Praha International Jazz

festivals

 

The International Jazz Festival Praha is the oldest music festival in Czech and regarding to its history also one of the oldest and most traditional ones in Europe. The festival was established in 1964 and later in 1974 the oragnization was overtaken by the art agency Pragokoncert Bohemia, a.s., a member ofthe holding group Graddo, a.s., lead by the CEO Mr. JUD. PhDr. Alexandr Cach, PhD. since 1990.

HISTORY

International Jazz Festival Praha is certainly the oldest music festival in the Czech Republic and ranks among the oldest and most famous festivals in Europe. The first year of the festival was held in 1964 under the name International Jazz Festival Prague, subtitled “festival of fulfilled dreams.” And wishes were truly fulfilled. In Prague performed world stars, led by the Donald “Baby” Douglas, Acker Bilk and Quartet Krzysztof Komeda. The first year of International Jazz Festival Praha had many positive echoes, prompting founder Lubomír DORŮŽKA to continue. Foretaste of top cast of the second year of the festival a year later was the concert of the most famous representative of jazz – Louis Armstrong. Legendary evening was an important social event, which was attended by the tops of artistic life in of the former Czechoslovakia. The second annual of International jazz Festival Praha was held in autumn 1965 and was also very successful and the whole festival was well heading for to become one of the best jazz festivals in Europe. The highlights of this year was one of very famous French octet Swingle Singers, All Stars Flavia Ambrosettiho or Modern Jazz Quartet. Following two years in 1966 and 1967 confirmed the high quality of the festival and nothing prevented the continuation.

In 1968, the anniversary celebration of the first five years of the festival was planned and the audience, that had only one chance to see foreign jazz musicians in Czechoslovakia, was looking forward to another feast full of stars. From the festival, which was scheduled for October 1968, were finally arranged only two concerts – world-famous Tony Scott and young and talented Felix Slovacek, because of instability due to invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact in August. The sixth year in 1969, after the calming of the internal political situation, hosted again greats of jazz world. In Prague appeared the famous Duke Ellington Orchestra, legendary pianist Oscar Peterson, the popular Clarke-Boland Big Band, Jazz or Coloseum from the UK. However, after the sixth annual , the festival dramaturgy began under the influence of normalization dramatically change. There must be preferred more ensembles from the Socialist bloc at the expense of the world ones, but also in future years of the festival was presented at least one representative of Western European or American jazz scene.

In 1972 International Jazz Festival Praha passed major changes. The most important of them was full takeover by artistic agency Pragokoncert that began to festival dedicated to jazz held every two years. The highlight of each year was the granting of Music Awards named after the brilliant composer Jaroslav Jezek. In 1974 Pragokoncert arranged next festival and invitation to Prague had received the legendary Count Basie Big Band, accompanied by pianist Oscar Peterson and singer Big Joe Turner. Czech jazz scene represented, for example, Gustav Brom Orchestra and George Tandem System Stivín and Rudolf Dašek. Tenth anniversary year, and two years later, took part excellent Benny Goodman and his grouping and Prague International Jazz Festival has been gaining on her fame. During the eighties Pragokoncert held another four star-packed festival, which was attended by Dexter Gordon, Albert Mangelsdorf, John Surman with Norwegian singer Karin Krog, charming Sonny Rollins Quartet, famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, impressive Buddy Rich Big Band, John Scofield Quartet and Chris Barber. Jubilee fifteenth year came to celebrate magicians of piano Herbie Hancock and Aki Takase, in 1988, a year before the Velvet Revolution, visited the festival unique Chick Corea Electric Band, guitar stars Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, breathtaking Stephan Grappelli, or bluesman and harmonica player Sugar Blue.

The Velvet Revolution in 1989 there was release of all musical genres, including jazz, and in 1990 performed under new management Pragokoncert one of the greatest blues legends of all time – BB King. Arts Agency Pragokoncert is in the 90s took over by the Chairman of the holding group Graddo a.s. Mr. Alexandr Cach,PhD., who started new era of International Jazz Praha. Next seventeen years, which was attended by several dozen top international artists forming a majority the annual program of the festival: Keith Jarrett Trio, Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea Electric Band, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Tony Bennett & Ralph Sharon Trio, New York Voices, Rhoda Scott, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jeremy Pelt.

 

During the past volumes of the festival the audience could have seen jazz legends such as:

Mr. ACKER BILK & HIS PARAMOUNT JAZZ BAND (1964 & 1982)
DUKE ELLINGTON ORCHESTRA (1968)
COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA & OSCAR PETERSON & BIG JOE TURNER (1974)
BENNY GOODMAN (1976)
DIDIER LOCKWOOD (1984)
STÉPHANNE GRAPPELLI QUARTET (1988)
B. B. KING (1990)
WYNTON MARSALIS (1990)
CHICK COREA ELEKTRIC BAND (1991)
DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET (1996)
TONY BENNET & RALPH SHARON TRIO (1997)
NEW YORK VOICES (1998)
MAL WALDRON, ALBERT MANGELSDORFF (2001)
RHODA SCOTT (2006)
DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER (2007)

and many others. 
 
Národní 20
110 00 Praha 1
Czech Republic
Phone: +420 224 933 487
Fax: +420 224 933 486