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News 26 Oct 17

Belgrade Jazz Fest Swings Into Action

One of the most cherished musical and cultural events of the Serbian calendar, Belgrade Jazz Fest, is ready to roll. 

David Galic

Javier Colina & Josemi Carmona feat. Bandolero (Spain) will introduce the Belgrade Jazz Fest on October 24 in Dom Omladine. 

Photo: Belgrade Jazz Festival

Belgrade Jazz Fest is set to take place on October 26 and will last for five full days, with double-bill programs every night at two of the best music venues in the city – Dom Omladine (Americana Hall) and the Sava Centar.

Jazz lovers in Serbia will enjoy performances from over 20 ensembles, super-groups and soloists, most of whom are well-known, celebrated names in the world of contemporary jazz music.

This year, the biggest festival names are arriving from the United States, and among them will be celebrated saxophonist and jazz composer Joshua Redman – Harvard alumni and one of the “young lions” of the American jazz scene of the 1990s.

Donny McCaslin was a longtime collaborator with the likes of David Bowie, and contributed to the late musician’s celebrated final album ‘Blackstar’.

Belgrade Jazz Fest will mark his third time in Belgrade. One of the biggest names of the New York City avant-garde jazz scene, virtuoso guitarist Marc Ribot, will also make an appearance to pay homage to the avant-garde sounds of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time, along with two of the band’s original members, Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Calvin Weston. Of course, there will be a string trio as well, to add some essential spice to the disco-funk performance.

The Norwegian double bass player Mats Eilertsen will lead international septet Rubicon – his latest and most ambitious project to date.

Also hailing from Scandinavia will be talented Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren, who is set to pay homage to the late and great Jan Johansson, with the assistance of Mattias Svensson and a string quartet.

New talents are coming from France and Italy this year, too, namely Emile Parisien and Giovanni Guidi. Guidi will present his new quintet, Inferno, along with notorious Italian saxophone player Francesco Bearzatti.

Jazz piano lovers will get a treat in the form of Israel’s Nitai Hershkovits. Hershkovits may be young, but he’s definitely not inexperienced.

When he was just 24, the young pianist was introduced by the great Avishai Cohen on his celebrated record “Duende,” after which Hershkovits became one of the biggest jazz names in Israel, leading to an already-impressive international career.

Hershkovits is best known for his ventures into analogue electronics, but his set in Belgrade will be more traditional and acoustic.

Wolfert Brederode is also returning to Belgrade for the second time with his new trio – the first time he played the Belgrade Jazz Fest was in 2009 when he gave a tremendous performance with his quartet. This time he has a new highly lyrical and meditative album, ‘’Black Ice’out.

As per usual, the real gems and hidden treasures of the Belgrade Jazz Festival will be reserved for the night birds.

The late-night program, which traditionally takes place at Dom Omladine in the darker hours of the evening, will showcase a number of exciting, innovative, energetic lesser-knowns, including Scandinavians Jakob Bro and Marius Neset, free jazzers Peter Evans and Rodrogo Amado, as well as the exciting and ethereally sensitive pianist Kris Davis, performing with Billy Drummond on drums.

The famous Turkish sax player, composer, producer and promoter Ilhan Ersahin will also lead an energetic, rock-inspired quartet of fellow Turkish jazz players called Istanbul Sessions.

Finally, let’s not forget the local and regional stars. Matija Dedic will play ‘Three Sides of Jazz’ with Gene Jackson and Joris Teepe.

Space Tigers, which, as a group, is technically from Berlin, all members are from around the former Yugoslavia. They will spice things up with their own brand of “sofa techno jazz.”

In a similar vein – that is, musicians who deal in the marriage of jazz and electronic music – do not miss the phenomenal Tapan, a duo which has already attained cult status on Belgrade’s underground scene.

And finally, if you haven’t heard them already, do watch the performance by Eyot, which is Serbia’s most internationally acclaimed jazz band of today.

Tickets for the entire festival cost about €40, while ticket prices for individual concerts run the gamut, depending on who you'd like to see.

Tickets for all of the events can be bought at Eventim ticket offices or at the Dom Omladine and Sava Centar box offices.  

This article was published in BIRN's bi-weekly newspaper Belgrade Insight. Here is where to find a copy.

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