|Jean-Marie Peterken and his team just cannot keep a promise! Not so very long ago they were shouting from the rooftops about how they were gearing up for the 20th anniversary celebrations next year, and preferring to produce a festival that would be a small-scale affair this year, particularly in view of the crisis, problems with sponsors and all that... And now look what they have done. The bill of fare on offer is anything but (and I mean but) small-scale. Still sticking to their “jazz for everybody” approach, this 19th edition of Jazz in Liege combines big name artists with new discoveries, Belgian with international musicians, avant-garde and traditionalism. The four stars set to perform in the Salle des 1000 offer the best illustration of the festival's penchant for diverse interests: the immensely talented bassist Dave Holland leading a new quartet feat. Chris Potter on the saxophone; the irresistible Stacey Kent, now becoming one of the most popular contemporary jazz singers; Steve Grossman, magnificent keeper of the flame, in a two-tenor setup with the young Valerio Pontrandolfo; and the ideal ambassador of the global music trend, the master of the oud Rabih Abou-Khalil in an unlikely dialogue with Joachim Kühn. No big band as such this year but two big outfits all the same, the one upstream and the other downstream of jazz: the 50 young classical musicians in the Jazz meets Classics project and the 11 DJs in the Grazzhoppa big band. The vocal surprise is the singer China Moses in a tribute to Dinah Washington, and supplying the indispensable gypsy touch is the guitarist Raphaël Fays. Appearing in the Salle des 500 are two major European pianists, Baptiste Trotignon from France and Diederik Wissels from Belgium, who will be presenting the Norwegian saxophonist Tore Brunborg ; and two quartets with diametrically opposed approaches: Just Jazz, the new project by Aldo Romano ; and the Jean-Louis Rassinfosse quartet featuring the classical pianist Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven. However, this year the stars will also be invading the Club (formerly the Cabaret) : the audience will be regaled with edgy jazz performed by the drummer Doug Hammond, a key figure on the post-free scene in the United States, the new Jacques Pirotton and Fabrice Alleman quartet, and the Trio Grande with the pianist Matthew Bourne as guest; along with various versions of bop thanks to the quartet featuring the lively English saxophonist Peter King, the four-piece outfit headed by pianist Olivier Hutman, featuring the American saxophonist Rick Margitza as guest, and the Richard Rousselet and André Donni quintet. And if that leaves you begging for more, you can always pay a visit to the Salle des 200, where you can discover the Belgian jazz singer Natacha Wuyts, M’Base with the Pixl Trio headed by the flute player Pierre Bernard, and groove funk with Rhonny Ventat; and last but not least, the three annual projects on offer from the provincial initiative Ca Balance (the Thomas Champagne trio together with the Momentum Jazz Quartet and the Metropolitan Quartet ). A low-key programme ! What a joker JMP is!