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Jaffa Jazz Festival to Return to Israel This September

Last October the first Jaffa Jazz Festival took place in Israel, led by musician Amikam Kimelman who served as the director of Rimon School of Music for 24 years. The festival was a huge success even before its first musical note was played.

The festival's artistic idea is based upon one-time encounters between musicians from Israel and around the world. Eight Jazz artists, all leading figures in their countries, joined 37 Israeli Jazz artists for one time only tribute evenings.

When the question about the funding of the festival was asked Amikam chose not to approach the funds and not to wait for recognition from public institutions. Instead he turned directly towards the ticket buying audience by using the crowdfunding website Headstart. The campaign set itself a goal to raise 120K ILS, an amount much higher than these campaigns usually do. Not only did the campaign reach its goal but it raised 149K ILS with more than 1800 ticket buyers who arrived at the festival! This is an exceptional success in the Israeli music and entertainment world and it provides a unique value to the festival.

The guest artists arrived in Israel under the sponsorship of their countries' embassies and culture institutes in Israel as well as of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event took place at the Mendel Cultural Center in Jaffa, with a very moving exhibition of Jazz photographs welcoming the festival's arrivals, a Jazz trio delighting the time between the shows and exciting nightly Jam Sessions.

This year, the festival will take place on September 15-17.

The expected artists from abroad are: drummer Adam Nussbaum from the USA, singer Carme Canela from Spain, Austrian trumpeter Stjepko Gut, Irish guitarist Mike Nielsen, Romanian pianist Ion Baciu, Hungarian trombonist Szaloky Bela, Italian saxophonist Rino Cirinna and French bassist Jean Marc Jafet.

They will be joined by around 35 Israeli musicians to perform tributes to the iconic Jazz composers: Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hughie Carmichael, Jaco Pastorius and Joe Zawinul.

In addition to that, the festival initiated a special performance by a mixed ensemble of top Jazz students from the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, Belgium, the Belgrade Music Academy, Serbia, the Rimon School of Jazz and the Jazz program of the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel-Aviv.

Also, a special Jazz show for children will take place, led by saxophonist and actor Arik Livnat, accompanied by the festival's international artists, and a special spontaneous duets show with all the festival's artists is planned as well.

The festival is a nonprofit project, it's not supported by any establishment and it set itself a goal to create a special and unique musical agenda for the festival, to connect between international and Israeli artists and to create it in a place such as Jaffa which is not touristy and is not known as a hanging out area.

Other than its artistic agenda, the festival brings a new message to the cultural creation in Israel: a collective of artists, supporters and audience joined hands in order to create a high quality international cultural enterprise which is not supported, is nonprofit and is in charge of creating a unique artistic content for the festival, rich but humble, of a high standard but at eye level, and combined music with photography and good wine.

As is said in the festival's official website: "We have a social Jazz Festival and it is a friend of all of us: yours, the viewers and unreserved supporters, and the musicians' who united together from all over the world. Together we'll enjoy the performances of our friend guest artists from abroad and 43 Israeli artists, all of whom are among the leading jazz musicians in their Hughie Carmichael countries and will all join together in order to honor great jazz composers with unforgettable gestures".

For the festival program, tickets and more information:

Photos credits: Pier Raffaele Platania and Mr. Bela Kanyo.

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