24. festival Jazz Cerkno 2019 - Report

Although the festival Jazz Cerkno has always been proud of the diversity of approaches and the breadth of genres that musicians combine with jazz, this year's edition of the festival was especially diverse. In addition to jazz, hardcore, metal, funk, avant-garde classic music, Indian and African music, micro-tonality, minimalism, electronics and experimental music were heard from the stage.

The introductory concert offered one of the many festival's peaks. In the performance by Boštjan Gombač and the Slovenian Philharmonic Brass Ensemble, we heard the multilayered composition by Žiga Stanič entitled The Black Hole in which Gombač with virtuosity played the tidldibab, a replica of Neanderthal's flute, the oldest human instrument from the Divje babe site. The same evening we heard another Slovenian band (with one Italian member), a new quartet by guitarist Samo Šalamon, who, this time as a bass player, presented the mixture of jazz with pop and rock with the Rotten GirlZ quartet. Among these two Slovenian bands we heard the Swiss-German trio Stoffner / Lovens / Mahall, which presented an inspired and subtle group improvisation.

The second festival day began with the extended band Koromač, which provided an energetic mix of sharp rock rhythms and free jazz. The show was recorded and will be released as the band's second album. This concert was followed by more meditative music by the American quartet Amirtha Kidambi Elder Ones with a mix of South Indian music, experiment and spiritual jazz. The evening was concluded by the Dutch-British-American quartet Luc Ex' Assemblée, which extended the basic jazz structure of compositions with inspired interplay and effective solo excursions. At an additional night concert in Gabrijel, the Belgrade quartet Tapan created a dance and psychedelic atmosphere with a unique electronic jazz.

This night concert was part of a rich accompanying program, which offered seven events this year. On Friday, an exhibition by Japanese illustrator Takao Fujioka, entitled The Lines and Colours of Jazz, was opened, and Saturday's day began with two accompanying events. First, participants of the Martelajne (bell chiming) children's musical workshop performed a concert chiming the bells of St. Anne Church. An hour later in Gabrijel Ičo Vidmar moderated an annual round table / podcast of the Nova Muska magazine entitled What About the Audience?. In the afternoon, one concert from the main program and one from the accompanying one were on the program at the Music School. On his first solo recital in Slovenia, American cellist Daniel Levin taught us a pyrotechnic lesson of how to play on cello: from violent bowing to tapping on the instrument's body.

Within the framework of the program Young Researchers II., mentored by Dré Hočevar, we saw the code::source band, put together by Gašper Livk. We heard a mature, thought-out musicianship that skilfully kept the balance between classic jazz and free improvisation. The recording of the concert will be released on the album. Another event from the accompanying program followed in the Križišče gallery: the presentation of the sound installation, created from the sounds of the Cerkno heritage and made up by participants of the workshop The Cerkno Sound Safari.

After that, the last three concerts from the regular program followed on the main stage. The Portuguese-Brazilian-Spanish trio Fish Wool made an impression with a tremendous improvisation and a subtle walk between silent nuances and sharper outbursts with allusions to folk music. The next performance was expected to attract most people and fill up the tent, as the cult Australian trio The Necks, known for playing a single longer ethereal composition, was about to play. The mesmerised and, ultimately, euphoric audience was awashed in the fascinating sound waves of the ever-changing ocean of sound. No less euphoric was the audence when the musicians from the Italian band Maistah Aphrica delivered an excellently played mixture of jazz, funk, "cosmic sounds" and African motifs.

Such a sound-wise and stylistic diversity of the last festival day was perfectly suited for this year's edition, which celebrated and promoted genre richness. All the concerts were excellent; the audience in the full tent greeted all the musicians with warm applaus, cheers and also with ovations! Both the journalists and the professional public (the organisers of similar festivals that were guests in Cerkno) praised the broad genre concept of the festival, as well as performances and great atmosphere. For the latter, the organisers thank all the locals who either helped in the organising or came to listen to our guests.

The festival was visited by many jazz lovers from Slovenia and abroad, as well as a host of renowned guests from abroad - representatives of similar jazz musicians such as Konfontationen from Nickelsdorf, Skopje Jazz Festival, artacts from St. Johann and Tirol, Jazz & Wine of Peace festival from Cormons, Italia and Ljubljana Jazz Festival. Many media such as Radiotelevizija Slovenija, Večer, Primorske novice, Radio Študent, Rockline, Glasna, Radio Koper and Primorski val praised the festival.

The Jazz Cerkno festival team is already preparing a program for 2020, when the festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary on May 21-23. The same team is also responsible for Keltika festival program, which will present four concert evenings by Slovenian and foreign bands this summer. Variegated and bold music, together with a relaxed Cerkno atmosphere are more than sufficient reasons to spend a part of your summer at the Cerkno's Keltika, whose summer series of four concerts will start on June 28 with band Bakalina Velika.

Excellent reviews in the leading Slovenian media as well as the impressive response of listeners and guests testify about successful organisation of the 24th festival edition. For this success we must also thank you, our dear sponsors, supporters (please find the list below) and friends of the Jazz Cerkno festival!

Many thanks to all the enthusiastic musicians, and we are grateful to the audience, dear guests, curious journalists and hardworking Cerkno citizens, who helped us together to successfully carry out another edition of the festival. Will learn in 2020, between the 21st and 23rd of May, when our and your festival will blow out 25 candles!

A kind jazz greeting from Cerkno!


Photo: Nada Žgank

supporters: Ministrstvo za kulturo RS, Občina Cerkno
sponsors: Pivovarna Laško, bar Gabrijel, Hotel Cerkno, Certa, Šotori Petre, SAZAS, Adriatic Slovenica, Elektro Primorska, Julius Meinl, Vipava 1894, Mesnica Žunar, Krovstvo in kleparstvo Dragan Obid
cooperations: Glasbena šola Idrija, Mestni muzej Idrija, Jazz club Ljubljanski grad, OŠ Cerkno, C.M.A.K., društvo Pega, Ape.Parlour, KUD Zora 
main media sponsor: VAL 202
other media sponsors: Mladina, Radio Študent, Delo, Primorske novice, Primorski val, Radio Koper, rps.si, Komunala Idrija, Nova Muska