Eclectic array for jazz fest
This year’s edition of the Malta Jazz Festival, which will be held at Ta’ Liesse between July 19 and 21, will feature an eclectic array of jazz-related styles – from fusion and hard-bop to Flamenco, Latin and vocal jazz.
Of particular interest, this year’s line-up also features acclaimed American guitarist Al Di Meola, who will be performing rhythmically-charged flamenco and tango inspired originals on the opening night of the festival. Di Meola, who has performed at the Malta Jazz Festival in the past, is a Grammy Award winner with a celebrated career spanning a wide range of emotions and influences.
Performing alongside Di Meola will be virtuoso pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the latter also an established force in the modern jazz world with eight Grammy nominations under his belt.
Apart from Di Meola, this year’s highlight will be Terri Lynne Carrington, who recently picked up a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal album with her unique, star-studded Mosaic Project. Carrington, who has played with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Yellowjackets and Marcus Miller, will be accompanied by Dianne Reeves, considered to be one of the premier jazz vocalists in the world.
Other foreign artists include the Jeremy Pelt Quintet, the Will Vinson Quartet, Chano Dominguez and the Tigram Hamasyan Trio.
Pelt started out playing with Mingus Big Band and has also performed with Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Charli Persip, Keter Betts and many more renowned musicians.
He was voted Rising Star on the Trumpet five years in a row by Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Journalist Association.
Vinson too is held in high esteem as one of the most exciting alto players on the New York scene. His latest recording The World (through my shoes) described as “marvellous” by Downbeat and “exhilarating, cascading... outstanding” by JazzTimes.
The Tigran Hamasyan Trio, finding inspiration from traditional Armenian folk music as well as poetry will surely bring an exciting touch to an already incredible line-up.
Tigran won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2006 and is considered one of today’s most vital and original young jazz artists.
Recently signed by Blue Note, Chano Dominguez will bring the festival to a close with his combination of flamenco and jazz, presenting sketches from his latest album which gives homage to Miles Davis.
The group will also feature a flamenco dancer, singer and cajon player.
As in previous editions, the Malta Jazz Festival will also feature local artists. The Paul Giordimaina Trio, featuring special guest Rino Cirinnà, will open the festival while the Carlo Muscat/Alex Bezzina Project, featuring Joe Debono, Màtyàs Szandai and Lionel Boccara will perform on the Saturday.
Further to the festival, this year also sees the introduction of the Off fringe festival, co-ordinated by Andrew Alamango and will be held on the days preceding the festival.