11 buoni motivi per andare al Royal Swing Fest – 11 good reason to join the Royal Swing Fest


Ci siamo!

Il Royal Swing Fest sta per cominciare e allora in qualità di resident dj mi fa piacere proporre un breve elenco di buone ragioni per non perderselo.

Ci vediamo prestissimo sulla pista da ballo e ai workshop! See you soon there in Collegno!


Mazz Jazz aka Professor Bop


  1. Ci saranno 5 grossi eventi in 4 giorni, con 6 band dal vivo (la musica dal vivo, la vera anima del Jazz!) e 2 dj a far ballare fino a tarda notte! – There will be 5 big parties in 4 days, with 6 bands playing live and 2 dj’s in order to hit the dancefloor!
  2. 12 ore di workshop con ben 9 insegnanti internazionali (e date un occhio ai costi d’iscrizione)! – 12 hours of workshops with 9 international teachers (and check the prices)!
  3. La location, il parco della Certosa Reale di Collegno, è un gioiello architettonico! – The location is unique: the park of the Certosa Reale di Collegno!
  4. Una grande giornata aperta a tutti di festa e celebrazione della Liberazione il 25 aprile! – An open fest on the italian Liberation day!
  5. Partecipanti da 12 diverse nazioni, 3 continenti riuniti a ballare Swing! – Partecipants from 12 different countries, 3 continents reunited to dance Swing!
  6. La possibilità di visitare Torino, una delle più belle e creative città d’Italia! – Torino is one of the most beautiful and creative italian cities!
  7. Le battles tra band dal vivo e anche tra dj che animeranno le serate, riprendendo la tradizione del Savoy Ballroom di Harlem! – The good old Savoy Ballroom tradition of the battles (between live bands, but also dj’s)!
  8. La storia dello Swing raccontata il 25 aprile da Professor Bop col suo show The Swing Era. 1926-1946 Song-by-Year! – Professor Bop will tell the history of our music during his The Swing Era. 1926-1946 Song-by-Year show on the 25th of April!
  9. Una bellissima sede per le serate danzanti nelle ex-Lavanderie a Vapore della Certosa! – A wonderful location for the night dancing parties in the former Lavanderie a Vapore of the Certosa!
  10. Delle divertenti competizioni jack&jill con ricchi premi e cotillons! – Some funny jack&jill competitions with great prizes!
  11. Non da ultimo: uno spumeggiante dj resident Mazz Jazz a cui i gentili organizzatori hanno lasciato carta bianca riguarda la realizzazione delle sue idee e proposte musicali (tra cui anche un dj set tematico diverso ogni sera a tutto vinile)! – Last but not least: the organizers gave to the “crazy” resident dj Mazz Jazz freedom to propose all his musical ideas (and a different them for every vinyl dj set each night)!



The revolution will not be televised


The revolution will not be televised (1970) is a poem and song written and sung by the American poet and musician Gil Scott Heron (1949 – 2011). Considered a precursor of rap and hip hop music, the song perfectly fits in the social atmosphere of discrimination towards black people that was still present in the USA in the ’60s and ’70s.

By 1970, there was a profound shift in the struggle for equality as the fight for civil rights gave way to the demand for the so called “Black Power“, a political slogan. In fact, the Civil Rights Movement had lost its focus, being ignored by a wartime US government, and the voices of its leaders were silenced by jail or bullets. Black popular music reflected this change. The voices on the radio stopped preaching brotherhood and togetherness and started reporting the real facts, while the music got more aggressive. This song makes no exception.

In the song, Heron criticizes television culture and its attention only for capitalism and the so called “WASP” culture: capitalism is not the route of change and, above all, the truth cannot and will not be correctly mediated by those people who are in control of the images that are broadcasted, because it would be dangerous; rather, the revolution and the truth exist out in the streets, but they always wait for someone to bring them up.

Popular culture works like a sort of “drug”, distracting people from what they really ought to be doing to change the world and to take control of their own lives. Television separates everything with commercial advertisement, synonymous of something false, fictional, inopportune towards what happens in real life: this is not possible in a real revolution and the spectator cannot rest for example during the commercial; that is the reason why television is inappropriate to make a revolution (at least by broadcasting it).

Since the first line of the song “You will not be able to stay home, brother” Gil Scott Heron invites people not to stay at home but to go out and to make a revolution to change the situation because the black Americans too are being distracted by what is broadcasted and hopes they will start taking action to bring about that change. Some of them have already done a lot for the revolution, but it is necessary to go further. Otherwise any real change for people will not take place in future:“the revolution will not be televised”.

Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution will not be televised

Marco Tartaglia (VF)


The Blues and his unsung heroes


With the great migration, from 1910 to 1970, lots of African Americans left the south of the USA, where racial prejudice and discrimination were still present in society,  in order to go to the North. They searched for a job in cities such as Chicago, New York, Detroit and Philadelphia and an outcome of this movement was the Harlem Renaissance.

This was a literary, artistic, and musical movement that arose a new black cultural identity and  took its name from Harlem, which is a district of New York where it started and then branched out in USA. This Renaissance bring the idea of the “New Negro”, whereby a person could overwhelm racism trough the artistic production.

Blues is a kind of music that remembers the hard times of African Americans, indeed its inventors were slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves: African American sharecroppers who sang while they worked in the cotton and vegetable fields. Lots of blues artists were common people so they remain unknown until now even if they have been playing music for all their life.

For example the song Everyday I have the blues was first sung by B.B. King but probably people know it because it was sung for over  50 years  by lots of artists: the first one was Joe Williams, then blues artists such as Johnnie Ray, James Brown; rock artists like Carlos Santana, Lou Rawls, The Marshall Tucker Band, Elton John and nowadays artists like John Mayer and many others.

The lyrics are brief but they say: “Yes I’m gonna pack my suitcase, move on down the line where there ain’t nobody worried and there ain’t nobody crying”, so maybe it hides the idea of this movement from south to north America, where they think they would have found comfort and no racial prejudice.

Another bluesman that has an unordinary history is Robert Brown, better known as Washboard Sam, because of his talent in playing this instrument, a drums’ ancestor. His songs were written to fight against discrimination and injustice and he became rapidly famous thanks to his strong and wonderful voice. With electric blues his blues appears antiquate, then has again a little bit of fame with famous groups such as the Rolling Stones and Animals who brought back again the real blues but he soon died. Washboard Sam was buried anonymously, only years after big artists of this genre decided to raise funds to give a respectable burial to one of the most important bluesmen.

After all this words spent about this guy if you want to discover him there’s a playlist dedicate to him where you can finally listen to his beautiful voice.

Martina Rappa (VF)


Strange Fruit



“Southern trees bear a strange fruit…” sang Billie Holiday almost a century ago. Which fruit is she referring to? Why does it seem to grow only in the South?

First we have to look back to the past: the abolishment of slavery and involuntary servitude in the US (with the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution) in no way led to the elimination of racism;
Some words  taken from a John Reed (a US political activist and journalist) speech can help us understand the problem:

“In America there live ten million Negroes who are concentrated mainly in the South. In recent years however many thousands of them have moved to the North. The Negroes in the North are employed in industry while in the South the majority are farm labourers or small farmers. The position of the Negroes is terrible, particularly in the Southern states. Paragraph 16 of the Constitution of the United States grants the Negroes full civil rights. Nevertheless most Southern states deny the Negroes these rights. In other states, where by law the Negroes possess the right to vote, they are killed if they dare to exercise this right. Negroes are not allowed to travel in the same railway carriages as whites, visit the same saloons and restaurants, or live in the same districts. There exist special, and worse, schools for Negroes and similarly special churches.” (The report goes on depicting the disheartening condition of the Afro-Americans…)

We can comprehend the reality of racial segregation, legitimated by the doctrine of “separate but equal”. As we can easily imagine, the second part of this formula was almost never taken into account.

To sum up, it was sadly easy to see a black man dangling from a tree. According to the Tuskegee Institute, in the years between 1889 and 1940 3.833 people were lynched;  90% of these murders took place in the South, and 80% of the “bodies swinging” were Afro-Americans.  Very often it wasn’t even necessary that the individual had committed a crime to lynch him: the only fact that he was black allowed the people to consider it as a “preventive action” in order to completely avoid the possibility that he could “become too much arrogant”.
Most of these crimes were promoted or directly carried out by the KKK (Ku Klux Klan): this organization still exists and during the years had seen periods of high notoriety (in the Twenties more than four million people joined it). Moreover, it is a duty to say that, according to a survey developed in the Southern States in 1939, almost six white citizens over ten were in favor of this macabre spectacle.

”Pastoral scene of the gallant south,

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,

Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,

Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.”

This jazz song, which goes straight to the point referring to merciless images, was not well understood at first, or in other situations some company refused to release it, because it represented a scandal. This due to the persistence of racism among huge sectors of the US population.

To conclude, although Holiday was the first artist to perform this single, the song was originally written by Abel Meeropol, a teacher who lived in Bronx, and it was firstly published on the communist newspaper New Masses.  This song shouted something that was not to say, it sounded as a strong action of denounce and protest. Therefore the very writer felt disappointed when Billie Holiday asserted to be the author, together with her pianist.

Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit

Alessandro Fiorucci (VD)

Fiorucci 2

What a wonderful world

Louis Armstrong bezoekt Amsterdam *29 oktober 1955


Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World ♪

Louis Armstrong (August 4th, 1901-July 6th, 1971) is one of the most important Jazz singer and trumpeter. He was Afro-American (grandson of slaves), but he was one of the first to become truly famous, despite the color of his skin. He was able to shift the focus of the music from the collective improvisation to solo performance.

He had rarely promoted his political ideas, but he criticized the president Eisenhower for his segregation policy, during the Little Rock Crisis.

He was born in New Orleans, which was a city of racial discrimination, but where ragtime (the beginning of Jazz) was appreciated. He improved his cornet playing skills in the band of the city in his early life.

In the ‘20s, during the period of maximum growth of jazz music culture, his musicianship matured so that he was one of the first Jazz man involved in trumpet solo.

After many experiences in New Orleans and Chicago, he went to Harlem, playing in the Connie’s Inn, rival of the famous Cotton Club, where he reached great success.

Because of the “Great Depression” in the early ‘30s many musicians stopped to sing, but Louis moved to Los Angeles (to the new Cotton Club), then returned to New Orleans and afterwards started a tour in Europe.

He settled permanently in Queens, NY, in 1943 where he first created the All Stars (a band of six), then recorded many important and famous songs, and won the most important prize.

Until few years before his death he continued to perform.

He is a controversial figure, he was so famous and influential, but he never used his prominence with white Americans for the Civil Rights Movement, which alienated him from members of the black community.

He was largely accepted into American society, and he had the access to many things exclusive even for whites, and this makes the members of the Afro-American community call him Uncle Tom (the phrase “Uncle Tom” has also become an epithet for a person who is slavish and excessively subservient to perceived authority figures, particularly a black or brown person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people […]).

Some musicians criticized him for not taking part strong enough to the American Civil Rights Movement, but when he spoke against Eisenhower it made national news, and he cancelled a tour in the USSR as a protest. («The way they’re treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell»).

Despite this political neutrality, he wrote many songs asking for peace and inclusion, meanwhile the political reality was of racial division and segregation. One above all is What a wonderful world which conveys hope and optimism for the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to.

Many covers had been made of this song, but the original one gave Armstrong many recognitions, and climbed the charts of many countries.

Riccardo Sala (VD)


I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin’ hands, sayin’ How do you do?
They’re really saying I love you

I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Oh yeah

Everyday I have the Blues


In 1865 Abraham Lincoln promoted the abolition of slavery and involuntary servitude and with the 13th amendment proclamed in december 1865 (after he was murdered), thus millions of black slaves had been declared free and at the same time started moving to the North, hoping in better living conditions. This huge migration was called The great migration. However white men didn’t change mind only with an amendment and continued to discriminate black people, considering them inferior. Indeed Afroamerican (black people are called so to underline their african origins) were relegated in cities’ ghettos (like Harlem in New York) and had difficulty to find a job and to see their rights recognized. But on the one hand the Afroamerican community remained isolated from the white society, on the other it grew up and created a movement of Afroamerican accomplishments that involved art, literature, and music. In particular music was an instrument  to share their moods, sad and depressed, and for this reason was called Blues (the word Blues  comes from the expression “to have the blue devils” with the meaning of  “being sad”).This genre resulted from the spiritual, the music of slaves in plantations, used in order not to think how hard was their job. At first the musicians sang their stories of slavery accompanied by music. Afterwards the music started to have that protest’s feature, which is characteristic of the successive genres. For example in Every day I have the blues the author, B. B. King, underlines how “Oh nobody loves me, nobody seems to care / Yes nobody loves me, nobody seems to care” and after “I’m gonna pack my suitcase, move on down the line”. In conclusion Blues was the first instrument of Afroamericans to share their common story of slavery and discrimination, but at the same time a way to relax after a week of hard work.

Guglielmo Novelli (VD)

B.B. King, Everyday I have the Blues

Everyday I have the Blues

Everyday, everyday I have the blues
Everyday, everyday I have the blues
When you see me worried baby
Because it’s you I hate to lose
Oh nobody loves me, nobody seems to care
Yes nobody loves me, nobody seems to care
Speaking of bad luck and trouble
Well you know I had my share
I’m gonna pack my suitcase, move on down the line
Yes I’m gonna pack my suitcase, move on down the line
Where there ain’t nobody worried
And there ain’t nobody crying


Un percorso CLIL nella storia sociale e musicale afroamericana – A CLIL introduction to afroamerican social and music history


Ho il piacere di inaugurare con questo post un nuovo progetto scolastico, organizzato con la collaborazione degli studenti delle classi quinte dell’Istituto di Istruzione Superiore Cremona di Milano.

Qui di seguito una breve presentazione dei materiali e degli argomenti che verranno utilizzati e discussi durante il modulo CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), a beneficio degli studenti interessati.

A seguire pubblicheremo dei brevi articoli di approfondimento, frutto del lavoro cooperativo docente-studenti.

Vi aspetto nel laboratorio di storia!






  • GOSPEL/SPIRITUAL: End of the Nineteenth century
  • BLUES: Beginning of the Twentieth century
  • JAZZ: ’20s-’30s
  • RHYTHM AND BLUES: ’40s-’50s
  • SOUL: ’60s
  • FUNKY: ’70s
  • HIP HOP: ’80s-’90s


Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah

Sometimes I’m up, sometimes
I’m down, ohh, yes Lord
Sometimes I’m almost
To the ground, oh yes, Lord

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Anybody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah

If you got there before
I do, oh yes Lord
Tell all my friends, I’m
Coming too, oh yes Lord

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah

Although you see me
Goin’ on so, oh yes
I have my trials, here below
Ohh yes, Lord

Oh, nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah
Ohh, glory, Hallelujah

Everyday I have the Blues

Everyday, everyday I have the blues
Everyday, everyday I have the blues
When you see me worried baby
Because it’s you I hate to lose
Oh nobody loves me, nobody seems to care
Yes nobody loves me, nobody seems to care
Speaking of bad luck and trouble
Well you know I had my share
I’m gonna pack my suitcase, move on down the line
Yes I’m gonna pack my suitcase, move on down the line
Where there ain’t nobody worried
And there ain’t nobody crying

Strange fruit

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.


Shake rattle and roll

Get outta that bed
Wash your face and hands
Get outta that bed
Wash your face and hands
Well, you get in that kitchen
Make some noise with the pots and pans

Way you wear those dresses
The sun comes shinin’ through
Way you wear those dresses
The sun comes shinin’ through
I can’t believe my eyes
All that mess belongs to you

I believe to the soul
You’re the devil and now I know
I believe to the soul
You’re the devil and now I know
Well, the more I work
The faster my money goes

I said shake, rattle and roll
Shake, rattle and roll
Shake, rattle and roll
Shake, rattle and roll
Well, you won’t do right
To save your doggone soul
Yeah, blow, Joe

Revolution will not be televised

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and
skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Mendel Rivers to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

The revolution will not be right back
after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

Soul power

Know we need it, soul power
We got to have it, soul power
Know we want it, soul power
Got to have it, soul power
Give it to me, soul power
We need it, soul power, we need it, soul power
We got to have it, soul power
I want to get under your skin
If I get there, i’ve got to win
You need some soul, come on get some
And then you’ll know, where I’m comin’ from
I may lay in the cut and go along
And I’m still on the case and my rap is strong
Huh huh, hey
Go jump on my train, when I’m outta sight
Just check yourself, huh, and say, yeah you’re right
Huh, hit me, give me, put it there, huh
Love me tender, and love me slow
If that don’t get it, jump back for more
We gottagottagotta, get in the bracket
Brother, if you fall on the ground
Remember you’ve got to get down, down downdown…
Huh, say it again, say it
If that don’t get it, jump back for more
Huh, come on, if that don’t get it, jump back for more

Fight the power

1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hitting your heart cause I know you got soul
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you’re missing y’all
Swinging while I’m singing
Giving whatcha getting
Knowing what I know
While the Black bands sweating
And the rhythm rhymes rolling
Got to give us what we want
Gotta give us what we need
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be
As the rhythm designed to bounce
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you’ve realized the pride’s arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
From the heart
It’s a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothing’s strange
People, people we are the same
No we’re not the same
Cause we don’t know the game
What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved lets get down to business
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
Make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne
Cause I’m Black and I’m proud
I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped
Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps
Right on, c’mon
What we got to say
Power to the people no delay
To make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be



  • Barack Obama (Selma’s anniversary speech, 2015)
    • We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South.  (Applause.)  We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened up the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent.  And we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, and the Navajo code-talkers, and the Japanese Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied.We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We’re the gay Americans whose blood ran in the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge. (Applause.)We are storytellers, writers, poets, artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.

      We’re the inventors of gospel and jazz and blues, bluegrass and country, and hip-hop and rock and roll, and our very own sound with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.

  • Blog: