The Malta Jazz Festival has become a byword for high-calibre performances which delight jazz aficionados and lay persons alike. Running from Thursday 18 to Saturday 20 July in the open-air setting of Ta’ Liesse, contemporary music comes together with a sense of history for one of the main annual highlights in Malta’s cultural and artistic calendar.
For almost 25 years, the Malta Jazz Festival has been raising the bar for jazz in Malta, keeping its soul alive. Now in its 23rd edition, this year’s line-up promises to be no exception. On Thursday 18, Robert Glasper Experiment – fresh from his Grammy-award victory – will perform at Ta’ Liesse; Glasper’s music boldly stakes out new musical territory, drawing from jazz, hip hop, R&B, and rock, transcending any notion of genre. Also performing on the night is two-time Grammy award nominee Gerald Clayton with his Trio; Clayton’s dynamic sound has been praised by the Jazz Times and Los Angeles Times and he was recently voted first place for “Rising Star – Pianist” in Down Beat Magazine’s 2010 Critics Poll.
Grammy nominee Gregory Porter is the jazz singer of the moment. And he keeps getting bigger and bigger. With a voice that can caress or confront, embrace or exhort, Porter exhibits an incredible degree of vocal mastery. He will perform at the Malta Jazz Festival on Friday 19 July. Even people who have never listened to jazz will love this performance.
Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer will also perform on the same night; Iyer was awarded an unprecedented “quintuple crown” in the Down Beat International Critics Poll and the Vijay Iyer Trio won the 2010 Echo Award (the "German Grammy") for best international ensemble and the 2012 Downbeat Critics Poll for jazz group of the year.
Multi-Grammy award winner and internationally acclaimed pianist and composer Michel Camilo - who moves with ease between the worlds of Jazz, Latin and Classical music - will be back in Malta on Saturday 20 July. Gilad Hekselman – one of the most exciting Israeli-born musicians on the jazz scene - will also perform with his Quartet on the same night.
The Maltese acts will include the festival’s former artistic director Charles “is-City” Gatt with his vibraphone quintet on Thursday 18, Walter Vella quartet on Friday 19 and Cusp on Saturday 20. Charles Gatt's and Walter Vella's groups will feature collaborations with foreign musicians.
Jazz on the Fringe
In the days preceding and following the festival, a number of events – including masterclasses and open-air concerts - will also be held. This – “Jazz on the Fringe” - will also include the first editions of the Malta Jazz Contest and The Malta Summer Jazz Camp. Jazz on the Fringe is supported by the Malta International Airport.
Malta Jazz Contest
The Malta Jazz Festival, in collaboration with the Embassy of Malta in France and the Malta International Airport, is proud to present the first edition of the Malta Jazz Contest. The Contest will be held on Sunday 21 July and is open to jazz soloists of Maltese nationality up to the age of 35. Participation is free of charge. The winner will participate in the Les Sons d'Une Île festival in Paris, organized by the Embassy of Malta in France. Results will be announced on 21 July after the competition. The jury will consist of foreign jazz musicians participating in the Malta Jazz Festival.
Malta Summer Jazz Camp
The Malta Jazz Festival, in collaboration with the Malta International Airport and the Euro Institute of Music, is proud to present the first Malta Summer Jazz Camp, featuring some of the most important musicians in the European jazz scene today. These workshops/masterclasses will be held at the Euro Institute of Music (Hamrun) between 17 and 20 July and are free of charge. The teachers in this year's Jazz Camp are Rino Cirinnà – saxophone; Claudio Angeleri - piano/jazz theory; Romain Pilon – guitar; Mátyás Szandai - bass/rhythm section; Karl Jannuska – drums/rhythm section.
Malta Airport’s Head PR & Corporate Communications, Reuben Sciberras said that this is the second consecutive year which is seeing the airport supporting the Malta Jazz Festival. “The Festival is indeed an important event in Malta’s cultural calendar and it continues to enhance the variety of what Malta has to offer to tourists and locals alike. We are proud to be associated with such a high calibre event which hits two important pillars of the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy, i.e. Tourism and Culture.”
Joanna Azzopardi, Senior Executive at MSV Life, said: “MSV Life is very pleased to be associated with the MCCA which organizes various national events, therefore contributing greatly to Maltese culture. Spectacular events such as the Malta Jazz Festival, which every year attract more high calibre artists, provide us with the opportunity to be part of this success.”
The Malta Jazz Festival is supported by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. Sandro Zerafa is the artistic director. It is sponsored by the Malta International Airport, Cyberpass, MSV Life, Switch, Hotel Phoenicia, the Valletta local council and the Ministry for Tourism, Culture and the Environment.