About Festival


The Belgrade Jazz Festival saw its rebirth in 2005, in an optimistic but reserved social atmosphere, and at a moment when opening the doors to international trends became a priority. Even the biggest skeptics agree that in the past eight years this international music event began a new life in a changed context. It was especially exciting to watch how our cultural environment was slowly returning to a place within the European framework where it belonged, at least when jazz is concerned. This place has always been shaped by the high standards of our public, despite the fact that the budget couldn’t always fulfill our wishes.

After the year 2000, it was clear that a new audience craving cultural events emerged. This generation was able to get information and compare itself to the rest of the world much faster than any previous generation. There was a need to show them the full variety of jazz forms, and give them the opportunity they lacked in the previous 15 years – to develop their own taste and to learn to think about contemporary music and all its possibilities. This is why every year we present a broad overview of jazz creativity, from traditional jazz forms to the most radical experiments, and show what music can create. Entertainment is never put aside, nor can it be when jazz is concerned, but it’s always in perfect balance with the artistic achievements that change our views of what is achievable through creativity. Our core idea was, and still is, the presentation of great artists. This is why we again prepared a kaleidoscope of performances by key jazz musicians that everyone should see live at least once in their life.

It has been twenty years since the death of Miles Davis, one of the greatest musicians of all time and an artist who performed three times at the BJF. In this regard we will be opening the 28th BJF with a performance of a band whose members are musicians Miles played with. They are all authentic stars of contemporary jazz, among which are Wallace Roney, Miles’ only student and the owner of his trumpet; Omar Hakim and Daryl Jones, the unforgettable rhythm section; and Larry Coryell, an unforgettable guitarist. During the whole festival there will be a rhapsody of wind instruments, red-hot trumpets and saxophones, given by performers like the great Dave Douglas and Joe Lovan Quintet, the genius new jazz star Ambrose Akinmusire, the Latin jazz master Jerry Gonzalez, and the radical NYC band Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Together they present the framework of this year’s festival. Other performances include the unique jazz beat poetry of Ursula Rucker, the authentic jazz cabaret of Das Kapital, and the dance grooves of the Danish trio Ibrahim Electric. This year the audience will see a preview of the best Serbian jazz musicians from the diaspora, including Nenad Vasilic, who lives in Austria, and Srdjan Ivanovic’s Blazin’ Quartet from Holland. The Serbian jazz overview will be closed by the impressions of Jovan Maljokovic and his guests. The program will include a special cooperation between Serbia’s prominent alternative rock band Darkwood Dub and singer Bisera Veletanlic, through which we continue the revaluation of our jazz scene.

With special pleasure we present the 2012 program under a slogan that will persuade you to like jazz wherever you go. To further learn to love it and stick with that decision, because jazz is one of those valuable art forms that never lets you down. It never becomes cheap, and it never wears out. It always comes back as an opportunity to see and hear something completely new and unexpected!

Dragan Ambrozic,

Program manager of the Belgrade Jazz Festival