61st Jazz Festival Ljubljana: Jazz from a distance

17.–20. 6. 2020

Live & Premiere streaming
‘Jazz from a distance’ – new, transitory music format and support for continued artistic creativity

“Life goes on and music is its inseparable companion. In the changed circumstances social responsibility has become social necessity. Cankarjev dom is confident that providing conditions for music-making and temporarily diverting music from a currently non-existent market into a new format is prerequisite for the future of music. The 61st Jazz Festival Ljubljana is thus primarily an artistic action that offers ‘jazz from a distance’ as a new, provisional reality of the interaction between musicians – production – audiences. A new reality that can still astonish and astound. Join us!” Bogdan Benigar and Edin Zubćević

The programme curated by artistic directors Bogdan Benigar and Edin Zubčević will be held in Cankarjev dom’ Linhart Hall, the Council of Europe Park and via online platforms. The concert-goers will be able to support the Linhart Hall events by purchasing tickets, while the concerts enjoyed from a distance (online and in the Council of Europe Park) will be admission-free.


Wednesday 17/6
20.00 Žan Tetičkovič »The Port of Life II. – Ensō« Linhart Hall, Live & Premiere streaming*
21.15 Abeceda: Gaj Bostič – Eris CD Park, Live
22.00 Mirna Bogdanović Group Premiere streaming*
22.45 Trickster Premiere streaming*

Thursday 18/6
20.00 Vollmaier: Kind of Laibach, piano Linhart Hall, Live & Premiere streaming*
21.00 Abeceda: Brina Kren – Rišem si bogove CD Park, Live
21.45 Ottla Premiere streaming*
22.30 Irreversible Entanglements Premiere streaming*

Friday 19/6
20.00 Teo Collori & Momento Cigano Linhart Hall, Live & Premiere streaming*
21.15 Žiga Murko CD Park, Live
22.00 Brian Marsella, piano solo Premiere streaming*
22.45 Kim Myhr & Tony Buck Premiere streaming*
23.30 Caterina Palazzi & Kanaka Premiere streaming*

Saturday 20/6
11.00 Boštjan Gombač, kids concert CD Park, Live
15.00 Ava Mendoza Premiere streaming*
15.45 Lakiko Premiere streaming*
18.00 Gordon Grdina Premiere streaming*
19.00 Mladi raziskovalci III. – Tobija Hudnik Premiere streaming*
20.00 Big Band GveriLLaz Linhart Hall, Live & Premiere streaming*
21.15 Etceteral live + streaming
20.00 Generator Premiere streaming*
22.45 Moor Mother Premiere streaming*
23.30 Trio Heinz Herbert Premiere streaming*

* CD Park and www.ljubljanajazz.si, FB Jazz festival Ljubljana, YouTube Cankarjev dom

Main sponsor NLB Media sponsor DELO
Jazz Festival Ljubljana is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture of RS.  

Cankarjev dom, Prešernova cesta 10, 1000 Ljubljana



Wednesday 17/6

20.00 Žan Tetičkovič “The Port of Life II. – Ensō” (Slovenia)

Lenart Krečič, reeds; Ana Čop, vocals; Tomaž Gajšt, trumpet; Jani Moder, guitar; Marko Črnčec, piano; Miha Koren, bass; Žan Tetičkovič, drums, composition; Janus Atelier String Quartet: Matija Krečič – 1st violin, Nejc Avbelj – 2nd violin, Barbara Grahor – viola, Zoran Bičanin – violoncello

Drummer and composer Žan Tetičkovič (he goes by the name of Jean John in New York City, where he pursued his musical studies) invariably tackles his well-considered projects ambitiously, lending them weight and substance. A follow-up to his first release, Port of Life, The Port of Life II. – Ensō picks up the threads to continue the narrative of the pre-existing work: endeavouring to depict, at the cross-roads of classical music and jazz, the difficult and precarious experience of an immigrant, this time his personal story of acculturation. Both albums were released under the ZKP RTV Slovenija label, and the first work earned Tetičkovič the ASCAP Foundation Johnny Mandel Prize for emerging jazz composers. The multi-movement musical suite alternates between melancholy and a bourgeoning joy of living.

Linhart Hall, EUR 18, 15*; live & premiere streaming*, admission free


21.15 Alphabet: Gaj Bostič – Eris (Slovenia)

Gaj Bostič, drums; Vid Šketa, trumpet; Nejc Poljanec, accordion; Jošt Lampret, electric bass, double bass
Gaj Bostič’s project ERIS seeks to translate into music the characteristics of Eris, the largest dwarf planet in the solar system named after the Greek goddess of strife and discord. He will express these ideas with a line-up consisting of bassist Jošt Lampret, whose colossal low-frequencies serve as a potent baseline; Nejc Poljanec, whose accordion expands the sound spectrum, and Vid Šketa, whose otherworldly tones complement Eris’ luminosity. Carried by this body of sound, the music transcends the boundaries of the solar system and enters as yet unchartered territories.

CD Park, live, admission free


22.00 Mirna Bogdanović Group (Slovenia/Germany)

Mirna Bogdanović, voice, effects; Peter Meyer, guitar; Povel Widestrand, piano/synth; Felix Henkelhausen, double bass; Philip Dornbusch, drums

After studying piano at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana Mirna Bogdanović pursued studies in jazz vocals, first in Klagenfurt and then in Germany, graduating from Jazz Institute Berlin under Judy Niemack, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Greg Cohen. Noted for his work with J. Zorn, O. Coleman and T. Waits, Cohen speaks highly of Mirna: “Her sultry tone, expressive phrasing and total musicality make her the choice of many musicians 'in the know'.” Soon to debut as a recording artist, Bogdanović’s album in the making involves a subtle interlacement of classical vocal techniques and contemporary methods.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


22.45 Trickster (USA)

Miles Okazaki, guitar, Matt Mitchell, piano, Anthony Tidd, bass, Sean Rickman, drums

Trickster is an all-star band led by NYC-based guitarist and composer Miles Okazaki whose Slovenian appearances include a solo project (playing compositions of Thelonious Monk for solo guitar) and the Mary Halvorson Quartet. His approach to the guitar is described by the New York Times as “utterly contemporary, free from the expectations of what it means to play a guitar in a group setting — not just in jazz, but any kind.” The flight of the Trickster moves across the threshold into the magic world, traverses the sea and sky, visits ancient islands, is tested in a tempest, is abandoned, and returns with stories to tell. The titles and themes of the compositions are borrowed from writings about the sea, an endless source of symbolism involving mystery, creation, and terrible power.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


Thursday 18/6

20.00 Vollmaier: Kind of Laibach (Slovenia)

Sašo Vollmaier, piano

After graduating from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, Vollmaier worked in a genre-diversified variety of settings, extending from chamber music ensembles to alternative bands. He has been associated with the avant-garde music group Laibach since 2007, as a keyboard player as well as an arranger and studio musician. Finding inspiration in the output of the front-runners of Slovenian industrial sound, Sašo’s piano solo project includes covers of several Laibach tracks, most notably Smrt za smrt, Krvava gruda, Ti, ki izzivaš and Le privilege des morts. Sašo moves between two worlds, the classical and the industrial, questing for connections between them by synthesizing repetition, minimalism and a broad dynamic range.

Linhart Hall, EUR 18, 15*; live & premiere streaming*, admission free


21.00 Alphabet: Brina Kren – Rišem si bogove (Slovenia)

Brina Kren, alto saxophone; Lenart de Bock, tenor saxophone; Tisa Neža Herlec, visuals; Vida Vatovec, voice; Urban Megušar, cello

Brina’s project Rišem si bogove [Picturing Gods] started as a duo with Lenart De Bock and special input from visual artist Tisa Neža Herlec. The band will appear in their expanded configuration, featuring vocalist Vida Vatovec and cellist Urban Megušar. Blending poetry and music created on-site, the musicians and visual artist use sound and images to paint portraits of fictional characters.

Lenart and Brina, both saxophonists, have been collaborating in different settings for a number of years. An artist working across multiple genres who originally created portraits for the project, Tisa’s part in the concert will be digitally-mediated. As a long-standing collaborator, Urban Megušar has joined the band for the Jazz Festival Ljubljana gig. Debuting as a singer with Rišem si bogove, Vida – primarily a saxophonist – has lately focused on developing her vocal skills.

CD Park, live, admission free


21.45 Ottla (Belgium)

Bert Dockx, guitar; Nicolas Rombouts, bass; Frans Van Isacker, alto saxophone; Thomas Jillings, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Louis Evrard, drums; Yannick Dupont, drums, synthesizer

Ottla is the new band of the sedulous singer, songwriter and guitarist Bert Dockx (Flying Horseman, Dans Dans). What started as a modest thought, an ambiguous plan to start playing jazz again, spiralled into an idiosyncratic project with its very own identity. It became Ottla, Franz Kafka’s beloved sister’s surname, after whom the young Dockx once christened a bicycle, and later his first band. Now, once again, Ottla is a band. And it’s a new and different kind of beast; a unique hybrid of musical moods and styles. Certainly not a casual exercise, but a very downright, vital sextet which was shaped and moulded under the watchful eye of its instigator, after a yearlong of blowing and kicking up dust in the rehearsal room.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


22.30 Irreversible Entanglements (USA)

Camae Ayewa (aka Moor Mother), MC, poetry; Keir Neuringer, saxophone, Aquiles Navarro, trumpet; Luke Stewart, bass; Tcheser Holmes, drums

Over the past years the Philadelphia/New York/DC-based free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements has taken European audiences by storm. Originally performing as two different ensembles at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event in 2015 (in response to the NYPD slaying of Akai Gurley), the five musicians recognized a shared ethos, and shortly after, assembled as a single unit for an impromptu studio date at Seizure’s Palace in Brooklyn. A statement on their music, from the band: "…we take the stage without a map, navigate the world in deep, telepathic, contrapuntal communion with each other and the histories we’re tapping into, push into the known and unknown, and arrive at the end together."

Premiere streaming*, admission free


Friday 19/6

20.00 Teo Collori & Momento Cigano (Slovenia)

Teo Collori, lead guitar; Metod Banko, rhythm guitar; Matija Krečič, violin; Matej Kužel, clarinet; Jošt Lampret, bass

Guitarist Teo Collori formed Momento Cigano (initially a trio comprising two guitars and an upright bass), a band noted for its unique take on gypsy swing, soon after graduating in jazz from the Carinthian State Conservatory in Klagenfurt in 2010. Collori proficiently translates the vibrant and danceable style of jazz – developed jointly by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli before World War II – into original compositions rich with imaginative arrangements and inspired solo flights. The band has so far released three albums: Hot Club Piran (2015), Kamerato muzikante (2018) and Molto Aligatore (2019).

Linhart Hall, EUR 18, 15*; live & premiere streaming*, admission free


21.15 Žiga Murko (Slovenia)

Žiga Murko, electronics, trombone

Featuring: Ryuzo Fukuhara, dance

Žiga Murko has been part of Slovenia’s jazz scene for several years, either playing in various bands or leading his own projects that draw on a broad spectrum of genres, extending from electronic music to soul in addition to jazz. He graduated in trombone from the Codarts University for the Arts in Rotterdam. His music-making is driven by curiosity and fascination with the unknown. A composer as well as producer, Murko has over thirty albums to his credit. A blend of Murko’s current research in the field of electronic music and improvisation on trombone, the concert will feature a special appearance by Japanese dancer Ryuzo Fukuhara.

CD Park, live, admission free


22.00 Brian Marsella, piano solo (USA)

Brian Marsella, piano

Brian Marsella is a pianist, composer, band leader, and educator rising in the ranks of New York’s young music stars. He is a pianist who can be virtuoso and adventurous at the same time; critic Peter Margasak described his style as ‘Herbie Nichols or Bud Powell playing at warp speed.’ Growing up in Bucks County, PA, Marsella taught himself to play the piano by ear, listening to his father play the saxophone and vibes. In Slovenia, he has performed with his Trio (Trevor Dunn and Kenny Wollesen) and the quartet Banquet of the Spirits. Marsella is an indispensable component of John Zorn’s marathons and other projects.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


22.45 Kim Myhr & Tony Buck (Norway, Australia)

Kim Myhr, guitar, keyboards, effects; Tony Buck, drums, berimbau

Kim Myhr has been one of recent years’ leading voices on Norwegian experimental scene, both as a composer and guitarist. Myhr's solo music can be described as an orchestral exploration of the 12-string guitar. He has released three solo records, as well as You | Me, an album that features a contribution from Australian drummer Tony Buck. A founding member of The Necks, Buck has come into prominence with his solo projects and collaborations with some of this century’s finest musicians.

“Delicate and suffused with beauty, yet exudes a power derived from the clarity of its creative vision. Truly, an ocean of sound.” (MOJO review of Myhr’s solo album Bloom)

Premiere streaming*, admission free


23.30 Caterina Palazzi & Kanaka (Italy)

Caterina Palazzi, double bass; Kanaka, visual designer

Live impro / audiovisual performance

Rome-based double bassist and composer Caterina Palazzi is a prominent name on the Italian music scene and long-standing leader of the Sudoku Killer quartet. In her musical & video performance the overlays of double bass, a traditionally orchestral instrument here used alone, summon an orchestra from the afterlife, triggering resonances and echoes that move the air around the sound sources. The visuals use hybrid techniques: concrete images that become digital and then material again, in a hypnotic alternation of visions. A score of frames is executed following the sound atmospheres, which leaves space for improvisation, bursting with gashes of light. An introspective and disrupting path that will provide the spectator with an insight into his most hidden and obscure ego.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


Saturday 20/6

11.00 Boštjan Gombač, interactive concert for children (Slovenia)

Boštjan Gombač’s interactive performance seeks to enhance children’s appreciation of improvised music by presenting it as something structured, understandable and listenable.

CD Park, live, admission free


15.00 Ava Mendoza (USA)

Ava Mendoza, guitar

Ava Mendoza is a Brooklyn-based guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. Born in 1983, she started performing her own music, and as a sidewoman and collaborator in many different projects, as soon as she was legally allowed into venues. As a guitarist, Mendoza has received acclaim for her technique and viscerality. Her most ongoing work is as leader of art rock band Unnatural Ways, and as a solo performer of her own music and works by contemporary composers. In any context she is committed to bringing expressivity, energy and a wide sonic range to the music.

“Not staid or vanilla, her playing is a profound testament to the state of contemporary guitar.” (Tzvi Gluckin, Premier Guitar)

Premiere streaming*, admission free


15.45 Lakiko (BIH, Switzerland)

Lakiko, cello, voice

Lakiko – aka Lana Kostic – was created in 2016 in the bowels of an EEG-machine in Biel, Switzerland. Using her brainwaves as well as an instruction manual on what to play next, Lakiko created material that seemingly originates beyond the depths of human consciousness – a part of our brain usually buried deep inside. This music – an impression of her musical biography – could not have been more diversified: influences of Bosnian music blend with classical music, breathy pop vocals with contemporary spoken word, driving beats next to nearly endless glissandi-loops, and in between again and again the haunting sound of the cello.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


18.00 Gordon Grdina (Canada)

Gordon Grdina, guitar, oud

Gordon Grdina is the son of a Slovenian immigrant to Canada and a prominent name on Vancouver’s music scene. An accomplished guitarist and oud player, Grdina’s extensive discography includes both solo albums and releases as leader of various bands. His career has spanned continents, decades and constant genre exploration throughout avant-garde jazz, free form improvisation, contemporary indie rock and Arabic. Gordon Grdina’s singular approach to the instruments has earned him recognition from the highest ranks of the jazz/improv world. He is recipient of a JUNO Award (Canadian Grammy).

“…a player of unbridled musical ingenuity” —World Music Report

Premiere streaming*, admission free


19.00 Young Researchers III – Tobija Hudnik (Slovenia)

Tobija Hudnik, piano; Luka Poljanec, percussion; Oskar Longyka, viola; Maj Kavšek, trumpet; Lenart De Bock, saxophone

Young Researchers, a guided series of residences, concerts and performances, seeks to integrate a selected young artist into professional infrastructure and research environment. This year’s artist-in-residence is guitarist, composer and multimedia artist Tobija Hudnik, who is currently completing his studies at Jazz Institute Berlin. Hudnik and Equilibrium as Insta_bility will present his composition “about a change”, a performance for sound, movement and light.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


20.00 Big Band GveriLLaz (Slovenia)

Peter Ugrin, conductor, violin; Andrej Štrekelj, Rok Krajnc, Istvan Tadian,Tadej Vujanić, trumpets; Matija Mlakar, Matjaž Kafol, Žiga Murko, Matic Kovač, trombones; Lan Turek, Jaka Arh, David Mozetič, Rok Felicijan, Albert Kerekeš, Annemarie Glavič, saxophones/flute; Anže Vrabec, piano; Marko Čepak, guitar; Ilj Pušnik, bass; Primož Podobnik, drums

One of Slovenia’s most prominent noninstitutional big bands was formed in 2004 by Dano Ličen and Jani Šepetavec who recruited members from among young musicians studying (or having graduated in) jazz abroad. First directed by Dano Ličen, the ensemble’s current conductor is Peter Ugrin, a violinist known for his impassioned playing. In addition to self-penned compositions, their playlist features composers that include Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Mintzer and Frank Zappa. Big Band GveriLLaz won the 2018 Corendon International Big Band Competition in the “Top Class Big Band” category.

Linhart Hall, EUR 18, 15*; live & premiere streaming*, admission free


21.15 Etceteral (Slovenia)

Boštjan Simon, baritone saxophone, DSI Evolver; Marek Fakuč, drums, Moog Grandmother; Lina Rica, visuals

Prolific saxophonist Boštjan Simon’s (Velkro, Trus!, Litošt, There Be Monsters, etc.) recent band explores the synthesis of acoustic and electronic music – a context shared by many of his projects. The sounds produced live by the two musicians are processed through a synthesizer that gets to play, by way of providing feedback, the role of the third band member. This machine-generated interference simultaneously inspires the musicians to weave even more hypnotic, but also dance patterns punctuated by flights into improvisation. Lina Rica’s visuals serve to further heighten the entrancing quality of the music.

CD Park, live & premiere streaming*, admission free


22.00 Generator (Slovenia)

Anina Trobec, vocals; Maksim Špelko, drums; Primož Špelko, bass; Tomaž Zorko, Marko Turk, guitar; Joseph Wheba, piano, synths; Mitja Turk, saxophone; Gregor Turk, trombone; Denis Androič, trumpet

After returning from London in 2016, vocalist Anina Trobec formed the band with pianist Joseph Wheba at the Sokolc Autonomous Zone (the former “Sokolski dom” gymnastic club) in Novo mesto. While studying music and working as a sound technician in the UK, Trobec met Joseph Wheba, now her life partner. The couple then lived in India for a number of years and joined various projects. Generator brings together several generations of musicians (e.g., bass player and drummer are father and son), all dexterously engaging in eclectic, but fluent and groovy blend of jazz, soul, reggae, fusion and funk. The band released their debut album, Open Eyes, in 2018.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


22.45 Moor Mother (USA)

Moor Mother, MC, poetry

Philadelphia-based artist, poet and musician, Camae Ayewa, who performs under the name Moor Mother, is one of the most intriguing artists today. Moor Mother has toured throughout the world (also stopping in Ljubljana) and performed live, inter alia, with Roscoe Mitchell and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. As a being of light and ritual in a forever darkening world, Moor Mother brings us Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes, the culmination of all of her earthly experiences merged with all of her cosmic ones. Shimmering in sinister sentience, Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes is the perfect synthesis of Moor Mother’s unique artistic approach and the Black revolution at large. Myth, Black mothers, vodun, quantum futurism, and post-colonial street narratives all get their moments to shine. Only a conjurer like Moor Mother can bring all those pieces together as a cohesive, powerful whole.

Premiere streaming*, admission free


23.30 Trio Heinz Herbert (Switzerland)

Dominic Landolt, guitar, effects; Ramon Landolt, keyboards, synth, samples; Mario Hänni, drums

One of the recent years’ most refreshing acts on the European jazz scene. Following the roaring success of their 2017 Jazz Festival Willisau appearance and their first tours, the Trio was presented with Europe Jazz Network’ Zenith Award for Emerging Artists within the framework of last year’s 12 Points Festival. “I saw Trio Heinz Herbert perform live at the Unerhört Festival in Zurich, and it was one of the best concerts I saw all year. Intense, mesmerizing, captivating... the entire audience was entranced. The trio is so synched in; it really sounds like a singular mind, and their communication and ideas are spectacular.” Mary Halvorson

Premiere streaming*, admission free


Main sponsor NLB
Media sponsor DELO

Jazz Festival Ljubljana is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture of RS.