The new Europe Jazz Media initiative: once every season, our writers recommend forthcoming jazz festivals in their country or region and share their recommendations with the readers of all member media!
By Cyril Moshkow, Jazz.Ru Magazine ,
for Europe Jazz Media
June 21-25: USADBA JAZZ ROZA KHUTOR, near Sochi
Usadba Jazz launched in 2004 as a large open-air festival at a beautiful 18th century Arkhangelskoe manor near Moscow. As the festival grew, it kept adding new locations, resulting in a solid chain of several consecutive festivals at beautiful old manors around Russia – this summer, Moscow on June 4, Yekaterinburg on July 2, Voronezh on July 16, and St.Petersburg on July 30, the newest addition being Roza Khutor Ski Resort on June 21-25 in Southern Russia, near the winter Olympic Games site in Sochi. Roza Khutor Ski Resort is not, after all, an old manor, but the Usadba Jazz program at this location is the most extensive among the chain’s 2016 editions, with an eclectic roster of Russian and international jazz, world, and pop artists, a three-day music business forum, and the finals of a multi-stylistic young bands competition, which embraces jazz, fusion, world, and indie.
July 1-3: WHITE NIGHT SWING, St. Petersburg
Now in its 23rd edition, White Night Swing is indeed organized during the height of Russia’s Northern ex-capital’s famous white nights: St.Pete is so far to the north than in late June – early July, it never gets completely dark there. The festival, held at the St. Petersburg State Jazz Philharmonic Hall, reflects the Northern city’s conservative taste in jazz: it’s 100 per cent pure straight-ahead jazz, with healthy excursions into swing, trad, and Dixieland music. The festival’s gala on the open-air stage at the beautiful 18th century-built Arts Square features jazz bands from France (Philippe Duchemin,) Israel (Robert Anchipolovsky,) U.S. (Charles Turner III,) and a variety of excellent local bands, presided by the Jazz Philharmonic Hall’s artistic director, Russian jazz vet and devoted Duke Ellington connoisseur – violinist / vibist / pianist / flugelhornist David Goloschokin.
August 4-7: AQUA JAZZ, Sochi
Launched in 2010 as part of the forthcoming 2014 Winter Olympics cultural program, the festival is still there when the games are over. Organized by a production company run by Russia’s most famous jazz musician, saxophonist Igor Butman (who is also in charge for six other jazz festivals across the country,) Aqua Jazz presents an eclectic roster of artists from the U.S., Europe, and Russia: Richard Bona Mandekan Cubano, Somi, Conrad Herwig, Alex Sipiagin, and several Russian soloists, centered around Butman’s Moscow Jazz Orchestra. The cold country’s only subtropical resort on the Black Sea serves as a nice background which attracts thousands from across Russia, with the festival’s opening New Orleans-themed jazz street parade as the staple of Sochi’s summer season in last seven years.
August 13-14: JAZZ AT THE HERMITAGE GARDEN, Moscow
Historically first open-air jazz festival in Moscow, it is held in a small park in downtown Moscow every August since 1998, rain or shine, and attracts large crowds of both devoted jazz fans of all ages and curious younger audience – as the attendance is free, because of the city’s extensive support. Traditionally, the Hermitage Garden event serves as the Moscow jazz community’s communal gathering, where hundreds of jazz musicians and their fans, some with more than half a century of experience, congregate in the park – even those not scheduled to perform. This year, producer Mikhail “Don Miguel” Green presents a roster of Russians (trumpeter Peter Vostokov‘s Big Jazz Orchestra, groups led by singer Yuliana Rogachova, saxophonist Azat Bayazitov, and others,) Europeans (Austria’s Herwig Gradischnig, his fellow sax man Radovan Tariška from Slovakia) and Americans: singer Sandra Booker, and trumpet virtuoso Alex Sipiagin‘s quintet with special guest saxophonist Will Vinson.