Showcases announced for the European Jazz Conference 2022 in Sofia



We are very happy to announce the showcase selection for the 8th European Jazz Conference that will take place at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria, between 22 - 25 September 2022.

Every year, during the Conference, a showcase festival presents some of the best jazz and creative music projects from the country that is hosting the event, Bulgaria for this year. The ten selected projects are:

  • 3uP
  • Bodurov Trio
  • Dimitar Liolev Quartet / Rhodopology
  • Gueorgui Kornazov “New Generation” quintet
  • Hristina Beleva & Vasil Hajigrudev
  • Jazzanitza
  • JP3
  • Vasil Hajigrudev sextet
  • Via Mavis
  • Zhivko Vasilev Quintet

The selection process was coordinated by A to Z Foundation, which is hosting the event in Sofia, with the involvement of international EJN members & professionals for the selection of the proposals received: Eva Saar (Jazzkaar, Estonia), Balázs Weyer (Hangveto, Hungary) and Frank Bolder (LantarenVenster/North Sea Jazz Festival, Netherlands).

The European Jazz Conference is co-organised by Europe Jazz Network (EJN) & A to Z Foundation- the EJN member that runs the A to JazZ Festival. It is supported by the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, that is funding EJN through its network strand for the period 2022-2024. The theme of the 2022 Conference is BREAKING NEW GROUND.

Registrations for EJN members and for external participants (=non EJN members) will open by the end of April 2022 and an evening Fringe music programme will also be announced soon.

More details about the showcase bands:

Antoni Donchev - piano
Rossen Zahariev - trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion
Pavel Terziyski - voice, beatbox, electronics

The band 3uP was created by Antoni Donchev in March 2017 on a special occasion - The International Festival of Contemporary Piano Music ‘Pianissimo’. After the first highly acclaimed by the audience and critics concert, the group realises a number of performances at all the major festivals in Bulgaria – Plovdiv Jazz Fest, Jazz Fest Ruse, Jazz in Burgas Festival, Apollonia Festival of Arts etc., also Jazzy Colors Festival in Paris, France. The trio creates original music, composed by Antoni Donchev and Rossen Zahariev, which easily and skillfully handles the broad variety of forms in performing. 

Bodurov Trio
Dimitar Bodurov - piano & compositions
Jens Dueppe - drums
Mihail Ivanov - bass

Bodurov Trio is a modern, dynamic jazz group, founded by Bulgarian pianist and composer Dimitar Bodurov in 2001. Since then the band has released 5 albums for Norwegian and Dutch labels as well as Bodurov’s own OPTOMUSIC label. Bodurov’s fascination with Bulgarian folklore evolved in a unique and distinctive style characterised by connecting folklore elements with contemporary jazz. In 2022 the trio will release their upcoming recording "Senkya panda”.

Dimitar Liolev Quartet / Rhodopology
Dimitar Liolev - saxophone
Antoni Donchev - piano
Borislav Petrov - drums
Boris Taslev - double bass

Rhodopology – a musical “conversation” with Dimitar Liolev (saxophone), Antoni Donchev (piano), Boris Taslev (bass) and Borislav Petrov (percussion). The album was composed and soon after recorded as a presentation of the intricate traditional folk music of the Rhodope mountains and was combined with the vast jazz music knowledge of that musical ensemble. The musicians from the quartet are friends and like-minded on the fact that the musical conversation flows with ease. All four of us feel the connection with our national tradition, and its counterpoint and connection with jazz music.

Gueorgui Kornazov “New Generation” quintet
Gueorgui Kornazov: trombone
Gueorgui Stoykov: trumpet
Dimitar Blagoev: guitar
Daniele Febo: double bass
Kristian Jelev: drums

Gueorgui Kornazov is bulgarian jazz trombonist & composer based in Paris. On the occasion of his 50th anniversary, Gueorgui Kornazov has created several new projects with new music and young musicians he has never played with before. One of these projects is the “NEW GENERATION” quintet featuring the talented Gueorgui Stoykov on trumpet, the virtuoso guitarist Dimitar Blagoev, the energetic Daniele Febo on double bass and the authentic Kristian Jelev on drums. Gueorgui specialy wrote and arranged music for this band and created it in Sofia last November. This quintet is a beautiful mixture between young wild energy, maturity and wisdom.

Hristina Beleva & Vasil Hajigrudev
Vasil Hajigrudev - double bass
Hristina Beleva - gadulka

Gadulka player Hristina Beleva and double bassist Vasil Hajigrudev create original compositions especially for each other. Traditional Bulgarian folklore, improvisations in a "cinematic feel". A year after their well accepted EP the band is in the process of producing another album.

Borislav Petkov Petrov - drums / compositions
Zhivko Slavchev Vasilev - kaval
Mihail Ivanov Ivanov - bass
Dimitar Kostadinov Liolev - alto saxophone
Borislav Dimitrov Iliev - guitar

Jazzanitza translates the ancient Balkan rhythms and the improvisational legacy of Bulgarian instrumental folk giants, such as Ivo Papasov, to the language of current jazz. This music incorporates the naturally danceable and groovy asymmetric rhythms, prevalent in Bulgarian folk music. Jazzanitza is led by drummer, composer and ethnomusicologist Borislav Petrov. The current line-up of the band features the folk instrument “kaval”, together with saxophone, guitar, bass and drums. In the group's third album (release:June 2022) Borislav Petrov explores the interaction between folk and bebop, by writing original melodies in various odd metres over the chord structures of well-known bebop tunes.

Jivko Petrov - piano
Dimitar Karamfilov - double bass
Dimitar Semov - drums

“Change The Way '' is the fourth studio album by Jivko Petrov Trio – JP3. The 12 songs of the album are extremely clear and focused and Jivko Petrov has followed his priority in music – the melody to be the centre of the album. The tracks lead to different emotions – from the aristocratism of the title track Change The Way and One More, through the inner conflict in Berlin, through the urge to dance in It’s A Thrill, to the complete calmness, even meditative feelings in Now I See and Spinning Wheels. The most important emotion, however, is the joy from the music. So enjoy listening!

Vasil Hajigrudev sextet
Vasil Hajigrudev - double bass
Rossen Zahariev - trumpet
Arnau Garrofe - tenor sax
Vladislav Michev - trombone
Borislav Petrov - drums
Dimitar Liolev - alto sax

This sextet is composed of brilliant Bulgarian musicians. All of them are well respected for their musicality and unique sound and approach. Each of them have very different musical preferences but work well together. Vasil Hajigrudev got them together to perform his music. A new band, within weeks of releasing their first album and already highly anticipated within the Bulgarian musical community.

Via Mavis
Viktor Benev - malletKAT / electronics
Evden Dimitrov - bass
Martin Hafizi - drums

Friends since the Music High School in Sofia, in 2018 the three members of Via Mavis decide to reunite despite the fact that all three are based in different European cities. The solution is obvious: alternating the meeting point between hometown Sofia and the cities Paris, Vienna and Rotterdam. The original tunes of the trio are a combination of various influences such as traditional and modern jazz, subgenres of electronic music and their common background - classical music and Bulgarian folklore. What makes the trio rather unusual is the use of the MalletKAT: it provides a versatile palette of sounds, provoking new explorations and presenting a new “read” of the classical piano-like trio.

Zhivko Vasilev Quintet
Zhivko Vasilev - kaval
Dimitar Gorchakov - piano
Mihail Ivanov - double bass
Viktor Traykov - cello
Borislav Petrov - drums

Zhivko Vasilev Quintet is a project created in 2020. Some of the most prominent musicians in Bulgaria and Europe recordеd the original music of Zhivko Vasilev. Later, in 2021, this album was released under the name “Places“. Zhivko Vasilev’s music blends ancient traditions of the Balkans with classical and modern, jazz arrangements and improvisation.The album immediately went into the TOP 10 list for the second quarter of 2021, according to the choice of the panellist of “Balkan Chart”. Many positive reviews about the album were published in some of the most renowned jazz magazines, such as “All About Jazz”, “Jazz in Europe”, “MixedWorldMusic”.