The Athens Jazz Festival, the most famous jazz festival in Greece, returns to the Technopolis City of Athens from May 22-29 with an international line-up that reflects the absolute nature of jazz, transcending specific musical limitations.
The city’s longest-running music event, which has become a standard meeting place for jazz fans in Athens, is now in its 22nd year, Free admission, allowing Athenians and visitors to the city to enjoy live performances by famous artists and new bands from Greece and abroad performing on the main stage Technopolis at 21 concerts, which makes the festival one of the most diverse in recent years.
Traditionally, the first day Athens Jazz Festival is dedicated to the Greek jazz scene and presents three Greek bands selected by the artistic committee of the festival.
- Monday (May 22) The promising Tomas Mitrousis Quartet is launching the festival as a new musical offering with a unique sound mix ranging from contemporary jazz to classical and post-rock. This is followed by the Nefeli Fasouli Quintet, which stands out in the Jazz+ category, as it masterfully combines African-American jazz traditions with Greek folk music. Finally, Spiral Trio, one of the most significant jazz trios of our country with international status and fame, will close the first day as an official Greek participant of the festival.
- The international program will start Tuesday (May 23) with a performance by award-winning Hungarian singer-songwriter Veronika Harcha, who evokes a wide range of emotions with the sounds of modern and classical jazz with her exceptional voice. She is succeeded by the young Belgian bassist Jonathan Collin-Buchon, who, with his jazz pieces and genre-free compositions, comes with his musicians to present fresh melodies with a dreamy timbre and covers of classical pieces. Next in line is Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity, a band that truly represents the rich Norwegian jazz scene. They released their debut album on the iconic ECM label last year and will enchant us with a very melodic and improvisational acoustic concert.
- Wednesday (May 24) the dynamic quartet AJS Quartet (Albanian Jazz Society), the first Albanian participation in the history of the festival, will open the concert with Balkan sounds and rhythms. Next, the most famous jazz group in our neighboring country will pass the baton to the Rembrandt Trio, the group of the Dutch pianist Rembrandt Frerichs with their wide range of music reaching the musical cultures of the Arab world. Next will be the explosive band Tygroo from the Czech Republic. Their brass and percussion will take us on an unpredictable musical journey where traditional Balkan and Jewish sounds meet funk, hip-hop, disco, dubstep and electro-pop.
- Thursday (May 25) the festival will feature pianist Joel Lissarides, a rising star in the Swedish and wider European jazz scene, who is firmly on the path to narrative, melodic jazz with his trio. Danes I Think You’re Awesome will be next to present their musical horizons. From Scandinavian progressive ambient or straight-forward folk to African rhythms or classic jazz form, every album has something different to offer. Finally, representing Switzerland, the legendary Eric Truffaz, with 30 years of performance experience, one of the most significant figures of modern jazz at the international level, will share with the public his great direct jazz, hip-hop, drum’n’bass and echoes of the world in a live show .
- Friday (26 May) Cypriot Quintedo, the new band of saxophonist Marios Charalambous, will span the entire jazz spectrum, before which up-and-coming band Candlelight Ficus from Austria will lure audiences on a musical journey that will put them in a good mood and uplift their spirits with non-stop grooves, strong pop melodies and obvious influences from Wolfpeck to John Mayer and Michael Jackson. And finally, the Italian Rafael Gualazzi, singer, pianist and composer, who brought his country back to the popular Eurovision Song Contest. Gualazzi seamlessly transitions from jazz to blues, both in their traditional and most modern forms, while maintaining the traditions of the Italian stage.
- Saturday (May 27) The audience will welcome the German performer KID BE KID, a phenomenon of the modern polymorphic Berlin music scene: she sings and beats at the same time, plays the piano or electronic keyboards virtuoso, and creates an amazing show with her unique presence on stage. Next on the stage will be the French OZMA with their explosive jazz that knows no aesthetic barriers, flirting comfortably with rock or traditional music with open horizons and electronic landscapes. Next comes the Spanish pianist Daniel Garcia Diego Trio, proclaiming the bright future of European jazz, mixing musical currents such as jazz and flamenco, classical and folk Spanish music, and rock and electronic music in such a way as to always remain creatively exciting and aesthetically pure.
- Sunday (May 28) will begin with a performance by experienced saxophonist Maxim Bender from Luxembourg. With a wide range of contemporary and improvisational melodic jazz, soul and rock influences, the musical world of Maxim Bender’s “Universal Sky” is not trapped in limiting labels. Then comes Israeli pianist Guy Minthus, who creatively combines his Middle Eastern musical roots with classical and jazz forms and styles to create a distinctive sonic mix. Finally, Briton Jackson Mathod, trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist and singer, will focus on uplifting euphoric jazz fusion.
This year the Athens Jazz Festival is complemented by a number of additional events inside and outside the Technopolis.
Festival goers will enjoy a photo exhibition by the METAPolis team, a rich, itinerant Meet Market and a wide selection of Vinyl Market records.
As the GAZI Museum celebrates its 10th anniversary, the museum premises will be open to the public (18:00-20:00), Free admission.
This year the Athens Jazz club program in nearby Gazarte is unique. First, on Tuesday (May 23), cult composer and musician Roy Ayers will perform in our country for the last time as part of the Farewell Tour. Next, on Saturday (May 27), the savvy Jerome Kaluta will perform at the Kosmos Jazz Party with an invigorating concert that will precede a dance DJ set from the famous Kosmos 93.6 producers. Finally, consummate jazz conductor Billy Cobham will celebrate on Monday (May 29) the 50th anniversary of the release of his legendary album “Spectrum”, the perfect closing of this year’s festival.
More information about the side event program on the 22nd Athens Jazz will be announced shortly.
More information can be found on the official site Athens Jazz Festival.