It’s A Jazz Thing – Two International Jazz Festivals You’ve Probably Never Heard Of..
Jazz is not dead.
No doubt, it has been pushed to the fringes of our popular culture. But jazz’s impact and influence on American as well as World music are undeniable. Jazz is a language that transcends international borders.
Switzerland is home to the Montreux Jazz Festival, arguably one of the world’s most famous jazz festival. And of course, the United States has the The Newport Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz Fest. But as I found out after living in San Francisco, lesser known Jazz festivals, like the one in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, can be just as much as a scene as the more popular ones. While I’m still working on getting to Newport (this year may be the year), I’ve picked out two lesser known international festivals where jazz rhythms ooze from every orifice of the city during festival days.
Ankara Jazz Festival | Turkey
Now in its 21st year, music from the acclaimed international festival flows through Ankara and Izmir with stops in Eskisehir and Gaziantep, and into popular venues across the region. Like San Francisco, jazz masters play alongside innovative, new artists. Last years performers included The Sun Ra Arkestra, Diane Schuur, Miroslav Vitous, John Surman, Omar Sosa, Nils Petter Molvaer, and Hindi Zahra. For travelers planning their Turkey holidays, the Ankara Jazz Festival runs for approximately three weeks starting in the last week of September.
Ocho Rios Jazz Festival | Jamaica
Like most good jazz, the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival started as an experiment. In 1991, Sonny Bradshaw, a musician and journalist, orchestrated a one-day event called The Ochos Rios “Mini” Jazz Festival to redefine the Jamaican music scene by providing an event that families could enjoy together.
Within in three years, the event grew from one day–initially held on Father’s Day–to an eight day festival bringing together Jamaica’s greatest players with top international jazz musicians. In keeping with its tradition of promoting family holidays to the island, The Ocho Rios Jazz Festival features programs for youth as well as performances in Kingston, Montego Bay, Negril and Runaway Bay.
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