HEADLINERS TO INCLUDE WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET, CHICK COREA & GARY BURTON, BRAD MEHLDAU, MARCUS MILLER, BÉLA FLECK, AND KIND OF BLUE @ 50 – JIMMY COBB’S SO WHAT BAND
Festival to conclude with Chano Domínguez in NYC At Jazz Standard, December 3-6The 41st Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival, featuring over 60 concerts at 13 venues, set for October 18-December 6, is pleased to announce its 2009 lineup including headline performances by Wayne Shorter Quartet, Chick Corea & Gary Burton, Joe Lovano Nonet, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, Brad Mehldau Trio, Bill Evans Soulgrass Band, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Allen Toussaint, and Cassandra Wilson.
“Barcelona is definitely one of the places around the world where jazz lives today” opined Joan Anton Cararach, artistic director of the Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival, during a recent interview session with Larry Blumenfeld for Jazziz. With over 60 concerts and lectures scheduled over a month-and-a-half, including newly commissioned works and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, it is easily discerned that Cararach speaks the truth – jazz lives in Barcelona and is reaching new and existing audiences alike.
The festival opens with a performance by Big Band de l’Esmuc in tribute to 70 years of Blue Note Records. Among the heavyweight champions of jazz headlining the festival are the best and brightest contemporary performers, including Aaron Parks Trio, Magos Herrera, and Maria Schneider (appearing in her own sets with Big Band de l’Esmuc). Of special interest is the festival’s Finestres series – Windows into new deviations of modern music that do not always conform to traditional definitions of jazz. Among the performers in this series are Norwegian indie folk-pop duo, Kings of Convenience, Brazilian electro-samba chanteuse CéU, post-rock Chicagoans Tortoise, and Israeli pop superstar Noa.
This year’s festival also includes a dedication to Miles Davis and the 50th anniversary of Kind of Blue featuring commissioned works from Omar Sosa with Jerry González (performing their “Afro-Cuban side of Kind of Blue”), and Chano Domínguez Flamenco Quintet performing El duende de ‘Kind of Blue’, (while there is no English translation for el duende, It is best described as the unique groove-like sensation of Flamenco music). Marcus Miller, with Tutu Revisited Featuring Christian Scott, will be also at the Palau de la Música celebrating the music of Miles Davis. The premier performance of these dedications is Kind of Blue @ 50 – Jimmy Cobb’s So What Band (Cobb was the drummer on the original Davis recording).
The Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival not only connects with fans on stage, but at the podium as well. Guest speakers for this year’s lecture series include Blue Note Records President Bruce Lundvall, jazz author and former Boston Globe columnist Bob Blumenthal, the New Yorker’s Alex Ross, Michael Jackson biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, director of Programming at Jazz at Lincoln Center Antonio Ciacca, producer and Sunnyside Records founder François Zalacain, and Billboard/Downbeat columnist Dan Ouellette who will administer his famous “Blindfold Test” live on Chano Domínguez. A featured panel titled “Jazz is Dead? Long Live Jazz!” will take place on November 6, featuring some of the aforementioned speakers alongside industry colleagues. Past guests on the lecture series have included authors Ashley Kahn, Ben Ratliff, Bill Milkowski, Nate Chinen and All About Jazz.com founder Michael Ricci, among others.
For the first time, the Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival crosses the Atlantic to New York’s Jazz Standard, where Chano Domínguez Flamenco Quintet reprises their El duende de ‘Kind of Blue’ commission. This celebratory 4-night stand from December 3-6 will also mark the occasion of the English version of the festival’s book, which chronicles its 40+ year history, including articles penned by Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein, among others.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the festival in 2008, the festival initiated it’s Gold Medal Award. The first recipient was Bebo Valdés. This year’s recipient will be Wayne Shorter in honor of the outstanding impact that he has had in jazz history, and still has with his quartet today. Shorter first played the Barcelona festival during the second edition of the festival in 1967. Miles Davis was slated to play with his quintet but left the city before the concert, leaving Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams to play as the Wayne Shorter Quartet. The award will be presented immediately preceding Shorter’s performance.
Spain saw its first professional jazz festival in 1966. It started with a concert at the amazing Palau de la Música in Barcelona, featuring pianist Dave Brubeck with his classical quartet. Despite surviving the hostile times of the Franco dictatorship, the festival ceased operations between the years of 1977 and 1980, which were surprisingly in the first years of democracy. Since the late ’80s, the festival has been organized by The Project, event organizers whose projects reach upwards of 500,000 people annually. In 2009, the festival celebrates its 41st anniversary with a diverse program that, once again, places it among the pre-eminent fall European jazz festivals.