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ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

The World's Northernmost Jazz Festival: Polarjazz 2008 in Longyearbyen, Norway

Read "The World's Northernmost Jazz Festival: Polarjazz 2008 in Longyearbyen, Norway" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Polarjazz 2008
Longyearbyen, Norway
January 30-February 3, 2008

“This place is abandoned by God and ought to have been abandoned a long time ago by mankind as well" --Historical quote on mural at Longyearbyen's museum

This is where people will come after Doomsday: a town 600 miles from the North Pole ...

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

Refugees find harmony on Norway's northern edge at Varangerfestivalen 2007

Read "Refugees find harmony on Norway's northern edge at Varangerfestivalen 2007" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

(Note: Mark Sabbatini will reporting daily from the world's northernmost jazz festival, PolarJazz, starting Jan. 30 in Longyearbyen, Norway. As preview of the Scandinavian Arctic's jazz scene, this is his feature from last summer's festival in Vadso, on the northern edge of the country's mainland.)

When the U.N. needs a place to send refugees fleeing ...

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

The 2007 Riviera Maya Jazz Festival: Almost Free For You Today

Read "The 2007 Riviera Maya Jazz Festival: Almost Free For You Today" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

A free trip to a jazz festival near Cancun, complete with luxury trappings. All I'm expected to do in return is write something about it.

What could possibly go wrong, aside from a few meddlesome skeptics questioning my objectivity?

To them here's my assessment of the 2007 Riviera Maya Jazz Festival: Greatest. Festival. Ever.

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

Tragicomic Tones in Turkmenistan

Read "Tragicomic Tones in Turkmenistan" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Banishment from the country takes effect with the publishing of these words.

Assuming otherwise is foolishness in Turkmenistan, the most repressive and two-sided country of the scores I've visited seeking jazz in the most remote and unusual places on Earth.

Brilliantly lit marble monuments and unerringly smiling faces camouflage a serpent's nest that strikes ...

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Days 9-12: Land-ho! Causing Waves At The Festival

Read "2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Days 9-12: Land-ho! Causing Waves At The Festival" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Day 1 | Day 2-3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9-12



(Author's note: While the “gee-whiz" factor ought to be diminishing after a decade of dealing with digital music, I'm in absolute raptures discovering a large number of concerts from the 2007 ...

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 8: School Daze With McCoy Tyner, Amateurs And A 'Ship Pianist'

Read "2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 8: School Daze With McCoy Tyner, Amateurs And A 'Ship Pianist'" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Day 1 | Day 2-3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9-12

Despite the questions some cruise ship passengers ask ("how high above sea level is this town?"), learning opportunities are prominent for people supposedly on a relaxing vacation.



Lectures, multi-day ...

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 7: Taking Aim At The Audience

Read "2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 7: Taking Aim At The Audience" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Day 1 | Day 2-3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9-12

They traveled 500 miles in one day to come aboard for 90 minutes and play one of the best gigs of the cruise. Their reward? A near-empty lounge with probably the ...

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 6: History, Hucksters And Hancock On The High Seas

Read "2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 6: History, Hucksters And Hancock On The High Seas" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Day 1 | Day 2-3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9-12

'Twas a good day to be a captive audience.



The first of two days entirely at sea marked Day 6 of the inaugural North Sea Jazz Cruise, an 11-day voyage ...

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 5: Sounding Off In Oslo

Read "2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 5: Sounding Off In Oslo" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Day 1 | Day 2-3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9-12

Some days it's good not to be shocking.



Peaceful stability greeted Day 5 of the inaugural North Sea Jazz Cruise, as a ship rolling heavily the previous two nights docked ...

ARTICLE: BACK ROADS BEAT

2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 4: Heaven And Hell

Read "2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise Day 4: Heaven And Hell" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Day 1 | Day 2-3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9-12

“We're here to celebrate the power of the Lord, as evidenced by this rocking boat."



Healing powers were very much alive, and not just for seasick passengers, as those ...