The Plovdiv Jazz Fest is going into its next round, with some of the greatest artists, both Bulgarian and from abroad. The 2016 fest will feature so many masters that we don’t really know where in the hell we should begin. Let’s start at the beginning.
Plovdiv Jazz Fest, November 1 to 5 2016, Cultural Centre Boris Christoff
“Four Ladies Sing Bossa Nova” November 1 2016, 8pm
It starts with Four Ladies Sing Bossa Nova. One of them is Beloslava, a brilliant vocalist from Sofia, whom we have followed and listened to over the years. With her smooth voice, which has to be described as truly sexy, she delivers a wide variety of styles. If we had to put her music into genre drawers, we would say many of her albums contain Bulgarian Pop tunes, including hits, which were converted into videos, and sung in a very unique way. The Beloslava way.
Her concerts are different too. Their direction depends on what she feels like doing, on the instrumentalists she performs with, and on the kind of venue she performs in. From jazzy, via funky, to Bossa Nova, like in this case. Here, she will team up with three fellow vocalists, for the Bossa Nova performance: Mira Katsarova, Hilda Kazasyan, who is also a great percussionist, and Andronia Popova.
Zuco 103 November 2nd, 2016, 20:00 hrs.
The Brazilian vocalist Lilian Veira and her formation Zuco 103 are next in line, on the second festival day. Electronic Brazilian tunes are their speciality. The band includes Dutch and German instrumentalists. It was originally founded by students at Rotterdam Conservatory. They will introduce their latest album “Etno Chic”, which was just released.
“The Majesty of Kenny Wheeler” November 3rd, 2016, 20:00 hrs.
On November 3rd, 2016, an international quintet will honour the late trumpet and flugelhorn hero Kenny Wheeler, who was regarded as one of the best, and who died two year ago, at age 84. The Bulgarian Georgi Kornazov (trombone) will be joined by Armel Dupas (piano), Frederic Scifolo (bass), Christophe Marhue (drums) and David Linx (vocals) for a special performance they call “The Majesty of Kenny Wheeler”. This one should go down very well with Jazz purists.
Camelia Todorova with Angel Zaberski November 3rd, 2016, 21:30 hrs.
Another wonderful performance can be expected that same night. Two Bulgarian music stars will hit the stage together. They are the legendary singer Camelia Todorova, and the brilliant composer, arranger and pianist Angel Zaberski, both of whom have a wide range of styles and abilities. Camelia Todorova can look back of decades of performing along and with fellow Jazz greats all over the globe. In the 1980-s, the Iron Curtain was still up, she was the first Bulgarian artist to sign a contract with a Western record label. Nowadays, her speciality are Jazz and Soul classics, which she sings in a breathtaking way. Camelia also teaches singing at New Bulgarian University.
Richard Bona November 4th, 2016, 20:00 hrs.
We reached yet another highlight of this year’s Plovdiv Jazz Fest. Greatness is coming to Bulgaria. “The African Sting”, Richard Bona, will be here. Let’s grasp our breath first. This is truly exciting. The bass hero and vocalist manages to stun his audiences and the press with his unique performances and recordings.
Bona is from Cameroon and sticks to his roots faithfully, whatever he plays. His electrifying style lets people shouting for more. The variety of his music is just as impressive as his playing. In the first years of this millennium, Richard Bona was part of a project with Lokua Kanza from Congo and the Antillais singer Gerald Toto. With them, he toured France. Right afterwards, he became part of the touring bands of the guitarists Mike Stern and Pat Metheny.
With his solo project, he has won several awards, recorded eight albums, the latest one of which, “Heritage”, was released last June. With Jazz, Bossa Nova, Pop, Afro Beat, traditional African and Funk sounds, he appeals to many groups of listeners. And he is simply a master. Brilliance in all areas. Richard Bona’s performances can only be highly recommended.
Mike Stern and Dave Weckl November 5th, 2016, 20:00 hrs.
Mike Stern is one of the great guitarists of our time. As a bandleader, he has recorded countless albums, the latest one being “Eclectic”. But, it all started when Mike Stern became a member of the legendary Jazz-Rock act Blood, Sweat and Tears. The Berklee College of Music student also toured with Billy Cobham’s Glass Menagerie like crazy. He accompanied the great Miles David and basically everyone. He got two Grammy nominations. The Guitar Player Magazine made him “Best Jazz Guitarist of the Year” in 1993, and rightly so. Yet another genius in Plovdiv.
The latter applies to Dave Weckl too. He is one of the best drummers alive. Weckl works on rhythms, from Jazz to Rock and from Fusion to Latin, almost scientifically. His solo albums, such as “Masterplan”, the first one, was a stunning recording. any drumming student who would hear him play the tune “Tower of Inspiration”, in which a fascinating series of rhythms and off-beats change back and forth, would be ready to throw his or her drum set out the window. Weckl is one of the ten drummers on this planet hardly anyone will match. who has Dave Weckl played with? Just read the Los Angeles phone book and you will get the idea.
Stern and Weckl are being joined by Tom Kennedy (bass) and Bob Malach (sax).