This year’s month-long honoring of Jazz in April – Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) 2018 – puts a focus on the creativity of women in jazz. By such a programming orientation, we want to highlight the female in jazz in the roles of composers, ensemble leaders, singers or instrumentalists. “Women in Jazz” is not only a topic, but also a selection of musical programs that we can offer the audience as a way of meeting artists as they present their specific projects, original creations and performing charisma. All segments of the JAM 2018 program – concerts, films, lectures and workshops – involve real jazz musicians. In the concert program, some of the selected artists will be performing for the first time in Montenegro!
At the beginning, the versatile Bosnian-Herzegovinian singer Nataša Mirković will perform an unusual program entitled En El Amor: Sephardic Songs of Southeast Europe, accompanied by Michel Godard, a French jazz musician playing on an instrument called the “serpent” (the forerunner of the tuba), along with the American drummer Jarrod Cagwin. This project received the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik” awarded by German critics in collaboration with other European music journalists and critics. The towering talent of Nataša Mirković, supported by the skill of her distinguished colleagues, will be on display for audiences in Podgorica on April 3 (at KIC “Budo Tomovic”) and on April 4 in Tivat (Naval Heritage Collection Porto Montenegro).
This year from Germany comes Julia Hülsmann, a renowned pianist and composer, who for fifteen years has been reshaping the contemporary German jazz scene. She will be creating her unique sound along with her two colleagues Marc Muellbauer, bassist, and Heinrich Köbberling, drummer. Her trio’s wide range of musical expression and sophisticated style was recognized by the respected ECM Records label, for whom Hülsmann has recorded six albums. The Podgorica audience will have the opportunity to hear music from her new album, Sooner And Later, on April 11 at KIC “Budo Tomovic”.
Multidisciplinary artist Jasna Jovićević comes from Serbia. She is an excellent saxophonist, composer, music animator, and pedagogue, known to musicians as a special and versatile musical personality who is always looking for new expressions. On her Montenegrin tour (Tivat, Bar and Podgorica on April 18, 19 and 20 respectively), she will present new music entitled Flow Vertical. She wrote the music for a sextet in which string and wind instruments are combined with percussion into ambient sound. The ensemble consists of: Jasna herself (saxophone, bass clarinet and percussion); Filip Krumes (violin); Rastko Popović (viola); Dejan Božić (cello); Nemanja Mihailović (bassoon); and Uroš Šećerov (percussion). Jasna Jovićević continuously creates new projects that are often related to nature, yoga, improvisation, women in music, and children. Thus, in addition to the concerts, she and her ensemble will also conduct children’s workshops called Mjuziklaža (roughly, “Musycling” as in “Music-Recycling”) on April 20 at the American Corner in Podgorica. The workshops discuss creative recycling and use of cast-off materials for making and playing of musical instruments.
In the closing performance of the program, Israeli flutist and composer Hadar Noiberg will appear. This rising star brings the warm, vibrant sounds of her New-York-based trio (bassist Eduardo Belo and drummer Amir Bar-Akiva), playing a mix of jazz improvisation, Western harmony, and rhythms from the Middle East and North Africa. Her third album, Open Fields, will be released at the end of April, and the concert at the Montenegrin National Theater on April 26 will be a kind of pre-premier for the European promotion of this album.
Turning from jazz performances to jazz films, for this year’s cycle “Jazz on Film” the selection was made by director Nemanja Bečanović. Audiences will have the opportunity to see two feature films (Nina and Lady Sings the Blues) as well as two documentaries (The Girls in the Band and Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band). All in their own way speak about the position of female jazz musicians who, despite discrimination on many grounds, including race as well as gender, made great contributions. The films will be screened in Podgorica on April 12 and 13 (at DODEST Hall) and in Tivat (every Tuesday of the month in Porto Montenegro’s Sailing Squadron). These exceptional films were obtained for us thanks to the American Corner in Podgorica, our constant partner in the affirmation and promotion of jazz.
All lovers of jazz will be able to attend guest lectures by visiting professors and music writers on interesting topics. Virgil Mihai is jazz critics and writer, professor jazz aesthetics at Cluj University (Cluj), and a teacher; he has appeared at our JAM in previous years, and has written for our magazine. His lecture on Today’s Role of Women in Jazz will be held at the Vasa Pavić Art School for Music and Ballet on April 5, while his talk on Jazz as Expression of Identity will be presented before students and professors at the Music Academy in Cetinje on April 10.
We proudly announce a special guest this year, the legendary John Edward Hasse, the American music curator emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC – and the man who created Jazz Appreciation Month! He is also the founder of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He is an award-winning writer and lecturer and Grammy Award nominee. He will offer his lecture on the topic Why We Need the Arts More Than Ever at the Ministry of Culture on April 20.
This year’s JAM has been supported by our numerous partners: KIC “Budo Tomovic” (Budo Tomovic Cultural Information Center), Porto Montenegro, Crnogorska komercijalna banka – CKB (Montenegrin Commercial Bank – CKB), Barski Ljetopis (Summer festival of the city of Bar), the American Corner in Podgorica, the Academy of Music in Cetinje, the Vasa Pavic Art School of Music and Ballet, the Hard Rock Café in Podgorica, and the Embassies Germany, Israel and the United States of America. A program for marking International Jazz Day on April 30 has received the support of the Montenegrin National Commission for UNESCO. Thank you to all!
The detailed program of all events can be found on line at JAM 2018 Events
All JAM events are open to the public and free of charge.
Come, experience Jazz, we are waiting for you!
Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro