The Penang Island Jazz Festival—one of the most eagerly awaited events in the Asian jazz calendar— is back for its 9th edition from the 29th November to the 2nd December. On the 1st and 2nd December the main stage in the tropical, beachfront grounds of the Bayview Hotel will play host to eight international acts of great stylistic diversity that share one common denominator – an independent, creative approach to music making.
American beat box sensation Butterscotch, whose vocal improvisations encompass jazz, hip-hop and scratch, is guaranteed to light up the Penanag crowd. A classically trained pianist, guitarist and vocalist, Butterscotch is a unique talent who presents a breathtaking live performance. Vocal dexterity of a different sort will be served up by Italian A Capella group Mezzotono.
No jazz festival these days seems complete without musicians from Norway, and Norwegian duo of saxophonist André Roligheten and pianist Eyolf Dale will serve up an enticing mixture of chamber intimacy and free improvisation. As ever, director Paul Augustin likes to stretch the ears of the Penang audience a bit, and TheArtOfFusion should do just that with Hang drummer Rafael Sotomayor at the center of music that mixes diverse elements of rock, Afro-Beat, reggae and jazz.
New York-based Korean pianist Francesca Han
will lead her trio on Saturday the 2nd, followed by one of the world’s greatest guitarists, Martin Taylor
. Kekko Fomarelli’s Italian jazz trio is joined by Catalan singer Ruso Sala, and rounding off a typically eclectic PIJF, Cuban band Estudiantina Ensemble will perform guaracha, bolero, danzón and son, ensuring a party-like finale to the festival.
Malaysian artists are well represented on the fringe stages as part of the ongoing Creative Malaysia program designed to showcase local talent, and on the main stage itself, with the husband and wife duo of Frankie and Siriporn performing on Saturday 1st and Elvira Arul on Sunday 2nd. The usual workshops, panel discussion and drum circle will provide additional entertainment and food for thought.
The festival will begin with Sundown@TSG on Thursday 29th November; following on from last year’s success, the Tropical Spice Gardens will host four local bands in its exotic location. A charity dinner will be held on Friday November 30th at the Bayview Hotel to raise funds for worthy local causes supported by the Rotary Club of Penang.
All in all it promises to be another exciting PIJF full of fun, surprises and good music.
For tickets or further information please visit the festival’s website.