Balkan Jazz Bridges

Poster program JAM 20162

This year’s Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) – the tenth JAM to be held in Montenegro – bears the motto “Balkan Jazz Bridges.”  The main components of this year’s event will be workshops and concerts that bring together talented young jazz musicians from the region under the artistic leadership of renowned jazz composers and instrumentalists, such as the Belgrade-based pianist Vasil Hadzimanov, the Macedonian guitarist Toni Kitanovski, and the American saxophonist David Binney.  As for the concerts, all workshops will be held daily at the Budo Tomovic Culture-Information Center from April 23 to April 30.

Vasil Hadzimanov and Toni Kitanovski have collaborated for many years; they make up the core of the Toni Kitanovski Trio, and both teach at the Goce Delcev University in the city of Stip, where Toni is head of the Jazz Department.  In that sense, both Toni and Vasil serve as inspirational role models and have influence on the education and creativity of young jazz musicians from the region.  During JAM, the relationships between musicians always develop in natural, spontaneous and often unpredictable ways.

The friendship between Vasil Hadzimanov and David Binney started back in the 1990s, when Vasil was a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.   After nearly two decades, the two musicians have renewed contact and achieved fruitful cooperation during the tour in 2014, crowned by the release of the album “Alive”. The Montenegrin audience will have an opportunity to watch and listen to these two jazz masters in Tivat (April 28), Podgorica (April 29), and Cetinje (April 30).  At those performances they will be joined by the rest of the Vasil Hadzimanov Band, as well as all the participants in “Balkan Jazz Bridges” workshops.

Apart from workshops and concerts, we recommend this year’s offering of Jazz on Film, in which we will present two recent American films from 2014.  Both are on the topic of the relationship between mentor and student: the first is documentary “Keep On Keepin’ On” with legendary Clark Terry in the role of mentor to a young, blind pianist (Justin Kauflin).  The second is the Oscar-winning feature film “Whiplash,” which showcases young ambitious jazz musician as he deals with the harsh instructor and competitive environment of the professional reality of jazz today.

This year, Jazz Appreciation Month celebrates its fifteenth anniversary in the United States and its tenth here in Montenegro; we have prepared a special exhibition of each of the annual JAM posters produced in Washington, D.C. by the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution.  The posters help bring closer the history of jazz and jazz musicians to our audiences in Tivat (April 14) and in Podgorica (April 21 – 30).

Furthermore, we will organize celebration of International Jazz Day in Montenegro (April 30) with sponsorship from the National Commission for UNESCO of Montenegro, Crnogorska Komercijalna Banka, U.S. Embassy in Montenegro, and the City of Cetinje – Ancient Royal Capital. This event will take place at Royal Square in Cetinje, featuring a performance of the Vasil Hadzimanov Band with David Binney and participants in the “Balkan Jazz Bridges” workshops.

Heartfelt thanks go to all our marvelous partners: the Budo Tomovic Culture-Information Center, the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro, Porto Montenegro, the National Commission for UNESCO in Montenegro, Crnogorska Komercijalna Banka, the Hard Rock Cafe Podgorica, the Tourist Organization of Podgorica, the American Corner in Podgorica, and the City of Cetinje – Ancient Royal Capital.

Step with us onto this bridge, and come be a part of JAM in Montenegro!

The entire program is available here: JAM 2016 Events

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