Star trumpeter Chris Botti, virtuoso sax player Joshua Redman, drums master Jack DeJohnette, Jamie Cullum, King of Convenience’s member Erlend Øye and Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri welcome you to the 8th edition of the Seoul Jazz Festival. The event, which takes place in the impressive Olympic Stadium on 17-18 May, will also feature Gerald Albright, Paolo Nutini, Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice and a roster of local talents.
Many probably remember the Seoul Olympic Park, or Olpark as it is known among locals, for hosting the Olympic Games in the summer 1988. Its stunning architecture and the fabulous World Peace Gate stroke people as one of the best venue to have ever hosted the Olympic Games. On May 17-18, it will become a music village, as it will welcome the Seoul Jazz Festival 2014. During the years the event has presented shows by some of the biggest international music stars.
Even though the Seoul Jazz Festival is set to kick off on 17 May, the party will get started already on 16 May with a special opening night. The event will feature performances by Grammy award-winning star trumpeter Chris Botti, local pop singer, rocker, songwriter and producer Lee Seung-Hwan and the mix of jazz, flamenco and Latin music of the award-winning guitar-piano duo Michel Camilo & Tomatito.
Jazz Maestros and Guitar Aces
On 17 May, the festival will welcome headliners Joshua Redman and Eddie Palmieri. Son of the legendary free-jazz saxophonist Dewey Redman, Joshua Redman followed the footsteps of his father and started playing the saxophone (he plays both the tenor, alto and soprano sax, an ability that very few musicians have). After winning the 1991 “Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition” Redman has established himself as one of the world’s most in-demand jazz saxophonists. In Seoul, he will be joined on stage by the other members of his Joshua Redman Quartet: pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and Gregory Hutchinson on drums.
Eddie Palmieri is known to jazz enthusiasts for his incredible career of over 50 years. During his school years, he was constantly exposed to music, specifically jazz, and began taking piano lessons. When he was only 11 years old, Palmieri stepped on stage and performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall.
Inspired by the music of Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner and by his older brother Charlie Palmieri, Palmieri was determined to form his own band, something he achieved at the age of 14. In the 1950s he went on to play in various bands, including Tito Rodríguez’s and 50 years later, in 2007, he was awarded a Grammy as “Best Latin Jazz Recording” with his new band La Perfecta II. Today, Eddie Palmieri still going strong and continues to impress and inspire people all around the world.
On the same day, at the Seoul Jazz Festival it will be time for Norwegian jazz trumpeter, composer, producer and future-jazz pioneer Nils Petter Molvær, Dutch pop rising star Wouter Hamel, Irish guitarist Damien Rice and Craig David.
Nils Petter Molvær, or NPM as he is often called by his fans, is considered a pioneer of future-jazz, genre that fuses jazz and electronic music.
His future-jazz repertoire was probably showcased at his best in Khmer, Molvær’s most commercially successful album that was released on ECM Records in 1997.
Hailing from The Hague, Netherlands, Wouter Hamel is one of the most intriguing contemporary pop performers, whose style has been compared to Jamie Cullum’s. Receiving significant media attention from the Dutch media after winning the Dutch Jazz Vocal Competition in 2005 and playing at the internationally-known North Sea Jazz Festival, Hamel is now very well-known around Europe and often tours in Japan and South Korea.
Damien Rice is the incarnation of the modern troubadour. Originally from County Kildare, Ireland, he began his musical career as member of the 1990s rock band Juniper. After leaving the band he worked as a farmer in Tuscany and busked throughout Europe, before returning to Ireland in 2001 and beginning a solo musical career.
His 2002 debut album O reached #8 on the UK albums charts, generated three top-30 singles and won the Shortlist Music Prize. His second album – 9 – was released in 2006 and includes songs that have appeared in numerous movies and television series. Damien Rice has brought his music around the world with tours that have brought him to some of the most prestigious festivals, including Glastonbury Festival and the special worldwide event Live Earth.
In addition to his critically-acclaimed performances, Damien Rice has also been actively involved in activist projects like the Freedom Campaign, the Burma Campaign UK and the U.S. Campaign for Burma.
English Brit Awards and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Craig David is famous for is top-chart hits and collaborations with internationally-acclaimed performers like Rita Ora, Sting and Tinchy Stryder. On 17 May, he will get back to deejaying with the special DJ set TS5. On the same day, the Seoul Jazz Festival will host a series of concerts by a talented roster of local acts, Kiha & The Faces, Be The Voice and YoungJoo Song Quartet.
All those passionate about acoustic guitar will definitely have a blast at the Seoul Jazz Festival 2014. In fact, after Damien Rice, the event will welcome another guitar’s ace: Erlend Øye. Fans surely remember Erlend Øye for his successful career as member of the Norwegian guitar duo Kings of Convenience, electro duo Röyksopp and Norwegian-German band The Whitest Boy Alive. On 18 May, the Seoul Olympic Stadium will be filled with the guitar riff of the Erlend Øye acoustic trio.
More Jazz Stars
The parade of jazz stars at Seoul Jazz Festival 2014 will continue with three special guests: Jamie Cullum, Jack DeJohnette and Gerald Albright.
Jamie Cullum is considered by many as one of the most hard-working musicians around. In his career he has released six albums, was awarded the Rising Star Award by the British Jazz Awards, was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for his composition Gran Torino for the Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino and has been serving as artistic director of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, one of UK’s leading jazz festivals.
At the Seoul Jazz Festival, Cullum will bring material from his latest album, as well as his most popular compositions.
By looking at the history fusion jazz, there’s no doubt that Jack DeJohnette has been one of the most influential figures in the genre.
His extensive work as bandleader and sideman for the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis, makes DeJohnette one of the most acclaimed jazz drummers of the 20th century. An incredible performer, who will step on stage accompanied by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, son of the legendary John, and bassist Matt Garrison, son of the iconic Jimmy Garrison.
Los Angeles-born Gerald Albright is a sensational multi-instrumentalist known to the crowds for his saxophone playing style. After taking piano lessons at at young age, Albright fell in love with the saxophone, which later became his signature instrument. Immediately after college he participated in studio sessions, accompanying world’s renowned artists like Anita Baker, The Temptations and Ray Parker.
Today, with over one million records sold in the U.S. alone, Albright is one of the most respected jazz saxophonists. He has shared the stage with stars such as Phil Collins, Quincy Jones and Whitney Houston and has participated, as headliner, to numerous prestigious jazz festivals around the world.
Promising Rising Stars and Local Heroes
Among the protagonists of the 8th edition of Seoul Jazz Festival there are two talented young stars: Paolo Nutini and Sondre Lerche. Paolo Nutini raised to prominence in 2006 with his debut album These Streets.
On the following year he was invited, along with world’s renowned artists like the Police, Dave Matthews Band, Genesis, Duran Duran and Foo Fighters, to perform at Live Earth, a global event that aimed at raising environmental awareness through entertainment.
Since then, Paolo Nutini has won various awards – including “Best Male Artists” at the Q Awards and “Best International Album” at the 2010 Meteor Awards – and has released more records: Sunny Side Up and Caustic Love.
Influenced by the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Prefab Sprout, Sondre Lerche picked up the guitar at a very young age and hasn’t let it go since. In his career, he has released numerous albums including Faces Down – which was included in Rolling Stone magazine’s “top 50 albums of 2002” chart and his self-title record Sondre Lerche.
On 17 May, it will also be time for the R&B and neo soul sounds of Eric Benét and a series of local heroes. Eric Benét is a popular singer-songwriter and TV personality with a solid reputation. Back in 1996, he released his solo debut album True to Myself that featured successful top-ten R&B hits like “Spiritual Thang”, “Femininity” and “Let’s Stay Together”, which appeared on the soundtrack of Hollywood movie a Thin Line Between Love and Hate.
His next record, A Day in the Life, was released in 1999. Its first single, “Georgy Porgy” received significant airplay, but it was the second single – “Spend My Life With You” – that became a smash hit. It rose to number one on the American R&B charts, was certified gold and received a nomination at the 2000 Grammy awards for “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group”. The album also won a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Male.
In addition to all this, Benét appeared on Earth, Wind and Fire’s 30th anniversary CD, he contributed vocals to the post-Katrina charity single “Heart of America” and lent his vocals to many jazz albums for artists like George Duke, Chris Botti and Jeff Lorber.
On its final day, the Seoul Jazz Festival 2014 will also feature some of the country’s most popular contemporary acts. From Jong Joon Il to the eclectic Bulnabang Star Sausage Club, from Lee Dong Woo and Sunwoo Jung Ah to Jambinai and the quartet Salon De Oh. The festival will serve as prestigious stage for both world’s renowned artists and South Korean stars.
The decision of organizing the Seoul Jazz Festival at the Olympic Park gives a special touch to the whole event. An incredible setting the welcomes a spectacular line-up for two days of excellent, high-quality “olympic” music.
88 Olympic Park, Seoul,