Belgrade Youth Center presents, from 22nd to 27th October 2019, 35th Belgrade Jazz Festival with the slogan JAZZ CELEBRATION!
The anniversary, 35th edition of the Belgrade Jazz Festival brings plenty of reasons for a great celebration! The mere fact that an international music event has survived in the public eye for almost five decades, successfully finding a new identity in the 21st century, presents the reason for the joy of the entire cultural community in Serbia, of all music lovers, and especially jazz musicians!
If we add the international reputation for years built through carefully selected program, as well as the constant support of the Belgrade Jazz Festival to the affirmation of domestic artists – it is clear that this is the year when we celebrate not only the jubilee of the festival but also the jazz itself in this part of the world.
That is why the Belgrade Jazz Festival will offer this year more than usual to its audience: instead of 5, it will last 6 days, with almost 30 concerts and a string of side programs, as well as a multitude of jazz events planned before the October Jazz festivity. Besides the Festival main venue, the Belgrade Youth Center, we will be again in the Kombank Hall, the place that hosted numerous memorable concerts during the long history of the BJF.
In the program, we will have giants of jazz and young guns of the scene, artists who laid tracks of this type of music, the ones who explore new paths of the genre, performers very well known to our audiences, but the ones that are yet to be discovered, both local and international. The Festival concept remains dynamic and open, appealing to younger and older jazz enthusiasts, but also to music lovers in general – our mission is to present during the Festival contemporary jazz trends to the audience segment that occasionally follows this type of music, thus making top artistic music open for everyone.
For starters, we announce the complete big finale of the 35th Belgrade Jazz Festival: in the Kombank Hall, we will evoke the tradition of jazz and the great history of our event, and in the Belgrade Youth Center Americana Hall, we will take a sneak peek of an exciting future.
The program at the Kombank Hall will open with the Mingus Big Band, the first American large orchestra performing at the Festival since 1990. This ensemble made up of first-class New York musicians under the artistic direction of Mingus’ wife Sue, besides keeping the legacy of the legendary double bass player, authentically interprets original arrangement of compositions from Mingus’s opus. Their performance creates a true connection with the beginnings of the Festival: Mingus himself performed at the opening edition in 1970, as well as in 1972 and 1975, and the smaller legacy formation of Mingus Dynasty performed in 1982. Now for the first time, we will hear this famous repertoire in full orchestral lavishness, performed by one of the best big bands on the planet, seven times nominated for Grammy.
Saxophonist and flautist Charles Lloyd is a living icon of jazz, one of the greatest leaders and improvisers of all time, a constant thinker and innovator. The power of his improvisations and his interest in blending jazz and non-Western music styles have established him as one of the key figures in the expansion and advancement of this art form. He was among the first jazzers with millions of sold records, as well as among the few ones who played in front of the rock audience at the legendary Filmore. After two unforgettable concerts at the Festival in 2011 and 2014, reaching the ninth decade of his life with unabated performance energy, he returns to Belgrade with a new band, featuring guitarist Marvin Sewell.
The midnight program in the Americana Hall represents the top selection of contemporary European jazz. French violinist Théo Ceccaldi, with the Freaks sextet (two string and two wind instruments, guitar and drums), mocks classical smoothness and jazz intellectualism, but at the same time demonstrates classical virtuosity and jazz unpredictability – from a POV of a punk rocker! Voted the Best French Musician 2016 in the Jazz Magazine poll, and selected by Victoire du Jazz as the discovery of the year, Ceccaldi continues the series of performances by the most important French new artists at the Festival, following Vincent Peirani and Émile Parisien.
Another type of sextet, Axes is featured in the same program with the Portuguese saxophonist and composer João Mortagua. The direct association with the saxophonist quartet in the front line is the famous American World Saxophone Quartet, especially due to the eclectic repertoire in terms of the genre. But the two drummers make the substantial difference – adding rhythms of New Orleans brass bands and hip-hop energy to the sound, inspiring the critics to compare them with the famous Steven Bernstein’s Sex Mob quartet.
The Festival’s special challenge lies in the discovery of new talents, such as the British bassist Henry Spencer, who will perform in the Americana Hall midnight program on Saturday, October 26th. Blending classical jazz and Miles-like fusion, rock and minimalism, this young musician has released just one album so far, The Reasons Do not Change, but already has several awards in his pocket, as well as great reviews in All About Jazz and the Guardian. With the Juncture quintet, he brings fresh ideas from the recently revived British jazz scene.
We celebrate another small jubilee, for the fifth time in a row we present the most talented names of the new Serbian jazz wave within the so-called Serbian showcase. Following the established format, three local, new projects performed by younger artists will be presented to our audience, but also to numerous foreign journalists – last year there were thirty – who year after year spread the word around the world about top achievements of the Serbian.
This year, among the hand-picked participants we will watch the young saxophonist and composer Rastko Obradović, who made his first steps at this very Festival (Big Band RTS and Serbian Jazz Bre!), while now he forms a quartet with Norwegian musicians (Martin Gjerde, piano; Alexander Hoholm, double bass; Raymond Lavik, drums) his fellow students from the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, and they plan to record their first album this year. By including this ensemble into the Festival program, we want to stress out the importance of cooperation of our talents with international artists for the development of the contemporary Serbian jazz scene.
The side programs of the Belgrade Jazz Festival anniversary edition will focus on Serbia’s history and its place on the contemporary global jazz scene, with a special emphasis on panel discussions. With further improvements in production and innovation in the presentation of program content, we look forward to honouring the anniversary of one of the most important international music events in our country – in celebration of jazz music.
The 34th Belgrade Jazz Festival has issued a limited number of vouchers for all-in tickets, granting access to all main program concerts, already available at the Belgrade Youth Center box office, all Ticket Vision outlets, as well as via www.tickets.rs.
The City of Belgrade, the founder of the Belgrade Jazz Festival, included it in 2007 on the list of events of special cultural interest.
The Festival host is the Belgrade Youth Center.
The Belgrade Jazz Festival is a member by invitation of the Europe Jazz Network.
Patrons of the 35th Belgrade Jazz Festival: City of Belgrade – City Authority – Secretariat for Culture; the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.
Friends of the 35th Belgrade Jazz Festival: Lukoil, Erste Bank, Dunav osiguranje, Staropramen, SOKOJ.