Updated: 2007-04-30 10:18
"Jazzy Shanghai," Shanghai's spring jazz festival returns for the fourth consecutive year next week. The five-day festival, backed by Cadillac, will take place in Fuxing park this year, which seems to be the most popular place to have jazz festivals anymore. Last fall, the Fuxing International Jazz Festival managed to make the best of inclement weather for a couple days of great shows at the park, and this festival promises to do the same. Although Jazzy Shanghai is run by different people than the festival held there last fall, they have cooperated with JZ Club to coordinate a few locally-based bands to join the mix again. Local acts will include Coco Zhao's Possicobilities, Alec Haavik's Friction Five, the Lawrence Ku septet, and the JZ All-star Big Band. Coming from abroad are a number of fantastic groups, not the least of which is Lisa Ono, the "Japanese Queen of Bossa Nova" who will open the festival with two concerts on the first day, May 2. The final evening of the festival, May 6, will also be an exclusive feature show, and from the looks of their description and reviews, will be a fun one. The group is called "The Bruknahm Project," and their music is an eclectic mix of jazz, hip-hop, electronic, and world music.
Jazzy Shanghai seems to be the only annual jazz festival that has managed to continue much past the "first annual" stage that a few other festivals have done but failed to follow up. The first year, 2004, saw performances mostly by Scandinavian and other European groups in an assortment of venues including the theater at the Shanghai Centre (Portman Ritz-Carlton) and the Ark at Xintiandi. The second year was slightly more centralized, with most shows taking place at a tent in the Xintiandi park and the Shanghai Center Theater, with an opening night featuring Diana Krall at a massive tent in Zhongshan park. For last year's festival the whole thing was moved to the Oriental Arts Center in Pudong, which made it a bit less accessible for those of us located west of the Huangpu, but at least made it easy to know where everything was going to be taking place. This year seems to be the best situation so far, with the entire festival taking place at a beautiful grassy outdoor venue, the way a real music festival should be. Obviously the weather's cooperation will be a key element to making it successful, but hopefully the government has that under control, it being the national holiday and all. Nearly all of the concerts will start early in the afternoon and continue into the evening, and each day will feature three or four bands. The only exceptions are the opening and closing night feature concerts, which do not split the bill with anyone else. Lisa Ono will play two separate shows on the opening day, one at 2pm and one at 7:30pm; it appears that as of this writing the evening concert is already sold out, and the afternoon concert only has 880rmb VIP tickets left, which I only saw offered on eticketfast.com. The rest of the sites selling tickets simply say "sold out" for both times. The other 4 days of the festival all continue to have tickets for sale. I also noticed there is another jazz concert happening on May 5 at the Shanghai Center Theater, possibly related to this festival (but in direct time conflict with Omar Sosa's concert the same day). It is a jazz quintet led by American pianist John Salmon. I think the only way anyone is going to show up for his show is if it rains.
The main website for the festival is www.jazzshanghai.com (and www.jazzyshanghai.com) and does not seem to be completely clear or accurate, but has useful information about most of the groups. Other sites with information and ticket sales include culture.sh.cn, http://www.eticketfast.com, and tickets365.com.cn.
Complete Schedule and lineup