San Javier Jazz a real guitar fest

THE 14TH dition of the San Javier International Jazz Festival opened its doors on Saturday night with a long awaited concert by British blues band and guitar wizard Albert Lee and Hogan’s Heroes. The XIV edition is dedicated to two performers who had previously appeared at the Jazz Festival, soul singer Solomon Burke and guitarist Gary Moore, both of whom passed away over the last 12-months.

In recent years, former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore was a crowd favourite and this years edition celebrates some of the best jazz and blues guitarists, including Lee Ritenour, John Scofield, Henry Johnson with Ramsey Lewis,  Elvin Bishops, Lucky Peterson, Joe Louis Walker and Saturday’s opening act, Albert Lee.

Supporting Albert Lee and Hogan’s Heroes were Mallorcan guitarist Biel Ballester and special guest Romanian violinist Costel Nitescu.

A close to capacity house were treated to a feast of skilful guitar work, much performed at Lee’s trademark breakneck speed,, which delighted the audience and the hundreds of air guitarists who were seen jamming along with the riffs.

The festival features 22 more performances over 11 concerts and continues until the end of July with the main headline act, being super-group Chicago, who are playing in Spain for the very first time. Friday July 1st is a night for contemporary Jazz lovers as Sergio Monro and Lee Ritenour Band featuring Dave Grusin are on stage followed on Saturday by Lenny Andrade & Sambop Band plus Alexander Trio.

Midweek, on Wednesday July 6th it’s a more eclectic night with Ludovic Beier New Montmartre Quartet and Ramsey Lewis & His Electric Band ‘The Sun Goddess Tour’ followed on Friday 8th July by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, who will perform their new project, ‘Music of the Decades’.

Saturday July 9 is more a blues night with Jaume Vilaseca Quartet & Ravi Chary plus Elvin Bishop who is possibly best known by UK audiences for his 1976 single, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”. 

Chicago is on stage Tuesday July 12, Rene Marie and Joe Louis Walker on Friday July 15th, Niels Lan Doky Trio and Lila Downs on Saturday July 16 and a great blast from the past night on Friday July 22nd featuring John Scofield Quartet and Eric Burdon & The Animals.

Hiromi: The Trio Project and Lucky Peterson are on stage Saturday July 23rd with the final night being Saturday July 30th with Pink Turtle, Chris Farlow & The Norman Beaker Band.

All concerts take place at the Almansa Park Auditorium in San Javier. Full programme information is at :  Facebook users visit XIV ed. San Javier International Jazz Festival 2011 (Spain).

By Keith Nicol

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