32nd Malaga International Jazz Festival

Arts & Culture Editorial

The Cervantes Theatre plays host to national and international jazz stars

The annual jazz festival returns to Málaga, and looks to be more exciting than ever, with events happening all over the city, in addition to the offical line-up at the Cervantes Theatre. The veteran French musician Michel Legrand, the guitarist John Scofield, the American singer Madeleine Peyroux, the legendary drummer Billy Cobham and one of the revelations of the last seasons, the trio of Manchester GoGo Penguin, aim for the 32nd Malaga International Jazz Festival . The Italian pianist Stefano Bollami completes the foreign billing organized by the Teatro Cervantes, which between October 29 and November 4 will travel from jazz fusion to the avant-garde of the genre, bringing together legends from the past along with one of the significant female voices of the moment. 

On Monday, October 29, CAMM will inaugurate the 32nd International Jazz Festival of Malaga with A Journey to Jazz, a journey through 20th century jazz via composers such as George Gershwin, Aaron Copland or Dave Brubeck. After this introduction, informative and aimed at the family audience, the doors of the Cervantes Theater will open on Tuesday 30 to the exploration of the borders of improvised music with GoGo Penguin, a trio formed by Chris Illingworth on piano, Nick Blacka on bass and Rob Turner to the battery. The Mancunians produce experimental music of the highest quality and at the same time enormously accessible to different audiences. Inspired by composers such as Debussy, Shostakovich or the avant-garde John Cage, by the unclassifiable Brian Eno, and by indie luminaries such as Radiohead, they even use venture into the territory of electronic music by Massive Attack or Aphex Twin. GoGo Penguin release on the prestigious Blue Note, with whom they have released their last two albums, Man made object (2016) and A humdrum star (2018).

Madeleine Peyroux will appear on Wednesday the 31st to showcase the merits of Anthem, her new album, supported by a band made up of Graham Hawthorne (drums and vocals), Paul Frazier (bass and vocals), Andy Ezrin (keyboards and vocals) and Aram Bajakian ( guitar and voice). The American singer, guitarist and composer takes a philosophical look at the current state of the world but full of hope and optimism, which has been produced and co-written by her habitual collaborator Larry Klein (Lizz Wright, Melody Gardot, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock).

On November 1 Michel Legrand demonstrates his persona of an atypical, compulsive and unclassifiable musician. In addition to being a versatile composer of symphonic music, classical, 'chanson', opera, pop and especially soundtracks (for some 200 films), with which he has won 3 Oscars from 11 nominations, Michel Legrand has had an extensive career as an author, arranger and interpreter of jazz, the genre in which he has worked with stars such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Lena Horne or Ella Fitzgerald. The author of the music of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is 86 years old, and plays with bassist Pierre Boussaguet and drummer François Laizeau.

On the 2nd of November another legend steps up, in this case the world's leading exponent of jazz fusion drumming. Billy Cobham featured on the sessions of the seminal Bitches Brew, the bible of the electrification of the genre coined by Miles Davis. The percussionist born in Panama and raised in New York is also famous for participating in the first formation of the Mahavishnu Orchestra by John McLaughlin and for founding the band Spectrum. In Malaga he will lead a quintet featuring David Dunsmuir (guitar), Michael Mondesir (bass) and Steve Hamilton and Camelia Ben Naceur (keyboards).

Stefano Bollani, one of the most personal, daring and admired pianists of the current European jazz scene, returns to the Brazilian sound that he already honored on his celebrated album Carioca (2008) with his most recent album, Que bom, which he presents on a world tour with a stop at Cervantes. On Saturday 3 will be heard their contagious and cheerful songs, original melodies with an accentuated flavor of the country of Caetano Veloso that the Italian instrumentalist and composer will perform in a quintet format. Next to him will appear the same outstanding rhythm section of Carioca: Jorge Helder on the double bass, Jurim Moreira on the baba and Armando Marçal and Thiago da Serrinha on percussion.

After this immersion in the tropical jazz of Bollani, the 32nd International Jazz Festival will close another old acquaintance of the Malaga fans. John Scofield returns to the Cervantes Theater on November 4 after many years of absence (we saw him here in 2004 and at the 2007 Festival) with his Combo 66 project, in which his guitar is padded by the touch of Gerald Clayton (piano) , Vincente Archer (bass) and Bill Stewart (drums). Scofield, unanimously considered a master of improvisation capable of oscillating between post-bop, jazz-funk, jazz-rock, soul and R & B, is an already legendary musician who debuted with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, recorded with Charles Mingus in the 70s and shared a career with Miles Davis between 1982 and 1985. Virtuosity, elegance and teaching to bid farewell to the thirty-second edition of the Jazz Festival.