Lizz Wright with her velvet voice.
TALLINN - The sun rising higher and the days growing longer; these are always sure signs that the time for Estonia’s biggest jazz party, Jazzkaar, is drawing ever nearer. Running from April 20-29, this year’s Jazzkaar has a brand new home by the sea – the custom-built Marina Pavilion on the Tallinn Harbor grounds. The elegant 1,170 m2 pavilion, accommodating 1,000 listeners and its surroundings – the cozy cafes, exhibitions, recreational areas – make for a groovy festival environment, a great place to enjoy the combination of cool music and seaside vibes.
Jazzkaar (Jazz Arc over Estonia) was first held in 1990. After Estonia regained its independence, new possibilities opened to invite world-famous jazz artists to perform next to Estonian musicians, and to mark the Tallinn Festival on the world’s jazz map. Jazzkaar offers the best opportunities for Estonian jazz artists to see the work of current top jazz artists from all over the world, and for listeners it is a window into the wide world of jazz.
The initiator of the project, Chief Organizer and Artistic Director of Jazzkaar Anne Erm, outlines that the aim of the festival is to offer a broad selection of music, from avant-garde tendencies to mainstream-jazz, as well as more interesting levels of world music and blues. Already in the first festival years it hosted such great artists as Ray Anderson, Steve Lacy, Leroy Jenkins and the Roscoe Mitchell Quartet.
Besides the above-mentioned, the festival also hosted through the years many distinguished artists such as Joe Zawinul, Toots Thielemans, Dave Douglas, Jan Garbarek, Charles Lloyd, Bela Fleck, Courtney Pine, John Abercrombie, Eliane Elias, Mike Stern, Joey De Francesco, Richard Bona, Omar Sosa, Bobby Previte, Brad Mehldau, Diane Schuur, John Scofield, Randy Brecker, Markus Stockhausen and many others.
The headliners of Jazzkaar 2012 are the Jan Garbarek Group. Trilok Gurtu (Norway-India), Lizz Wright (USA), the Brand New Heavies (UK) and Amadou & Mariam (Mali). Besides the capital city, Tallinn, the festival will visit 16 other towns in Estonia. The opening concert of Jazzkaar 2012 will feature the world music group Amadou & Mariam, who are currently touring with their new album in Europe. The superstars of the band, two blind Mali-born musicians, have sung themselves into the hearts of hundreds of thousands of listeners all over the world.
One of the most loved guests of Jazzkaar, Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, steps onto these shores this spring with a new set and set-up, including Indian percussion wizard Trilok Gurtu. One of the architects of Nordic jazz and one of the true greats of modern jazz, Jan Garbarek is a living saxophone legend. His style can easily be recognized - his interpretational nuances and sound-scapes have that something special which cannot be replicated.
Velvet voiced Lizz Wright, representing the new generation of American jazz divas, and British club music legend The Brand New Heavies, are to give their first ever concerts in Estonia.
The warmth of her voice and her presence on stage have brought Wright unprecedented global success while already placing the 32-year-old singer among the best of jazz vocalists.
Acid jazz legend from London – The Brand New Heavies – has in a quarter of a century taken its music to worldwide fame. Being the pioneers of their style, the band has fused jazz, funk and hip-hop in a way only they can.
The first weekend of Jazzkaar 2012 will focus on young performers and younger listeners – the smallest music-lovers included. The festival’s foreign partners, the nomadic jazz festival “12 Points,” will present three emerging European jazz bands: Kaja Draksler Acropolis Quintet (Slovenia), Elifantree (Finland-Sweden) and MeTal-O-PhoNe (France). The musically minded kids will receive a fabulous gift from the lovely Danish band Djanzz, which will take children and their parents on a fantasy trip. On Sunday, April 22, Jazzkaar will take a tour of one of Tallinn’s most idiosyncratic and colorful districts, Kalamaja, where there are many intriguing places to discover and explore – free of charge! And the Marina Pavilion will also host a free concert by the new and unique Folk Orchestra.
Estonian musicians, as usual, will be performing a number of fascinating projects. There’s the Estonian Vocal Gala with 10 wonderful female singers. Tonis Magi will appear with a big blues band. The best of Estonia’s bassists will form the Aces of Basses, etc. The festival also presents Young Jazz Talent 2011, Joel Rasmus Remmel with his trio, also Oleg Pissarenko, Jaak Sooaar, Raivo Tafenau, Meelis Vind, Villu Veski and many others.
Over the course of the festival young musicians from the Georg Ots Music School will fill the streets and parks of Tallinn with vibrant music. You will see and hear them at the harbor, the airport, several shopping centers, on the streetcars and elsewhere! Young talent will also take part in the matinees at the Theater NO99 Jazz Club, the Jazz Painting project and other exciting festival events.
For full information on the festival’s program, venues and tickets go to: www.jazzkaar.ee