All About Jazz

Home » Articles » From Far and Wide

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

7

Colombian Festivals: Exotic Jazz Cocktails

Mark Holston By

Sign in to view read count
A series of overlapping festivals in five cities that run from mid-September into early October offers visitors an excellent opportunity to experience truly world class music in a variety of exotic settings.
As the season of summer jazz festivals in the U.S. winds down to a precious few, including California's iconic, mid-September Monterey Jazz Festival, the eyes and ears of seasoned aficionados may be focused on options in other lands. Don't be surprised if an increasing number of North American fans will find much to their liking in the South American nation of Colombia, a mere three or four hour flight south from many major U.S. cities. Late September and October finds a handful of Colombian destinations alive with multi-day festivals that feature a bounty of largely unknown but innovative national talent and a tempting variety of international jazz stars.

This nation of mega-metro areas is, after Brazil and Mexico, Latin America's third most populous country, with a population rapidly approaching 50 million. The only South American nation to boast both Pacific and Atlantic (Caribbean) coastlines, Colombia is home to a diverse multicultural melting pot that is noted for its vibrant music traditions and increasingly robust jazz scene.

Yes, the headlines are frequently less than flattering. Stories of large scale drug busts and occasional flare-ups of violence involving the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), an anti-government guerrilla movement that has fomented clashes with the country's security forces for over four decades, occasionally grab our attention. But changes for the better are everywhere to be seen. The economy is booming, the middle class is expanding, peace talks with the rebels are prodding slowly along, and Colombian culture is increasingly being celebrated in a number of positive ways. The U.S. dollar is strong, making an adventure there very affordable for visitors from abroad. New hotels, being built by national and international hospitality chains, are sprouting up everywhere. Delta Airlines, the major U.S. carrier that serves the country, will soon expand its service to include the colonial city of Cartagena and Medellín, Colombia's second largest city. That's all tangible evidence of the positive things that are happening on the ground in this increasingly welcoming country.

When it comes to presenting jazz in its many variants, Colombia is also making giant strides. A series of overlapping festivals in five cities that run from mid-September into early October offers visitors an excellent opportunity to experience truly world class music in a variety of exotic settings.

Colombia welcomed jazz to its shores in the 1920s and since has produced a raft of certified improvisers of international stature, including saxophonist Justo Almario, harpist Edmar Castaneda, pianist and arranger Edy Martinez & His Jazz Orchestra, percussionists Memo Acevedo and Samuel Torres, and pianist Hector Martignon, among many others. Jazz, like coffee, flowers and rum, is becoming a growth industry.

Colombia's Circuito de Jazz (The Jazz Circuit) is a loose affiliation of locally produced festivals in Bogotá, Cali, Barranquilla, Medellín and Pasto. Thanks to careful coordination, major jazz artists from the U.S., Europe and South America are booked to facilitate appearances in multiple locales, complementing the presence of a growing and impressive array of national groups.

This year, the certified headliner is Panama's renowned pianist Danilo Pérez, who makes his debut appearance at Colombian festivals years after such keyboard stars as the Dominican Republic's Michel Camilo, Cuba's Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Chick Corea, to cite but a few, graced local festival stages. Given Pérez's role as the founder, organizer and perpetual star of the annual mid-January jazz festival in the pianist's native land, his presence is long overdue. And, it's somewhat of a milestone in that Panama, as any Colombian will quickly point out, was once part of Colombia's national territory. Pérez will undoubtedly receive more than a little good-natured ribbing about this historic footnote.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Polish Jazz: Under The Surface From Far and Wide
Polish Jazz: Under The Surface
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 7, 2018
Read Ryles Jazz Club Closes From Far and Wide
Ryles Jazz Club Closes
by Paul Combs
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Improvising Where No Man Has Gone Before: Encountering William Shatner, Star Trek, And “The Wrath Of Khan” From Far and Wide
Improvising Where No Man Has Gone Before: Encountering...
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: May 22, 2018
Read The World's First International Online Contest by 7 Virtual Jazz Club From Far and Wide
The World's First International Online Contest by 7...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 3, 2017
Read Jazz In Buenos Aires: Fresh Breezes From The South From Far and Wide
Jazz In Buenos Aires: Fresh Breezes From The South
by Mark Holston
Published: September 25, 2015
Read Colombian Festivals: Exotic Jazz Cocktails From Far and Wide
Colombian Festivals: Exotic Jazz Cocktails
by Mark Holston
Published: August 20, 2015
Read "Ryles Jazz Club Closes" From Far and Wide Ryles Jazz Club Closes
by Paul Combs
Published: June 24, 2018
Read "Polish Jazz: Under The Surface" From Far and Wide Polish Jazz: Under The Surface
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 7, 2018
Read "Eric Reed at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club" New York Beat Eric Reed at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club
by Nick Catalano
Published: July 29, 2018
Read "David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland" Live Reviews David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at...
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Meet Davis Wilson" Out and About: The Super Fans Meet Davis Wilson
by Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper
Published: July 6, 2018
Read "A Hitch In Time" Genius Guide to the Good Life A Hitch In Time
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: February 3, 2018