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Veteran artists at European Jazz Festival will be missed

Nov 22, 2004

1212Thanh Nien News - Jazz lovers will surely have a longing for the veteran artists who played at past European Jazz Festivals but are not on this year’s roster when the fourth annual jazz festival comes to Vietnam Nov. 26.

In particular, audiences at previous European Jazz Festivals who were captivated by the performance of Crossroads lead guitarist, Zenon Kowal, will miss his appearance at this year’s event.

Mr. Kowal was also the founder of the festival when he was the head of the Wallonie-Bruxelles Delegation in Vietnam. He was inspired with the idea to start the festival in 2001 when

the Belgium diplomat dropped in at the jazz club of veteran saxophonist Quyen Van Minh in Hanoi.

The impromptu meeting with the Vietnamese jazz artist who was “crazy about jazz” motivated Mr. Kowal to write a cover letter the day after the meeting to foreign embassies in Vietnam urging them to take part in organizing the jazz festival.

Mr. Kowal then assumed the organizing role of three festivals until his term in Vietnam ended in 2003. His contributions to Vietnam’s development in the music industry and international relations also earned him the state medal “For Vietnam’s Cause of Culture”.

Before leaving Vietnam, Mr. Kowal also had parting words for Mr. Minh. “You should try to maintain operation of the Jazz Minh Club,” he said.

“This (playing jazz music) will be the final job in my life,” Mr. Minh replied.

The Vietnamese artist will also be missing at this year’s festival.

In addition, jazz lovers will not get a chance to enjoy the unique jazz performance of Mr. Minh’s son, saxophonist Quyen Thien Dac, and the Song Hong band. Mr. Dac, who wooed audiences at last year’s festival, recently graduated from the Berklee College of Music in the U.S.

But, the upcoming festival also promises to satisfy local jazz fans as the “jazz party” will feature a variety of styles and sounds this year rather than the dominance of jazz trios at last year’s event.

Heinz von Hermann, the master of many instruments, will lead the Austrian band Jazz Ahead. The multi-talented musician can play the saxophone, clarinet and flute and is both composer and arranger.

Swedish band Patrik Boman Seven Piece Machine will perform music described as a combination of all music genres in the 20th century.

Ginman de luxe from Denmark will feature a music mix of acoustic and electronic instruments. The Belgium band Slang is expected to capture audiences with its sweet folksong rhythm.

As well, France’s Mezcal Jazz Unit quartet and Diaz/Carbou duo, which joined the festival in 2002, will introduce their new album at the festival.

Jazz fans will also get to hear new and upcoming singer Tung Duong who became widely known for his beautiful jazz voice at “Sao Mai – Rendezvous”, a Vietnamese television singing contest. Mr. Duong will perform 10 jazz songs by local composers Le Minh Son, Ngoc Dai and Tran Minh.

The European Jazz Festival 2004, which will be organized in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Nov. 26 to Dec. 4, will also feature performance of artists from Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Reported by Huong Lan - Translated by T.H. (22/11/2004)

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