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About the festival Odessa JazzFest


The history of the International jazz festival in Odessa began with a meeting in one of the Odessa cafe in the City garden of the famous Odessa pianist Yuri Kuznetsov and economist Mikhail Freidlin.

The idea of a jazz festival in town, which (according to one version) is considered the cradle of jazz and, of course, has always been one of the most jazz cities in the post-Soviet space, finally, has become sharper and had the opportunity of realization. Until 2011 international jazz festival in Odessa was held under the title “jazz carnival in Odessa”. After 10 years of carrying out the concept of the festival has changed and since 2011 he is told to Odessa JazzFest.

The first “jazz-carnival in Odessa” was held in 2001. At the same time was first dubbed “the legend” festival: “jazz was born in Odessa! Do not let jazz die at home!”.

It looks like a poster with Odessa a comical behavior set, but nevertheless, this is the slogan was in jest and in seriousness adopted by Odessa. Today, it is impossible to represent the accuracy of the jazz festival. A pioneer of Soviet jazz, Odessa Leonid Utesov once said: “Odessa is the birthplace of jazz!”. And in many ways was right: this city have in common with jazz atmosphere of humour, celebration and freedom. Thanks to Leonid Utesov and his famous “Tea-jazz”, Odessa was considered the unofficial capital of jazz in the USSR. “Do not let jazz die in his homeland!” — voiced “legend,” the Festival’s General producer, Mikhail Freidlin and art Director, Yuri Kuznetsov and together took the trouble to make Odessa a Mecca of jazz musicians.

In the first year of the “jazz carnival” were formed many of his principles: multicultural and free from rigid stylistic boundaries, the festival, which is not confined to the concerts in the halls, and out onto the street, the festival, which is jazz in all its manifestations and “the border States” (this could include screenings of “jazz” films, sound films, the jazz musicians, dance projects with DJs and dance schools, etc.).

“Carnival” concept for the Odessa jazz festival was chosen to perform in Odessa were invited musicians from different countries, playing a completely different jazz. “Carnival of discovery — everyone is sure to find something for your soul!” — read one of the slogans jazz carnival. “The train” of the Festival helped to make the program activities so that every year for three days of the festival as widely as possible and to provide brighter palette of modern trends and tendencies in jazz music. For ten years the Festival has formed a program priorities: unchanged performance fusion projects, atajate performers, representatives of the “third wave” (a combination of jazz and classical music), vocal jazz, classic jazz (big band, Dixieland) and the avant-garde.

Each year, the “jazz-carnival in Odessa” have widened their geographical discoveries. Every year the list of participants of the Festival is invariably added a band or performer who replenish their list of countries participating in the festival.

Today, it is difficult to count and name all the countries delegated their musicians “jazz carnival”: Austria, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Brazil, great Britain, Germany, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, India, Spain, Italy, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia, USA, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Switzerland, France…

In the decade of the “jazz carnival” musicians with 4 of the 6 continents have performed on its stage: Eurasia, Africa, North and South America. As organizers joked, was left to conquer, only Antarctica and Australia (although the Australian didjeridoo sounded in Odessa in 2007 in the Czech project Paul Veit-Ondrej Smeykal).

Such a wide geography of its participants of the Festival received through close long-term cooperation with international cultural and governmental organizations, such as embassies of different countries in Ukraine, the Polish Institute, the French Cultural center in Kiev, Pro Helvetia, the Austrian cultural forum, Goethe Institute, etc…

The goal of the jazz festival in Odessa has never been a purely commercial or entertainment: Yuri Kuznetsov and Mikhail Freidlin advocated a return to the city of Odessa status of the jazz center of Ukraine.

Stimulation of the process of revival jazz school and the return of its representatives in the European cultural context. Through the Festival there is the opportunity to represent the citizens and guests of the city the most current musical projects in Europe and thereby bring educational and cultural mission.

In 2011, after 10 years of the festival “jazz-carnival in Odessa” the team of organizers, it was decided to make a “rebranding” of the festival in connection with the change of the concept of care from street musicians (carnavalesco) in the direction of classical festival format (a large concert hall, three offices of the concert, three-party). The emphasis has been placed not so much on entertainment, but on musicality invite projects. From the team of the festival came General producer Mikhail Freidlin, started the project “Master-jam”.

The head of the International jazz festival in Odessa is a composer and pianist Yuri Kuznetsov. And the name of the festival today sounds very European, Odessa JazzFest.