The best of Jazz

For 2017 the Funchal Jazz Festival is going with a varied programme joining rising stars with well-established names of the music scene.

The Funchal Jazz Festival is set to return to Parque de Santa Catarina between July 13th and 15th for another edition which, in the words of artistic director Paulo Barbosa, ‘intends to illustrate the best of modern jazz’.

Last year, about 6,500 people visited Parque de Santa Catarina during the event’s three days. The artistic director argues that the goal for this year’s edition is to at least meet those figures. Paulo Barbosa is under the belief that ‘people will not want to miss out on the opportunity to see several of the most resonant names in the musical landscape of our days play live’.

When it comes to the event’s programme, he opts to highlight it as a whole rather than specify a few names. ‘One of the organisation’s most significant commitments has to do with offering a globally varied programme built on different values so that no name in this year’s edition will not go unnoticed to anyone who knows anything about jazz’, he explains.

This year’s edition will see young talents join instruments with well-established musicians who have made their own names playing the genre born in late 19th century New Orleans. The festival’s first evening, on Thursday, is good example. If on the one hand we have young João Barradas performing with his band (João Barradas Directions) and sax player Greg Osby, on the other we have Joe Lovano’s (sax tenor) Saxophone Summit, with David Liebman (sax soprano), Phil Markowitz (piano), Canil McBee (bassist), Billy Hart (drummer) and Greg Osby himself (high sax)who has a long track in the industry.

More experienced musicians also include Charles Lloyd, who will be performing on July 15th with his quartet. ‘Even at the height of his 79 years of age, he pulled off the titles of Tenor Saxophonist of the Year and Midsize Ensemble of the Year in a single day, both awarded by the Jazz Journalist Association’ says Paulo Barbosa as he shows how there is no right age for being a genius.

Opening the first concert on July 15th is the Trio composed of Bill Frisel (guitar), Tony Scherr (electric bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums).

On the day before that, there are two other concerts. The first by the Rudy Royston OriOn triO which will bring together sax tenor and soprano Jon Irabagon, bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Rudy Royston who took third place in the 2013 ‘critic’s Rising Star Drums poll by DownBeat magazine’.

After that it will be Kurt Rosenwinkel Caipi Band’s turn to take the stage at Parque de Santa Catarina. He is one of ‘the most influential guitarists of the last two decades’. Every night, the first concert is to start at 9: 30 p.m. and the second one around 11 p.m.

This year’s edition of the Jazz Festival leaves its mark of innovation by adding a pedagogic component to the already memorable roll of artists. There is to be a workshop run by a group of American musicians and two lectures: one delivered by music critic Leonel Santos on the essence and internal conflicts of jazz and another one by Madeiran researcher Vitor Sardinha on this musical genre’s history in Madeira.

As per usual, right after the concerts in Parque de Santa Catarina, the night jazzes on in Scat with the Jam Sessions, with the Alexandre Coelho Quartet. Recently, the group comprising João Mortágua (high sax & soprano), Gonçalo Moreira (piano), João Cação (bass) and Alexandre Coelho (drums) has ‘taken to the national jazz scene’.

Scat is also the stage for the Festival’s presentation show on July 8th with the Madeira Jazz Collective & Vânia Fernandes, ‘the Madeiran singer to have won more awards’.

Between July 10th and 14th, early in the evening, Avenida Arriaga is also a jazz stage, with five combos and the Conservatory of Madeira’s very own jazz orchestra offering visitors their own take on the genre.