Woody Allen delights in Barcelona with his limited command of the clarinet

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“I’m like a tennis player who faces Federer and Nadal,” warns Woody Allen in his memoirs About nothing (Alianza), about his well-known passion for jazz put into practice with a clarinet wielded like a soap gun. “I’m sorry to say, but I don’t have what it takes: ear, tone, rhythm, feeling. And yet I have performed publicly in clubs and concert halls, in opera houses across Europe, in packed auditoriums in the United States. “I’ve played in street parades in New Orleans and also in bars, at the Jazz Heritage festival and at Preservation Hall, all because I can take advantage of my film career,” he adds, acknowledging that His audience pays to see him, rather than to hear him.

And he continues to remember that comedian Dotson Rader asked him: “Aren’t you ashamed?” With unusual gravity, he responded: “Between my love of music and my limitations as a performer, “If I want to play, I can’t afford to be ashamed.” Thus, after passing through the Blue Note in Milan, where the public described his gig as “embarrassing” and causing desertions at the Villars-Les-Dombes Festival (France), this 87-year-old “scoundrel”, who has been life trying with the clarinet, filled the Tívoli Theater in Barcelona, with capacity for more than 1,600 spectators, for the opening of the 55th edition of the now called Voll-Damm Jazz Festival. The organization was forced to add one more night, also with practically all the tickets sold.

The same thing happened on Sunday night, at the Mooby Aribau Cinema – with seats for 1,200 spectators – where he presented his filmStroke of luck, one of the best of his last stage, filmed in Paris and premiered at the Venice Film Festival, before a feverish audience that filled the cinema and gave him a standing ovation when he entered to present, very briefly, the film, as when the final credits fell. . Applause and more applause.

Although the filmmaker-clarinetist-amateur has been involved in controversy since his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, accused him of having abused her at the age of seven, there was not a trace of any protest either inside or outside the theaters where he presented the film or led his New Orleans Jazz Band, with which he offered an entire recital of classical music. dixieland jazz.

He barely spoke. At the Tivoli he only announced what he proposed, the aforementioned recital of old New Orleans classics, which have historically been played “in churches as well as in brothels”, and invited the public to sit down and enjoy, because they were going to do “everything possible to entertain them.” About an hour and a half later, including the encore By popular acclaim, he retired, grateful for “the dream” of having been able to play in Barcelona for such a grateful audience. He had time to play fifteen standards among which he sounded Im going to Vigo, by Ernesto Lecuona, sung by the pianist in approximate Spanish, like other classics in the style of Wild Man Blues, which gave the title to Barbara Kopple’s documentary about her 1996 European tour.

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