After two years the Symposium: Art | Music | Management is returning to Brno’s JAMU (Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts). Three days in April will be given over to debate, new ideas and exchanging of contacts between professionals, teachers and students. The 7th Symposium promises more than thirty lecturers from four countries and an accompanying programme. This time the symposium focuses on the education of artistic, and primarily music managers.
Clarinettist and Grammy holder Oran Etkin will perform as part of the Mladí ladí jazz [Young People Tune Jazz] in the Stará Pekárna music club in Brno. The guests of the concert will be Peter Korman, Tibor Žida, Michael Grombiřík, Dušan Čermák and Roman Horváth. For the next day, Etkin is preparing a music workshop for children, which will take place using his own entertaining teaching method called Timbalooloo.
The Tourist Information Centre recently published the second part of its Authentic Guide THIS IS BRNO II. The city of Brno is presented in it by prominent local personalities from the ranks of artists, publicists, photographers and Brno patriots, plus one Prague writer. One separate chapter in the guide is dedicated to musical Brno; it was written by a performer who calls himself burning.
The international jazz festival JazzFestBrno published its complete programme today. It promises fifteen musical evenings, where we will get to hear great names including the bassist Stanley Clarke, trumpet player Theo Croker, Avishai Cohen and Peter Evans, guitarist Julian Lage and South African singer Melanie Scholtz. This year, the festival will pay homage to the legends of the Czech Contraband stage Milan Svoboda and Luboš Andršt, whose Blues Band will be joined by the singer Peter Lipa. The list will also include big names of contemporary Czech jazz such as bassist Jaromír Honzák, trumpet player Štěpánka Balcarová and Michal Nejtek.
The spring part of the festival in the Stará Pekárna club will begin this evening with the concert of English singer Elles Bailey, accompanied by the Czech band The Bladderstones. The festival promises 27 jazz and blues concerts with an international representation. We will get to see for example the Mike Ross Blues Band, Marek Kotača Trio, Tom Smith Quartet and the Vilém Spilka Quartet.
JazzFestBrno and Poysdorf Jazz Wine invite talented young musicians to participate in the Central European Jazz Competition. Only a few days are left to the closing date for young Czech and Austrian bands. The competition is being organised jointly by the festivals JazzFestBrno and Poysdorf Jazz & Wine.
A concert by Matúš Jakabčic and his quintet with the Brno Philharmonic opens the fifth year of the subscription concert cycle Jazz & World Music. The evening will include six pieces: from Jakabčic’s original works, through jazz standards to Bach’s Brandenburg concertos. The orchestra will perform under the baton of Pavel Šnajdr.
This year, the JazzFestBrno festival has expanded its offer to include an "electronic" programme line named Tension. Within that series, the bands Zabelov Group and HRTL Spaghetti Ensemble appeared in the Praha space in Brno on 28 March. However, the two-hour concert, which took place on 5 April in the sold-out Sono Centre, was also ideologically close to this new series. The Manchester-based trio GoGo Penguin perhaps uses an instrumental layout of a jazz piano trio vetted by decades, but still oscillates around electronic music as a starting point in its albums and concerts.
The JAZZFESTBRNO Festival is expanding this year with the new Tension programme line, which will feature musicians on the borderline between jazz and electronic music. One of the performers who will appear on 28 March in the Praha space in Brno will be the Czech-Ukrainian duo Zabelov Group, which has recently released a new album called Eg. This interview with Roman Zabelov (accordion, voice, piano, organ, harp…) and Jan Šikl (drums, trumpet, guitar, percussion…) was done in a Prague café just before a rehearsal of the band.
The Brno singer and artist Dáša Ubrová has sung with a group, performs with a big-band and is close to chanson, jazz and rock. Her album, named simply after her, is important to her and not only because it is her solo debut. It is the first time she has written all the lyrics herself. The music is mainly created by her “court co-workers” and album producers, the pianist Vojtěch Svatoš and the guitarist Pavel Šmíd.
The last week full of musical events culminated in the final round of the Central European Jazz Competition organised by the “neighbouring” jazz festivals – JazzFestBrno and Poysdorf Jazz & Wine. This cross-border musical project has a promising future: the first year of the jazz competition in its final afternoon offered six half-hour blocks of the finalists, who were a surprise with their musical range and the quality of their musicianship.
Two servings of first class musical mastery and each one different. One was musical show that was demanding for its audience, where only informed listeners perceived it as a reminder of tragic events. And the second was a lighter dance-like evening with songs that could be sung by the whole of the hall at the Sono Centre. The organisers of JazzFest Brno have shown that no two jazz quintets are alike. Both of the leaders in the last two concerts of this year’s festival rightly got the stormy applause they deserved. At the same time you could hardly see on stage two such different musicians as Terence Blanchard and Richard Bona.
The Cameroonian musician Richard Bona is returning to Brno after a year and a half. While last year the audience in the Janáček Theatre had their breath taken away by his Afro-Cuban project Heritage, this time he is coming with his international group Richard Bona Group. When on 25 November in the Sono Centre we are admiring Bono’s virtuoso guitar playing, it would be good to be aware while he may have inherited his sense of rhythm and general relationship to music from his ancestors, his current level is the result of his hard work. At least this was something he emphasised in our interview, in which we also covered Bono’s love of flamenco and for his club, which he recently opened not far from Paris.
On Friday 19 October the big band Cotatcha Orchestra performed in HaDivadlo with an important foreign guest: the trombonist, composer and arranger Ilja Reijngoud. After the review of the concert we are now also bringing you an interview with this Dutch jazzman, holder of a Latin Grammy and other significant awards. Reijngoud answered our questions shortly before the Brno concert.
The promising developing contemporary Czech jazz scene, which includes well-functioning festivals and two universities with the teaching of jazz (in Brno and in Prague), is creating the background not just for little ensembles, but also for large orchestras. In Prague there is the excellent Concept Art Orchestra, which under the leadership of the trumpeter Štěpánka Balcarová focuses on the work of contemporary Czech authors in the middle and younger generation (the so-called Prague Six). In Brno the B-Side Band, led by the trumpeter Josef Buchta, sells out big halls and plays at major festivals, cooperating with the popular Vojtěch Dyk, but has not given up on its original jazz repertoire and also cooperates with foreign stars of the calibre of Kurt Elling. Another Brno big band, the Cotatcha Orchestra, under the leadership of (yet another trumpeter) Jiří Kotač, has not yet met with such great success. Despite this the ensemble, put together from students and teachers of the jazz department at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts, is fiercely and healthily making progress in our scene and given the quality of the musicians it has at its centre, I believe that it will in the coming years win a unique place for itself.
Arts of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts boasts not only an excellent pedagogical choir, but above all talented students.