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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 86 | volume XV | September-October, 2012



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 86September-October, 2012
Sound Reviews

Skopje Enriched by the World Jazz Horizons

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Tina Ivanova

October 19-23, 5 evenings marked by 14 famous concert names, on 3 locations: The 31st edition of the Skopje Jazz Festival

The Skopje Jazz Festival (SJF) is a rare if not singular commodity in our country which seems immune to the economic as well as spiritual crisis. If we take a closer look at the program of this year’s edition, it seems that the festival has succeeded to elude the general apathy, melancholy, or overall lethargy – feelings which spread like viruses among institutions but also individuals. A crisis, no matter the context, is good for art, but not necessarily beneficial for the general state of culture. Luckily, this does not apply to the state of jazz in our midst. Namely, this year’s program, although non-commercial (which is even better when considering the possibility of maintaining the festival’s three decades long legacy), is quite exceptional, and as such, it points out that some traditions can in fact endure the cacophony of this region’s turbulences.
    

Fourteen concerts during the five festival evenings and large audiences – that could shortly describe this year’s SJF, which took place between October 19th and October 23rd, at three different locations, namely, The Universal Hall, The Macedonian Opera and Ballet, and The City Hall Center (for the midnight events), which in turn offered a wealth of sounds – innovative and traditional, open stage applauses, heaps of emotions and performance masterful energies.
    

The 31st SJF started its journey with avant-garde American jazz, to the surprise of many present in the packed auditorium of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, with the concert of a great jazz name, the Chicago-based saxophonist Anthony Braxton. This is perhaps the elementary link that we may follow, and thus call this year’s festival ‘non-violent’. Thankfully so, this time, the festival made away with the glamorous, spectacular ‘red carpet’, which has lately become synonymous with the opening nights of Macedonian festivals and premiers. Therefore, despite the presence of the so-called Macedonian elites, cultural and political, the SJF offered something quite unusual for its opening, something that does not suit everyone’s taste. And this is quite important of an event, here and now, especially when attempting to conserve those precious few remaining aesthetic and cultural trademarks.
    

And Anthony Braxton, who has spent the better part of the last four decades creating his own unique musical language, his own authentic sound graphs, heavily influenced by the revolutionaries of European






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