PHOTO-ESSAY: The rhythms of a day at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival

Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved

The Global Music Foundation Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival 2015 took place from August 4th to 11th. Photos by Antonio Porcar. Words by Sebastian Scotney

Let the pictures tell the story. Award-winning jazz photographer Antonio Porcar Cano has portrayed the  atmosphere of  this year's Global Music Foundation course in the stunning medieval Tuscan hill-town Certaldo Alto. The first picture above captures stellar musicians in an informal context: René Marie, Bruce Barth, Masa Yamaguchi and Stephen Keogh were playing for the people in the streets. Music ceases to be a product guarded and kept remote by barriers. The whole idea is that it - and also the musicians who make it - are up close, interacting, right there.

The remaining pictures try tell the story of a typical day on a GMF course from the morning to way past midnight.(*) Porcar has caught the day, and shown how the faculty of musicians and the students have seized it.


Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved
This samba class under the leadership of Francesco Petreni, with those short morning shadows, has a huge energy about it.

The day starts at  GMF courses with either Tai Chi or, in this case, with a rhythm class. It is fascinating to watch the whole group first being settled, experiencing the silence, and then "experiecing the pulse in the body" as the rhythms are sent on their way around the room. The methods are delierately holistic, about increasing consciousness (rather than self-consciousness or anxiety or tension), and on removing what gets in the way of creativity. If it sounds a bit new-age, it is very effective, and the evidence is clearly there that the students who attend love it: at any time, some 70% of the participants in a GMF course are repeat bookings.



Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved
A trumpet class - discovery in action.


Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved
The saxophone class here has the privilege of being led by ex-Jazz Messenger Jean Toussaint

Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved
The remarkable thing about the vocal groups led by Guillermo Rozenthuler like the one above is the feeling of shared experience and well-being he creates and fosters. This group doesn't just involve the students, you find course administrators, faculty members, everyone taking part. I also heard Rozenthuler do a single restaurant set lasting a full two-and-a-half hours without leaving the stand.


Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved

Guillermo again, this time with the singing class. Al fresco. If the 36 degree heat counts as al fresco....


Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved
Just a super shot by photographer Toni  Porcar: a bass player in motion going through the changes with quite some intensity, while medieval buildings, some course members and their empty bottles look on, providing a background of stillness.


Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved

Listening. Perhaps that is the most important skill to learn. It's not all about playing...


Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved
The superb Catalan alto saxophonist Perico Sambeat pauses on the way to somewhere, plus the serene geometry of a terra cotta paving. The rest of the picture is ambiguous, like a painting by Pieter de Hooch, asking its own unanswered question.


Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved
In Certaldo Alto the destination is the castle at the top of the town, both for classes and for the concerts. I attended two of the concerts - links to reviews below. Those long evening shadows are brilliantly caught .


Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved
The concerts are held in the castle courtyard. Hidden from view here is an ancient cistern in which the sound desk is kept. This was the concert of Jean Toussaint's new Roots and Herbs concert (we have reviewed it elsewhere with a different band)/

Photo taken at 2015 GMF Tuscany International Workshop and Jazz Festival
Photo Credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved

The action goes on way into the night. Antonio Porcar catches so many kinds of light in his pictures. This is the late night jam. On trumpet is up-and-coming trumpeter, Dutchman Daniel Claasen.

(*) The pictures were taken on different days


Antonio Porcar Cano's portrait of Benny Golson at the July 2013 Peñíscola Festival was winner of 2014 Photo of the Year Award at the 2014 JJA Awards in New York. There is due to be a London exhibition of his work in November.   

LINKS: Review of Scott Hamilton in Certaldo
Review of René Marie in Certaldo

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