Star-studded line-up for Malta Jazz Festival

Star-studded line-up for Malta Jazz Festival

Al Di Meola, Mark Giuliana among performers

Guitar virtuoso Al di Meola and drummer Mark Giuliana, who performed on David Bowie's last album, will be among the performers at a star-studded 27th edition of the Malta Jazz Festival.

The festival will take place over three days between July 20 and 22 in Valletta.

“The Malta Jazz Festival is reaching out," artistic director Sandro Zerafa told a news conference.

Besides boasting a lineup featuring the best in contemporary jazz, the Malta Jazz Festival is branching out to Valletta's streets and injecting creative energy in Malta’s growing jazz scene, in preparation for Valletta 2018, he said.

The line-up ranges from Nicholas Payton's blend of dialects of Afro-descent to Munir Hossn's homage to the Brazilian north-eastern heritage and Al di Meola's latin-infused fusion.

Al di MeolaAl di Meola

Di Meola, who last performed in Malta in 2012 and will close off this year’s festival, was discovered by renowned jazz artist Chick Corea when he was 19 years old. This year at Ta’ Liesse, apart from his music, he will also perform music by The Beatles and Astor Piazzolla.

Apart from being the drummer in Pat Metheny’s group, Sanchez is also well-known for the score he composed and performed for the film Birdman, for which he won a Grammy and was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.

Giuliana, the drummer in David Bowie’s last album Blackstar, will play at Ta’ Liesse on Friday with his jazz quartet. The New York Times recognised Guiliana as “a drummer around whom a cult of admiration has formed”.

Friday night will be closed off by Nicholas Payton, whose original blend of hip-hop, spoken word, New Orleans styles and contemporary jazz will be one of the highlights of this year’s festival. The Chicago Tribune reported that “no descriptive label or category could be affixed to Payton’s solos, which were as brashly original as they were technically imposing.”

Mark GiulianaMark Giuliana

The lineup for Thursday’s free concerts, supported by Valletta 2018, consists of one of Europe's star jazz guitarists, Romain Pilon and multi-instrumentalist Munir Hossn. Pilon will perform with special guest Walter Smith III, one of the current leading saxophone players.

Hossn will appeal to lovers of Brazilian music thanks to his Brazilian Jazz Pop album ‘Made in Nordeste’, a contemporary approach to the music and rhythms from his native Brazilian Northeast region. His concert will close Thursday’s free events in Valletta with a bang.

Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said the allocation for culture has grown 14 per cent in the last budget for a total of €60 million across all the government.

Further details about the Jazz on the Fringe and the masterclasses will be announced later on. Tickets can be bought from Visit for more information.

The programme:

Thursday, July 20 (free event supported by Valletta2018)

City Gate Entrance, Valletta at 8pm

Romain Pilon feat. Walter Smith III

Pjazzu Teatru Rjal, Valletta

Nadine Axisa feat. Rino Cirinnà and Stjepko Gut

In front of Law Courts, Valletta

Munir Hossn ‘Made in Nordeste’


Friday 21st July

Ta’ Liesse, Valletta at 8pm

Joe Debono Trio

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet

Nicholas Payton ‘Afro Caribbean Mixtape’


Saturday 22nd July

Ta’ Liesse, Valletta at 8pm

Carlo Muscat feat. Burak Bedikyan

Antonio Sanchez and ‘Migration’

Al di Meola ‘World Sinfonia’ – “Music of Di Meola, Piazzolla & Lennon-McCartney"


Ticket Prices

€30 for a single day ticket – seated (VIP)

€50 for a 2-day block ticket – seated (VIP)

€20 for single day ticket – standing (free seating will be available)

€35 for a 2-day block ticket – standing (free seating will be available)

Early bird tickets available from 31 March

€25 instead of €30 for a single day ticket – seated (VIP)

€40 instead of €50 for a 2-day block ticket – seated (VIP)

€30 instead of €35 for a 2-day block ticket – standing (free seating will be available) 

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