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13th Edition Of The Malta Jazz Festival 11/06/2003

The Malta Jazz Festival running in its thirteenth year and organised by Kunsill Malti ghall-Kultura u l-Arti will take place on the 18, 19, and 20 July 2003 at Ta' Liesse in Valletta.

Sponsored by Cisk Export Premium Lager and Vodafone Malta Limited and supported by Le Meridien Phoenicia and the American Center, the festival offers its audiences the opportunity to listen to some of the best exponents of jazz music in the world. The focus of the three nights is on Latin jazz and a mix of Afro-Cuban and the traditional American jazz.

Addressing the press launch held today (11th June) at St James Cavalier, the Minister for Youth and the Arts, Hon Jesmond Mugliett, said: "It is my pleasure to launch the 13th edition of the Malta Jazz Festival, which has rightly earned a place in the cultural calendar of Malta and indeed abroad. The Jazz Festival is probably the earliest example in Malta of how Government and private enterprises can team up to create cultural events of such a high level. I believe that this synergy should inspire other companies to join forces with us on projects in other areas of culture."

Minister Mugliett said that during the past 12 editions of the Festival, this successful formula has turned the Malta Jazz Festival into an international event that attracts the world's top jazz artistes and receives coverage from the leading international publications on the music scene. "Government has been committed to raising the profile of the Malta Jazz Festival since the first edition took place in 1990. In the coming years, even through the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, we will be multiplying our efforts to see this and other cultural events in Malta gain a wider recognition on the international stage," he said.

Farsons Marketing Manager, Pierre Stafrace said: "Farsons has been supporting the Malta Jazz Festival since inception. Over the years the organisers have managed to attract a long list of top international jazz players, which is an incontestable credit in itself. We are pleased to associate our premium brand, Cisk Export, with such an event. This year's programme promises to be one of the best entertaining musical activities this summer."

Vodafone Marketing Communications Executive, Daphne Testa said: "Vodafone is proud to be associated with the Malta Jazz Festival, which is considered to be one of Malta's cultural highlights. Infact Vodafone is supporting this event for the third consecutive year."

The first evening opens with Dominic Galea's Heritage. The members of Heritage are: Sammy Murgo (sax), Walter Vella (saxes and flute), Roger Azzopardi (trumpet), Mario Aquilina (Bass), Noel Grech (drums), Alex Debono (Percussion) and Dominic Galea (Piano). Dominic is a well-known Maltese pianist and composer.

Dianne Reeves, one of the most significant and important singers to come into her own during the '90s, released several superb Blue Note albums that established her as an artist intent on developing her voice. Her performance will be followed by Jesús Alemañy's Cubanismo, a 15-piece Cuban orchestra, who return to Malta for the second time to immerse the audiences in sweet dance sessions full of swaggering horn charts and wild polyrhythms that recall the vintage big-band sound.

The second evening kicks off with Coco York, who has shared the stage with artists such as Clark Terry, Lionel Ritchie, B.B.King and has performed for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, The North Sea Jazz Festival and the Jazz and Heritage Festival of New Orleans among others. The second performer is Cuban Septeto Roberto. In Malta he will have David Krakauer (clarinet), Marcus Rojas (tuba), Mary Wooten (cello), Meg Okura (violin), Ted Reichman (accordion), Bernie Minoso (bass).

Wayne Shorter teaming up with Brain Blade John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, rounds off the second night. Shorter had formed part of Miles Davis' Quintet , becoming at times the band's most prolific composer, and contributing tunes like "E.S.P.," "Pinocchio," "Nefertiti," "Sanctuary," "Footprints," "Fall" and the signature description of Miles, "Prince of Darkness."

Paris-based Sandro Zerafa Quartet, representing a new wave of eclecticism in today's jazz, opens the final night. Zerafa will be accompanied by David Georgelet, Emmanuel Brunet and Sebastien Llado.

Those who appreciate a mixture of soul-inspired jazz with North American funk yet incorporating the influence of African and Arabian music, a legacy of his Ethiopian mother, should make it a point not to miss Brazilian Jorge Ben Jor (guitar and vocals). He will be accompanied by Jean Arnoult (saxophone), Gilson (trumpet), Tikinho (trombone), Lori Costa (keyboards), JJ Lucrecrio (bass), Malaguti (percussion), Nenem da Guica (percussion) and Eduardo Helborn (drums).

Tania Maria and Viva Brazil, concludes this year's festival with an accomplishment that merges the southern warm rhythms of samba with the northern tonic accents of nostalgic jazz and blues.

Over the years, the Malta Jazz Festival, under the artistic direction of Charles Gatt, has presented a line of top international artists like the late Petruciani, Joe Zawinul, Charlie Haden, Al di Meola, Scott Henderson, Dee Dee Bridgewater and other jazz greats.

One of the most important aspects of this year's festival is the variety of different bands and styles of jazz. Mr Gatt said: "Exploring different rhythms, emotions and continents have always been our aim to pull the right crowd - both the jazz and music lovers as well as those who will be coming for the first time. This year, we are celebrating the 13th edition of the Jazz Festival with a selection of diverse music and outstanding jazz artistes."

The Malta Jazz Festival begins at 8pm every evening. Tickets are available from the organisers, Kunsill Malti ghall-Kultura u l-Arti, Casa Gaspe, 230 Republic Street, Valletta, Tel. 21 245 168 and from the venue prior to performances. Prices have been kept at last year's level that is Lm7 for one performance or a weekend ticket (three evenings) for Lm15. Further information may be obtained on the website: www.maltajazzfest.com.

The launch of the Jazz Festival concluded with Paul Giordimaina & Friends who played a fervent piece of jazz to the audience present.