Review: Festa do Jazz – 20th anniversary (16th – 18th December 2022)

The last edition of Festa do Jazz celebrated its 20th  anniversary in December 2022. This time, the festival took place at three different venues in the Belém neighbourhood of Lisbon, each unique in its own right: the architecturally stunning CCB – Centro Cultural de Belém where the main concert programme took place, the historic venue Picadeiro do Antigo Museu dos Coches which hosted the National Jazz School Contest, and the eclectic book shop and event space Ler Devagar at LX Factory for the jam sessions at night.

Apart from the diverse musical offering, Festa do Jazz once again hosted panel discussions on relevant socio-cultural topics and awarded two annual prizes – the RTP/Festa do Jazz Award for established artists as well as the Lúrdes Judice Award for the National Jazz School Contest. The festival weekend brought together a multitude of national and international artists, creating a platform for the already familiar mix of established and upcoming Portuguese artists. In total, more than 130 musicians were involved in the 2022 edition.

Festa do Jazz celebrated its opening concert on Friday, the 16th of December, at the Big Auditorium of Centro Cultural de Belém, with Hamburg-based Trilok Gurtu performing with Portuguese artists João Paulo Esteves da Silva, Yuri Daniel, Carlos Martins, Mário Delgado and João Frade. Saturday and Sunday were filled with concerts from all different jazz genres, underlining the multitude of facets of contemporary improvised music in Portugal. Highlights included 2021 RTP/Festa do Jazz winner Nazaré da Silva, Hugo Carvalhais, Salvador Sobral/Marco Mezquida as well as the German-Danish trio DLW on Saturday. Sunday´s programme featured a multitude of bands with both Portuguese and international artists such as Portuguese-Mexican-Scottish trio Perseli, or the Portuguese-Argentinian-American combo Marques/Cabaud Quartet.

Besides the clear focus on the future jazz generations with its annual Jazz School Contest, the festival once again made a point in programming female artists and female-lead combos, such as the all-female projects Lantana and Herse.

The three-day event was a beautiful get-together for the jazz community, bringing together different generations, agents and facets of Portuguese jazz and improvised music.

We enjoyed every moment of it and are looking forward to the upcoming year and are already working on our next edition in November 2023!

Photo: Trilok Gurtu // © Matilde Fieschi