As we live in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country, Spain), and we have enjoyed its Jazz Festival since the 9th edition (what old we are, my God), we are going to tell the concerts we see everyday, and to show some VIDEOS. But as the official section is covered by TVE (public Spanish Television), we will shoot the parallel section, that is hold in bars and pubs of the city. Also we will show what happen in the Canciller Ayala Hotel, where the musicians are lodged, and where they play the famous jam-sessions, the most authentic concerts of the festival, without a doubt.
SUNDAY, July 9th
We have a trip until Campas de Armentia , where a traditional celebration takes place every April 28th, and where today there is the same familiar environment -children, grandparents, picnic blankets on the grass- but more cultured and elegant. Typical New Orleans music played by Dukes of Dixieland, impeccably dressed, transports us to the first decades of XX century. The best, Richard Taylor, the leader and baterist, striking with his drum-sticks the cords of Everett Link’s bass, while Everett marks the notes in the fret.
Later on, Dr. Michael White Quarter , moves us backwards, until the 20s, with the characteristic background that provides the banjo of Detroit Brooks. Incredible the interpretation of the classic Summertime, whose first recording was made in 1939! Moreover, Dr. Michael plays an original composition titled “Blues for Vitoria”, and in recognition to be here, not watching the final of the world champion soccer on TV (even, we are rare)
In spite of soccer on TV, there are about 1000 people enjoying jazz in the Campas, there are 20ºC and everything is free (except drinks)
MONDAY, July 10th
We come in the main festival venue, Mendizorrotza Pavilion, to enjoy with one of our favourite groups from the acid jazz times: INCOGNITO . The called Electronic Night, that does not have any electronics, only good fusion, invites to us to dance and to enjoy the quality of the 11 INCOGNITO components on stage. His leader, Paul Maunik, let the others demonstrate their value, and in the end he shows that he could sing and play every instrument, but he prefers Peace and Universal Love, the elimination of borders and good roll. Where can I sign?
TUESDAY, July 11th
In Mendizorrotza plays the Master-Monster Paco de Lucia , and in the city grow up the locals with good live music, always from midnight. In Café Dublin we find Belleville Trio -> VIDEO , -two guitars and a viola- a delight music with a French touch. In Molly Malone pub plays the saxophonist Iñaki Arakistain -> VIDEO , with a group of pure funk. Meanwhile, in Juke Box pub we meet the universal Gecko Turner ->VIDEO , with his intimate blues with a Manu Chao flavour; In addition, they demonstrate that it’s not necessary to saturate the amplifier volume to reach the soul of the public.
We finished the night in the Canciller Ayala Hotel, where, as every year, we have an exceptional trio with an outside series pianist: Ronnie Mathews ->VIDEO , that with Ray Drummond on the bass and Alvin Queen on the drums confirms to us that this is a place of authentic luxury… for everybody (the entrance is free) In other cities this kind of concerts are only for special members, and here we are about 70 current citizens, waiting to see more galactic musicians to improvise good jazz. It’s 2:30 and Mr. Mathews says that’s enough for today, despite there are some musicians looking for their chance. We will return tomorrow.
WEDNESDAY, July 12th
I will begin my chronicle by the end, with the gift that Wynton Marsalis gave to us ->VIDEO , nearly at 4 in the morning in the Hotel’s jam session, playing between the public: pure jazz in its pure context. Furthermore, he had previously given us this other gift ->VIDEO . The night had been going hotter, with Ronnie Mathews giving the chance to all the Lincoln at Center Jazz Orchestra masters, who had played at the main venue before, and now they had token off their uniform and were more relaxed. Don’t you know what is a duel of trumpets? See it in this >VIDEO . And how squeeze the trumpet? Watch this other ->VIDEO . And a great saxo solo->VIDEO . Without uniform, scores nor fastenings, musicians were passing by the small scene. Shortly before, in another hotel venue, Steve Tyrell shelled his voice accompanied by a Lincoln Center’s trumpet ->VIDEO . At the end of the night, this is a peregrination place for the musicians who have filled the city with their talent, each one in their style, like Ultrasimulation ->VIDEO , that infects with their Brazil-electrojazz all the week the RIO pub.
At this point, we almost don’t remember that we began the night in Mendizorrotza, in the official section, enjoying with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln at Center Jazz Orchestra , a big bang with 15 musicians, playing the 12 movements of the complex SUITE VITORIA, composed to celebrate the 30 years of this Festival.
THURSDAY, July 13th
We begin our nocturnal tour by the city, visiting our friends Tren Nocturno ->VIDEO , an Enrique Loyola’s group, playing at El 7 restaurant, with the great Georgian violinist Nika Bitchiashvili. As today is Thursday and the multiples venues with live music are jammed, we go early to the Canciller Ayala Hotel to verify how Steve Tyrell ->VIDEO and his band are growing day by day. Today doesn’t seem that is going to have a jam session on the veteran Ronnie Mathews’ stage ->VIDEO , so we can appreciate his great quality and the one of Ray Drummond’s bass and Alvin Queen’s drums ->VIDEO .
This week, in opposite to the rest of the year, the live musical offer is wider and with several styles: we finish the night in the CIRCULO Club listening to Junk, an group of Ian Bairnson, founder of Alan Parson’s Project ->VIDEO.
FRIDAY, July 14th
The city is crazy. We have up to 15 simultaneous live concerts starting from 9 to 12 pm, apart from official section in Principal Theatre and Mendizorrotza Pavilion. This is a hardly 230000 inhabitants city, and this week becomes a musical paradise. Local group Steamboat Jazz Band->VIDEO plays in El Candil pub, where they were accompanied by New Orleans’ New Birth Brass Band . While Michel Camilo and Tomatito played versions of tangos in Mendizorrotza, Poetango->VIDEO played them in El 7 restaurant. Vanguard Board Quintet ->VIDEO performed in World Music pub, while in The Man in the Moon Café, we could find Sugus Quitet ->VIDEO , with a contemporary jazz, played by the great pianist Marta Sanchez and the inspired local baterist Hasier Oleaga.
We finish the night, why not, at Canciller Ayala Hotel, where today’s jam sessions is becoming hot, with New York’s Juilliard School teachers. They have been teaching in a seminar all week, and tireless playing, we are enjoying excellent piano solos->VIDEO ; saxo->VIDEO , trumpet->VIDEO , another saxo solo->VIDEO ; trombon->VIDEO ; the great Terell Stafford trumpet solos->VIDEO ; to finish all together ->VIDEO . But, insatiable, they wanted more, and without lights neither microphones they continued in an authentic after jam ->VIDEO , cheering up other musicians to play with them, as yesterday finally happened with a public of 20, really very late in the morning. But, today, they have shared with all of you that have been reading until here.
SATURDAY, July 16th
The Festival arrives at its end, with the mythical Sonny Rollins in Mendizorrotza, and the untiring professors of the Juilliard School of New York in Teatro Principal. The nocturnal supply of live concerts has descended enough, although we can still listen to Sugus Quintet in the Man in the Moon pub, and to Steve Tyrell and Ronnie Mathews' last night in the Hotel, with whom we say goodbye with this blues >VIDEO.
We are tired of the nocturnal work of this week, but happy to have so much and so good music in house. These 30 years of the Jazz Festival have extended the musical culture of which we attended to its concerts: musicians and DJs of different styles and tendencies attend the Festival, and that note later in the musical quality of their proposals - the local group Ortophonk- sees itself like example. And no longer is strange to find concerts of live jazz in the city during the year, with local or foreign musicians, even in the most alternative venues. Because there are only two types of music: the good and the bad one. The sort is secondary.