With due pride North Sea 2002 presents the program La Vita è Bella, a series of concerts in the Rembrandt Zaal, where the Italian jazz scene will present itself to the Netherlands and, given the international character of the festival, the whole world. The programme has a broad interpretation, in which attention is paid to both the Italian avantgarde and lyrical jazz, based on traditional Italian music. Italy has a blooming and undiminished vital jazz culture, in which modern, classical, romantic music and music from the street is closely knit. The first two Italians ascending the stage are alt sax player Sandro Satta and accordionist Antonello Salis. Satta is the Italian master on alt sax, who has, over the years, performed with everything and everyone and passes on his own experience to a new generation of musicians at the Rome conservatory. Salis started his musical odyssey as a child on the accordion, at one point made a radical switch to piano, but rediscovered the accordion in the 1970s. Later on in the evening we find Salis back as a pianist in the PAF Trio, a collaborative effort with Paolo Fresu, one of the greatest Italian trumpet players, and bass player Furio Di Castri. The almost telepathic manner of this trio's performance is a feast for the eye and ear. Salis is also the link with the group Aires Tango. Though the accordionist/pianist will not perform with this interesting quartet, he is a guest performer on their CD 'Madres'.
Aires Tango is proof that Italians do dare peek over their country's borders, that they are willing to absorb immigrants in their own jazz culture. Aires Tango is led by the Argentine Javier Girotto, a talented composer who plays baritone and soprano saxophone as well as bass clarinet. Aires Tango matches tango melodies to improvised music and shows that a marriage between folk music and jazz can result in beautiful babies. Alt sax player Rosario Giuliani, who is coming to The Hague with his own quartet, is the prodigy of the Italian jazz scene. He was only 20 when he graduated cum laude from the Frosinone conservatory, after which his life became one big prize festival. Apart from all these decorations, Giuliani recently received a nice present: a contract with the upright French Dreyfus Jazz label. And, speaking of young talent, North Sea also presents, be it outside of the La Vita è Bella context, sax player Stefano Di Battista, a young man who toured the world with drummer Elvin Jones and has already pocketed a contract with the famous Blue Note label. Besides child prodigies, Italy also has its share of musicians who fulfill the role of what could be termed father figure. Gianluigi Trovesi is the éminence grise of Italian jazz, a musician who feels at home on almost all saxophones and clarinets. A reed player pur sang, who on top of all that also writes beautiful pieces. This time, Trovesi is giving a concert as a clarinet player together with accordionist Gianni Coscia. There's a lot going on at the North Sea Jazz Festival 2002, but those who stay near this Italian stage all night will be rewarded with the true La Vita è Bella feeling.