FREE MASTERCLASSES BY THE MALTA JAZZ FESTIVAL

Held as part of the Malta Jazz Festival between Monday 16 July and Saturday 21 July, great pianists, guitarists, saxophonists, percussionists and trumpeters taking part in the international jazz scene are offering jazz masterclasses. The classes are free, although the number of participants is limited.

On Monday 16 July, musicians will be treated to a workshop in guitar by Hugo Lippi, whose nimble fingers deliver “elegant, engaging lines of consummate harmonic intelligence, melodic grace and rhythmic kick” (Jazz Journal). Lippi has a considerable reputation on the European scene and he has worked alongside musicians as diverse as Michel Legrand, Sarah Mckenzie, Eric Legnini, Melody Gardot, Christian Escoudé, Florin Niculescu, Warren Wolfe, Gregory Hutchinson, Donald Edwards and Fabien Mary to name a few.

One of the virtues of percussionist Philippe Soirat’s eclecticism is “his ability to propel the ensemble with his swinging tempo without radically altering his melodic style of drumming” (Paula Edelstein). Together with “emphatic” double bassist Philippe Aerts, Soirat will take workshop participants on a journey into the discipline behind their art on Tuesday 17 July.

Participants in Wednesday 18 July’s masterclass will be fortunate to learn from internationally acclaimed Yotam Silberstein. The Israeli guitarist has earned his place among the jazz elite by recording and performing with such luminaries as James Moody, The Health Brothers, Paquito D’Rivera, Monty Alexander, Christian McBride, John Patitucci, Roy Hargrove, David Sanborn and Marcus Miller. As artistically gifted as he is technically proficient, Silberstein is featured on a wide variety of critically acclaimed releases including Resonance and Brasil on the Jazz Legacy Productions label and Monty Alexander’s Grammy-nominated Harlem-Kingston Express Live! Silberstein is also the winner of the Sundance Time Warner award for film music.

Olivier Zanot’s performance has been described as “excellence” (Laurent Coq) and masterclass participants on Thursday 19 July will get the opportunity to work with this alto saxophonist. Zanot has played and/or recorded with various jazz artists such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Laurent Coq, David El-Malek, Karl Jannuska, Sandro Zerafa, Yoann Loustalot, Fabien Mary, Pierre Christophe, David Doruzka, Laika Fatien, Stan Lafferiere, Gérard Badini, Franck Amsallem, Sylvain Beuf, Pierre De Bethmann and Nikki Yanofsky. He is an active teacher.

“Striking” (Jazz Times) trumpeter Stjepko Gut studied jazz trumpet at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern, Switzerland, and at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. As a conductor, he won first place in the first Austrian Big Band Competition. Gut has given workshops and masterclasses at numerous universities around the world and will be leading the jazz masterclass on Friday 20 July.

Vincent Jacqz began his career as a professional jazz pianist in Paris in 1985. He won second prize at the Concours International de Jazz de La Défense in 1988 and placed first prize at the Concours du Festival de Sorgues in 1989 as a soloist. In 1990, he was awarded the Bourse Lavoisier from the French Ministry of Culture, which afforded him the opportunity to move to New York City. Jacqz leads his own quartet with saxophonist Nicolas Dary and since 1999, has played keyboards at the world- renowned cabaret The Lido de Paris. Vincent is currently director of Jazz Studies at l’Ecole De Musique Actuelles, one of the biggest professional music schools in France. Jacqz’s masterclass is being held on Saturday 21 July.

Priority will be given to practising musicians. The sessions are one and a half hours long, to be held at Offbeat Music Bar in 106 Merchants Street, Valletta. Applications are now open, and applicants can sign up by email, indicating your chosen masterclass and level, and providing your phone number.