American voice magician, composer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and two-time Grammy Award nominee Raul Midón will be the main star of the 39th International Jazz Festival JAZZFEST KARLOVY VARY - SOKOLOV 2022.
This time the festival is spread over two months, with the opening concert taking place at the end of September and the closing concert at the end of November. From 23 September to 24 November, the festival will offer five concerts presenting a very diverse range of musical expressions. This year's JAZZFEST is organized for the twenty-third time by the Jazz Circle company headed by musician Milan Krajíc, traditionally with the support of the City of Karlovy Vary and the Karlovy Vary Region. The patronage of JazzFest was provided by the Mayor of Karlovy Vary Ing. Andrea Pfeffer Ferklová, MBA, and the Governor of the Karlovy Vary Region Ing. Petr Kulhánek.
The festival will open on 23 September at the Drahomíra cinema with a special part of the Poetry & Jazz cycle, this time dedicated to Bob Dylan, who won the first ever Nobel Prize for Literature for his song lyrics in 2016. Readings of Dylan's lyrics performed by the Drahomíra Poetic Group will alternate with a live production by the Jazz Apetit group. Afterward, singer Alice Armstrong and guitarist/singer Matt Long will prove why they are both the best the British blues scene has to offer at the moment. They will be accompanied by bassist Matěj Černý and drummer Klára Böhmová.
The two Czech musical duos will perform a purely acoustic concert on 21 October at the Art Gallery. Flutist Martin Brunner and guitarist Jaroslav Šindler have not only had a rich musical career, lined with collaborations with many Czech musicians and bands but have also recorded two albums together. The instrumentally unusual pairing will be presented by the excellent pianist Emil Viklický and bass clarinetist Pavel Hrubý, who will play tracks from their collaborative album Between Us, a testament to the extraordinary harmony of two distinct jazz generations.
The main festival concert will take place on 24 October at the Grandhotel Ambassador Národní dům. The first part will feature S.V.A. Trio with guests Miroslav Hloucal and Miloš Dvořáček. S.V. A. Trio, consisting of renowned musicians with rich multi-genre experience violinist Alexey Aslamas, violist Vladan Malinjak, and cellist Simon Marek, focuses exclusively on their own original music. For this evening, they have invited as guests musicians for whom genre boundaries also do not exist. Trumpeter Miroslav Hloucal has collaborated or is collaborating not only with leading players of the Czech jazz scene, but has also met world legends on stage. Miloš Dvořáček, a drummer and percussionist, has collaborated with literally everyone and has mastered a wide range of approaches to popular, jazz, classical and alternative music.
The evening will culminate with a concert by Raul Midón, an extraordinary singer, musician, and composer with roots in jazz and Latin music. Midón performs solo as a one-man band, "turning his guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a choir," as The New York Times described him. He richly compensates for his handicap - he has been blind since birth - with musical inventiveness. With his flawless intonation and expressive register, he was hired as a studio vocalist by international stars from Shakira to Herbie Hancock early in his career.
Midón accompanies himself on guitar, percussion, and piano, another level of sound is added by his vocal ingenuity and balance when he alternates between a solo part and a backing role in a wide register of timbers. In the backing vocal parts, he creates the illusion of real and fictional instruments through his unique vocal timbre and phrasing. Midón has released eleven solo albums, and was nominated for a Grammy in the "Best Vocal Jazz Album" category for Bad Ass and Blind (2017) and If You Really Want (2018). His most recent album to date, The Mirror (2020), was nominated for a Libera Award by the American Association for Independent Music.
Following the concert, a jam session will take place at the hotel's Kakadu Music Bar. Meeting musicians across bands is always a source of unique and unforgettable musical experiences.
The festival will then move to the Municipal House of Culture in Sokolov, where pianist, composer, and singer Beata Hlavenková and trumpeter Oskar Török will perform on 9 November. Hlavenková is one of the most distinctive contemporary musicians, characterised by her unmistakable trans-genre authorial handwriting and courage to experiment. She has collaborated with Czech and international musicians and has been awarded prestigious music prizes for her albums. But it is only on her fifth and last album that she also presents herself as a singer. Her main musical partner in the creation of the album was Oskar Török, known mainly from the band Vertigo, and often performing in Poland. On the album, he presents himself not only in his traditional role as a trumpeter but also as a drummer, percussionist, and singer.
The second part of the evening will feature the Ruchadze Band - Amsterdam Beyond, led by world traveler, original composer, guitarist, and singer Konstantin Ruchadze. The band transcends the boundaries of jazz, is not afraid of funk or rock and its great music is hard to pigeonhole. The leader of the band, who emigrated from Czechoslovakia after 1968, settled in Holland a few years ago after many vicissitudes and successful musical projects. After 1989, Ruchadze and the rest of the old band got together, and since then the band has seen a number of musicians, including some great young talent.
The final concert of the festival will take place on 24 November at the Karlovy Vary Municipal Theatre, where jazz pianist and composer, as well as symphonic music composer and conductor Kryštof Marek, together with the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra and actor Jan Cina, will perform the musical project The Little Prince. Marek wrote not only the music but also the lyrics for the performance based on one of the most famous stories of modern world literature, the book of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Jan Cina, who was nominated for the Thalia Award for this role, will play the title and only role in the original adaptation. In the case of the festival concert, it will be a concert performance of music and songs from the theatre performance, which was also released on CD.