Non-stop jazz

A consolidated festival

Jazz is back in Madrid, and the entire city becomes a huge stage in which, over the course of a month, it will be possible to find activities for all audiences and in every district. It is often said of other festivals, in other places, that they are the great festival of the city, and that is not always quite right. But in the case of JAZZMADRID however, it really is, in its own right. It is, in terms of its numbers, its size and, finally, its results as well. Its endorsements: a line-up dazzling with jazz supernovas, an attractively changing location with headquarters in the Teatro Fernán Gómez. Centro Cultural de la Villa and CentroCentro, and a good number of premières to surprise those who attend the event every year.

This time, aesthetic diversity is once again the non-exclusive protagonist in a programme whose curtain raiser is a concert by pianist Herbie Hancock’s latest quartet and which will be brought to an end in November with a performance by his fellow pianist Moisés P. Sánchez’s quintet. And in between these two concerts, a host of shining stars and really interesting newcomers.

Contemporary and adventurous jazz will be showcased in the concerts by Myra Melford, Nubya García, Joe Lovano at the helm of the Tapestry Trio, Marc Ribot, Mina Agossi, David Virelles, Maher Beauroy, the two groups in Residency at Conde Duque, and the duo made up by Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh. They are all specialists in tracking down alternative rationales for jazz and, generally speaking, they are also instrumentalists who are not particularly permeable to the objectives of the industry.

The repertoires prepared by Wallace Roney, Giovanni Guidi, or the duos made up by Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber on the one hand, and John Scofield and Jon Cleary on the other, will be bang up to date. The latter of these musicians, due to his having been born in the city of New Orleans, could well be grouped together with other artists from that same geographical area and who will also be playing in JAZZMADRID: Marcia Ball, Naughty Professor, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Christian Scott.

The human voice, which – through blues, working songs and spirituals – reached the African-American genre long before it was dubbed jazz, will also have its own specific section. This time it is in the safe hands of aristocratic Eliane Elias and the original Youn Sun Nah, but also in those of Stacey Kent, Camille Berthault, Lizz Wright, Karrin Allyson, Patricia Barber and Rebekka Bakken. All are artists with different dispositions and intentions, yet they all share the same fluidity of diction and tessitura with which they continue to open fertile paths for vocal jazz.

We could say the same about flamenco expressivity, whose fraternisation with the great free music is still a source for profound reflections and studies by specialists all over the world. Here to try out their thesis are Guillermo McGill, whose show “Flamenco Trane” features saxophonist Perico Sambeat; flautist María Toro, probably the most adventurous instrumentalist to emerge in the wake of and due to Jorge Pardo; and Jorge Pardo himself, as a member of the super trio made up by Carles Benavent and Tino Di Geraldo. The Afro-Cuban style of pianist Roberto Fonseca, who will be visiting us with his trio, also stands out in this chapter, which is usually included in generic Latin jazz.

Local talent is very balanced in this year’s programme, especially as far as optics and ways of approaching jazz music are concerned. Therefore, the list of those we’ve already mentioned is rounded off by the presence of the bands of double bass players Javier Colina, Horacio el Negro and Pablo Martín Caminero; the Cuarteto Europa of fellow double bass player Baldo Martínez; singer Noa Lur and her jazz show for children and, among others, pianists Pedro Ojesto and Kontxi Lorente.

The local section continues with the attention that this festival always pays to our schools and conservatoires, where the stars of tomorrow are currently training. The main events in this section are once again the big bands of the Arturo Soria and the Amaniel Conservatoires and the Escuela de Música Creativa, which has a different approach this year, proposing a more adult jazz after having replaced the Creativa Junior Big Band with the school’s large orchestra, the Creativa Big Band.

Just as our local jazz musicians have their own space, so too does the blues. With the debut in JAZZMADRID of the aforementioned Marcia Ball, the legendary pianist-singer from New Orleans, this section would be perfectly personified, but we have also invited, in representation of our blossoming local blues scene, guitarist-singer Susan Santos, an artist who, to her credit, uses certain formulas that have not been tried before.

The different stages, however, will register a rise in temperatures with the concerts of four performers for whom specialised dictionaries and encyclopaedias usually reserve a privileged space. We are talking about pianist Herbie Hancock, whom we mentioned above, double bass player Ron Carter, and the trumpeter Charles Tolliver with the continuous and successful decisions they have taken over the last six decades, all three of them have the privilege of having entered the territory of legends. They are in excellent form, so there’s no doubt their concerts will be one agile and precious flash of inspiration after another.

From artistic-historical emotion to the confirmation that JAZZMADRID continues to maintain – and even enhance this year – some of the features that have already made it such a unique event. The most important one, without a doubt, is the integrating condition that characterises its endeavours, once again highlighting the link that has been established between the different spaces that already programmed jazz on their stages, such as the initiatives by Madrid City Council, “Jazz in the Districts”, the “Ciudad Lineal Jazz Festival”, the Círculo de Bellas Artes, the French Institute, and even the network of venues and clubs of the La Noche en Vivo Association.

Faithful, finally, to its cultural awareness-raising approach, JAZZMADRID extends its activities to such suggestive areas as dance, film, literature, debates or book presentations, aware that, as far as possible, it is necessary to present music in relation to the structural context it is capable of generating. And so, in order to better represent the subject we wish to disseminate, several journalists and jazz theorists will join us, some of them to debate, others to give all manner of conferences. A cycle of musical documentaries pursues the same objective, and the intentions of dancer Lucía Marote, performing a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, point in the same direction.

Anyone approaching this programme with an unprejudiced analytic intention will discover in it a brief corollary in which the reasons why we want to establish jazz in different geographical and conceptual directions, shine forth brightly and clearly. Six years of intense and rigorous work in this new festival model have allowed us to increase our portfolio of collaborators thanks to the participation of other public administrations and also new private entities. This is the case of the Spanish National Library, the CNDM (National Centre of Musical Diffusion), the Cultural Section of El Corte Inglés, AC Recoletos Jazz, Colegio Mayor Universitario Fundación Mayor SEPI and the Taller de Músics  of Barcelona. Such an important leap in quality places JAZZMADRID in a leading position among the many international festivals seriously devoted to disseminating jazz music. We wanted to make this event mature in different directions, and far from being just an attractive aspiration, that moment has arrived.

Luis Martín
Artistic Director of JAZZMADRID




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