Accompanying the hunger of any creative musician is a willingness to explore uncharted terrain, since their appetite for new artistic challenges requires innovative ingredients. In jazz, given its Afro-American roots, this idea of a permanently expanding universe has long involved a deep dive into the enormous richness of African rhythms. John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders and Art Blakey all traversed this ground, but new possibilities continue to reveal themselves to today’s musicians as far as, for example, the hypnotic and trance-like characteristics of the music of the Moroccan Gnawa people and the myriad traditional musical forms of Western Africa are concerned.
This African trance-like quality is one of the traits of the 39th edition of Jazz in August, which will take place from 27 July to 6 August. It will feature Eve Risser’s Red Desert Orchestra, which brings European and African musicians together, and Natural Information Society with Evan Parker, a project created by Joshua Abrams and based around the guimbri (a traditional Gnawan instrument). This hypnotic element can also be seen in the Ghosted project, the group Trance Map+ and in the solo performances by Susana Santos Silva and Julia Reidy.
Santos Silva and Reidy are part of a soloists programme, featuring Marta Warelis and Camille Émaille alongside themselves, in an event that will include various projects from 2022 of outstanding musical creativity led by women – Eve Risser, Hedvig Mollestad, Zoh Amba, Myra Melford and Mary Halvorson. A natural consequence of how far music mirrors the social context from which it springs.
Almost 40 years after the creation of the festival by Madalena de Azeredo Perdigão, a prominent figure in the Portuguese artistic scene, and as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth, Jazz em Agosto continues, as always, to react to the sound and the way it is moulded by the musicians on stage. It is this sound which will be our guide.