on stage by six other great musicians.

The concert itself came shortly after the November 30th release of his ninth album, “Arrivederci, mostro” (Bye-bye Monster). Together with making wonderful music and putting on great live shows, Ligabue has also become a rather good movie director with already a few movie titles to his name.

He concluded his dynamic Trieste show with a three-piece encore, the last song being “Il meglio deve ancora venire” (The Best Still Has To Come). Indeed a wonderful musical Christmas present for the thousands of Liga’s fans out there!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Keith Richards, management guru?

You could say that I’ve seen a LOT of interesting things in “The Economist” since I first began reading it some 20 years ago. I’ve also bought several books thanks to the great reviews that they have on a weekly basis. Some articles are very interesting while others, especially in their Science and Technology Section, can be a wee bit strange (such as the size of an insect’s gonads or its wee-wee!).

But I never thought that in all these years I’d get to read in their Business section an article on the fine art of management gurus (under the editorial “Schumpeter/ Sticking Together”) and, of all “management gurus” out their, the Stones’s Keith Richards and his new and great autobiography, “Life” (which by the way I’ve just finished reading and which I HIGHLY recommend)!

We’re only talking about a man who once stayed up for a record 9 days without sleep, who took probably every drug known to mankind, who apparently not only cured himself of Hepatitis C but who also sniffed his old man’s ashes and who had some pretty interesting relationships!

And what an honour as he concludes his magnificent account of life with Mick, the rest of the band and his several women on what happened when he fell from a palm tree while on vacation in Fiji: his surgeon eventually wanted to operate on his head given a rather large blood clot which was compromising his life (like seriously-speaking too). The operation itself was successful and “Keef” was encouraged to stay at rest for 6 months. It took instead some 6 weeks for drummer Charlie Watts to be back at work after his bout with throat cancer, so Keith said, “Like hell”!, and he too was back in the saddle after a very short period. A major concert was coming up and both he and his surgeon were rather worried that perhaps he’d forget his chords or the lines to the songs. That concert was just two days after Italy won its 4th World Cup title in Germany. It took place in Milan’s San Siro stadium, and I was there for that one too (my 4th Stones’s concert. Memorable was it when Mick got on stage and greeted us with: “Ciao Milano, ciao Italia, i campioni del mondo”. And 60,000+ of us went wild with joy! Our hotel was right behind theirs too). Not only did he and Mick do a touching rendition (in Italian) of “As Tears Go By” but Keith’s performance was, as always, stellar! At the end they were even joined on stage by Alex Del Piero and Marco Materazzi (yes, he who was head-butted by Zidane). He was even touched, as he said in the book, that fans brought along plastic palm trees as a sign of respect! Truly an epic concert for this man who on December 18th turns 67!

Quite amazing how both Keith and Mick have been able to keep a relationship going—albeit with its many ups and downs—for practically 50 years now (their anniversary comes up in 2012). The wonderful thing about the article is that it ends with a hint of a possible new world tour, perhaps for those 50 years. ALLLL fans no doubt hope so, including naturally yours truly. Oh, and “The Economist’s” analysis of gonads and wee-wees? Well, for the women out there, Keith also manages to mention in his book that Sir Mick has rather large balls (but a small wee-wee)!

God bless you Keith for ALL the great music you’ve given us in ALL these wonderful years of R&R, Rolling Stones-style!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cedar Walton, Udine November 29, 2010

Thanks to the folks at Euritmica the “Cedar Walton Jazz Quintet” hit the shores of Udine. The last time that 77 year-old Walton was in Udine was some 18 years ago. He’s regarded as one of the most important jazz pianists around. Walton was joined on stage by Darryl Hall on bass, a rather young New Yorker on drums, Willie Jones III, and two outstanding Italian musicians, Piero Odorici on sax and his fellow compatriot Roberto Rossi on trombone.

Texas-born Walton is considered to be one of the most valid interpreters of modern jazz and also a master of “funky” jazz. His resume also includes having played with the likes of Kenny Dorham, Jay Jay Johnson, Gigi Gryce, Benny Golson, Abbey Lincoln, Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley. In 1961 Walton joined the likes of Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter. He’s also worked with the likes of John Coltrane. His many years of promoting jazz around the world also won him in 2010 the prestigious “National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowships”, and award which is given out by the U.S. government. And one of the evening’s nicest songs? “(Somewhere) Over The Rainbow”!

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Some of the rather interesting churches in Italy and around the world.