Each city has its own special and unique character, unique set of sounds, that are typical only for a certain place and can be defined as part of this particular character and expression of the city’s original temperament. This character is highlighted by the unique series of ultrathin vibrations and oscillations, and original music, which fills the urban air. In order to hear it, it is enough just to close your eyes for a moment and listen. The noises of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, a splash of the Black Sea, or a specific dialect from Odessa, are all expressed through the music festival in Lviv. This particular music is called Jazz.
For the last five years, the city has become an entire world of first-class jazz music, for one summer weekend. The music consists of double basses, cheerful and thoughtful piano modulations, trumpet sounds, and even some other extraordinary instruments, played by some of the most talented jazz performers from all over the world, playing with incredible, intoxicating energy and making unbelievable sounds.
At this fifth anniversary of the jazz festival, ‘Alfa Jazz Fest,’ numerous stars from all or the world attended, Grammy award winners, and so many other amazingly talented and well recognized musicians from the world of Jazz.
Without exaggeration, thanks to the festival, the city of Lviv attracts the best of the best jazz musicians from all over the world. Just to name a few, such musicians are: John Scofield (U.S.A.), Bill Evans Soulgrass (U.S.A.), Cassandra Wilson (USA), Al Di Meola (USA), Avishai Cohen (Israel), Larry Carlton, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Eliane Elias and many others. There is usually a headliner on each day of the festival, and the audience is waiting in anticipation, holding their breath for the star performer. Among the most popular musicians this year were legends of the American jazz, such as: keyboardist Herbie Hancock, guitarist George Benson, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and guitarist Mike Stern (all of them were once played with Miles Davis,) Cuban clarinetist Pakito D’Rivera and Hiromi, in the credible jazz pianist originally from Japan. According to statistics, about 100 musicians from 10 countries, including Germany, Austria, the U.S.A., Japan, Sweden, Cuba, France, Poland and of course, Ukraine, all performing during the five days of this magnificent festival. This number of performers is extraordinary for this special 5TH anniversary of the jazz festival in Lviv. It is very symbolical that the first day of the festival started with a great performance by the Ukrainian jazz band from Lviv: the Lviv Jazz Orchestra, led by the rector of the Lviv Music Academy.
The festival’s concert stages remained almost unchanged. There were three main locations in the historic district of the city. The old Market Square and the elegant Potocki palace became unique atmospheric backgrounds for music performances, as in previous years during the Fest. The main venue, where all world-famous jazz stars performed, was defined as the stage by recreational park named after B. Hmelnytskyy. This park, which was a typical Soviet entertainment complex, back in the days, became very popular, open-air space for cultural activities, and artistic life of the city today.The stage in the park is named after Eddie Rosner – a jazz legend, trumpeter, violinist, conductor, composer and arranger. The improviser has been called, “The White Armstrong” for his talent, which can be considered the highest recognition in the world of jazz. The access to the main stage is limited due to an admission price (entrance to all other locations are free of charge!). This particular place is where Ukrainian and foreign celebrities meet and network, and among them are many different representatives of show business, politicians and businessmen. In particular, the festival is always visited by a native-born Lviv inhabitant and the front man of the band ‘Okean Elzy’ – Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, as well as singer Jamala, TV personalities, such as, Maria Yefrosinina, Kateryna Osadcha and many others. Even the Ukrainian First Lady, Maryna Poroshenko attended and enjoyed the magnificent jazz music.
Alfa Jazz Fest is a yearly jazz music event, offering great opportunity to enjoy the bountiful Jazz music, hypnotizing the audience by positive energy and energetic vibrations. Alfa jazz Fest Prize, named after Eddi Rosner is awarded every year during the gala concert for the significant contribution to the development of jazz music. Herbie Hancock became the proud owner of the prize this year. He was awarded more than 10 prizes during his musical career, for example, Grammy and Oscar awards for his music or film, ‘Round Midnight’. Moreover, the musician is one of the leading members (co-president) of International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP), the organization engaged in supporting creative ideas aimed at intercultural cooperation. His charismatic performance during the second day of the festival created the atmosphere of celebration and exaltation.
The Cuban saxophonist, clarinetist and composer, Pakito D’Rivera impressed the audience with his Cuban passion and the energy of life during the third day of the festival. The rhythms of his music, inspired by the best traditions of the “island of freedom”, did not allow anyone to sit still, inviting everyone to dance.
The performance of Japanese pianist Hiromi was an incredible musical extravaganza of colors and great talent. It was difficult to understand how this fragile girl had so much energy and enthusiasm, which she generously shared with the public. The effortless virtuosity of her performance didn’t leave any of the guests dissapointed.
George Benson concluded the penultimate day of this amazing music festival with his virtuoso performance and different improvisations of jazz, expertly entertaining the audience.
The understanding of contemporary music, in particular jazz music, goes beyond the usual perception of musical sounds and chords in the melodic songs. The musicians are in constant search of new original sounds and combinations that could become expressions of their inner world, displaying all contradictions and consistencies. So many different musical fusion bands were presenting their talent this year, including the famous, Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band. As noted by Bill Evans himself, they played music for good self-and-the-world attitude by original combinations of so many different musical styles.
Photo Andriy Goncharenko.
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