The 22nd outing for Jazz in Liege but number two in partnership with Les Ardentes festival. It is driven by the same principle of offering Jazz for Everybody, for all tastes. This year, too, the festival organisers have drawn up a long list featuring distinguished members of the contemporary jazz scene: just as jazz adopts an inclusive approach toward style, contemporary jazz tends to reflect all styles, or almost all styles. And therein lies the secret to what makes this unique festival such a challenge and so innovative. The aim is to allow seasoned experts, budding jazz fans and enthusiasts eager to become acquainted with jazz to get a taste of a variety of music served up with bluesy spices. All within the space of two evenings.
As the different halls in the Palais des Congrès have tended to specialise in certain areas over the years, they are now attracting their own "it" crowds, people who appreciate the atmosphere or what is on the bill of fare:
-the jazz headliners generally perform in the Salle des 1000 and this year the big names include: the quintet led by trumpet player Roy Hargrove, a high-energy neo-bopper, representing a contemporary mainstream artist who likes to keep his finger on the pulse; Roberta Gambarini, a leading light in the world of contemporary vocal jazz, with a stunning sense of swing melody; one of the most outstanding drummers of the moment, Antonio Sanchez, heading his new quartet; and Philip Catherine, "blue phoenix" and the quintessential icon of jazz made in Belgium.
-the rising stars and unique projects are being showcased in the Salle des 500, where the audience will be regaled with the music of: trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire, who has shot to the top of all the American polls, within the space of just a few years – one of the most eagerly-awaited performers this year; the 3 Cohens, ambassadors of the young New York scene, modern but with roots that go deep down; clarinet player Don Byron, with an amazing gospel-flavoured project; and the Tuesday Night Orchestra, a big band paying tribute to the work and repertoire of René Thomas and Bobby Jaspar.
- jazz crossover, world, electro, etc.... are set to wow the audiences in the Salle des Fêtes (the only standing venue): the programme features the music of three unflagging musketeers, going by the name of Aka Moon, who are releasing a new recording as a threesome for their 20th anniversary; the spoken word, afro-beat and funk on offer from Anthony Joseph and his Spasm Band; the Malian master Lansiné Kouyaté (balafon) and the vibraphone player David Neerman, united by the same enthusiasm for tradition and contemporary technology; big, fat, rousing groove and funk from Da Romeo & the Crazy Moondog Band featuring Eric Legnini: the first Belgian outing for The Excitements, a hardcore rhythm and blues group; and a steaming tribute to ethno-jazz from the Imperial Tiger Orchestra.
-libertarian ventures and exhilarating bop snuggle together, cabaret-style, in the Club Maison du Jazz,: the searing power trio led by the French pianist Remi Panossian; the German pianoless trio the Maison du Jazz is so enamoured with, Drei im roten Kreis; Belgian-style jazz soul from the Bop & Soul Sextet; and the shared jazz experience, texts and juggling of Stavroguine.
-the Ca Balance groups and Belgian projects attract those inclined to the more intimate atmosphere in the Salle des 200: this will be an opportunity to fully appreciate the string jazz served up by Moonly Delights (with Fabrice Alleman making a guest appearance); the 60s-style hard-bop from the Sidewinders; and over at Ca Balance, two brand-new fusion projects involving Syma and Temsé and, to coincide with the initiative's 10th anniversary, a 360-degree survey of Liege music with the LG Jazz Collectif headed by Guillaume Vierset.
And so nothing is lost: the halls and corridors will be playing host not only to students from the Amay and Waremme Academies but also to jazz-oriented DJs (DJ Zen and Djazz & Co), and to conclude the festivities, the jam session this year is set to be held in the Club Maison du Jazz. Plus exhibitions, stands, bars all ready to welcome you - jazz, jazz and even more jazz!