Tbilisi Jazz Festival and its Anticipated Stars

Another year of an already-international label – Tbilisi Jazz Festival – is starting. From October 23rd to October 29th, Georgians and all foreigners who live here for different reasons will have a wonderful chance to attend unforgettable concerts. Three of the six will be held at Tbilisi Concert Hall and another three – at the Event Hall, however, the latter has already sold-out.

The initial concert belongs to Diana Krall, Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. She has sold more than 6 million albums in the US and over 15 million worldwide. On December 11, Billboard magazine named her the second Jazz artist of 2000-09, establishing her as one of the best-selling artists of her time. Krall is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debuting at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums. To date, she has won five Grammy Awards and eight Juno Awards. She has also earned nine gold, three platinum, and seven multi-platinum albums. Giorgi Kereselidze, Director of Eastern Promotion, the traditional organizer of all jazz festivals, told Georgia Today: “Diana Krall is the luxury star. As such, it wasn’t an easy job to convince her to come to Georgia [to play on October 23rd]. She has elite contracts, including the hotels. Thehotel Four Seasons is not in Georgia. It is hard to imagine for her that there is a country and a capital without this hotel. However, in many post Soviet countries, there are no Four Seasons hotels.”

Reportedly, the high reputation of the Tbilisi International Jazz Festival was the main reason Diana Krall decided on us and thus, is to be the opening singer of this year’s most prestigious and large-scale Georgian jazz event. There was another trick that the Eastern Promotion Company took advantage of: Tbilisi Festival coincides with Baku Jazz Festival and in the global crisis, it was irresistible to refuse two such large-scale music events so close to each other. The management of the star chose Radisson Blu Iveria to stay in. Krall will present her new program and a new interpretation of old themes. “They told us that there is going to be a very romantic soiree and they categorically asked us to be on time. So, we cordially ask all the audience not to be late, otherwise, they will not be admitted to the hall,” Krall’s managers announced.

The next star will be GRAMMY® award-winning singer-composer-bassist Esperanza (Emily) Spalding, presenting her latest project Emily’s D+Evolution… The young artist holds two Grammies and was nominated for others. Rekindling her childhood interest in theatre, poetry and movement, this new project delves into a broader concept of performance.

“Emily is my middle name, and I’m using this fresh persona as my inner navigator. This project is about going back and reclaiming un-cultivated curiosity, and using it as a compass to move song. There are a lot of juicy themes and stories in the music. We will be staging the songs as much as we play them, using characters, video, and the movement of our bodies.” The organizers promise us that this will be a very original program, different from all her previous projects.

The Jeff Ballard trio is the first band that will play on Tbilisi event hall stage within the 2015 festival. “This is a musician who has played with almost all the legendary jazzmen. The prestigious drummer will be playing with Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocal, who visited Georgia in past years, and Chris Cheek, a very fashionable Saxophonist,” the director of Eastern Promotion revealed to Georgia Today.

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen will appear in the Tbilisi Event Hall series on the 27th of October. Voted a Rising Star three years running in the DownBeat Critics Poll, Cohen has earned fame as a musician with an individual sound and a questing spirit, an ever-creative player-composer open to multiple strains of jazz and active internationally as a leader, co-leader and sideman.

Another highly anticipated guest is Edmar Castaneda who will be performing on the 28th of October. “I have never witnessed anybody, although I have attended quite a lot of renowned Jazz festivals, playing jazz on a harp. I am thrilled to listen to Edmar Castaneda at Tbilisi Event Hall, as is our whole company,” Giorgi Kereselidze commented. “The Colombian plays the harp like hardly anyone else on earth. His hands, seemingly powered by two different people, produce a totally unique, symphonic fullness of sound, a rapid-fire of chords, balance of melodic figures and drive, served with euphoric Latin American rhythms, and the improvisatory freedom of a trained jazz musician… captivating virtuosity, but in no way only virtuosity for its own sake.” – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes.

Fourplay, celebrating its 25th anniversary on stage together with an enormous record of success stories both in the artistic and commercial field, is the culmination of Tbilisi Jazz Festival 2015, at Tbilisi Concert Hall. This is a fusion of R&B, pop and a variety of other sounds. In the course of a dozen recordings six have climbed to the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album charts. The Fourplay story began in 1990 with keyboardist Bob James, who had already established himself as a formidable figure in keyboard jazz – not just as an instrumentalist but also as a composer and arranger– with solo recordings dating as far back as the mid 1960s. In 1990, James reunited with his old friend, session drummer, producer, composer & recording artist Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand, Notorious B.I.G.), during the recording of James’ Grand Piano Canyon album. Also involved in the project were guitarist Lee Ritenour (Sergio Mendes) and bassist/vocalist Nathan East (Barry White, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins). Bob James is the author of many Hollywood soundtracks.

For more info, please, visit www.tbilisijazz.com or for tickets call (995 32) 2-99-05-99

Maka Lomadze

15 October 2015 22:00