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Awe and innovation as Jazz Point Festival returns

A world-wide union of beats and brass

After a year’s hiatus, the amazing Jazz Point music festival returned for its second edition from 14 to 16 October, at Pikes Hotel and the cultural venue of Can Ventosa, in the heart of Ibiza Town.

When the pandemic put a halt to all social gathering, the live entertainment sector was hit especially hard. However, the last few months have seen things slowly return to near normality. Ibiza has burst back to life, with the clubs reopening and an amazing array of concerts and musical treats.

We went along to Can Ventosa on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 to find out more…

Friday 15 October

Pere Bujosa Trio

Friday’s concert began with a short introduction that promised us a diverse and innovative night of jazz, before the first of the two groups, the Pere Bujosa Trio, were introduced.

Hailing from Mallorca, the talented double bass player is a rising star of the European Jazz scene. Joining him on stage, was Xavi Torres (piano) and Joan Terol (drums).

The group’s opening two numbers were very typical of what you might expect from a jazz night, but after the third recital, we were being taken to a new level.

A very energetic bassline, almost heavy metal in direction, sent a blast of excitement through the crowd. When all the instruments came together, we understood that we were in for a fusion of Jazz and Rock.

From this point, the concert surfed a wave of innovation, with a piece where the musicians imitated electronic instruments like drum machines and synthesisers. This chaotic performance sounded unusual but, take our word, we were mightily impressed by the high standard.

The final song was an intense jazz cover of Pyramid Song by Radiohead, resulting in a standing ovation. Bravo Pere Bujosa Trio!

Alice Zawadzki and her band

Following a ten-minute interval, the second act, Alice Zawadzki and her bandmates, Misha Mullov-Abbado and Fred Thomas took to the stage – the former on double bass, the latter on drums, piano and banjo.

What a talent Zawadski is! Dressed in red, with her striking blonde hair and enigmatic smile, she lit up the entire stage. Her speech was more reminiscent of a guru than a musician and she sang like an opera star. She truly is something special.

As the music started, she played the violin bare foot, whilst laughing ecstatically and exchanging glances with her fellow musicians. Wow!

The music sent us on a profound journey into the deeper and more melodic field of Jazz. There were strong folk music influences, from England, South America and Poland.

Her music was poetic, and covered topics such as life, ancient legends, and the spirit of a cat - combining singing with storytelling. Her delivery a rare balance between Zen and concentration - a truly accomplished artist.

As a special treat, saxophonist Muriel Grossman joined them on stage for a fantastic moment of pure artistic genius.

At the end, everyone once again rose to their feet in ovation, before leaving the venue highly satisfied for having experienced this exceptional show.

The word that best describe this night was, surprising. Both the groups displayed an incredible level of musicianship, but most important of all, they turned the sometimes-misunderstood genre of Jazz, into a new and exciting format.

This music certainly befits our bohemian and multicultural island of Ibiza - an island that never ceases to amaze!

Saturday 16 October

McHenry Quintet

The McHenry Quintet made a bold statement from the moment they appeared on stage. As the experienced and highly recognised American jazz saxophonist and composer Bill McHenry explained, the band came together during the pandemic, and introduced three very young looking, talented musicians: Angie Obin on the flute, Victor Carrascosa on the trumpet and Estefania Chamorro on the drums, plus the experienced bass player, Masa Kamaguchi. Kamaguchi not only magnificently plays but dances, in his own unique style, with his upright instrument.

The trio of winds – flute, tenor saxophone and trumpet – created a beautiful harmony, interweaved with a staccato beat. While the melodic solos were rapturously received by the crowd.

McHenry’s delightful accent and great personality shone as he introduced his band and compositions in Spanish. By the end of their performance everyone was captivated by this upcoming ensemble and in particular McHenry’s dedication to these young and gifted musicians.

Ariel Bringuez y Nostalgia Cubana

Ariel Bringuez and Nostalgia Cubana took to the stage after the interval - a more mature quintet of outstanding talent that was ready to capture the audience with their varied repertoire of artistic compositions.

Bringuez (saxophone) was accompanied on stage by Pablo Gutiérrez (piano), Israel Sandoval (guitar), Michael Oliver García (drums) and Rubén Carles (double bass) - each musician as outstanding and skilful as the next.

Ariel Bringuez, gently spoken and dressed in a colourful gown, could not have enthused more highly of his fellow musicians and soon were we to find out why.

We were blown away by the nostalgic approach of some of the compositions - giving room to very intimate solos on piano, guitar, and saxophone, yet all the while accompanied by the subtle Cuban rhythms and comforting basslines.

The performance developed into a fusion of all instruments in a highly energetic finale, close to an explosion of sound. The crowd could hardly keep back their admiration, interrupting the performances with enthusiastic outbreaks of applause.

Once again, we left Can Ventosa on a high, feeling privileged to having been able to experience all these amazing musicians. A big thank you to all the organisers, and we already look forward to the next edition of the Jazz Point Festival.

Words| Stefano Larricia and Katharine Uhlig

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