CHIEF XIAN A TUNDE ADJUAH
Divadlo Husa na provázku
Experimenter, explorer, musical philosopher, worshipper of tradition, breaker of borders, builder of intercultural bridges… Stick any of these labels on trumpeter Christian Scott and it will always fit. But at the same time, it will never capture the full picture. Scott, like the proverbial Achilles’ tortoise, is always one step ahead. You should definitely not miss his Brno premiere.
Musician, composer and producer Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, now known as Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, began learning the craft of music at the age of 13 in his native city of New Orleans. His first teacher was his uncle, jazz innovator and legendary saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr., who was also the chief of the Mardi Gras Indians, a group of African-Americans honouring the traditions of the indigenous people of North America. After graduating from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts in 2001, Scott received a full-tuition scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, from which he also graduated successfully.
Since 2002, he has released a dozen award-winning studio recordings, three live albums and one collection of his greatest hits. Scott refers to his music as “Stretch Music”. “I respect the jazz tradition, I’m not trying to replace it. I’m all about putting as many musical forms and cultural sensibilities into the rhythmic and harmonic structure as possible,” he explains. He is also characterized by the “whisper” technique, which produces veiled tones played with an emphasis on the intensity of the breath.
The large band, with whom Scott will also visit JazzFestBrno, is characterized by amazing energy and the ability to sound tribal and futuristic at the same time with a relentless polyrhythmic drive. So you can look forward to a cosmic experience with an admixture of progressive rock and jazz that will also remind you that although the United States is the cradle of jazz, the roots of the genre go much deeper into the history and other continents.
Chief Xiana Adjuah – Trumpet, Harp, Luques Curtis – Bass, Ele Howell – Drums, Lawrence Fields – Keys, Weedie Braimah – Djembe, Percussion, Elena Pinderhughes – Flute
Deliberate disregard for genre boundaries, lively concerts and awards in categories ranging from jazz to R´n´B? These are the characteristic attributes of the large ensemble Snarky Puppy, which will make its debut in Brno.
The band, honored with a recent Grammy for their album Live at the Royal Albert Hall, arrives at the Sono Center with the fourth Grammy in its collection of awards. But it’s been a long journey to the Royal Albert Hall. The band’s story began in Denton, Texas, home of the first-ever college jazz department, established in 1947. Bassist Michael League, who founded Snarky Puppy for a school project, is an alumnus of the school. After premiering at J&J Pizza restaurant and performing practise-like duties at other, often obscure, venues in Denton, the bandleader decided to record a debut album on the low budget while executing the first-ever tour to small clubs and student parties. The band’s first decade of active playing was similar – they repeatedly crisscrossed the USA, playing in many hick towns where a promoter had the courage to let them perform. Meanwhile, the bandleader and a few of his bandmates moved to nearby Dallas to gain a foothold in the local gospel and R&B scene. A turning point turned out to be the 2010 album Tell Your Friends. In recording it, the band not only utilized the power of performing live in front of an audience, but also worked hard on promotion – and their music finally reached a wider audience. The first European tour didn’t take long to get underway and the band jumped on a wave of interest that continues to this day. Another significant step up the popularity ladder came in 2013, when Snarky Puppy, thanks to their collaboration with singer Lalah Hathaway, earned their first Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance. They also won Grammys for their albums Sylva and Culcha Vulcha.
The year 2022 represents for the band the period of return to concert stages and the release of a brand new, already fourteenth album which is called Empire Central. “The individual players and personalities on stage are constantly pushing the songs in new directions, which is the main magic of touring for me. I love seeing the songs grow and evolve,” says the bandleader Michael League.
Snarky Puppy will be joined by singer Malika Triolien as a special guest on the tour.
Mandolinist, singer and composer Chris Thile is coming to Brno for the first time in his career to present his new mixture of jazz, classical, americana, gospel and bluegrass in the intimate setting of the Besední dům. All by himself, all he needs is just a mandolin and a microphone.
Chris Thile has both the courage and the ability to play a J. S. Bach piece, a bluegrass standard, a blues, minimalism, or his own sacred composition all in only one recital. The solo recital is a royal discipline that only very good musicians dare to tackle. The mandolin solo recital is a discipline that only the truly exceptional musicians dare to take on. And California native Chris Thile is indeed such “a chosen one”. He has elevated the mandolin to the level of a symphony orchestra instrument, he is a grantee of MacArthur Foundation Fellowship – grant for maestros only –, he collected three Grammy Awards and countless nominations, and most importantly, he collaborated with some of the most renowned musicians across genres. In addition to his own bands Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek, he has performed with Brad Mehldau, Edgar Mayer, Yo-Yo Mou and other virtuosos.
Thile’s latest challenge is a solo performance. He has partly experienced the solitude on the stage in his interpretations of the music of J. S. Bach, which he recorded released in 2013. His latest solo recording, Laysongs, however, is a step into another dimension, with Thile’s irresistible combination of Bartok’s Violin Sonata, the three-part suite Salt (in the Wounds) of the Earth (which he says was the first piece he wrote knowing he would perform it solo), and sacred and secular songs from his own compositional portfolio. Repertoire from Laysongs will represent the core of his live show, but he won’t forget his bluegrass roots, seductive interpretations of themes by bebop guru Charlie Parker or beloved J. S. Bach.
What is the recipe for popularity with listeners? An angelic voice, charismatic presentation, earthy and soulful songs, and a great backing band. Lizz Wright offers all this in anexceptionally balanced combination, spiced up with the tradition of African-American spirituals and blues.
Born in Georgia, USA, she grew up in the family of a pastor who introduced her to gospel music. She made a spirited entrance to the jazz scene at the beginning of the millennium, when she recorded her still admired debut Salt. Since then, five other highly regarded albums have been released. With an increasing number of her own compositions, the artistic truth of Lizz Wright is increasingly revealing itself and her unique ability to blend original colours from the musical palette whilst leaving space for gospel, folk, jazz, pop and blues is increasing. Her project with the Brno Philharmonic and the Baroš-Dorůžka-Šoltis rhythm section provides an extraordinary opportunity to hear, for the first time in the Czech Republic, the resonant voice of Lizz Wright against the background of orchestral colours.
Lizz Wright – vocals, David Cook – piano, Adam Levy – guitar, Ben Zwerin – bass guitar, Jack DeBoe – drums
Multi-instrumentalist and singer Jacob Collier, once a prodigious teenager, now a respected versatile artist, who is probably predestined to become a legend, will perform in Brno for the first time in his career.
Few people possess as much imagination and musical talent as Jacob Collier. He was born in London, and with his talent boosted by diligence and creativity, it is no surprise that he is described by many as one of the most innovative musicians of his generation. By the time he was barely twenty, he had already drawn the admiration of the likes of Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny and eventually signed with producer Quincy Jones.
Collier first made himself known to the public about a decade ago, in his teenage years, through social networks and homemade YouTube clips. He recorded his debut album In My Room (2016), not surprisingly, in his room. What happened next? Enthusiastic feedback from the general and professional public was eventually crowned off with two Grammy Awards. This huge success resulted in collaborations with pop and hip-hop artists like Coldplay, Tori Kelly, SZA and many others. Since 2018, Collier has been working on the Djesse series, a project of unprecedented scale – four albums consisting of fifty tracks and in collaboration with more than thirty musicians. Each album represents a completely unique musical world in sound, style and genre. Tracks from Djesse Volumes 1 & 2 earned him two Grammys for Best Arrangement, and another one in the same category in 2021 for Djesse Volume 3, which was also nominated for Album the Year in the main category.
Collier amazes listeners not only with his phenomenal musical ear, deep knowledge of the music craft and the ability to play almost any instrument, but also with his rich and famously wide vocal range. On top of everything else, his charisma easily transcends the boundaries of musical genres.
The master of bass guitar is performing in Brno for the first time ever.
We are negotiating new dates for concerts below
CLAYTON-HAMILTON JAZZ ORCHESTRA: JAZZ POWER & SOUL
feat. René Marie, Akiko Tsuruga & Dan Bárta
World big band and Czech singer on one stage? One of the most important contemporary jazz ensembles will present its Brno premiere – with Dan Bárta by its side.
The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra has had an impressive thirty-five years career on the scene. The orchestra was put together in the mid-1980s by brothers Jeff (saxophone) and John (bass) Clayton along with Jeff Hamilton (drums). Even after the recent departure of Jeff Clayton to jazz heaven, CHJO sets the tone for the contemporary big band sound. After all, when the trio recruited the first members of the ensemble, they already stated the credo that besides technical instrumental proficiency and improvisational ability, the main criterion for selection must be dedication. “The motivation must be love for music and for your musical family. And anyone who thinks it’s just about the concert itself need not apply,” said the orchestra’s founders. Of course, nothing has changed so far about that. The band excels beyond measure in its varied repertoire, to which the ensemble members themselves make numerous contributions with original compositions. It has grown and continues to grow in other unsuspected directions, for example, thanks to its collaboration with filmmakers or stars like Charles Aznavour or Diana Krall.
Another recipe for success is frequent collaboration with distinctive soloists. At the instigation of JazzFest Brno, the eclectic singer Dan Bárta will have the honour to stand alongside one of the most renowned big bands in the world, for whom John Clayton is exclusively arranging several songs. These will be performed with a full orchestra as well as a more intimate ensemble. American singer René Marie and Japanese organist Akiko Tsuruga will also spice up the concert with their skills. In short, an evening full of surprises, where only swinging yet sophisticated music remains the unshakable constant.
LIONEL LOUEKE & FRIENDS
Guitarist Lionel Loueke comes with his latest solo project inspired by the work of Herbie Hancock to play with his Czech friends – David Dorůžka, Luboš Soukup and Jiří Slavík.
Over the past two decades, Benin-born Lionel Loueke has left a visible imprint on the world music scene, both with his own work and his unmissable role in the bands of jazz personalities such as Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and Gretchen Parlato. Jazz Times magazine describes him as a musician who “is deeply respected by peers and older bandmates alike for his individualism, rhythmic ability and massive harmonic knowledge, as well as his ability to sing in one meter and play in another one or the way he turns the guitar into a virtual Afro-Western orchestra.” The leitmotif of Loueke’s new solo album HH is the music of his mentor Herbie Hancock, with whom the African guitarist has played for over fifteen years. Loueke has influenced Hancock’s hits and lesser-known songs with his own unmistakable sound. It is the repertoire from the new album that will show one of Loueke’s many faces.
The charismatic guitarist will introduce the next such face in the second part of the concert, when he will be exclusively joined by his Czech friends – his classmate from Berklee College of Music, guitarist David Dorůžka, saxophonist Luboš Soukup, who recorded the successful album Earth with Loueke, and last but not least, double bassist Jiří Slavík, who has always been close to African music and has also played with Loueke before. In short, mix four handfuls of Herbie Hancock, add three pinches of local jazz, pour on a few litres of African immediacy and a unique musical cocktail is born.
Lionel Loueke – guitar and vocals, David Dorůžka – guitar, Luboš Soukup – saxophone, Jiří Slavík – double bass
JOSHUA REDMAN QUARTET
A former “young lion”, the saxophonist, composer and elemental jazz musician Joshua Redman, is now a “lion in the best years”. He is completely at home in his musical territory, and although he likes to push beyond its limits, he still remains mainly a jazz lion.
This is demonstrated by his most stable project, the Quartet, which earned him fame in the 1990s. The features that make this incredibly well-together band instantly recognizable include the unique and irresistible tone of Redman’s saxophone, the unbridled GregHutchinson´s drumming, the soulful and earthy Reuben Rogers´ double bass, and Aaron Goldberg’s piano balanced and empathic accompaniment. The quartet has released a fresh album Come What May, which loosely follows the golden era of the band on the Beyond and Passage of Time albums. Redman, approaching his sixth decade is on optimum creative form, demonstrating with his refined taste, open-hearted approach and global experience why jazz is still such a major force in music.
Joshua Redman – saxofon, Aaron Goldberg – piano, Reuben Rogers – basa, Greg Hutchinson – bicí
CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE & INSIDE STRAIGHT
3/3/2022, 7.30 pm
After the success of his big band the virtuoso bassist, bandleader and jazz guru returns to JazzFestBrno with the fiercely jazzy Inside Straight.
Christian McBride is a renowned virtuoso. He has won seven Grammy Awards in various categories and is an absolute natural in the world of jazz, R&B and fusion. In 2007, he premiered his quintet Inside Straight in concert at the legendary club Village Vanguard. Critics and fans alike were thrilled with this acoustic effort, and not surprisingly, for McBride, it’s a return to his roots. The band has released two albums representing his vision of straight-ahead, uncompromisingly swinging jazz. After a hiatus of several years, Inside Straight is bringing the band back to the world’s stages in 2022 with a new line-up and a grooving new repertoire.
McBride’s song selection for this quintet is on the one hand carefully considered, but on the other hand never strays too far from song form and tonality. McBride is not afraid of vigorous phrasing or unusual instrumentation, none of which emerges as winner or loser in the soloist’s “self-contest”. Swinging bass lines contrast with more freely phrased saxophone, “blues-like” piano and polyrhythmic percussion to seamlessly recite their verses of black gospel. Pressurized innovative jazz with occasional spontaneous cacophony does not lack elements of funk or Afro-Cuban rhythms. Musicians who do not have only one musical face are often welcomed with open arms by audience of JazzFestBrno. Christian McBride undoubtedly belongs to this category of artists.
BRAD MEHLDAU & FILHARMONIE BRNO
6/3/2022, 7 pm
The organic fusion of Brad Mehldau and the Brno Philharmonic promises an extraordinary experience at the intersection of the universes of jazz and classical music.
The American pianist Brad Mehldau has worked his way to a unique sound that many jazz adepts, not only the younger generation, are trying to approach. “I love Mehldau’s music,” pianist Enrico Pieranunzi told DownBeat magazine a few years ago. “And I’m far from alone. For there is something enticingly mysterious in his playing. Brad Mehldau is one of the few musicians whose music is not contained in the notes they play. Above all, he reaches his listeners with what’s behind those notes. It’s as if there’s a whole unknown world behind the notes that you’re drawn to.”
After a thrilling performance with his trio and an intense solo recital, Mehldau will draw Brno fans into his world for the third time. This time he will be supported by the Brno Philharmonic orchestra. The core of the evening will be the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, to whom Mehldau has dedicated the album called After Bach. It features works by the renowned German baroque composer, each of which is followed by Mehldau’s own composition inspired by what preceded it. In Brad Mehldau’s case, this is certainly not some whimsical and daring jazzman’s departure into the world of classical music. This is confirmed by his colleague, pianist Timo Andres, who says: “There have always been elements in Mehldau’s style that remind us of Bach, especially his thickly woven voices – but he is not trying to imitate Bach or even dress up as him. Rather, After Bach explores their common ground as pianists, improvisers and composers, making implicit parallels explicit.” It is often forgotten today that Bach was admired in his time primarily for the virtuosity and complexity of his improvisations. Brad Mehldau reminds us of this fact in a tasteful and original way.
Brad Mehldau – piano, Brno Philharmonic, Clark Rundell – conductor
CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT
Singer who won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album three times in four years for three consecutive albums for the first time in Brno.
The American singer first caught the attention of jazz fans at the age of 21 with her triumph at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010. While only ten years have passed since then, much has changed in the life of Cécile McLorin Salvant. Shortly before she released her second album, WomanChild, one of the New York Times critics predicted: “Though unknown to a wide jazz audience now, her future fame is unquestionable.” Totally accurate prediction. WomanChild won a lot of awards and was nominated for a Grammy Award. She managed to turn the nominations into a later victory, but with even much larger success – winning multiple Grammy Awards for Best Vocal Jazz Albums in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Such accomplishments can be seen only rarely, much less in world of jazz music.
Cécile McLorin Salvant was born in Florida to parents from France and Haiti, her multicultural roots are important components of her music. Her latest studio album, The Window, was recorded as a duo with pianist Sullivan Fortner; and because of collaborating with larger ensembles in recent years, she claims to enjoy more freedom when working in a duo, which also offers a rich a range of possibilities as if there were a large band on stage.
Cécile McLorin Salvant – vocals, Sullivan Fortner – piano
MATTHEW STEVENS / WALTER SMITH III: In Common
ANTONIO SÁNCHEZ & BAD HOMBRE
with Thana Alexa, BIGYUKI & Lex Sadler
Cabaret des Péchés
Guitarist Matthew Stevens likes to dissolve the boundaries between jazz, rock and ambient music. Saxophonist Walter Smith III represents the personification of Dizzy Gillespie’s words, that a good musician should always have one foot in the past and the other in the future. Their collaboration project called In Common reflects the same.
Matthew Stevens is recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation. Since his arrival in New York in 2007, he has collaborated with some of the most exciting artists in contemporary music. In addition to his critically acclaimed solo albums, you may know Stevens from over 70 recordings as a distinctive sideman. He has appeared alongside artists such as Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, Christian Scott and Tunde Adjuah, among others, and played with Ben Williams at JazzFest a few years ago. His musical workmate Walter Smith has developed under the wings of many jazz “titans”. Just to name a few of them – Roy Haynes, Terence Blanchard, Eric Harland, Jason Moran, Christian McBride… Today he is widely recognized not only as a skilled performer, but also as an outstanding composer and inspiring teacher, since he is the chair of Woodwinds Department, Berklee College of Music.
Smith and Stevens recorded three albums together with the identical title In Common, distinguished only by a number. All three albums have one thing in common – they offer a unique opportunity to hear musical conversations between performers from all corners of the jazz scene, in some cases playing together for the very first time. In concert, the established duo is joined by bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Jonathan Barber. There are rumours that the fresh album In Common 3 is pushing boundaries. Let’s find out.
Matthew Stevens – guitar, Walter Smith III – saxophone, Harish Raghavan – bass, Jonathan Barber – drums
They’re here with us. People who have been asking for years when Antonio Sánchez will finally visit JazzFestBrno again. That moment is now. The drummer, who can unleash a storm behind his kit and soon turn it into a breeze and finally, at the right moment, into complete silence, is heading to Brno with this year’s Grammy-nominated band Bad Hombre.
Mexican-born Antonio Sánchez rose to the top of the jazz league at the beginning of the millennium alongside Pat Metheny, Chick Corea and Michael Brecker, and soon began to create his own musical universe with his Migration project (since 2007). “I didn’t want people to think it was a drummer’s album. I was thinking in terms of the music, I didn’t worry about how many solos I had and whether I had done enough. I wanted the music to be very melodic, accessible and with a lot of really good coordination,” he said at the time of his debut album, which featured guest appearances of Pat Metheny and Chick Corea. The principle that it’s more important to serve the whole than to draw attention to just oneself is one of the basic Sánchez’s rules which he observes to this day. That this is the right path is proven by, among other things, four Grammys and the deep appreciation he has won in the world of cinema for his daring soundtrack to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s movie Birdman. Czech fans may remember Sánchez from Pat Metheny’s Unity Band concert at Brno in 2012.
Sánchez plans to release album SHIFT (Bad Hombre Vol 2) this spring with a diverse mix of guests – from Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor to Mexican singer Lila Downs, bassist Meshell Ndegeocello and rocker Dave Mathews. He’ll be joined by his tried-and-true bandmates, including singer Thana Alexa, keyboardist Bigyuki and bassist Lex Sadler. All the basics of a wildly original show are thus fulfilled.
Antonio Sánchez – drums, vocals, Thana Alexa – vocals, BIGYUKI – keyboards, Lex Sadler – bass guitar
DELVON LAMARR ORGAN TRIO
A perfect blend of soul, jazz, rhythm & blues and rock & roll directed by the organist Delvon Lamarr.
The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio was founded in the Spring of 2015 by Amy Novo, the wife and today also the manager of the organist Delvon Lamarr. Doesn’t it sound like a fairy tale? She told her husband that she would take responsibility for his musical career so that all he needed to do in the future was to find teammates, write and play music. Many aspiring musicians, especially jazz musicians, dream of such a story.
The trio originally started with another guitarist and drummer. During the first year of their existence, the band was joined by the renowned and unique Jimmy James. The chemistry among the members of the trio was instantaneous and undeniable. With Delvona´s soulful organ sound, Jimmy´s raw guitar sound and a great drum groove, they mixed the perfect blend of soul, jazz, rhythm & blues and rock & roll. They started their career with a weekly “gig” in Seattle, then released their first album and set out on a tour of the United States and finally on a European tour.
The current drummer is an excellent groover Dan Weiss, so the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio is even further shifting its original sound. The traditional organ trio takes on a new dimension.
Delvon Lamarr – B-3 organ, Jimmy James – guitar, Dan Weiss – drums
PAT METHENY: SIDE-EYE
Most fans associate the guitarist and composer Pat Metheny with the popular Pat Metheny Group. However, the musical presence of the twentyfold Grammy winner is reflectedmost of all in the Side-Eye project, which introduces the bandleader’s great musicians of the next generation.
Pat Metheny does not need any lengthy introduction- his significance for jazz is undeniable. He began performing publicly as a teenager, and when he came to the Berklee College, where he wanted to study, he immediately found work as a teacher and a contract with the Gary Burton band – all down to his talent. In the Side-Eye band, Metheny provides space for keyboard player James Francies, and the drummer Joe Dyson. Metheny’s support for younger colleagues is legendary, as he returns the favour he received from his elders in his youth. He is also well aware that the new blood will help his music: “I am inspired by the way they cope with the musical challenges of some of my older songs. At the same time, I was intrigued by the options where the music could go if I wrote new compositions just for them, ” Metheny confirms.
Pat Metheny – guitar, Chris Fishman – piano, Joe Dyson – drums
CONCERT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JAZZ PERFORMANCE OF JAMU
Divadlo na Orlí
The Department of Jazz Performance at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts has been boasting not only an excellent teaching staff for more than ten years, but above all talented students. They are traditionally given a platform also during the traditional festival concert.
Jazz performance at the HF JAMU represents the first open course of its kind at a domestic academy. Jazz education has a not very long tradition in Europe, but it is undergoing the most turbulent changes in approach. The pioneer of jazz education in the Czech Republic is the Department of Jazz Performance at the JAMU in Brno. Within the country it offers the widest range of disciplines, now completely without instrumental limitations. Personalities of the Czech and Slovak jazz scene, including David Dorůžka, Lubomír Šrámek, Jiří Slavík, Jiří Levíček, Cyrille Oswald, Marián Ševčík, Jan Jirucha, Juraj Bartoš and Matúš Jakabčic, pass on their experience to students. Jakabčic confessed some time ago: “The Department of Jazz Performance at JAMU has brought together a great team of teachers. I would immediately go to some of them to study the segment of jazz that they know better than I do. If I had such opportunities at the age of our students, I would be extremely happy. JAMU will always be in my heart.”
During the eighth presentation concert of the department within the festival, several bands will perform. The common listener might think of an anonymous student orchestra, but in reality these are mature jazz ensembles often presenting original music by their members.
Her concert was sold out in advance, the she arrived, performed, dazzled the audience. We are talking about Hiromi at JazzFest 2019. We can expect the same scenario in 2022. However, the cast is changing. This time the Japanese pianist will not come alone, but with a string quartet.
Hiromi, long known to jazz fans around the world, became even more famous last year when she played at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. She released her debut album Another Mind in 2003 and has since added thirteen more albums, either under her own name or with her bands The Trio Project and Hiromi’s Sonicbloom. She has also collaborated with a number of legendary jazz musicians. She has recorded and toured with Chick Corea and won a Grammy with Stanley Clarke’s trio.
Hiromi captivates the general and professional public in both the East and the West with her creative energy that transcends the boundaries of jazz, classical and pop boxes and pushes improvisation and composition into new realms. Her concerts are highly energetic, featuring a blend of jazz, prog-rock and classical music. In her latest work, Silver Lining Suite, Hiromi demonstrates her virtuosic talent and emotional range as she combines her skills with a string quartet assembled by violinist Tatsuo Nishie, concertmaster of the New Japan Philharmonic. The result blurs the lines between classical music and jazz, creating a living organism that has a passionate, rock-inspired energy and cinematic beauty. Hiromi has, after all, been instilling this in her music since time immemorial. Come and see that the Japanese artist’s compositional skills have reached a new peak.
JAM SESSION FOR INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY
What better way to celebrate International Jazz Day than with an evening of musical improvisation? Pack your beloved instrument and come jam with us. Or just drop by and let yourself be carried away by the art of local and international jazz musicians. The evening will be fuelled by the house band of pianist Martin Konvička, and that means only one thing – guaranteed good times.
Alongside Konvička, saxophonists Štěpán Flagar and Marek Kotača, double bassist Martin Kocián and drummer Kristián Kuruc will take the lead. The night should turn out to be a something of a „Martin Konvička Reunion Band“. „I‘m looking forward to it and so are the guys, because a generation of musicians will meet on stage, who may have come out of different nests and developed in their own way, but we all have long-standing friendships and it‘s been ages since we‘ve had the chance to meet like this. We will pick up where we left off and exchange the experience we gained in the meantime,“ says Konvička.
International Jazz Day
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is behind the proclamation of International Jazz Day on 30 April. Its mission is to promote international cooperation in education, science and culture. With its universal reach, jazz is an ideal candidate for the role as an ambassador of such a task, able to connect people in many places throughout our planet. Together with the blues and its stylistic offshoots, it is a metaphor for life in a democracy and a celebration of freedom. Musicians and listeners have ample opportunity to express their own thoughts and feelings. Jazz Day offers an opportunity for all associations, schools, artists, historians, publicists and jazz enthusiasts from around the world to celebrate and highlight the importance of jazz, to recall its roots, genre diversity and evolution, as well as to showcase its present and future.
International Jazz Day was established in 2011. UNESCO Ambassador Herbie Hancock came up with the idea and is still the main face of the event today. The date of April 30 was chosen in consideration of the annual culmination of American Jazz Month, an April event called Jazz Appreciation Month. The first celebration took place the following year: on April 30, 2012, two main concerts were held – a sunrise concert in New Orleans and a sunset concert in New York City. In addition to Hancock, these concerts were attended by dozens of other musical personalities, including Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Stevie Wonder. The popularity of the event was enhanced by the presence of guests from the film industry including Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Morgan Freeman. In the following years, Istanbul, Osaka, Paris, Washington, Havana, St. Petersburg, Melbourne and Sydney hosted the main concert of the International Jazz Day.
But the main concert is just the tip of the iceberg. The map of International Jazz Day already includes almost two hundred countries and thousands of organisations around the world are involved in the event.
Martin Konvička – piano, Štěpán Flagar – saxophone, Marek Kotača – saxophone, Martin Kocián – double bass, Kristián Kuruc – drums
Inspired by classical and electronic music, hymnal tunes and telepathic interplay. The GoGo Penguin trio is one of the most interesting bands on the contemporary British scene, and it is no surprise that the trio earned the name “Radiohead of British Jazz”.
With their melodic lines and sophisticated harmonies, GoGo Penguin resemble a typical piano trio based on jazz and classical music, but their rhythms approximate electronic music. This combination of opposites is the reason why some critics labelled the band as post-jazz and although this issue has been widely debated, the same critics also agree that GoGo Penguin’s acoustic-electronic sound is exciting and creates impressive and emotionally charged music. It is inspired by a heady combination of influences from artists like Brian Eno, John Cage or Squarepusher, but also pulls from the atmosphere of the rain-drenched streets of Manchester. It features elements of rock and minimalism, as well as trip hop and dance music.
GoGo Penguin do not get overly concerned with traditions, so while it is usual to name a debut album eponymously, a record called “GoGo Penguin” is out as their fifth one. It is this album, full of musical adventures and released by the prestigious label Blue Note, that GoGo Penguin will present at the JazzFestBrno festival.
Chris Illingworth – piano, Nick Blacka – double bass, Jon Scott – drums
MIKE STERN & BILL EVANS BAND
As promising young men, they met in Miles Davis’ band. Even then, a musical spark jumped between them. Guitarist Mike Stern and saxophonist Bill Evans eventually fanned it into a blazing flame in the form of their own band, moving masterfully between jazz-rock and soul.
Mike Stern and Bill Evans have a history that dates back to 1981. Bill Evans was already playing for Miles Davis at the time. The legendary trumpeter was looking for a guitarist at the time and asked Evans for his opinion. He suggested Mike Stern, who had caught his eye in Billy Cobham’s band. Stern and Evans then worked together for Miles Davis for the next three years before they parted ways again.
Evans’ next steps led to John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. He also played with Herbie Hancock and Mick Jagger. Today he has nearly three dozen solo albums, Grammy awards and many other awards to his credit. Above all, he continues to do what he has always enjoyed – exploring an endless variety of genres. Since his time with Davis, Mike Stern has developed into one of the finest jazz guitarists in the world. Even after more than forty years on the scene, he continues to amaze with his impressive technique and perfect blend of bebop mastery, rock intensity and distinctive lyricism.
In 2013, thirty-two years later, Stern and Evans decided to go on the stage together again and form the Mike Stern / Bill Evans Band. The band currently features bassist Gary Grainger and drummer Dennis Chambers alongside them. Like Miles Davis’ band in their youth, the Mike Stern / Bill Evans Band is built on three pillars – passion, dynamics and excitement.
Mike Stern – guitar, Bill Evans – saxophone, Gary Grainger – bass guitar, Dennis Chambers – drums
JOEY CALDERAZZO & JOHN PATITUCCI
Cabaret des Péchés
Joey Calderazzo and John Patitucci belong to the category of musicians “par excellence”, whether as leaders or sidemen. After all, Calderazzo’s piano solos full of musical allusions and jokes boosted Branford Marsalis’s concert, and Patitucci’s empathetic bass in Brno, among other things, made the music of Wayne Shorter more heavy. Now they’re embarking on a world tour together for the first time as a duo.
While pianist Joey Calderazzo is a superb sideman, having been handpicked by Michael Brecker, Branford Marsalis, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland to join their bands, it would be a mistake to overlook his own thirteen albums, on which he has proven himself a bold composer and leader. In his own projects, Calderazzo transforms himself into a tireless explorer for whom independence is the norm, improvisation is the key and swing is the absolute necessity. Calderazzo is a bit of a musical MacGyver. He can do anything. “I can play a bit of this and a bit of that. I have something of my own, sometimes I ‘rip off’ other musicians. I have fun and I hope my listeners do too,” he says with a smile.
John Patitucci’s name has long been associated by jazz fans not only with the names of Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Stan Getz, but also with a wide range of his own recordings. Whether Patitucci picks up a double bass or a six-string bass, his respect for history combined with a progressive approach is always evident. His latest album, Soul of the Bass, is a total confirmation of that. The record features Bach, spirituals and R’n’B, and Patitucci proves that if a master plays bass, he can back a full band in any genre. “I think as you get older, you prioritize sound and feel in all music. And when you express yourself in a clear and coherent way, the result is a certain purity that can draw the listener into the communication,” Patitucci says. He plans to seal these words in a new collaborative project he will present with Joey Calderazzo in Brno.
Joey Calderazzo – piano, John Patitucci – double bass
RICHARD BONA & JAZZ DOCK ORCHESTRA
After some time, African phenomenon Richard Bona is looking forward to Brno fans, local goulash and this time also Czech teammates. We are looking forward to his show balancing between jazz, funk and world music, for the first time surrounded by the Jazz Dock Orchestra big band.
Bona’s father was a singer and percussionist, his mother a singer – so Richard was intensely involved with music since childhood. The talents he was blessed with were thus able to develop successfully. At the age of four, he began to learn to play the balafon and by the age of five he was performing at the local church. Because his family was poor, he made most of his own musical instruments, including a flute and a guitar – guitar which had strings strung across the tank of an old motorcycle. He started playing guitar at eleven and hasn’t let go since. His love for the sound of strings persisted.
Bona worked or continues to work with jazz musicians such as Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, Mike Stern and Steve Gadd. Touring with Pat Metheny Group became a bit of a turning point in his career. Through them, Bona rose to the top of pop jazz and world music. In short, everyone could see that his phrasing and energetic bass equilibristics were inimitable. In his own projects, he shows himself to be a skilled multi-instrumentalist and charismatic vocalist. He sings in English, French, Douala and, as he showed in his last Brno performance, he is not afraid of Czech either. At JazzFestBrno in the past he performed with Mandekan Cubano, a band inspired by Cuban musical tradition, and also with his home multi-genre Richard Bona Group, in which he plays not only bass guitar, but also balafon, percussion and guitar. Teaming up with the Czech ensemble Jazz Dock Orchestra is a new source of inspiration for Bona, and we’ll get to enjoy another of his musical faces.
CELEBRATION OF SYNCOPATION
Divadlo Husa na provázku
One long evening in one place and on three stages comes a continuous stream some of the most interesting music from the local jazz scene. This is the „Celebration of Syncopation“, which in its premiere year will feature, to name a few, Dan Bárta, David Dorůžka and Vertigo.
Syncopation in music is a rhythmic-metric formation that punctuates the regular progression of a musical phrase, as is written in textbooks of music theory. Syncope is also the medical term for an episode of brief disturbance of consciousness. The two definitions intersect in jazz music – syncopation, along with swing, has been a hallmark of jazz since its earliest forms, and a brief loss of consciousness can be brought on by the trance-like state you can experience both when making and absorbing the music. The Celebration of Syncopation is a new festival within the larger festival that focuses on the domestic scene and its international collaborations. Each year, it will offer the best of local jazz and related genres on the three stages of the Divadlo Husa na provázku.
This year‘s line-up offers a new project by Dan Bárta with the Robert Balzar Trio and guest Kornél Fekete Kovács, which was originally created for the TV version of JazzFest Brno in autumn 2020. During this TV filming (in 2021), the Ballard-Dorůžka-Wyleżoł project was also formed, which is the result of a long-standing effort to bring together the Czech jazz guitar phenomenon David Dorůžka with the inimitable drummer Jeff Ballard, who is best known from the Brad Mehldau trio.The quartet Turumtay & Erdoğan & Liška & Dés will also offer a varied international line-up with a strong Czech trace. Ondřej Štveráček and Luboš Soukup will also present their new bands, while special festival performances will be offered by the Brunner-Foukalová-Křišťan trio, Point of Few with guest Jan Uvira, and Vertigo, a band celebrating its 20th anniversary. The emerging generation will also get a chance to perform, this time with a chamber performance by the band Treetop. And since the evening starts at 5 pm and will last till about midnight, it is guaranteed that syncopation will be in abundance.
Dan Bárta & Robert Balzar Trio feat. Kornél Fekete-Kovács
Vertigo: 20 years
Dorůžka & Wyleżoł & Ballard
Foukalová & Brunner & Křišťan
Luboš Soukup & Kresten Osgood Project
Turumtay & Erdoğan & Liška & Dés
Štveráček & Charette & Šoltis
Point of Few