JAZZMADRID, For all of you
This year marks the tenth anniversary of this new format which, under the name of JAZZMADRID, has taken up the baton of the city’s former International Jazz Festival. If for no other reason, it’s clear that this event reached solid ground quite some time ago. It began in 2014 with little more than a bundle of modest dreams shared by those who are still the driving force behind it today, but thanks to the decisive support of the Madrid City Council, it soon grew wings that allowed it to reach the heights of the giants of the air. Today this event is more than just an ambassador for the jazz that is created in our city at the beginning of autumn; it is about the art of developing and growing without restraint, with an identity all its own, but also as a brotherhood that embraces all its collaborators. It is the confirmation of a powerful transformation that is under way, the negation of a mere fad, the absolute certainty of being able to turn what for others is just a passing adventure into one that will stand the test of time.
From 8 October until 30 November, jazz will be back in our city. JAZZMADRID will once again take over our streets and venues, impregnating them with sounds and colours, and shaking up the city’s most emblematic spots with dozens of concerts and a few other complementary jazz-related activities.
Madrid on the European jazz map
As on previous occasions, the programme is eminently plural, with the main aim of once again offering a line-up that, in terms of volume and content, will once again confirm Madrid’s place on the map of Europe’s best jazz festivals alongside such long-established and illustrious events as those held in Umbría in Italy, Montreux in Switzerland, and Jazzaldia in San Sebastian. A festival by and for the city that will once again take place in different venues around Madrid, although as in recent years, its nerve centres will continue to be the stages of the Guirau Hall of the Fernán Gómez Theatre, the Caja de Música in CentroCentro, and the auditorium of the Condeduque Centre for Contemporary Culture.
Jazz for everyone
And while we’ll be able to enjoy jazz of international scope and projection in these venues, such as that offered up by James Carter, Stacey Kent, Samara Joy and Ron Carter, in circuits such as the Ciudad Lineal Jazz Festival, Jazz in the Districts or at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, the programme will cater to musical demands that are mainly local in scope, but always based on the standards of rigour and quality for which this festival is renowned. It will be a pleasure to see, among others, such visitors as Pedro Ojesto, David Peña Dorantes, Víctor Antón, Beatriz Zaragoza, Adrianne Kyjovsky, or the duos formed by María Berasarte and Pepe Rivero or guitarists Rycardo Moreno and Cenk Erdogan.
Surprising adventurers and giant instrumentalists
Returning to the Fernán Gómez, Conde Duque and CentroCentro, the venues for the official section of JAZZMADRID, it is interesting to note that the programme is full of undeniably borderline, or if you prefer , adventurous surprises, thanks to the appearances of artists and groups such as Avishai Cohen, James Brandon Lewis, Mike Stern, Baptiste Trotignont, Nils Petter Molvaer and Donny McCaslin – the latter two are responsible for a sound philosophy whose revival has been called for by a considerable number of fans since the two artists appeared at this festival five and seven years ago, respectively.
The shared home of the blues
Another of the surprises on the line-up is the fact that the blues are still very much part of the festival programme. This musical style, which always attracts an enthusiastic and loyal audience, boasts an exceptional protagonist this time in the figure of Elliott Sharp. Sharp’s origins are his endorsement: the New York experimental scene that has John Zorn at the helm. His concerts are more or less akin to witnessing the birthing of art at the very moment the author is himself discovering it. This may well be the best way to describe the ephemeral and unique nature of this Cleveland-based creator’s music which is more or less the same, albeit with a different intentionality, as that of British guitarist Kaki King, whose engaging and completely unorthodox style has already attracted a host of fans who follow her adventures avidly. And although her style is radically different, the Cape Verdean singer Mayra Andrade is also on the bill.
Jazz divas and emerging artists
At this point, it is worth noting – as we do every year – that to date, women make up just over one third of the artistic bulk of the festival line-up. And, as is the case with the men, another factor has been taken into account, apart from quality, of course, and that is the youth of the participants.
Once again, large ensembles will be taking part, such as the Arturo Soria Big Band and the Creativa Grand Ensemble, both of which are made up of musicians drawn from the respective classrooms of the Arturo Soria Conservatory and the School of Creative Music. At JAZZMADRID, these performers, along with others such as the Soler Jazz Band from the Father Antonio Soler Integrated Music Centre, in San Lorenzo de El Escorial; the winning project of the Conde Duque Jazz Residency, with drummer Eva Catalá very much to the fore, and the two artists presented by the AIE, Irene Reig and Juan Sáiz, will find somewhere they can demonstrate that their technique – and they all have more than their fair share of that – is not the only measure of their talent.
Eclecticism and World Jazz
The fact that this cycle is inspired by a strictly eclectic vocation is evident from the concerts that will feature the British producer and composer Alfa Mist, the aforementioned singers Mayra Andrade and Samara Joy (who has just won a Grammy, by the way), the Rembrandt Trio from the Netherlands, and the guitarist and pianist Ralph Towner proponent of a sonic philosophy that, on the fiftieth anniversary of its creation, continues to inspire and nourish the work of Oregon, probably the most influential formation that chamber jazz has ever seen.
But there is still room in the programme for a number of creators who belong to that model of jazz that lends sonic freedom to popular music from every corner of the planet, allowing them to express their most recent concerns. A unique opportunity to discover the quality of the Arabic evocations that adorn the music of the band led by the Lebanese lute player Rabih Abou Khalil, the African ones of the Ethiopian multi-instrumentalist Mulatu Astatke, or the Caribbean ones of the Cuban pianist Pepe Rivero, who will be performing as part of a duo with the singer Ángela Cervantes.
Classicism: evergreens of modern jazz
However, if you want to savour the sounds and flavours found in the messages of classical jazz, then there’s no doubt about it: what you need to do is attend a concert by, for example, double bassist Ron Carter, pianist and vocalist Patricia Barber, the Municipal Symphonic Band of Madrid, or the members of the group that has decided to pay tribute this year to the late great pianist Tete Montoliú. Taken together, these performances are a perfect illustration of the intention behind this festival from day one; essentially, that classical jazz, past and present, should no longer just past through festivals without leaving any trace other than that of an exotic memory.
The glamour of Closing Night
Finally, and as a declaration of principle, the official part of the festival will draw to a close at Fernán Gómez with a grand concert featuring trumpeter and singer Andrea Motis, who has been given carte blanche to offer a unique performance with the Camerata Conservatori Liceu, in which she will present her latest recordings. A splendid conclusion to a festival that, among many other objectives, seeks to adapt the language of jazz to the stylistic identity of one of the artists with the greatest and most solid international projection today. The results of her work show that the ideas she’s been putting forward for years have been backed up by something more than rough sketches, and that she has never launched initiatives on the spur of the moment, but rather real and heartfelt projects that have always received strong support from the public.
Other geographies of jazz: The Italian Institute, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid en Vivo and Jazz Villains (Villanos del Jazz)
Finally, maintaining one of the features that have already made this event so unique, its natural geographies in Fernán Gómez, CentroCentro and Conde Duque, will be considerably expanded to include the concerts and jazz activities planned for November by the Italian Cultural Institute, the Madrid en Vivo association through its Jazz con Sabor a Club (Club-flavoured Jazz]) programme, the Círculo de Bellas Artes and the Jazz Villains cycle, which has come up with a fascinating programme this year. So as you can see, JAZZMADRID is once again an enormous sounding board for all these initiatives that share the same bloodline, a gigantic megaphone of walking, talking truths that proclaims an existence and an identity that will henceforth be definitively shared between public and private initiatives.
The Italian Cultural Institute, Madrid en Vivo and the Jazz Circle, of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, are long-standing collaborators of JAZZMADRID, while Jazz Villains, now in its third year, is actively collaborating with the festival in its main venues, the Teatro Pavón and the Sala Villanos (formerly the Caracol), as well as sharing a number of concerts at the Fernán Gómez, an initiative that crystallises the attractive formula of joint collaboration between private and public entities that this event has been committed to for years. Another similar case is that of the Zaragoza Jazz Festival, which has been collaborating and sharing concerts with JAZZMADRID for the past four years.
The Jazz Villains programme kicks off at the beginning of October, and this year’s line-up includes such attractive names as Alfredo Rodríguez, Inmanuel Wilkins, Birelli Lagrene, Tigran Hamasyan, Dhafer Youssef, Antonio Lizana, Jose James, Billy Cobham, Mark Guilliana, Harold López-Nussa and The Stick Men, the group led by Tony Levin. To name but a few, as there’s not enough space in these introductory notes to list them all. To see the full line-up and the other sections and collaborators, we suggest you check out the full schedule of activities on the festival’s website.
Attached to the landscape of Madrid
With this sound structure, JAZZMADRID continues to be one of the best subalpine events that jazz is capable of producing. A clear reference point for those who want the autumn events to be a showcase for what is being produced on the current jazz scene. And the fact that this selection includes such an abundance of stylistic offerings in all colours and sizes makes it all the more attractive. When all is said and done, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that this is a festival conceived, promoted, and managed by the Madrid City Council and, as such, it is an integral part of the city, making this event unthinkable anywhere else.
The programme will be rounded off by a lecture to be held at the National Library of Spain that will trace the dynamics of detective fiction before the advent of jazz. This is a continuation of previous lectures held at the same venue, which focused on the relationship between jazz, noir fiction and cinema. And on the subject of cinema, there will also be screenings of various fiction films and jazz documentaries at the La Elipa and Príncipe de Asturias Cultural Centres, as well as at the Cineteca (Film Archive), where a lecture speculating on the simultaneous birth of the cinematograph and cinema will open the film cycle at this emblematic venue in Matadero Madrid.
All things considered – please forgive me for insisting on this detail – it is very clear that Madrid and jazz continue to move forward and face the future in close union. So much so, in fact, that whenever the latter is absent, the city immediately loses the sonic profile that has characterised it for so long. Here jazz is music for the landscape and not of the landscape. Music firmly rooted in reality. Music for the mind, for intelligence.
In short, we can only offer our unreserved applause to an initiative such as that of the Madrid City Council, which involves institutions and organisations such as all those mentioned above, in an effort to continue cultivating aesthetic fraternity and to make increasingly advanced and gratifying commitments to a definitive understanding between all these public and private initiatives. The adventure of integration began ten years ago, and then it was just a matter of ensuring that JAZZMADRID matured in different directions. Far from being an attractive proposition, that moment has now arrived. This festival is for all of you.