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Jazz Palma Festival returns

29 year hiatus

Way back in the 1980's Palma held a top class Jazz festival in the spring or summer of every year. In those days European Jazz festivals were much rarer than now, and between 1981 and 1991 some of the top names in Jazz were attracted to play in Mallorca; Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, and Chick Corea to name but four.

Palma City Council, through its Culture Department, has decided that it's about time that the festival was revived after a 29 year hiatus and announced last week that the Lazarus like 2020 festival will take place from 13th to 23rd February.

The festival will be funded by a joint public-private partnership with a €60,000 budget and take place across various venues in Palma with tickets for the main artists costing between €12 and €30 but with many totally FREE side events during the period.

Obviously the aim is not only to bring a new cultural element to the city but also to provide a reason to visit Mallorca outside the main tourist season with Jazz aficionados considered in general to have above average acquisitive powers.

Not all of the details of the festival have been finalised, but here's a quick list of who and when for the main part;

13th - Avishai Cohen and the Balearic Symphony Orchestra

14th - Taho Esquisse

15th - Kontxi Llorente Trío and Giulia Valle Trío

16th - Kenny Garrett

17th - 971 Connection

18th - Toni Miranda

19th - Jorge Pardo

20th - Kora Jazz Trio and Gnawa Collective

21st - Pericàs Jazz with the Municipal Music Band

22nd - Pere Bujosa Trio and Jose Carra Trio

23rd – Manel Camp

As you can see, there's a mix of names, nationalities and styles in the programme, whose details I'll publish nearer the time, but the stand out artists in 2020 are undoubtedly Avishai Cohen, the Israeli acoustic bass player, and alto sax man Kenny Garret.

Let's just concentrate on Kenny Garrett because of two links with the festival. Described by The New York Times as "One of the most admired alto saxophonists in jazz after Charlie Parker," Garret has performed in Mallorca before, at the 2011 Sa Pobla Jazz Festival.

During his impressive career he has played with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Donald Byrd, Marcus Miller, Sting, MeShell NdegeOcello, Q-Tip and funkateers Cameo. However he is best known for his five year stint with Miles Davis (second link to the festival) which culminated in the album Amandla. Hence my choice of video of Miles Davis along with Kenny Garrett playing Amandla live.

Keep an eye out for all the details of tickets, venues etc later if you fancy taking in a concert or two.

Photo of Kenny Garret courtesy of Tsaorin in es.wikipedia.org.