Javea Jazz Festival

MORE than 8,000 jazz enthusiasts enjoyed a cornucopia of swinging jazz during a four night Jazz Festival held in Javea.

A complete range of styles, rhythms and sounds, swept the audience of their feet and had them clapping and shouting approval at every single improvised solo and arrangement – as a visitor from Chicago commented afterwards, “This was one of the best jazz sessions I have had the privilege of attending for a long, long time.” I would agree with him.

Staged in the great outdoor old town arena, the festival kicked off with the incredible sounds of the Colina Serrano Project featuring Antonio Serrano on the harmonica.

Antonio held the two thousand strong audience in the palm of his hand whether he was in pianissimo, (you could have heard a pin drop) or foot stamping fortississimo mode. Backed by three fine musicians, each a star in their own right, this quartet set the bar high for the rest of the festival.

The 17 strong Bob Sands Big Band filled the stage on night two. Featuring a line up of five sax’s; four trumpet’s, four trombones, and rhythm section guitar, double bass, piano and drums, they brought back memories of the old days when big bands were affordable entertainment.

Bob’s offering were tributes to the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Ted Heath and many others, great echoing sounds I had forgotten actually existed.

Great arrangements with some exciting individual solos, but unlike the past, the Bob Sand Band has no vocalist.

As Monty Python used to say, “and now for something different.” Something that the Amos Hoffman Quartet provided on night three.

A mix of Middle Eastern and modern time signatures incorporated into original and sometimes standard compositions – at times, very Brubeck-ish. Tel Aviv based guitarist Amos, was backed by three fine, although rather crazy musicians on flute, double bass and drums. Thought provoking jazz contrasts.

The honour of closing the Festival was awarded to Jazz vocalist, Deborah J Carter who wowed the final full house with her unique contemporary scat versions of jazz standards as well as her own compositions.

Her repertoire covered an amazing range of composers from Dizzy Gillespie to the Beatles and Count Basie to Lionel Bart. Her smooth backing trio included some exciting concert-like piano solos from Coen Molenaar. A highly successful festival for all concerned.

Words and pictures by Benny Davis

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