Malta Jazz Festival 2015, Celebrating 25 years

The Malta Jazz Festival 2015 will celebrate its 25th year this summer with a varied programme of events that will keep everyone enthralled. For this special anniversary, the festival will take place over four days, from 16 till 19 July, instead of the usual three-day line-up. The extra day will be the Commonwealth Jazz Day supported by CHOGM Malta 2015 and will bring two important artists to the island – saxophonist Soweto Kinch from the UK who intertwines jazz with rap and bassist Richard Bona from Cameroon, a well-established musician in both Paris and New York.


Soweto Kinch


Richard Bona

“The 2015 line-up is a celebration of diversity. Some jazz pushes genre boundaries. Some other jazz keeps its feet firmly planted in the tradition,” said Sandro Zerafa, artistic director of the Malta Jazz Festival. “At the Malta Jazz Festival, we honour this diversity through a programme full of contrasting outfits. Jazz bridges the gap between the popular and the savant and the 2015 line-up should appeal to both the layman and the erudite jazz buff.”

This year’s festival features a number of Grammy award winners, such as legendary Cuban pianist and five time Grammy award winner, Chucho Valdes who will perform for the first time at Ta’ Liesse with Irakere 40, a tribute to the cult band founded in 1973 by Chucho himself.


Chucho Valdes

Other Grammy winners are Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade, known collectively as Children of the Light and best known for their work as part of the Wayne Shorter quartet. They are considered as one of the main highlights this year.

Grammy award winner/bass legend Dave Holland will team up with Chris Potter, one of the major saxophone players today, for a new project featuring the unique guitar voice of Lionel Loueke and drummer extraordinaire Eric Harland.

Kurt Elling, another Grammy Award winner who will bring his concert of love songs collected from all around the world to the Grand Harbour, is the most celebrated male jazz singer of his generation. The Washington Post said that “he has come to embody the creative spirit of jazz.” Guitarist Joe Cohn, whom Pat Metheny described as “an unbelievable improviser,” is one of the most respected guitar players in New York, whose deep sense of jazz tradition is remarkable. His quartet will feature Japanese pianist, Yutaka Shiina.


Kurt Elling, photo Anna Webber

This year, an added novelty is the first edition of The Fringe Youth Jazz Ensemble. This is part of the Jazz on the Fringe initiative which aims to create networks with the international jazz scene. The young ensemble will perform for the first time at the Malta Jazz Festival under the direction of saxophone player Gabriele Comeglio, one of the most renowned musical arrangers in Italy and pianist/arranger Claudio Angeleri, Director of the Centro Didattico Produzione Musica (CDPM). Both will be teaching at the Summer Jazz Camp. This initiative will be pursued in future editions of the Jazz on the Fringe and will involve the participation of different countries.

Furthermore, this year’s programme will also include gigs around the island as part of Jazz on the Fringe, free masterclasses held in the Malta Summer Jazz Camp and a competition for young upcoming jazz musicians through the Malta Jazz Contest. This year, the masterclasses will include classes in piano, guitar, drums, bass, saxophone and musical arrangement. Jazz on the Fringe is supported by Valletta 2018.

The Malta Jazz Festival is organised by Arts Council Malta and supported by CHOGM Malta 2015, Valletta 2018 Foundation, Phoenicia Hotel, Cyberpass, MTA and TVM.

For the more details and ticket prices, please visit

Full programme with video clips and location

Thursday 16th July 2015

Kris Spiteri Noir Project

Joe Cohn Quartet feat. Yutaka Shiina

Kurt Elling Passion World

Friday 17th July 2015

Anthony Camilleri Quartet

David Binney Avenija

Dave Holland / Chris Potter / Lionel Loueke / Eric Harland

Saturday 18th July 2015

“The Fringe” Youth Jazz Ensemble

Danilo Perez / John Patitucci / Brian Blade: Children of the Light

Chucho Valdes Irakere 40

Sunday 19th July 2015 – Commonwealth Jazz Day

3rd edition of the Malta Jazz Contest

Soweto Kinch Quartet

Richard Bona