Inspiration and improvisation at the springtime Jazzkaar

28. märts 2011

From April 20 to April 30, the biggest springtime jazz party Jazzkaar 2011 will once again take the town, this year with the participation of the youngsters of Eksperimenta!. We talked to the project manager of Jazzkaar Krista Tramberg about the most notable events and exciting activities of the approaching jazz spring.

From April 20 to April 30, the biggest springtime jazz party Jazzkaar 2011 will once again take the town, this year with the participation of the youngsters of Eksperimenta!. We talked to the project manager of Jazzkaar Krista Tramberg about the most notable events and exciting activities of the approaching jazz spring.

How would you characterize the spring programme of Jazzkaar in this year of the Capital of Culture? Which exciting performers and events are you going to present to the Estonian audiences during the last 11 days of April?
Thanks to the year of the European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011, the programme of the Jazzkaar festival is also very varied and colourful, bringing many of the world’s top musicians to Estonia, including the extraordinary star vocalist Bobby McFerrin from the USA. In addition to McFerrin, the programme of the European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011 also includes the distinctive “Punkt” festival, which launches our 11-day jazz party; one of the world’s most renowned saxophone players David Liebman, who will also present the Jazz Awards; the European Jazz Orchestra, composed of young talents, whose concert in Estonia will be broadcast by several radio stations across Europe; and the “Urban Space Project”, bringing jazz and improvisation to the streets of Tallinn.

Which performers would you highlight in particular?
I would definitely like to highlight the colourful headliners of our festival, such as Richard Bona, Mayra Andrade, David Liebman, as well as two very hot club nights on the 28th and 29th of April at Rock Cafe. Richard Bona grew up in a small Cameroon village in a Duala-speaking environment, the local songs and rhythms are still close to his heart. One can get a feel of this exotic background at his concert. Mayra Andrade’s concert will feature Portuguese fados, French chansons, Cabo Verde morna ballads, as well as Brazilian and Cuban rhythms. Regardless of weather, these two concerts will no doubt bring a lot of sunshine into our everyday lives.

The night of April 28 is reserved for Cuban and Brazilian music, performed by Omar Puente Cuban Group (UK-Cuba) and Hamleto Stamato Quintet (Brazil). On the night of April 29, an interesting group takes the stage – Milk & Jade by Dana Leong from the USA, whose work combines electronic music, rap and jazz. The same night, an energetic band from Luxembourg, Funky P Society, can also be seen. Two nights’ worth of real party!

This year, more than before, sounds can also be heard outside of concert halls thanks to the “Urban Space Project”. What is it about?
The “Urban Space Project” is organized in cooperation with the Tallinn 2011 Foundation, and this year the project is included in the European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011 programme. In the course of the project, taking place for the second consecutive year, several musical groups will be improvising and experimenting with the public city space and audiences in various places in Tallinn for 11 days. By involving different local artists as well as random audiences, these unexpected public performances will create an opportunity for musical participation and experience, regardless of place, time or other factors. This year, three different groups will be participating in the project, and like previous year, the project also includes performers from abroad – the Scottish brass quartet Brass Jaw, who recently performed at the London Jazz festival, and the runner up of last year’s Nõmme Jazz competition, the Norwegian drummer Jakop Janssonn. The project also features our own Estonian jazz musician Siim Aimla and students of the Georg Ots Tallinn Music School. In addition, there are going to be many surprise performers, who might not be musicians at all.

Where did the idea of a project involving city space and audience come from? Have there been similar events elsewhere in the world?
The idea for this project has been mulled over for quite some time, and last year we finally made it happen. The one who originally came up with the idea was Madli-Liis Parts, who was the project manager of Jazz Appreciation Month for a long time and is now a member of the hard-working staff of the Tallinn 2011 Foundation. I joined in last year, during which we also first materialized it.

There are no doubt similar projects also elsewhere in the world – I have heard of and been inspired by various art projects of this kind. But so far I haven’t encountered any other project that combines all art forms and sends it to the streets.

Just like the completion of the artworks of the Eksperimenta! youth, the “Urban Space Project” is also an experiment whose result cannot be predicted. Based on last year’s experience – how eager is the audience to go along with an improvisational concert?
Last year was a real test, in fact, and at first we didn’t know what to expect at all. I had a preconception, somewhat, that Estonians might not be outgoing enough to go along with such a project. I must say that my preconception turned out to be utterly mistaken. I can bring an example where the music elicited such emotion in a young man that he stepped out from the audience and started break-dancing. A visually very effective situation was created by a group of young foreigners who were “trapped” in Estonia because of the “ash cloud” that was causing panic at the time, which was why they had tied big grey balloons around themselves. Moving in a group like that, they symbolized that very ash cloud, and happened to walk by during one of our performances completely by accident.

For me, the most important thing is that people enjoy our performances and let music into their heart. Of course, it would be particularly delightful if people want to join in on our action as well. Last year, we received a lot of positive feedback, which was very heart-warming, and I sincerely hope and believe that this year we are going to make Tallinn a more joyful place for those 11 days and make our way deep into the hearts of Tallinners.

On April 27, the “Urban Space Project” will take place at the Song Festival Grounds, in the outdoor exhibition area of Eksperimenta!. Who and what can be seen and heard there?
By that time, the project will be in full swing and the international students participating in the Eksperimenta! project will join in with a new energy. I am absolutely delighted that this year provides an opportunity for such a spectacular collaboration with art field. The cooperation of these two projects provides the chance to see musicians and artists who tread the line and direct the inspiration gained from each other into their joint performance.

Who do you expect to visit the springtime jazz festival – are there concerts specially for young people or for tourists visiting the Capital of Culture?
Indeed, we have put more emphasis on foreign visitors this year because of the European Capital of Culture. Our festival programme has enough concerts of various styles for all music-lovers, regardless of age. The programme includes both classical jazz and vocal and club music.

NB! As the “Urban Space Project” depends on weather, follow the information on locations and times on Eksperimenta! and Jazzkaar Facebook pages: