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Festival de Jazz de València: 25 years of consolidation and expansion

In Music 20 June, 2022

Chloé Hasgaard

Chloé Hasgaard

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Festival de Jazz de València, organized by the Palau de la Música, celebrates its 25th edition with a program that, as it has been doing in its last stage, is characterized by combining the presence of great figures of the international and national scene of this genre, together with emerging names and outstanding samples of Valencian jazz, to take jazz to the neighborhoods and put the focus on the increasingly prestigious schools of the Community. If this is an indicator of quality, and it is, start counting the Grammys accumulated by these legendary musicians, as well as the critical and public awards of young classics, in a line-up that includes John Scofield, Ron Carter, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Snarky Puppy, Silvia Pérez Cruz.

Between 2 and 31 July, concerts will be held at the Teatro Principal de Valencia – since the usual stage at the Palau de la Música is under construction – and in various neighbourhoods and towns of the city. This year, the festival poster and image design are signed by the artist Diego Mir. The festival kicks off at half past seven on day two with a free concert by the Municipal Symphonic Band of Valencia, conducted by Rafael Sanz-Espert, accompanied by the Spanish Brass and Barcelona Gospel Messengers, who will offer the audience a repertoire of the best standards and gospel.

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One of the characteristics that have marked the course of the festival in recent years has been the opening up of a genre that was considered elitist to the general public, so every year activities have been programmed that travel around the city and in each neighborhood and surrounding towns you can enjoy free concerts in the cycle of “Jazz als barris i Pobles de Valencia” (Jazz in the neighborhoods and towns of Valencia). This year they will take place from the 16th to the 31st of July, and all of them will start at 8pm. The cycle will begin with Ki Big band, which starts the cycle in the Parque Central (access from Calle Filipinas); followed by Lirica Big band in the Plaza del Santísimo Cristo de Nazaret (17th July); Jeff Jerolamon Jazz Experience in the Plaza de la Iglesia de Campanar (23rd July); Screaming Pillows in Massarojos (24th July); Pilar McCarthy Quintet in the Perellonet (30th July) and Arantxa Domínguez and Ricardo Belda in the Plaza de Patraix.

The symbolism of this new edition adds to the end of the pandemic its silver jubilee with a loyal and growing fan base, which has not missed its annual date with jazz for a quarter of a century and which is joined each year by a greater number of newcomers thanks to the outreach work of its organisers. Being able to attend concerts of this magnitude in the city of Valencia is a privilege that the public is grateful for with its loyalty. Of the eighteen concerts to be enjoyed this July, twelve will be performed by Valencian jazz professionals, and the musicians taking part in the different seminars number more than a hundred.
A festival of this calibre has doubled its previous budget this year to €248,231.50, which places it at the head of the jazz festivals in the Valencian Community and the whole Mediterranean arc of Spain. The popular prices are an added incentive for the concerts, which will all start at 8 p.m. and will cost between 5 and 30 euros. Except for the concert on the 9th of July, that of Damaris Gilabert and the Happy Band Sedajazz Kids, which will take place at 11.00 am. As we have indicated, the concert that opens the Festival and which will feature the Municipal Symphonic Band (2nd July) as well as the concert that closes the performances in the Principal, the tribute to Toni Belenguer (17th July), are free of charge.
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The international line-up of the Valencia Jazz Festival brings together jazz legends such as John Scofield (5 July), considered the innovator of modern jazz guitar, who will be presenting his latest work Yankee Go Home! at the Festival. As well as the great double bass player Ron Carter (10 July), the legendary member of Miles Davis’ historic quintet between 1963 and 1968, who will visit Valencia accompanied by his quartet Foursight. Two other immense jazzmen, saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas (13 July), will present their latest work, Other Worlds. Another highlight is the visit and debut at the festival of Snarky Puppy (12 July), one of the most popular and influential bands in modern jazz with four Grammys, who will present Immigrance.

Also making her debut at the Valencia Jazz Festival will be Sílvia Pérez Cruz (6 July), who will present her interdisciplinary Farsa Circus Band, her interdisciplinary Farsa fusion proposal. The jazz trio Colina-Miralta-Sambeat (CMS) (9 July) will offer a fusion of jazz and flamenco, along with Juan Gómez “Chicuelo”, one of the most renowned flamenco guitarists.

Silvia Pérez Cruz

Silvia Pérez Cruz

Valencian jazz will kick off the Festival with the Municipal Symphonic Band of Valencia, conducted by Rafael Sanz-Espert, with the group Spanish Brass and Barcelona Gospel Messengers, who will offer the audience a repertoire of the best standards and gospel (2 July). The Orquesta de València returns to the Festival with the great trumpeter David Pastor (8 July). They will present the Symphonic Jazz Sketches project, which will be conducted by Miguel Ángel Navarro. The next event will be an ensemble of Valencian musicians, who will pay tribute to the legendary album The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus (14th July). The culmination and closing of the Festival in the Teatro Principal will be the tribute to the great trombonist Toni Belenguer (17th July), which will feature another ensemble made up of some of the best musicians of the Valencian Community.

As we have mentioned, one of the distinguishing features of the Jazz Festival is its pedagogical aspect, and, in this sense, the professors of the Berklee campus in Valencia, Berklee All Stars (7 July) will return with a concert of jazz fusion, Latin jazz and original music, highlighting the debut of singer Damaris Gilabert with the Happy Band Sedajazz Kids (9 July), with a show as part of Menut Jazz. Once again this year, the Palau de la Música’s International Jazz Seminar, organised by Sedajazz, will be held for the 22nd time, from 27th to 30th June, at the Palau de la Música’s headquarters. It is aimed at students and professional jazz musicians who will be able to attend Master Classes on different themes, jam sessions and other complementary activities.

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