OurNovi Sad Jazz Festival goes on.
This year again, we tried to make a diverse programme.
Steve Grossman, the jazz saxophone great and Cindy Blackman Santana, already a legendary drummer, are musicians who need no introductions. Aruán Ortiz& Afro – Cuban Experience will present an interesting fusion of Cuban and modern jazz, while Rudresh Mahanthappa will show a blend of traditional Indian music and jazz. The Three Ladies of Blues will offer us a true soul-blues show, while the Steve Klink Trio will bring interesting, as critics called them, folk-bop sounds.
Robert Jukič, who has performed on several occasions as a sideman with different bands at our Festival, is finally coming with his own project ‟Life” featuring the internationally known Greg Tardy, Femi Temowo and Ernesto Simpson. Austrian-Iranian Choub also plays a fusion of several musical styles called: the Persian Side of Jazz.
Arriving from Rijeka, there is the Bruno Mičetić Trio featuring RatkoDivjak, the legend on drums in our parts. From Italy, in cooperation with the Italian Institute in Belgrade, we have Kekko Fornarelli and Roberto Cherillo, from Germany bass player Sebastian Gramms with a trio, and from Switzerland Jazz trio Vein.
Among the extensive side program activities, workshops, presentations and unavoidable Jam Session, everyone will find something to their taste.
They are unusually warm, these last days of October, while we are preparing the pending 15th anniversary Novi Sad Jazz Festival. According to the weather forecast, the conditions will not change significantly over the vast expenses of our planet. In some places, this kind of weather is normal for this time of the year, but not here, not as far as my memory goes; never before did we walk the town streets in T-shirts, not in the last 15 years certainly, although there were some warm days in October and November. The end of October hasn’t been so warm in the last 50 years.
In the last 14 years at the time of the Novi Sad Jazz Festival, in mid-November, there have been heavy shows transforming our city into a winter cityscape in just one day; or it would wear its autumn/spring clothes. There have been heavy rains and fogs which prevented airplanes from landing, detouring our guest artists to distant airports; but they would appear on the stage as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened just a couple of hours before. We have seen the performances of Jimmy Cobb, Eddie Henderson, Benny Bailey, Andy Bey, Duško Gojković, Stjepko Gut, Miša Blam, Jovan Jo Mikovic, Tania Maria, Al Foster, Belmondo Brothers, Dodo Šošoka, Trilok Gurtu, Harry Sokal, Der Rote Bereich, Keith Copeland, Steve Coleman, Aria Hendricks, Kirk Lightsey, Johnny Griffin, Jesse Davis, Renato Chicco, Jerry Bergonzi, Al Di Meola, Kenny Garrett, Richard Bona, Sheila Jordan, Cameron Brown, Roy Haynes, Zvonimir Tot, Ronnie Cuber, Toots Thielemans, Manuel Dunkel, Quintensence, Deborah Brown, Maceo Parker, James Carter, Cedar Walton, Nicholas Payton, TAKE 6, Karl Ratzer, Habib Koite, The New York Voices, Charlie Hunter, McCoy Tyner, Gary Bartz, Brad Mehldau, Wallace Roney, Scott Hamilton, Chris Potter, Abraham Burton, Eric McPherson, Eddie Palmieri, Howard Curtis, Milan Svoboda, David Fridman, The Heath Brothers, Ron Carter, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Omar Sosa, Terence Blanchard, Randy Brecker, Franco Ambrosetti, Manfred Schoof, Benny Golson, Harry Stojka, Ralph Peterson. We have heard Bojan Zulfikarpašić, Boško Petrović, Matija Dedić, Vojislav Brković – Voya Bee, Big Band RTV Slovenie, Jazz Pistols, Vasil Hadžimanov, Vladimir Maraš, Jovan Maljoković, Bora Roković, Drago Gajo, Meg Okura, Vladimir Samardžić, Francois Jeanneau, Susan Weinert, Stefano Trotta, Clasy Four, Lolita, Trigon, Elvis Stanić, Ehud „Wood“ Esharie, Fedor Ruškuc, Peter Mihelich, East Affair, Alex Milo, Predrag Revišin, Magnus Mehl, Yupika, Josip Lorbek, Groove Masters, Adam Klemm, Sabina Hank, Marko Đorđević (trumpeter), Fredi Stanisavljević, Budapest Jazz Orchestra, Sinan Alimanović, Aleksandar Dujin, Big Band RTS, Timo Lassy, Gisle Torvik, Nikola Mimo Mitrović, Marko Đorđević (drummar), Big Band Der „Glenn Buschmann“ Akademie, Ladislav Fidri, Igor Lunder, Matilda Leko, Jure Pukl, Bread Leali, Maja Jaku, Uroš Šećerov, Uwe Plath, Paolo Garelli, Andrea Terenziani, Matuš Jakabčič Big Band, NS Big Band, East West European Jazz Orchestra TWINS 2012, Yuval Ron, Herb Geller, Ivan Švager, Lazar Tošić, Vladimir Maričić, Branko Marković, Ljiljana Sađil, Djabe, HGM Jazz Orchestra Zagreb, Mića Marković, Dečji Big Band – Rostov on Donu…
We have heard the performances of many others, whom we will mention on some other occasions. The stage of the main concert programme has seen over seven hundred performers, or around one thousand musicians, when we add the side up programme and the introductory programme – called Ahead of the Novi Sad Jazz Festival.
Fifteen years doesn’t seem as a short period. Perhaps our Festival would be smaller at its age of 15, if it weren’t for those who have been supporting it from the very beginning, if it weren’t for those who fell in love with it at first sight and trusted it in advance. Perhaps even if it weren’t for those who have been looking to find a flaw in it, any flaw, of any kind.
It is curious that sometimes, out of nowhere in particular, an idea appears; a thought which just threads its way around us, the audience, like some invisible gust of wind, intending to disrupt the rhythm, because it, this idea, dislikes the fact that there are no shocks of that kind which would produce waves to be discussed at length for days on end.
In the warm evening, I’m listening to the rhythm of the city centre, voices, murmur which was quite audible, and is now quieter and quieter, fading out. In the rhythm of the centre of Novi Sad, a city located at 45 degrees and 46 minutes north latitude and 19 degrees 20 minutes east longitude, on the 1225th km of the Danube flow, babies are being born, the works of art and other things are being created, life is multiplying and changing. So inseparably connected, on both sides of the river, the people live who love life, their city and other people in it, who like harmony, emanate warmth and always meet their guests with arms wide open. At first, they seem so calm, as if they don’t care much about the world around them; sometimes they seem indifferent, but they are not. They see everything, they know everything, but they respect the privacy; they create that very quality, perhaps the tranquillity, which all who come to Novi Sad like so much.
The fragrance of home-made cookies, at events, which gather and bond people, explains them. The smiling faces of friendly people who sell fruits and vegetables, cheese or something else in the markets, bring to Novi Sad stories about the places they come from every morning, sometimes even before the break of dawn. They bring us smiles, their wrinkled faces. They bring the scent of sunflowers, of vast farm fields, of radishes and flowers watered every morning or every evening. And it all has a rhythm of its own.
In the vicinity of the University of Novi Sad Campus, at the crossroads, the rhythm is hectic, amplified by the hurrying youngsters, their smiles, sighs, their anguish and hopes, desires and ideas about everything we mean by the word tomorrow. This is what the centre of Novi Sad is like, attractive for the young people who live in Novi Sad, for those who are here for the first time and those who come back to it from time to time.
The rhythm of the street is the rhythm of our steps, our hearts, our words, rhythm of rhythms joined in a regular or some other series, and yet, we can say that it is a distinctive Novi Sad’s rhythm. Perhaps it is the rhythm of the waves of the Panonnian Sea which can’t be seen, it is not wet, it is not water, but it is here, among us, sending waves through us.
When the centre is quiet, when there are no voices to disturb it, the silence has a rhythm and I can feel it. And now, while I’m standing by the window, I can feel this rhythm, I am in touch with everyone who will participate in the Novi Sad Jazz Festival, in touch with everyone who works to make it happen. All these rhythms multiply and network.
However, a voyeur’s position doesn’t suit me. I’ll pack my things, get out and walk to the Danube. During my walk to the river, or home, it’s all the same for me, I’ll become one with the dark, the city, the street lights; I’ll pass by other walkers of this late autumn evening. Everyone will go their own way, walk in their own rhythm.
I wish there is fragrance of the cookies, not the wind which would blow around us in order to make trouble and disturb the harmony of the warm nights. The changes of the rhythm are welcome if they bring smiles, freshness, warmth among people and if they bring joy.
To those of you who will come to Novi Sad for the first time and take part in the Novi Sad Jazz Festival 2013, I wish a happy arrival and stay in Novi Sad. To you who will come to listen to jazz for the first time, I wish a pleasant discovery of a new sea and yet another possible road where everyone will understand each other so well, regardless of the language of communication, because you will find out that music has an important and mighty power. Just like jazz, this way of life.
I wish to thank everyone who has made the 15th Novi Sad Jazz Festival possible. Please let it have a future, too. Put it on a pedestal, together with the other selected cultural events, give it a chance to help us achieve our common goal – to bring Novi Sad the title of the European Capital of Culture 2020.