Oslo Jazz Festival kicks off today, and as if in a relay with the recently silenced pop of Øya, jazz will now fill the streets of Oslo for a week to come.
For it is not only those with tickets to the numerous venues that will have the opportunity to hear late summer musical suave; there will be 23 free concerts in city squares, subway stations and at outdoor stages at clubs. All in all, the festival program includes 68 concerts, at 17 different venues and outdoor stages. And it is not simply a festival of traditional or mainstream jazz, the program categorizes the concerts into six different genres: Rag/Trad/Swing, Blues, Various, Mainstream, Modern and Electronica.
Some of the names to look out for are Phil Woods –the nominal headliner of the festival, Bebel Gilberto –one of Brazil’s foremost female vocalists, Bugge Wesseltoft –Oslo’s own fountain of jazz innovation and Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi who will perform a night of master class European jazz with Geir Lysne Ensemble. Other international stars are John Hammond, Taj Mahal, Abdullah Ibrahim, and the New York Voices.
In addition to Wesseltoft there are many other luminous Norwegian names on the roster: Solveig Slettahjell og Sjur Miljeteig, Dag Arnesen, Brazz Brothers, Frøy Aagre, Ytre Suløens Jass-ensemble with Tricia Boutté, Norwegian Radio Orchestra to name some.
The focus on free concerts and exciting venues is an effort from the festival to address a younger audience. The focus on youth and young talent is furthered by a new prize that will be awarded to a young musician on the final evening.