Jazz Appreciation Month is a project aimed at promoting jazz music in Montenegro. It is based on ideas originating in the USA that spread all over the world. Yet, the project is tailor-made to suit the needs of the Montenegrin environment. Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro consists of concerts, master classes, workshops, educational programs, films, and art events. It speaks to young and old, students and teachers, amateurs and professionals.
The most recent Jazz Appreciation Month, held in April 2010, featured a series of events in four cities in Montenegro: Podgorica, Cetinje, Kotor, and Pljevlja. Collaboration of the Jazz Art Association in Podgorica, the Music Academy of Cetinje, Kunst Universität of Graz (Austria), led to a two-week workshop being organized for young jazz musicians from Europe. Crucial support came from WUS Austria (World University Service). The core element of the workshop was entitled “Jazz Language Application and Communication in the Repertory Ensemble”. In effect, it gathered student from the two music academies — Cetinje and Graz — for training and rehearsal, leading then to jam sessions and concerts.
The Cetinje and Graz students were coached by the renowned trumpeter and bandleader Stjepko Gut and his frequent collaborator, the New-York-based jazz piano virtuoso Ehud Asherie. In addition to coaching the students’ daily workshops and rehearsing them for the later public jam sessions and concerts, Messrs. Gut and Asherie themselves performed as a duo in a series of concerts in Montenegro during Jazz Appreciation Month.
While the student workshops were the core project, other events took place under the Jazz Appreciation Month rubric. These included a cycle of documentary and feature films about jazz, as well as an exhibition by the artist Vjera Nikolic. The Montenegrin Ceremonial Guard Orchestra played jazz to open the Month, and at the end came a concert by colleagues of the late Nikola Mimo Mitrovic, revered Montenegrin jazzman of international standing, whose sudden loss earlier this year was so heartfelt that Jazz Appreciation Month 2010 was formally dedicated to his memory.
Sincerest thanks to all Jazz Appreciation Month partners: the Austrian Development Cooperation; the Erste Foundation; the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Media, Government of Montenegro; the Mall of Montenegro; the KIC „Budo Tomovic“ cultural center in Podgorica; the Royal Theater Zetski Dom in Cetinje; the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica, and its “American Corner”; the Academy of Music in Cetinje; the „Vasa Pavić“ School of Music and Dance; Karver bookstore of Podgorica; the Budva municipality’s Tourist Bureau; the Forum Café of Podgorica; the Evergreen club of Kotor; Digital Printing Center (DPC) of Podgorica.