For all you jazz-junkies out there, Christmas has come early, the legendary Buenos Aires Jazz Festival is back and bigger than ever. Starting this Wednesday, November 23rd, jazz will be spilling out into the streets in abundance all around the City until the following Monday (the 28th).
Born in 2002, the BA Jazz Festival has seen some huge names, like Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard. Word has spread over the years on this fantastic event seeing spectators grow from some 36,000 in the opening years to 70,000 in 2012.
This year, Buenos Aires will see a huge group of 400 jazzistas (100 more than last year) playing music across 15 venues around the city, with artists coming from around the globe as well as Argentina of course. With a mixture of workshops, dance floors and jam sessions amongst many other activities there’s something for everyone. Whether you prefer to listen to some soothing saxophone in the Argentine sun or boogie your socks off till the early hours. You’ve got options.
You can see the full day-day schedule here.
Your curated playlist for the week
Usina del Arte, Auditorio l 8:30 PM l AR $140
Kick-starting the festival will be this saucy North American septet, and boy have they got a ton of experience. How much does a jazz ton weigh these days? Try playing with the likes of Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins, having more than 250 years collective experience in the jazz world, producing over 1000 tracks. That should do for size.
Forming the supergroup in 2007, The Cookers have racked up five albums over the years which have all gone down a treat. Their fourth album “Time and Time again” being named as the iTunes Jazz album of the year. The band play smooth and salubrious mid-60s post-bop style.
Anfiteatro del Parque Centenario l 10:00 PM l Free
Argentine trumpeter, composer, comedian, author, actor and broadcaster, it’s fair to say Gillespi (named attributed to trumpet icon, Dizzy Gillespie) is a man of many talents. Starting his career with his debut solo album Ultradeforme in 1998, he’s been busy since, releasing his latest and ninth album, Desayuno en Ganímedes last year. Gillespi has also dabbled in the rock scene over the years, having shared the stage with the likes of Charly García, Sumo and Soda Stereo.
This year, with band in hand (tenor sax, piano, bass and drums) he’ll be showcasing his jazz skills to the City. Stylistically, there should be a variety of sounds, most probably including bebop of course. Cue brief history lesson: Bebop jazz originated from the US during the 1940s thanks to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Bebop is fast paced jazz to get those feet tapping and heads bobbing.
Earlier: Lilian Saba plays Bill Evans tribute
Usina del Arte, Sala de Cámara l 7:00 PM l Free with pre-collected ticket
Born and raised Argentine, it’s fair to say this pianist knows her music. She went to the Carlos López Buchardo National Conservatory of Music, the National School of Dance and understudied with Maestro Manolo Juárez.
Lilian returns to the Festival this year after last year’s success. She will be performing the same task of paying tribute to revolutionary Jazz pianist, the late Bill Evans. Evans was a New York born jazz pianist who played with Miles Davis when producing the best selling jazz album of all time, “Kind of Blue”.
Later | Héroes del Swing
Espacio Cultural Resurgimiento l 10:00 PM l Free with pre-collected ticket
It ain’t no thing if it ain’t got that swing. Bring your dancing shoes boys and girls, and prepare to be taken back in time. This Argentine Sextet will be playing swing and teaching some new steps to add to the repertoire along the way.
Playing music from the 30s, 40s and 50s, the band try to recreate that New York golden-era. Starting in 2013, they debuted at the Jazz Festival last year with a dancing performance coming from singer Marina Quiroga. This time round, the event is hosted at one of the many dance floors where there will be space for everyone to have a little boogie.
Earlier: Delfina Cheb Sextet
Anfiteatro del Parque Centenario l 5:00 PM l Free
Trekking overseas from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, we have a group of budding international students with a passion for jazz. This group delivers a modern spin on jazz classics. Influences come from legends like Duke Ellington and Jimmy Van Heusen. With Argentine, American and Norwegian members we have an improvisation packed cover band with a fresh young feel.
Later| Comotto plays Hendrix
Anfiteatro del Parque Centenario l 22:00 l Free
Okay, although the persnickety amongst you may argue that this isn’t strictly “Jazz”, seeing a tribute to one of the greatest musical icons of the twentieth century can’t be a bad idea. This is what Baltasar Comotto alongside Matías Méndez (on bass) and Sergio Verdinelli (on drums) will be enacting on Saturday night. They will paying tribute to Rock and Roll God Jimi Hendrix. Throughout his prosperous albeit short-lived career, Hendrix played a variety of music featuring plenty of blues — Jazz’s well-known first cousin.
Baltasar Comotto is a man fit for the job, having played alongside Argentine rock-jazz pioneer Luis Spinetta. Comotto’s latest album “Blindado” features Spinetta along with Argentine musical heroes Indio Solari, and Ricardo Mollo.
Ibrahim Ferrer Jr. Quintet
Espacio Cultural Carlos Gardel l 9:00 PM l Free with pre-collected ticket
Taking the name of his late father Ibrahim Ferrer of the internationally acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club, Ibrahim Ferrer Jr. carries on a Cuban legacy, albeit with a modern and sometimes Argentine twist. Two years after starting his solo career in 2006, and two albums later, his talent was recognised with a win of the prestigious Premio Carlos Gardel award (Argentine equivalent of the Grammys) for his album Al son de un Homenaje.
Choosing to live in Argentina, Ferrer Jr. dedicated two of his four solo albums to the theme of mixing Argentine and Cuban culture, with the outcome being a palpable hit. His sound? Quite the mixture. A dash of traditional Cuban music, a spatter of Latin Jazz, a sprinkle of Afro-Cuban rhythms and a dusting of Bossa Nova.
Maria João y Guinga
Usina del Arte l 8:30 PM l AR $ 200/130
A Brazilian guitarist and a Portuguese singer — a match made in heaven. This duo made their debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and have been together ever since. Their music is a brilliant mixture of cultures, with sublime guitar playing accompanied by expressive lyricism, producing the most profound of sounds. A strange mixture of both joyous filled numbers alongside more sombre tracks.
Rio born Guinga has played the guitar since age 16, playing with some of the biggest names in Brazil over the years. Guinga has been described as being the type of guy “that only appears once every hundred years”.
Lisbon born Maria stumbled across music by listening to Jodi Mitchell on the radio. Soon she joined a rock band and was quickly hooked on music. Entering the world of jazz some six years later (1982), Maria graced Portugal with her improvisational skills and mysterious vocals and has been active ever since.