Jazz music has been a part of Pisa for over 40 years, since the establishment of “Circolo Pisa Jazz” in February 1974 by Stefano Arcangeli, Luciano Alderigi, and Francesco Martinelli. The founding of the club was followed by the first International Jazz Music Festivals, bringing renowned artists like Don Cherry, Max Roach, Archie Shepp, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, and many other improvisational and creative musicians of that era to our city.
Throughout the late ’70s and the entire ’80s, Pisa witnessed the emergence of the C.R.I.M. (Center for Research on Improvised Music) and concerts at the Abbazia di San Zeno and Teatro Verdi, while the International Jazz Music Festivals continued to take place in Tirrenia and at Giardino Scotto during the summer.
The ’80s were notable for jazz performances at Teatro Tenda (featuring Sonny Rollins, Gerry Mulligan) and Cinema Nuovo (with Fresu and young musicians of the time in the La Nuova Onda Festival). The ’90s saw the rise of the Instabile Festival, and after 2000, the An Insolent Noise festival gained prominence, with its most significant edition being in 2009, featuring the entire creative Chicago scene associated with the renowned AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians).
In the realm of clubs, Dr. Jazz, managed by Gigi Rombi, left a strong mark in Pisa. For 16 years, from 1994 to 2010, it served as a home for many musicians and a training ground for a young Stefano Bollani, with Enrico Rava as a regular guest.
Our organizing activity began around the same time as the closure of Dr. Jazz and the end of the festivals curated by Francesco Martinelli. In the footsteps of our predecessors and often in close collaboration with Martinelli himself, we have been following a path that we have embraced for over 10 years.
Pisa Jazz is a long-term project aimed at promoting, supporting, and spreading jazz music in the Pisa area and province, created and implemented by the ExWide Association of Pisa. Pisa Jazz also serves as a reference point for local emerging talents who have benefited from resources and support for their productions and projects. It not only promotes music but also highlights the territory and its excellences.
The project, previously known as “Jazz Wide” and “Jazz Wide Young,” started with self-financed activities in 2009 and 2010 and has since grown steadily and regularly since 2011, thanks to the initial support of Fondazione CariPisa and later Fondazione Pisa. Over the years, their commitment has increased alongside the growth of our project.
With a solid financial foundation, thanks to the foundations’ dedication, we have also built a fruitful relationship with the Municipality of Pisa. In 2014, we established a memorandum of understanding for the promotion and valorization of jazz music in Pisa, with the ExWide Association, the promoter of Pisa Jazz, designated as the privileged reference entity.
Since 2021, the summer festival Pisa Jazz Rebirth has been recognized by the Ministry of Culture under the FUS funding program. In 2022, the festival was also acknowledged by the Tuscany Region.
The linear and consistent development, from a noteworthy concert series to a comprehensive and diverse project that encompasses all aspects of promotion and dissemination, has brought the phenomenon of “Pisa Jazz” to the attention and recognition of professionals in the music industry, including musicians and critics throughout Italy. The project has always embraced both future
Francesco Mariotti is the President of the association and Artistic Director of Pisa Jazz.