Our fifteenth edition of Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro – JAM 2021 will be held under the motto ’’Balkan Jazz’’. Guided by the idea that during these challenging times musicians didn’t have a lot of opportunities to perform in front of the audience, we wanted to emphasize the importance of live concerts and provide space to jazz performers, ensembles and composers from the Balkans region to reencounter with their audience and create new values in music – in cooperation with their colleagues. Taking into account epidemiological situation and adhering to health protection measures, the JAM 2021 is created on a smaller scale than usual and will mainly take place at the Cultural Center of Podgorica (KIC). A total of five programs (two film screenings within the cycle ’’Jazz on Film’’ and three concerts of musicians from the Balkan region) will be held live in the KIC’s halls, while the final concert of the Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra, marking the International Jazz Day – April 30, will take place at the Royal Theatre of Cetinje.
The program will start with screenings of two feature films – “Elevator to the Gallows” (1958) by French director Louis Malle and “Paris Blues” (1961) by American director Martin Ritt. Both films feature the music by celebrated jazz composers – trumpeter Miles Davis for “Elevator to the Gallows” and pianist Duke Ellington for “Paris Blues”, and both are known for their original jazz music that creates and stimulates special emotions and atmosphere. Film screenings are scheduled for Monday, April 5 and Tuesday, April 6 at the DODEST Hall at 4 p.m.
Concert cycle will start with the AJS Quartet, one of the most popular ensembles in Albania. The The members of the quartet are musicians from Tirana: pianist and composer Genti Rushi, saxophonist and flutist Ermal Rodi, drummer Emilian Dhimo and double bassist Roni Gyura. They combine different ideas and experiences which make their music and performances very interesting and original. The music of this ensemble is fusion of different jazz styles, and incorporate the flavors of Balkan music. The AJS Quartet regularly performs both in Albania and on the international jazz scene. They did numerous concert tours in Europe and beyond. Their concert at KIC is scheduled for Wednesday, April 7 at 5 p.m.
The JAM program also includes a concert by the young Montenegrin fusion band Kuhinjazz. The bend members are Enes Tahirović, on keyboards, Slaven Ljujić, on bass, and Martin Đorđević, on drums, Stefan Pavićević, on saxophone, and Dejan Ljujić, on trombone. After completing their jazz studies abroad (Siena, Italy, Graz, Austria and Boston; US), Martin, Enes and Slaven returned to Podgorica with the aim of contributing to the development in their own country and working through composing, performing and coaching. Considering that the Jazz Appreciation Month event has been essential for the educational and musical development of all members of Kuhinjazz since its inception, this concert is a continuation of cooperation through the joint work of a young jazz generation. The Kuhinjazz concert is scheduled for April 22 in the Main Hall of KIC at 8 p.m.
At the end of the JAM 2021 event, a concert of a new musical formation of young jazz musicians from the Balkans will be realized within the one-year project “Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra”, conducted by the NGO Jazz Art under the auspices of the Western Balkans Fund and in cooperation with partners from the region: Faculty of Music Belgrade and Music Academy of the University “Goce Delcev” Stip, as well as local partner KIC “Budo Tomovic” of Podgorica.
Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra will play original compositions written by ten selected young and renowned composers from the Balkan region: Vladimir Botev and Gordan Spasovski from Northern Macedonia, Simona Strungaru and Sebastian Burneci from Romania, Ivan Jovanovic, Damjan Jovicin and Nevena Pejcic from Serbia, David Mastikosa from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mak Mutrić from Croatia, and Rok Nemanič, from Slovenia, under the direction of jazz experts – mentor and professor Antonio Kitanovski (Music Academy of the University “Goce Delčev” Štip) from Vladimir Nikolov (Faculty of Music Belgrade).
The premiere performance Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra will hold on April 29 at KIC at 8 pm, and a day later the they will present their repertoire to the audience in Cetinje, as part of the celebration of the International Jazz Day – April 30 at noon, at the Royal Theater.
In addition to the film and concert program, we have created, in cooperation with the American Corner in Podgorica, an online program-lecture “Virtual Encounters” every Wednesday at 8 pm. We will host prominent artists from the world of music, photography, literature and film. In the past, all of them have contributed to the programs of the festival “Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro: John Edward Hasse, a famous music writer, editor-emeritus of the collection of American music at the National Museum of American History; Virginia Jones, professor of American literature at Louisiana State University in Alexandria, USA; renowned art photographer Žiga Koritnik from Ljubljana and well-known film theorist Miša Nedeljković, professor at the University of Oklahoma, USA. Online lectures will be streamed on FB Live at the pages of Jazz Art and American Corner Podgorica (every Wednesday at 8 p.m.).
We are thankful for support of our longtime partners and sponsors: KIC “Budo Tomović”, Tourism Organization of Cetinje and CKB (Montenegrin Commercial Bank – CKB).
All JAM events are open to the public and free of charge.
Come, experience Jazz! We are waiting for you.