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We are immensely pleased that to be again able to present the Jazz Festival Ljubljana under unrestrained conditions this year, to unlock the maximum potential of its 63rd edition. We are reintroducing the traditional June dates, but retaining the concept of recent years, when the festival came to life in the new dimensions offered by the Council of Europe Park (located outside CD) and its two stages. Building a music community through intergenerational integration and connecting jazz and other musical practices based on contemporary creativity is an approach that is resonating throughout the national and international music communities, among jazz lovers and professionals alike. As is customary practice of any festival, we have introduced several new features. To strengthen the link between local and foreign musicians even further as many as six Slovenian musicians will join the Fire! Orchestra. With this end in mind, we have enhanced the programme organised together with the .abeceda Institute and presented on the Old Tree Stage. In line with our decision to also provide a platform for our youngest artists, we are showcasing the Music and Ballet Conservatory Ljubljana students on Saturday morning.
An exclusive event marking a new album release, the Slovenian Armed Forces Big Band will perform under the baton of Izidor Leitinger in Gallus Hall. This venue will host two more major events, the festival opening concert dedicated to jazz diva Alice Coltrane with an international line-up led by drumming wizard Hamid Drake and a concert by oud player Anouar Brahem, a major ECM Records artist and a master of his instrument. Brahem’s concert will bring to mind the year 2020 when JFL pulled off no small feat. It managed to extricate itself from the grip of the pandemic and offered to the world a unique version of the festival: international artists who were unable to perform live in Ljubljana made exclusive "homemade" recordings for the festival. That way, the whole world could watch their streams. Many of them will finally play live at the festival’s 63rd edition.
One of this year's new additions is also intensified interaction between music and other art forms, e.g., contemporary dance, poetry, video and, of course, the music residence of a Slovenian artist, which is (also) the result of his upcoming album on the Clean Feed label. Pianist Miha Gantar will play three concerts with three different (also) international line-ups, and his solo recital coincides with the traditional opening of a photography exhibition in the Small Gallery on the eve of the festival’s first day.
It is with great anticipation that we look forward to 30 concerts featuring almost 150 performers from 20 countries. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the circumstances allow for a relaxed festival mood and social gatherings against the background of excellent music and brilliant artists. This is what we all deserve.
Bogdan Benigar, JFL Director