International Jazz Day in Montenegro

The celebration of International Jazz Day in Montenegro will held in Cetinje, at the Royal Square, at 7 pm. The event will also mark the grand finale of Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro – as well as marking ten years of our celebrating JAM in April in Montenegro!

Jazz Art Association presents the Vasil Hadzimanov Band featuring David Binney, as well as young musicians-participants of the Balkan Jazz Bridges workshop, with the cooperation and support of several sponsors: the National Commission for UNESCO of Montenegro; the City of Cetinje – Ancient Royal Capital; the US Embassy in Montenegro; and the Montenegrin Commercial Bank of Podgorica.

The audience will have a great opportunity to listen to the Vasil Hadzimanov Band joined by the American saxophonist David Binney.  They will feature music from their new album “Alive.” This energetic and inspiring album was recorded live during a 2014 European tour.  It is music that is fresh, unpredictable, hypnotic, boundary-pushing.  Since its formation some fifteen years ago, the Vasil Hadzimanov Band has performed hundreds of shows and appeared at numerous jazz festivals in Europe and Japan.   Saxophonist David Binney’s original and acclaimed style has brought him notoriety throughout the world as an exponent of progressive jazz of our times.  As an extra element in the joyous collaboration on stage, as we celebrate the glorious conclusion of another JAM, the performance will also feature young jazz musicians from the region – these are the very same young musicians who attended the Balkan Jazz Bridges workshop during the preceding week, under the guidance of Vasil, David, and Toni Kitanovski.

We wish you a Happy International Jazz Day.  Come to Cetinje, and join us!

Learn more about International Jazz Day:

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Writer, jazz expert, diplomat, founder of the Jazz Aesthetics Course at the G. Dima Music Academy in Cluj, Virgil Mihau will give a special lecture on April 27th, at the Music Academy of Cetinje (University of Montenegro) at 1pm, as a part of the Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro event.

Traditionally, jazz has been defined as an Afro-American musical synthesis. Accordingly, from the very beginning, it was conditioned by geopolitical elements (i.e., relating to politics, especially international relations, as influenced by geographical factors). In a parallel manner these have been affected and nurtured, shaped and transcended by a more profound relationship: the connection between jazz and the world’s bountiful supply of cultures.

No doubt, in the beginning jazz was an Afro-American import all over the world. And this type of music is by far the United States’ most original and coherent contribution to the enrichment of mankind’s artistic heritage. But neither can an informed observer deny the progressive emancipation of jazz, from the middle of the 20th century onwards, firstly in Europe, soon afterwards in Latin America, and nowadays on all continents. For decades on end, jazz musicians outside the USA had not been able to overcome the complexes engendered by the alleged “genuineness” of canonized American patterns. At present the situation is different. Only by expanding the concept of jazz towards new cultural and aesthetic territories shall we be entitled to consider it not only the music of the 20th century, but also the music of the future.
Nevertheless, this very process of emancipation is a fascinating chapter in itself.

Virgil Mihaiu’s lecture will concentrate upon a couple of significant cases in point: the “jazz contamination” phenomenon, in various European countries; the “love/hate” correlation between jazz and the political power in the Soviet Union, the “socialist camp” countries, as well as in other totalitarian regimes (Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal); big bands as expression of national identity in most Soviet Republics, from Stalin’s times to the post-independence period (the Baltic countries, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bessarabia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Central Asia); the initial power play between the English language monopoly in jazz vs. its expression in native tongues, followed by the subsequent acceptance of new idioms, as well as styles, from all over the world (the rising of Brazil’s bossa nova, of Cuban & other Latin-American rhythms, the appearance and development of distinctive European national jazz-expressions, etc., which finally led to the glocalisation phenomenon ‒ a term concocted by British scholar Stuart Nicholson); the incongruence between big and valuable, or between rich and talented in matters of arts (Lithuania, Estonia & Latvia boast more valid jazz accomplishments than huge countries like China or Ukraine…); the way in which geopolitical changes affect the jazz scene (Norway’s impressive jazz development, after the discovery of petrol reserves); temperamental and psychological features of the ”regional or national character” expressed through jazz (amazing achievements by artists like Jan Johansson/Sweden, Krzysztof Komeda/Poland, Richard Oschanitzky/Romania, Vagif Mustafa-Zade/Azerbaijan, Ganelin-Chekasin-Tarasov/Russia-Lithuania, Anatol Stefanet/Republic of Moldova). Certainly, the multitude of such possible themes cannot be tackled exhaustively in a single session, but they may offer stimulating material for further critical appreciation of today’s art of jazz.

Virgil Mihaiu will also express his opinion about the appearance of Montenegro on nowadays geopolitical map of jazz. He would like to incite an exchange of ideas with the participants to his lecture, starting from the prospects of this music in Montenegro.

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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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