|Dutch jazz comedy troupe The Busquitos invites audience members on stage to dance during a performance at Jazz in Daegu 2018 / Courtesy of Kim Ji-soo|
By Jon Dunbar
The Jazz in Daegu festival presents three days of excellent local and international jazz acts for its fourth year running in the southeastern city.
Taking place at the Smiling Arts Center, the festival presents an indoor stage in the recently renovated theater as well as an outdoor stage.
"The focus of the festival is on jazz and jazz-related styles with a strong personal character," festival co-organizer Joep van Rhijn told The Korea Times. "Artists from all over the world present a variety of jazz-related styles. The festival has a strong international character, but on the other hand we also want to offer a stage to local artists."
The acts include the iconic David Berkman & Gene Jackson Trio from the U.S., innovative piano trio Dock in Absolute from Luxembourg and Belgium, Okinawa salsa band Kachimba4 and funk-jazz band Wojtek Justyna TreeOh! The Korea-based acts include 4Now Quartet, Long Island Jass Band, Andante Bridge, Rio Band, S.geun high, the New Trio & Grace Kim and Big Tiger Group.
And of course there is the Joep van Rhijn Quartet, fronted by the trumpet player of the same name. Joep van Rhijn moved to Korea from the Netherlands some time ago and has become an essential part of the jazz and world music scenes in Korea. His band also includes members from the U.S. and Korea.
The festival kicks off this Friday with a couple performances followed by an open workshop with pianist Berkman and drummer Jackson, titled "How to Improve Your Improvisation."
"David Berkman and Gene Jackson are great artists, but also very inspiring educators," van Rhijn said. "David Berkman published several books on jazz improvisation and both are music professors. Instead of only having them come over for a concert we asked them to do a workshop as well, so local musicians, students and others interested have a chance to play with them, learn, and ask questions."
|David Berkman / Photo by Brad Matala|
This year's festival is also funded by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Arts Council Korea (ARKO).
"We want this festival to be accessible, so tickets are priced very reasonably," van Rhijn said. "This means our sponsors are very important to make it all work."
Van Rhijn is a member of Artkiki Productions, a company specialized in artist management, festival and concert production and music education projects. As well as Jazz in Daegu it also organizes the annual Suseong World Music Festival.
The work they do is important in localizing jazz and related genres in Korea and growing a local scene, an especially difficult task in the remote city of Daegu.
"Most of the Korean arts is concentrated in the Seoul area, but in Daegu there is a jazz scene," van Rhijn said. "There are a few universities with jazz departments, some jazz clubs, a jazz jam session and quite some professional jazz musicians. Unfortunately these musicians don't have many possibilities to play their original music in Daegu. Jazz in Daegu tries to offer a stage for these creative musicians."
The Friday events are free, with a one-day pass for Saturday or Sunday running 10,000 won and two days costing 15,000 won.