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Hong Kong International Jazz Festival Attracts Top Names


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Asaf Sirkis
The Hong Kong International Jazz Festival is back with a host of great jazz from the 29th September to the 2nd October. Now in its sixth edition, this most iconic of Asian cities provides a spectacular backdrop to a truly exciting series of concerts featuring top international names including the Asaf Sirkis Trio, the Lars Danielsson LIBERETTO Trio and Brazilian guitar virtuoso Diego Figureido. The wonderful open-air setting of The Hong Kong Cultural Centre (Piazza C) will get the HKIJF underway with no fewer than six free concerts back to back.

Local band mark gets the ball rolling on the 29th with its percussion-driven funk and modern jazz flavors. From South Korea, pianist Jangeun “JB” Bae leads his contemporary jazz trio through new arrangements of jazz standards and original material. From the Netherlands, the Buzz Bros Band’s grooving jazz draws inspiration from multiple sources and the Hong Kong audience will see why they are in such demand all over the world.

Fans of vocal jazz are in for a real treat; with Ines Trickovic you can expect an eclectic mixture of Croatian folk-song and classically-inspired music alongside jazzier fare by saxophonist John Coltrane. One-woman band Eliane Amherd regularly dazzles New York audiences with her stunning vocals and guitar skills. She has received rave reviews from legendary figures such as trumpeter Randy Brecker and guitarist Marc Ribot. Definitely one not to miss!

One of the most exciting trios during HKIJF promises to be that led by pianist Bob Mocarsky and featuring the talents of bassist Justin Siu and the dynamic French drummer Laurent Robin, who is something of a show in himself!

A special late-night show featuring up-and-coming vocalist Ntjam Rosie will take place at the Backstage Live Restaurant at 9.30. Rosie blends African roots music, New Soul and R&B in a seductive cocktail that’s sure to get everyone a little high!

The Theatre of the Hong Kong City Hall will host two outstanding double headers. On the 1st October, one of the great contemporary jazz drummers, Asaf Sirkis leads a trio featuring two equally impressive musicians – guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos and bassist Yaron Stavi. Sirkis’ latest trio album Shepherd’s Tales (Abstract Logix, 2013) has received glowing international reviews.

Guitarist Diego Figureido is quite simply extraordinary. Twice winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival Guitar Competition, his breathtaking technique and sheer musicality have drawn plaudits at home and abroad, with guitarists George Benson and Pat Metheny lavishing praise on the Brazilian. Benson has described Figuereido as “one of the greatest guitarists I've seen in my whole life," a view shared by Brazilian guitar legend Paulinho Nogueira. Metheny, for his part, referred to Figueiredo's semi-acoustic solo album Segundas Intenções (Self Produced, 2004) as “magic."

On the 2nd October the Søren Bebe Trio from Denmark opens the evening with high-class modern piano jazz with double bassist Kasper Tagel and drummer Anders Mogensen. Closing the HKIJF is bassist Lars Danielsson’s Libretto Trio featuring pianist Iiro Rantala and drummer Wolfgang Haffner. Danielsson has been a first call bassist on the Swedish and European jazz scene for many years and has collaborated with everybody from pianist Bobo Stenson and percussionist Trilok Gurtu to Korean singer Youn Sun Nah. It promises to be a stirring evening’s music and a fine climax to four days of the very finest jazz.

Full details and ticket information can be found at the HKIJF website.

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