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Live Reviews

Belgrade Jazz Festival 2005

By Published: April 7, 2006
The World Saxophone Quartet did their own viewing of Jimi Hendrix's music and they scorched from start to finish. The repertoar consisted of tracks such as Hey Joe, Machine Gun, If 6 was 9 the memorable version of The Wind Cries Mary and many more. Definitely, the stars of the evening were drummer Lee Pearson and the legendary bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma. Pearson had a special part within the programme with his rolicking solo performance that didn't stop at the drums, but went beyond, producing sounds with his sticks from objects all over the stage. He operated his drum sticks ecstatically, brightening the room with a beatific grin that may have reflected the satisfaction the band's performance was giving its listeners.

The ambitions for expanding the concept of the festival beyond the usuall parameters were reflected in the organizing of midnight concerts, where for 5 nights different band played on the bandstand. Plus, there were screenings of Scorseze's Blues series of films, video recordings from the past issues of the festival and promotion of 2 jazz books, Book of Jazz by Jeff Dyer and The Voyage Of the Guitar in Jazz Music, by Svetolik Jakovljevi.'

And this is not all, as after the midnight performances there were all night jam sessions. In fact, the best "jam session moment came on the last night of the festival, when Dave Murray stepped in with his saxophone. Suddenly, something magical happened, a spark, when they began playing brilliantly, a jam session that went on until the morning came.

In the end I can say that it is fantastic to see this jazz festival being revived again. The number of visitors was enormous (at moments one had an impression of visiting a stadium concert). I'm sure the organizers were surprised by the numbers. Probably it was something that they hoped for, but never anticipated to happen.

The Belgrade Jazz Festival's program is merely a good example of what any good festival should be about: a celebration of jazz's natural plurality. By seeing what was done for this issue I can only say that this jazz festival will again be one of the region's cultural and jazz centers for days to come.


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