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The Slovak group Fallgrapp has released their second album V hmle (In the Fog). They are performing the concert version in Brno’s Fléda club with an eight-man line-up with a trio of violins and drums. They will be introduced in the stage by the ambient music duo Himalayan Dalai Lama. The will end with the Slovak producer Fvlcrvm.
ProART Festival has opened applications for the workshops in dance, singing, acting, photography and other arts. This year the festival will take place in Brno, Liberec and Valtice. The workshops will be led by, among others, Iva Bittová, Irene Bauer, Martin Dvořák, Ida Kelarová, Aleš Slanina, Leonie Wahl, Veronika Žilková and more.
In the week before Easter JazzFest entered its second half. Another series of concerts linking various forms of jazz from traditional through jazz-rock to funk begun with an evening of Brno and Prague jazz legends in CED Husa na provázku and followed by a double concert of the Jiří Šimek guitar trio and the stellar Poogie Bell Band with their unmistakeable (and resounding) frontman on his drum kit.
Antonín Fajt is the son of the singer and violin player Iva Bittová and the drummer Pavel Fajt. Even if he does appear as a guest on the latest album At Home by Iva Bittová & Čikori, it isn’t a case of nepotism. He came up with and perfected his playing and composing style himself. He has had the chance to compare his childhood spent in Moravia with the last ten years spent overseas. And since he enjoys linking musical activity with for example the culinary arts or the healing effects of art, our interview was by no means just about music.
In including Patricia Barber in the concert series of the National Theatre Brno the director Filip Haberman has fulfilled not just his own dreams. The original jewel of the American jazz scene filled the Mahen Theatre with listeners and provided a spectacular musical experience. It was as if the space was predestined for the performance of this concert. The theatre auditorium underlined the singer’s grandeur, but at the same time created a chamber, almost club-like atmosphere. This time Patricia Barber travelled to the Czech Republic from her hometown of Chicago as a trio of young musicians – with the double bass player Patrick Mulcahy and the drummer Nat Friedman.
In the intimate setting of the Theatre Husa na provázku the programme director of Brno’s JazzFest, Vilém Spilka decided to hold two smaller chamber concerts. It was a good decision since the audience had an opportunity from up close to see soloists swapping with musicians and so become part of an interesting event.
When I polled Czech jazz musicians to find the most significant woman on the domestic scene, the largest number of votes went to the trumpet player, composer and conductor Štěpánka Balcarová and the pianist and composer Beata Hlavenková. In the JazzFest Brno festival both will be performing. The Concept Art Orchestra big band under Štěpánka Balcarová will be performing on Wednesday 5 April in the Theatre Husa na provázku and a day later the trumpet player will be playing in HaDivadlo with her Czech-Polish group Inner Spaces. On Thursday 13 April in Besední dům the will be a concert of Beata Hlavenková, focussing on her most recent album Scintilla. We conducted interviews with both young ladies.
The sixteenth JazzFestBrno – along with other strong programming – offers a chance to compare the playing of several excellent saxophonists. Immediately on the opening night (23 March) the exquisite Joe Lovano will be playing in the Sono Centre, and on 19 April in the same place Chris Potter will have his chance to shine as several times winner of various journalists’ surveys of the best players in the world on the tenor saxophone. Listeners will have a chance to compare two European players on Wednesday 29 March, when on the stage of the Sono Centre the Czech saxophonist based in Denmark, Luboš Soukup, and his Norwegian contemporary Marius Neset, also living in Copenhagen, take turns on stage. And on 5 April a young Czech who is studying in Norway, Michal Wróblewski, will be performing with his international ensemble.
The singer Lenka Nová was born in Brno. Even now she frequently and happily returns. Last autumn she released her third profile disk, Čtyřicítka (Forty), on which there are ten personal songs with texts by Michal Horáček. She was recently nominated for the Anděl music prize in the category Singer of the Year. This year with a newly rehearsed repertoire on March 8 and 9 in the bar U kouřícího králíka in her home town she opened her Čtyřicítka Tour, the spring part of which will be concluded with a Prague concert in the DVA studio on May 21. And we spoke about all of this …
Love at a Distance is a contemporary opera that is nonetheless a clear classic. The National Theatre Brno production is of this excellent work by Kaiji Saariaho that has become part of the world repertoire. The selection and realisation of this production has uniquely and significantly scored in a domestic context.