The Malta Jazz Festival has announced its full programme line-up today with world-class acts and rising jazz stars spread over three days in the unique setting of the Grand Harbour. Once again the stage at Ta’ Liesse will host some of the biggest names in jazz, including Tom Harrell Colors of a Dream and Brecker Brothers Band Reunion “The Heavy Metal Bebop Tour”.
Now in its 24th edition, the Malta Jazz Festival has helped raise the profile of jazz locally from a fringe festival to one of the most-awaited musical events in Malta’s artistic and cultural calendar. Running from the 17th to the 19th July in the open-air setting of Ta’ Liesse – where the Grand Harbour bastions meet the sea – contemporary music comes together with a sense of history, setting the backdrop for high-calibre performances which delight jazz aficionados and lay persons alike.
This, however, is only one of the many intersections running through this year’s festival. Another is that created by the musicians themselves as they cross jazz with other types of music. Mehliana (featuring Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana), for instance – which is set to be one of the festival’s hottest tickets – mix jazz with electronica to create a trance-laden music while the French-born musician Laurent Coq combines Caribbean/Creole influences with modern jazz piano in his Laurent Coq Dialogue Trio.
Other rising stars include vibraphonist Warren Wolf and Kneebody, a band which crosses genres with ease. Local talent will be represented by Paul Abela Quintet featuring Gabriele Comeglio on Thursday 17th, Joseph Camilleri Trio and Dominic Galea Trio on Friday 18th and Francesca Galea, the winner of last year’s Jazz Contest, on Saturday 19th.
“This year’s line-up will showcase the diversity of styles which constitute the contemporary jazz scene,” says artistic director Sandro Zerafa. “In its mission to combine a wide audience appeal with quality and artistic integrity, this year the Malta Jazz Festival will feature a variety of cutting edge acts.”
With a programme which also includes a fringe festival – Jazz on the Fringe – featuring masterclasses and open-air concerts, the festival also provides opportunities for collaborations between local and international musicians. This year will also feature the second edition of the Malta Jazz Contest and The Malta Summer Jazz Camp. Featuring some of the most important musicians in the European jazz scene today, the masterclasses will include classes in piano, improvisation, harmony, arranging, guitar, drums and saxophone. Held on the last day of the festival, the Malta Jazz Contest is open to jazz soloists of Maltese nationality up to the age of 35. Participation is free of charge. The jury will consist of the jazz musicians teaching in the masterclasses.
Also present for the press conference was the Minister for Culture Owen Bonnici, said he felt he had finally returned home after shadowing this sector for five years. Dr Bonnici promised that he will lend an ear to all local artists, who during his years of shadowing this sector in Opposition, have expressed how their ideas may not have always been heard or taken seriously.
Tickets for the Malta Jazz Festival 2014 cost €30 for a single-day ticket (seated) or €75 for a 3-day block ticket (seated). Standing single-day tickets are also available for €20 (free seating available) while a 3-day block ticket (standing) can be bought for €40 (free seating available). Those who book until the end of April can avail themselves of an early bird discount: €60 instead of €75 for a 3-day block ticket – seated; €25 instead of €30 for a single-day ticket – seated; €30 instead of €40 for a 3-day block ticket – standing (free seating available); and €15 instead of €20 for a single-day ticket – standing (free seating available).
The Malta Jazz Festival is brought to you by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. Supported by Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali, the Malta Tourism Authority, MSV Life, Switch, Cyberpass, Phoenicia Hotel and the Valletta 2018 Foundation. For full programme and line-ups visit maltajazzfestival.org