Corea, Mehldau, Rollins Headline Barcelona Jazz Fest
The Voll-Damm Internacional Festival de Jazz de Barcelona ramps up for its 44th season on Oct. 30–Nov. 30, when it will present a star-studded program of local talent and international festival-circuit favorites, including piano-trio concerts from Brad Mehldau (Nov. 10) and Chick Corea (Nov. 30) and a performance from Saxophone Colossus Sonny Rollins (Nov. 20). Corea will perform with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade.
Organized by The Project, a company that promotes more than 350 international events annually, the festival will feature a new venue, Teatro Artèria Para•lel. The venue will host an array of performers, including fado star Carminho, vocalist China Moses and singer Albert Pla.
The festivities kicked off on Oct. 30 at Luz de Gas, when Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu performed selections with pianist Omar Sosa off of the duo’s recently released album Alma (Tuk Records/Otá). The performance, which also featured a guest spot by Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato, was the first of three concerts in this year’s Carta Blanca series, an annual program that explores various facets of a single artist’s career. Fresu is this year’s honoree.
Fresu will explore his more lyrical side on Nov. 11, as he performs alongside the classically inspired Italian instrumental group Quartetto Alborada at the L’Auditori. On Nov. 12, Fresu will perform a solo concert at Monvínic with eight separate pieces, which he created to coincide with eight separate bottles of wine from eight different vineyards in Catalonia. The performance includes moderation from journalist Màrius Carol. One day later (Nov. 13), Fresu will participate in a DownBeat Blindfold/Winefold Test conducted by Ted Panken, including a wine pairing chosen by Cèsar Cànovas, one of the sommeliers of Monvínic.
The festival also hosts performances at various Barcelona concert sites ranging from auditorium-sized to intimate jazz-club setting. Highlights include the Fred Hersch Trio (Nov. 8) and Bob Belden’s group ANIMATION (Nov. 26) at the Conservatori del Liceu; Esperanza Spalding (Nov. 10) at Teatre-Auditori in Sant Cugat; and Michel Camilo and Tomatito Duo (Nov. 7) and Buena Vista Social Club (Nov. 21) at Auditori.
“We are very excited with our festival program and with the new concert sites,” said Joan Anton Cararach, artistic director of the festival. Cararach hopes the fest will provide some positive energy during Spain’s economic challenges, which include a value-added tax (VAT) increase from 8 percent to 21 percent. He attributed the increase to a government that “considers music ‘entertainment,’ and at the same time charges only 10 percent VAT to bullfights and soccer.”
For more information on the Voll-Damm Festival Internacional de Jazz de Barcelona or to purchase tickets for individual concerts, visit the festival’s official website.