Big names and musical discoveries on two stages colour Gent Jazz Festival’s vision of the future.
Gent Jazz Festival 2014 presents musicians from the new generation on the Garden Stage every day of the festival, while on the main stage a traditional and carefully balanced mix of international top names and recent projects can be heard. Gent Jazz Festival this way offers visitors a broader array of relevant music, both from jazz and from other styles.
This year a great many musicians are focusing on musical challenges, such as Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke in an acoustic duo, Mehliana in which Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana venture into new musical territory with electronica taking prominence, and the previously announced Bobby McFerrin with his project Spirityouall. Also within the jazz spectrum are Dave Holland with his ‘Prism’, Joshua Redman, Ibrahim Malouf with ‘Illusions’ and the exclusive project with Manu Katché, Richard Bona, Stefano Di Battista and Eric Legnini in the line-up.
The younger generation is represented by, among others, Darcy James Argue with his own big-band project Secret Society, pianist Hiromi, Zara McFarlane, Tigran Quintet, trumpeter Avishai Cohen with his ‘Triveni’, the creative singer-songwriter Julia Holter and, as already announced, Plaistow and Kellylee Evans.
Gent Jazz Festival offers more than jazz, and with Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaires and José James all in one day, there's already an evening for funk and soul aficionados to look forward to. With none other than Ludovico Einaudi and Ólafur Arnalds, on Thursday 17 July Gent Jazz Festival is exploring more in the direction of minimalistic music, with classical and sound-scape influences.
Gent Jazz Festival also consciously opts for a generous selection of what Belgium has to offer. Ben Sluijs is, after a number of years, once again back in action with the brilliant 3/4 Peace, but also LABtrio, Black Flower, De Beren Gieren, young soul talent Delv!s and of course Melanie De Biasio, who has a particularly strong year behind her, should not be missed. Under the name TaxiWars, the cream of our music scene is working on an exclusive creation for Gent Jazz Festival. More details on this to follow later.
On Saturday 19 July, the final day of the festival, under the title GoDeviLLe Remembered the Garden Stage is being dedicated to René De Wever,alias GoDeviLLe, who passed away last year and who closed the festival as DJ in previous years.
With the lunch concerts in Lof, the restaurant of artists' hotel Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof Gent, Gent Jazz Festival also has a stage outside the Bijloke site. During the festival, here lunchtime concerts will be held in an intimate setting, featuring among others Linus: Ruben Machtelinckx & Thomas Jillings, Bart Maris & Stijn Bettens, Bram Weijters & Koen Nys, Carlo Nardozza & Michel Bisceglia and Guillaume Vierset, Yannick Peeters & Steven Delannoye. Together with Gent Jazz Festival, this hotel is also offering advantageous combination deals including festival ticket, overnight stay and breakfast.
Gent Jazz Festival also provides lively activities in order to encourage young musicians and help them develop. There is Jong Jazztalent Gent, a joint initiative with the Duvel-Moortgat brewery that since last year has supported the winning group in elaborating a project. OakTree last year won the jury over, and can now reveal to the public the results of their year-long hard work on the main stage. Within the collaboration with the HoGent School of Arts, every year a guest musician is asked to devise a coaching project with a group of students from the conservatory. This year Tineke Postma is to intensively guide these musicians toward a joint concert at the festival.
The annual Sabam Jazz Awards are also being presented at the Gent Jazz Festival on Thursday 10 July. The three categories are the Established Name, Sabam's Muse and the Sabam Youth and Music Jazz Award.
The fact that Gent Jazz Festival takes young people and the future into account is expressed not just in the musical offering; thus this year there are inexpensive youth tickets, with which the festival is hoping to attract more young people. After all, they are the jazz fans of the future. With the new group tickets, the festival is also responding to the social aspect of the festival experience: enjoying the music and the atmosphere together.