Eclectic jazz festival announced

  • Avishai Cohen

    Avishai Cohen

  • Monty Alexander

    Monty Alexander

  • Seamus Blake

    Seamus Blake

  • Joao Bosco

    Joao Bosco

  • Lionel Loueke

    Lionel Loueke

  • Ambrose Akinmusire

    Ambrose Akinmusire

The most eclectic jazz festival to-date was announced this afternoon during a news conference.

The 21st edition of the festival is being held between July 14 and 16 at Ta’ Liesse in Grand Harbour.

However, the stage will be moved this year to improve acoustics.

Over the years, this festival has hosted jazz greats such as Chick Corea, John Scofield and Michel Petrucciani. Last year, the event was headlined by Mike Stern, Richard Bona and a pre-Grammy Esperanza Spalding.

This year’s festival will incorporate world music elements from Brazil, Jamaica, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Af rica.

It will be opened by Lionel Loueke, a guitarist from Benin who was mentored by Herbie Hancock, the latter describing his student as “a musical painter”

He will be followed be Jamaican Monty Alexander and the Harlem Kingston Express, which features a hybrid ensemble of jazz and reggae, unified by Alexander’s passion for both genres on the piano.

On the second day, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, known for his cutting edge jazz will play alongside Brazilian guitarist Joao Bosco, a renowned samba, Bossanova and MPB (música popular Brasileira) player.

Another New York – saxophonist Seamus Blake, plays on the third and final day. There will also be an electro-groove project featuring drummer Jorge Rossy. The festival will close with virtuoso base player and vocalist Israeli Avishai Cohen who blends jazz, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern music.

The Maltese artists taking part in the festival are Nadine Axisa, the Mark Galea quintet and the Argotti Jazz ensemble.

Tickets, at €20 (€12 – students and 60+) for one day or €40(€30) for three, are being sold on . Children under 12 will enter free of charge.

Culture Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco said the festival had moved away from the commercial experiment and organisers were currently working with tourism agencies to draw up packages incorporating the festival.

He said he would like to see the start of a fringe festival for more people to be attracted to this festival.

The Festival is organised by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts under the artistic direction of jazz musician Sandro Zerafa.


July 14


Nadine Axisa - vocals

Marvin Gaerty - guitar

Harry Eddleston - piano

Matteo Bortone - bass

Joe Micallef - drums

Adrian Galea – percussion


Lionel Loueke - guitar/vocals

Massimo Biolcati - bass

Ferenc Nemeth – drums


line-up TBA

July 15


(musical direction Dominic Galea)

Dominic Galea - piano, musical direction

Mario Borg - alto sax

Carlo Muscat - tenor sax

Adrian 'ir-Russu' Brincat - trumpet

Effie Azzopardi – flugelhor

Mario 'Cocker' Aquilina - bass

Benedict Galea - drums

Doreen Galea/Claudette Pace - guest vocalists


Ambrose Akinmusire - trumpet

Walter Smith III - tenor sax

Sam Harris - piano

Harish Ragavan - bass

Justin Brown – drums


João Bosco - vocals/guitar

Ricardo Silveira - guitar

João Baptista - bass

Kiko Freitas – drums

July 16


Marc Galea - guitar

Robin Nicaise - saxophone

Paul Abela - piano

Alan Portelli - bass

Joe 'Bibi' Camilleri - drums


Seamus Blake - saxophone

Scott Kinsey - keyboards

Tim Lefebvre - bass

Jorge Rossy – drums


Avishai Cohen - bass/vocals

Shai Maestro - piano

Amir Bresler – drums


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