Opening the festival on November 3rd, Sonny Rollins continues his 80th Birthday Celebration after a historic New York performance that included special guests, Jim Hall, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Roy Haynes, and Ornette Coleman. New York Times critic Nate Chinen stated, “The concert found him in high spirits, in strong form and, for a generous stretch, in rare distinguished company. It was an evening worthy of an American master, and primarily because he made it so.”
Some of the best and brightest world music and jazz artists will be performing at this year’s festival, including Jamie Cullum, Omar Sosa, Jaques Morelenbaum, Concha Buika, Richard Galliano, Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Paolo Angeli, Steve Wilson-Bruce Barth Duo, Lee Konitz-Dan Tepfer Duo, and JD Allen Trio.
The festival’s lecture series continues this year with guest speakers: Wall Street Journal / Jazziz columnist Larry Blumenfeld, Blue Note Records President Bruce Lundvall, journalist and poet David Castillo, and author Ted Gioia, who will discuss the future of jazz.
The festival will present three highly anticipated programs at the world renowned Monvínic, which the Wall Street Journal proclaimed as “the best wine bar in the world.” DownBeat magazine will present, for the first time, a Blindfold/Winefold Test featuring journalist Dan Ouellette and pianist Chucho Valdés. The event showcases critical listening and wine tasting, an extension of DownBeat’s famous “Blindfold Test.” In a separate event, the “Kurt Rosenwinkel Monvínic Experience,” the American guitarist will improvise to the taste of classic Spanish wines presented by the vignerons himself and the highly-regarded sommelier Josep Roca, co-owner of teh famous three-star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. Blue Note Records President Bruce Lundvall will also present the “Story of Blue Note” along with pairing wines in a discussion with Joan A. Cararach, artistic director of the festival since 2003.
Last year, the Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival, in partnership with New York’s Jazz Standard, officially closed the annual festivities with a performance by pianist Chano Domínguez & The Flamenco Quintet. The performance was recorded live and will be released in 2011.
In May 2010, the festival joined forces with the CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival® to enhace world-wide recognition for these two time honored events. “It is exciting for Barcelona to be associated with the most famous jazz festival in the world and to collaborate with George Wein, who is a good friend and an inspiration to me,” said artistic director Joan A. Cararach. “Additionally, I look forward to the opportunity of exploring wider exposure for the many artists based in Barcelona, such as pianists Chano Domínguez and Omar Sosa, among others.”
Spain saw its first professional jazz festival in 1966. It started with a concert at the amazing Palau de la Música in Barcelona, featuring pianist Dave Brubeck with his classical quartet. Despite surviving the hostile times of the Franco dictatorship, the festival ceased operations the years of 1977 and 1980, which were surprisingly the first years of democracy. Since the late ‘80s, the festival has been organized by The Project, whose efforts reach upwards of 300,000 people annually. The Project was founded in 1988 by producer Tito Ramoneda, still president of this organization leader in Barcelona and Spain. In 2010, the festival celebrates its 42nd anniversary with musicians and industry professionals from around the world making Barcelona Jazz Festival one of the largest and most ambitious jazz festivals in Europe.