Olympic Sochi welcomes world jazz stars

Sochi Jazz Festival

By Vladislav Luchianov

In the capital of the XXII Olympic Winter Games kicks off the international “Sochi Jazz Festival”, as a part of Cultural Olympics.

From 1 to 4 August, residents and visitors of the Olympic host city will be delighted by the best jazz musicians of Russia and the United States.

Cultural Olympics “Sochi 2014” is a unique project of organizers that represents the best cultural events of Russia. In 2014, the Olympic city guests will be able to evaluate not only the results of sporting competitions but also the cultural diversity of Russia on the top ten scenic sites located in Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana.

Therefore, since 2010 the Organizing Committee tries to show the best from the Russian and world culture.

According to organizers, this festival is a real celebration of music, which brings to Sochi a famous world jazzman and Olympic ambassador Igor Butman.

Igor Butman is a jazz saxophonist from St. Petersburg, Russia. He is considered to be a virtuoso saxophonist, and a skilled bandleader. American jazzman Grover Washington, Jr. was instrumental in introducing Igor Butman to American audience. Former US President Bill Clinton has called Butman “my favorite living saxophone player.”

Igor Butman and former US President Bill Clinton
Igor Butman and former US President Bill Clinton

In 2006 Butman participated in the Russian First channel’s project “Stars on Ice” in a pair with 2000 World champion and a two-time European champion in pair skating Maria Petrova. In 2009 he took part in the similar project “Ice Age” in a pair with a two-time World champion in ice dance Albena Denkova of Bulgaria.

Among the headliners of the Sochi Jazz Festival are the quintet of world-renowned trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis and the famous vocal group Take 6, the holders of ten Grammy Awards, that collaborated with Ray Charles and Whitney Houston.

Delfeayo Marsalis is a younger brother in the most famous jazz family of the United States. All the family members, including father Ellis, brothers Wynton, Branford, Jason and Delfeayo himself, were honored with the highest jazz award of the United States – The National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.

Also, on the stage will perform the American unique jazz singer Zenia McPherson, Broadway actress and singer Kathy Jenkins, the star of “The Voice” TV project Polina Zizak, known trumpet players, saxophonists and pianists.

On a par with international stars in Sochi will also perform the best Russian jazz groups: “Ural Dixieland”, Sergei Koren Project, Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan, jazz band “Visit”, “Big Band Sochi” and the group “ProJazz” of Sergei Pronya.

Among the participants of the festival should be noted a young artist from the Krasnodar Krai Oleg Akkuratov. Disabled since childhood with impaired vision, he has perfect pitch, an extraordinary sense of rhythm and originality in the pop jazz improvisation.

As a member of the world UNESCO choir, Oleg Akkuratov performed in St. Petersburg in the presence of Pope John Paul II and also participated in a concert with opera singer Montserrat Caballe. He was also warmly welcomed during concerts in the United Kingdom. Thus, the “Sochi Jazz Festival” is also a celebration of inclusivity.

The festival will be opened by a jazz parade led by Igor Butman in the Riviera Park. Today and on August 4 at the Winter Theater will be staged the chamber concerts, and on August 3 in the Concert Hall will be held a gala concert “Igor Butman and the future of jazz”, where recognized and young musicians will gather for the first time at one stage. At the end of the evening the Moscow Jazz Orchestra will play a fiery jam session.

Photo: Denis Bessonov

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