curated by Lorenza Foschini, Rizzoli, 2015

Renzo Arbore is quello della nottethat of the night – but also that of Bandiera Gialla, of Alto Gradimento, of Indietro tutta; he is that of Barilla Boogie band, of Swing Maniacs, of the Orchestra Italiana; he is the one who was described by Quincy Jones as the new Italian renaissance man, in occasion of the Orchestra Italiana international debut in 1991 at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
As a matter of fact Renzo Arbore is an artist in all its possible features, he is the son of that institutional television which has made the Italian culture, he’s creator of a new type of entertainment – in radio first and in television then – based on intelligent irony, on the cultural power of divulgation.
E se la vita fosse una Jam Session? (And if life was a Jam Session?) is a biography where explosive artistic career and private life intertwine and chase one another, impossible to separate. The jazz metaphor tells us which is the right gaze to start reading. Improvisation and intuition, rhythm and cooperation; these are his creativity and philosophy key words, all elements of a real jam session. An emotional tale told in first person, between anecdotes and memories, behind the curtains and on the stage.
In the book pages, of a very beautiful pearl paper, published by Rizzoli, many pictures from Arbore’s family album mix with those of his youth in Napoli, between the laws studies and the music nights, the shots of the period spent in Rome, with images of the radio and television adventures, with those of concert tours around the world till today. With a colloquial mood Arbore tells his hyperbolic life: the bombing tragedy in Foggia and the family moving to Chieti, finally the Liberation with the Americans arrive. The American jeep – «who had ever seen the open cars?» – from which came out a music with a «merry rhythm, compelling, never heard before!», brought the charm of what Arbore defines as «unrepeatable image of freedom», that fascinated him marking, maybe unconsciously, the rhythm of his future.
Among the multicolor chapters – art direction by Sergio Pappalettera and graphic project by Daris Diego Del Ciello – stand out the stories about his adventure mates, between private life and show: the delicate pages dedicated to the greatest love of his life Mariangela Melato could not miss; then Gianni Boncompagni, Giorgio Bracardi, Marisa Laurito, Nino Frassica, Simona Marchini, Maurizio Ferrini, just to mention some. With them he has created shows in between cultural and goliardic, with surreal characters and a daring irony that resounded the non-useful discussions made years before with the colorful humanity of the Bar Haiti friends, in Foggia, during the postwar period. From the maximum to the minimum systems, always aiming to what is «out of banality, out of classic, out of beautiful: in a word, originality»

Jamila Campagna

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