(Let’s Say I’m Talking about Jazz… and Madrid)

JAZZMADRID is definitely throwing its weight behind local jazz in this editionConcerts, films, books, theatre, talks, debates and exhibitions, from the 5th tothe 29th of November


This year, the reason for the singular nature of the line-up lies in the unanimous decision of the City Council to book exclusively local musicians for the festival, with some well-grounded exceptions. There is clearly an ethical intention in the decision, as well as an explicit intention to contribute to alleviate, to the extent possible, the damage that COVID-19 has done to our community of musicians.

That’s why there will be a lot of flamenco colour in the proposals, but also a loving anthology of projects dedicated to cultivating the varied catalogues of the most advanced school of jazz. Another part of the programme will respond to somewhat more diverse musical demands, always supported, it goes without saying, by the highest standards of rigour and quality, the hallmarks of this showcase event, which this year also wishes to relive the activities that took place in that club of good music that was the San Juan Evangelista Halls of Residence.

Colours of flamenco
In the first case, there will be concerts by the quartet of trumpet player Enriquito; the macro-show “Concert Bal” by multi-instrumentalist Tino Di Geraldo; the superlative alliance between Javier Colina, Josemi Carmona, Antonio Serrano and Borja Barrueta; the presentation of pianists David Dorantes and Daniel García; the première of the latest album from double bass player Pablo Martín Caminero, and the long-awaited visit by flautist María Toro and her group, one of the major revelations of our jazz in the last five years.

Adventurous jazz
Guitarist Suso Sáiz’ Ambient Jazz Trio and the “Plutón” project of the nonet led by alto sax player Ernesto Aurignac headline the experience that tries every year to bring to JAZZMADRID a handful of talented musicians who generally speaking pay little heed to the core objectives of the dominant trends and currents. And there is also room in this section for the avant-garde proposal of the trio formed by drummer Lucía Martínez, saxophonist Juan Sáiz, and double bass player Baldo Martínez, and also for the appearance of Machetazo, a very young quintet with an iconoclastic style of music that is forging its own path through what is a synthesis of multiple elements.

Jazz for everyone
Aesthetical eclecticism is to the fore thanks to the band led by violinist Mauren Choi; pianists Iñaki Salvador and David Sancho; flautist Trinidad Jiménez’ group; the new project of singer Mariola Membrives; the show that double bass player Javier Colina has been asked to put on together with the Lockdown Band; the duos formed by harmonicist Antonio Serrano and pianist Constanza Lechner on the one hand, and by singer María Berasarte and pianist Pepe Rivero on the other, or, finally, the concert that will be offered by the Municipal Symphonic Band of Madrid. Directed by maestro Jan Cober, this formation intends reviewing a number of jazz standards together with guests like Luis Cobos, Aurora García, Pedro Ruy Blas, Pepe Sánchez or Jayme Marques.

The peculiar case of the EMC and the AIE
Identical philosophies, the same intentions of penetration as those that impregnate the proposal with which the Escuela de Música Creativa intends to surprise us this year: the Jaby Sánchez Project, an ensemble of Graduate Degree students who have grown up in the centre and have already developed into a professional band with its own repertoire. On the other hand, the time had come for the festival to have the Association of Interpreters and Performers close by, and the AIE En Ruta Jazz programme has helped to make the dream come true. There will be two concerts led by the Roberto Nieva Quintet and the Myriam Latrece Quartet, or in other words: two artists chosen by a jury of experts to perform in different venues in our country. At JAZZMADRID, we now have the opportunity to know exactly how far these young musicians have come on their musical journey.

Agreements with international cultural promotion entities
Down through the years, JAZZMADRID has also become a catalogue and a mirror for jazz players from all over the world and thanks to a collaboration initiative with the French Institute, it brings us an interesting visit by Congolese pianist Ray Lema and singer Sarah Lenka, whose latter show will be streamed exclusively via the social networks of the French Institute. Also, thanks to the mediation of the Polish Institute of Culture, another of our continent’s great jazz hopes is coming to JAZZMADRID: none other than pianist Marcin Masecki. This interpreter is well known for his recreations of Beethoven and Bach, his soundtracks for films such as Cold War, and also for having specialised in studying and performing jazz pieces from the 1920s and 30s. The way in which Masecki approaches this repertoire reveals how jazz might well have developed in Poland had the Second World War not taken place.

The glamour of the closing night
The closing night, on 29 November, promises to be quite a party as it’s going to pay tribute to Cuban variety show singer and pianist Bola de Nieve and his catalogue of highly suggestive songs. The homage will be led by the tonadillera or music-hall singer Martirio and by pianist Chano Domínguez, a duo that has been well known ever since the mid-1990s when they both brought to Spanish song and jazz their passionate idyll that has only grown in intensity over time.

The blues addendum
This is a highly calculated conclusion for a festival that always seeks to entwine the language of jazz with the multiple identities of our world, including that of the great homeland of the blues. That’s why, in representation of those citizens, we will welcome Red House to the stage. Of all the groups that play this style of music in our country, there’s no doubt that Red House is the best of the lot: these are people who would instantly be given a green card thanks to their versions of original songs by Albert Collins or Willie Dixon, but also to compositions of their own that sound as if they’ve come straight from the best catalogues of American artists.

A busy schedule of parallel activities
Concerts are not the only thing JAZZMADRID has to offer, however, and that’s why its programme once again includes a number of didactic hooks that continue to make this festival one of the best celebrations that jazz can produce this side of the Alps.

On this occasion, there will be several lectures by different jazz professionals and scholars (one of whom will inaugurate the festival at the National Library); an open debate between women who are dedicated to jazz in many different ways; the presentation of the book “El Hechizo del Groove” (The Spell of the Groove), by Jaime Bajo González; the screening of the film “Ornette: Made in America”, by Shirley Clarke, at the Cineteca Film Archive; a photographic exhibition dedicated to the women who have appeared as artists in JAZZMADRID, as well as the much appreciated contribution of the Ámbito Cultural programme, an initiative by El Corte Inglés.

Theatre and literature
Theatre and literature, on the other hand, will also be present in JAZZMADRID through the staging of the show “Escenas del Jazz” (Scenes from Jazz), a dramatic reading of texts by authors such as Jack Kerouac, Julio Cortázar or Boris Vian, featuring the voices of different actors, directed by Juan Carlos Corazza and with live piano music by Pepe Rivero.

What’s on offer in other spaces
The attractive isochronous character of jazz in the month of November in Madrid makes it possible for the programmes of other spaces to overlap and intersect with the activities that are going on in the Fernán Gómez (Centro Cultural de la Villa) and in CentroCentro Cibeles, creating a mosaic which means that visitors will have to decide which activity he or she is most keen to attend.

We have already talked about the activities at the French Institute where Ray Lema and Sarah Lenka will be in concert, and within the framework of the City Council, the Conde Duque Cultural Centre premières a suite by the Resistencia Jazz Ensemble, the group that is headed up by saxophonist Luis Verde, and a free-improvisation concert offered by a trio formed by pianist Agustí Fernández, double bass player Barry Guy and saxophonist Torben Snekkestad. And, as in previous years, another two concerts will be on offer, courtesy of two bands that have been selected in a competition and who will be taking part in the festival by way of an artistic residency: Belén Martín and Javier Moreno & Quinteto Capital.

Jazz in the clubs, the Círculo de Bellas Artes and the National Auditorium
It is still too early to know exactly how much impact COVID-19 will have on the dynamics of our live music venues, but Galileo Galilei, a close and longstanding collaborator of the festival, will welcome to its stage the quartet led by the veteran Navarre-born saxophonist, Pedro Iturralde, a master of several generations of jazz musicians in our country. The Círculo de Bellas Artes, for its part, continues with its Jazz Season, with concerts by Ekhilore and the Mattheiu Saglio Quartet, and, finally, in the National Music Auditorium, pianist Marco Mezquida will perform “Beethoven Collage 2020”, a work commissioned by the National Centre of Musical Promotion, to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Luis Martín
Artistic Director of JAZZMADRID