The Hong Kong International Jazz Festival returns for its eighth edition with an enticing offering of jazz of very different stripes over four days.
Jazz festivals in Hong Kong have has a checkered history over the past quarter of a century but thanks to the eternal enthusiasm and the unstinting efforts of the Hong Kong Jazz Association the concept of a jazz festival in this iconic Asian city has refused to die; on the contrary, the HKIJF has now established itself as an important part of the annual cultural calendar.
The festival starts on September 14 with a program of free concerts in Piazza C of Hong Kong Cultural Centre – a wonderful open-air amphitheatre with a stunning view of the emblematic skyline of Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong’s very own jazz orchestra 5422 Collective gets the event underway with a program of refreshingly original charts.
The trio of pianist Nicholas Bouloukos
, drummer Anthony Fernandes and bassist Sylvain Gagnon
promises first-rate, cutting edge contemporary jazz that draws from more than one tradition. How could it be otherwise when collectively these three virtuosos have played with the likes of Donald Byrd
, Eddie Palmieri
, Michel Legrand
, Guy Barker
and Eugene PAO
? An unmissable concert that should be a festival highlight.
Guitar fans will be thrilled at the prospect of two of Asia’s very finest six-string maestros, Malaysian Roger Wang
and Hong Kong’s Tommy Ho
, in an exciting duo concert.
Another concert not to be misses is the extraordinarily talented solo vocalist from Italy, Boris Savoldelli - a veritable one-man orchestra who has garnered glowing praise from critiques and fans alike for his innovative looped vocals. Imagine the New York Voices
meets Butterscotch and you kind of
get the idea.
Maple Jazz Band is a Chinese quintet and one of the best known jazz bands in Southern China. Graduates of the Xinghai Conservatory of Music, Maple Jazz Band’s style is mainstream jazz, colored by funk and Latin groves.
This free opening concert program is dedicated to the Daniel Pearl World Music Days. Daniel Pearl was a Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002.
The festival proper commences the weekend of September 18 – 20 in the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Two highly contrasting bands play on the 18th. Gia & The Unpredictable Update from Canada defy easy categorization, fusing elements of world, fusion, jazz, classical and progressive rock in a heady blend. From Korea, Jazz Snobs Funk Addicts (JSFA) will dish up intoxicating jazz-funk from Season 2: Return Of JSFA!
(Soundholic, 2013) – one of the very best jazz-funk albums of the past year.
On September 19th Belgian septet Broes’s folk-flavored gypsy jazz is followed by one of Asia’s most exciting jazz-fusion/prog-jazz bands – Indonesia’s simakDialog. It’s intoxicating fusion of gamelan and Miles Davis
electric fusion is totally unique. The band will present music from its sixth album, The 6th Story
(Moonjune Records, 2013) alongside music from its back catalogue of twenty years standing. SimakDialog is not only a festival highlight but a musical high point of the year for Hong Kong jazz and progressive music lovers.
The final day of HKIJF 2014 begins with the Mikkel Plough Trio from Denmark. Plough on guitar, bassist Nicolai Munch Hansen and drummer Martin Anderson serve up straight ahead/contemporary and are at the forefront of the vibrant Danish jazz scene. The honor of closing the HKIJF falls to Argentina’s Jazz-Tango Quartet, a strikingly original group that has earned plaudits from no less an authority than Richard Galliano
, who guested on its debut CD.
It’s shaping up to be an unforgettable celebration of jazz in Hong Kong.
For tickets and information please visit the festival website