Each city has its own musical rhythm. Vladivostok’s is jazz! Beginning with the weather. You never know what note the heavens will play in the next half hour: there might be fog, the sun could peek out or it could pour rain ... The people in Vladivostok are also unique, jazzy. A free improvisation of life is the Vladivostok style. So one should not be surprised that tickets for the annual jazz festival are purchased at least one month in advance, and the room is always sold out!
The first jazz festival was held in the capital of Primorye in the autumn of 2004. Like most happy events, it all happened suddenly. In the summer of 2004, as part of the Russian-American intergovernmental cultural exchange “Jazz Ambassadors,” and with the support of the American Consulate, the Neighborliness Jazz Quartet came to Vladivostok. They played and everyone enjoyed it: the public and the musicians themselves.
“Could you play again for us, gentlemen?” -The question was asked of the Primorsky Philharmonic, which ever since has been crowned honorary godmother of our city’s annual international jazz celebration. There were encores that autumn. Then Japanese jazz musicians joined the Americans. And the tradition had begun!
Legends are passed by word of mouth of secret jazz parties for foreigners and visiting musicians in Vladivostok. And elite jazz circles talk about the crazy hordes that stormed festival ticket offices and the half-hour calls for an encore. “How does this port city on the outskirts of Russia have so many sophisticates?” — The foreign musical guests are amazed. They cannot find the answer, so they return again and again, probably, in hope of finding the answer. Although, most likely they simply enjoy playing here!
And who has not performed here over the years: Billy Cobham, Randy Brecker, Mezzoforte, Marco Minnemann, Dennis Chambers, Dave Vekl, Greg Howe and many other jazz superstars. Russian jazz artists happily come to Vladivostock. The Igor Butman concert was a sight to behold, for which tickets sold out three months in advance! However, the good thing about the Vladivostok International Jazz Festival, is that it brings not only stars but also soon-to-be-stars, as without them the constellation of music would be incomplete.
Over the years it has become clear that many people in Vladivostok not only play jazz, but also write quite remarkable compositions. “Ogni Zolotovo Mosta” (“The Lights of the Golden Bridge”) has become a favorite tune of the townspeople. And jazz pianist Yevgeny Semenenko wrote some beautiful music for the birthday of this beloved city.
They say that Paris is worth a mass. Kings know better, of that there is no argument. But Vladivostok is worth a trip here in the fall. To look at the sea. To think of the eternal. To listen to jazz.
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