Split into different sections, this year’s JAZZMADRID programme turns the capital into a veritable nerve centre of jazz.
In this edition, JAZZMADRID is definitely throwing its weight behind local jazz once again.
Concerts, films, talks and exhibitions, from the 2nd to the 30th of November.
Madrid will be caught up in a whirlwind of jazz that will keep blowing throughout the month of November thanks to the latest edition of JAZZMADRID, the festival that enjoys the patronage of the Madrid City Council. Although the main venues for its activities will be the Fernán Gómez Theatre, CentroCentro and Condeduque, the festival will also include several municipal initiatives such as the 21 Distritos project and the Ciudad Lineal Jazz Festival, not to mention the concerts and activities that will be taking place at the National Music Auditorium , the Círculo de Bellas Artes, the French Institute, the National Library of Spain, the Teatro Pavón (where the “Villains of Jazz” cycle will be held) and various live music venues in Madrid. Altogether, we’re talking about no less than ninety concerts, approximately.
This year, the reason for the singular nature of the line-up lies in the unanimous decision of the City Council to once again book essentially local musicians, albeit with a number of exceptions. There is still a clearly ethical intention in the decision, as well as an explicit intention to contribute to alleviate, to the extent possible, the damage that the pandemic has done to our community of musicians.
That’s why there will be a lot of flamenco colouring in the proposals, but also a loving anthology of projects dedicated to cultivating the varied catalogues of the most advanced school of jazz. Another section 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.
A programme with its own identity
And the fact is that a festival made in Spain flexes its cultural muscle when its line-up includes up to half a dozen jazz-flamenco groups. The first one on the bill is pianist Pedro Ojesto who on this occasion will be playing in a quartet together with saxophonist Roman Filiú. Next, a couple of performances have been confirmed by the Ole Swing group and by Antonio Lizana who will be presenting the album “A Different Reality” with his new group. Also presenting his latest album will be Chico Pérez, the huge piano sensation who’ll be visiting us from Jaen on the eve of another spectacular concert that will feature the two pianos of Chano Domínguez and Diego Amador. The new quintet of drummer Guillermo McGill will be rounding off this particular series of events.
From beyond our borders
The cavalcade of foreign stars that will be appearing on the same stages is headed by German pianist Joachim Kühn, a jazz aristocrat who relishes the act of creation with unbridled intensity. All the way from Benin and armed only with his guitar, Lionel Loueke will be here to reconstruct the piano world of Herbie Hancock. And the show goes on with the visit of the intriguing trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and the new quartet of Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset, who has been seen at this festival in different groups led by trumpeter Nils Peter Molvaer.
Polish pianist Dominik Wania, who will be presenting his album “Lonely Shadows”, is intent on making sure we know, his reflective style notwithstanding, that his credentials aren’t so much indebted to the Evans-Jarrett-Mehldau trio, but rather to classical European music and free improvisation. Another pianist, Chick Corea, will also be present in the festival, although this time, through the evocation of his music by several members of two of his groups, Touchtone and Spanish Heart Band. None other than: Jorge Pardo, Carles Benavent, Rubem Dantas, Niño Josele, and, last but not least, Tino Di Geraldo and Ton Risco.
And yet another hugely gifted pianist in the different languages of jazz, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, will bring the programme to a close by performing, together with vocalist Aymée Nuviola, the songs they recorded for the album “A Perfect Fit” (“Como anillo al dedo”). By then, however, quite a few artists will already have graced the stage of the Condeduque Centre for Contemporary Culture: Duot and Andy Moore on the one hand, and, in residency and all the way from Cuba, César Filiú Douglas and Román Filiú, the latter accompanied by the Assai Quarter.
Maestros and up-and-coming talent
At this stage, anyone might be forgiven for thinking that a musical rendezvous of these characteristics couldn’t possibly have anything more to offer. Not so! The JAZZMADRID line-up also includes a more than noteworthy number of highly qualified Spanish musicians, even though some of them are relative newcomers to the scene. The Municipal Symphonic Band, directed by maestro Jan Cober will be among the first to appear. They’ll be playing tunes from their jazz repertoire in an extraordinary concert at the Teatro Monumental. And not only that: Carmen París, Alfonso Vilallonga, Ignasi Terraza, Gonzalo del Val, Susan Santos, Patáx as well as all the musicians who played in the last quartet that saxophonist Pedro Iturralde toured with. All of them, with the collaboration of Perico Sambeat, will render a heartfelt tribute to the artist from Navarra who left us last year.
Sambeat was also on the verge of playing as a special guest of the Creativa Grand Ensemble, but in the end, due to the saxophonist’s work commitments, the concert will be going ahead without him. This leads us to mention the necessary presence of all these new creators whose inclusion on the JAZZMADRID line-up is justified – not only because of their obvious quality, but also because otherwise they would probably have a pretty hard time breaking into these circuits. This section includes pianist Lucía Rey, singers Verónica Ferreiro and Paula Parker, and trumpet player Alba Careta, among others.
Villains of Jazz at the Pavón
The eminently international jazz offer has a privileged slot in this year’s JAZZMADRID programme, thanks to the concerts that are being staged in collaboration with the Teatro Pavón on Calle Embajadores, under the name “Villains of Jazz”. This cycle will allow us to discover the most suggestive adventures that the immense world of free music has been serving up for several decades now, but we will also be able to gauge the temperature of some of the latest experiences offered by a younger generation of instrumentalists.
These concerts include such names as José James, Tino Di Geraldo, Judith Hill, Dani García, Kyle Eastwood, Kenny Garrett, Julian Lage, Charles Lloyd, Dave Weckl & Tom Kennedy Project and Sona Jobarteh, among others.
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 going on in the venues mentioned above, creating a mosaic which means that visitors will have to decide which activity they’re most keen to attend.
The municipal initiatives of the Ciudad Lineal Jazz Festival and the 21 Distritos project concentrate a fair number of proposals that represent the best of “our home”. In both sections, fans in Madrid will be able to enjoy concerts by David Pastor, Sara del Valle, Antonio Serrano, the Big Band of the Professional Conservatory of Arturo Soria, María Toro and Israel Sandoval, among others.
Jazz in the clubs
As you can see, there are lots of reasons why Madrid won’t stop breathing jazz during the well-nigh thirty days of the festival, and the city’s clubs and live music venues are also partly to blame for this! As in previous years, thanks to the proposals of the La Noche en Vivo Association, they have once again put together a really varied programme. As many as nineteen concerts will be taking place in thirteen of the city’s clubs where you’ll be able to enjoy performances by artists from far and near, including most notably, pianists Bruce Barth and Joshua Edelman, and guitarist Chema Sáiz.
National Music Auditorium, French Institute and the CBA
The jazz concerts in this season’s programme at the National Music Auditorium have achieved something that seemed quite unattainable not all that long ago: to nurture and maintain a loyal and burgeoning group of jazz fans from within the world of classical music. It’s no wonder: the concerts they put on are carefully selected. This year it’s the turn of singers Cecile McLorin and Madeleine Peyroux, each with a growing number of staunch fans.
The auditorium of the French Institute will be the venue for a short concert by Jacky Terrasson, one of Europe’s best jazz pianists, who will be illustrating the screening of the film “La Sincérité”, by director Charles Guérin Surville, in which Terrasson himself takes part as an actor, playing a role that fits him like a glove: that of a jazz pianist.
Finally and by way of a contrast, the Círculo de Bellas Artes, just like the Ciudad Lineal Festival and the 21 Distritos project, will also be concentrating a considerable number of events that represent the very best of our jazz. During the month of November, the Dance Hall at the Círculo will be the venue for the latest offering from Carmen Vela and from the quintets led by vocalist Pedro Ruy-Blas and saxophonist Ariel Brínguez.
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.
In this case, the difference lies in the different lectures by a number of jazz professionals and scholars (one of which will take place at the National Library); an exhibition of photographs of jazz musicians by Jaime Massieu who will also be presenting his book “The Music I Have Seen”; and last but not least, the screening of the film “La Sincérité”, by Charles Guérin Surville, which will take place at the French Institute and will be followed by a live chat with the director and some of the actors.
Thanks to this festival, if I may paraphrase Ernst Hemingway, Madrid is a soundscape you can never forget, it follows you wherever you go. And each person who enjoys it will take home a memory that will be different from that of anybody else. Thank you all for supporting live music.