Cerkno festival jazzing up the scene

Cerkno – After two years of Covid-19 and an alternative venue, the international festival Jazz Cerkno is returning to its pre-Covid format in the town of Cerkno in the west of the country. From Thursday to Saturday, the festival will bring musicians from nearly ten countries and various jazz genres.

After two years of a Covid-safe venue – the car park in front of the old factory Eta, the 27th iteration of the festival will be again held at its usual venue, Star Plac in the centre of Cerkno.

The programme includes a total of ten concerts by performers from Austria, Belgium, Italy, US, Norway, UK, Serbia, Poland and Slovenia, who fuse jazz with several other genres such as avant-garde classical music, progressive rock, electronica and Ethiopian groove.

The organisers, Jazz Cerkno Institute, note that jazz enthusiasts can look forward to, among others, the Austrian trio Mario Rom’s Interzone, which plays jazz under the motto “anything goes”, Norway’s Paal Nilssen-Love Circus, known for their fusion of Ethio-jazz, Brazilian rhythms and what have you, and Brandon Seabrook Trio from the US, another band whose music reflects many influences.

Another highlight will be the London-based duo Binker and Moses, labelled by The Guardian as “the big breakout stars of the London jazz scene” and their latest album Feeding the Machine described as “free jazz meets electronics in outer space”. Saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd will be joined by Max Luthert on modular synthesizers.

All the three Slovenian bands, Robert Jukič Caminos de Gloria, There Be Monsters and TiTiTi, will present their new albums at the festival, and all international musicians will perform with their new bands for the first time in Slovenia.

In what will be another first, legendary British avant-garde jazz/free-improvising vocalist Phil Minton and Serbian-Hungarian violist and composer Szilard Mezei will collaborate to deliver an entirely improvised “musical manifestation”.

The festival will also feature accompanying events, including round-table debates, a workshop, a hike dedicated to jazz and local cultural and natural heritage, a jam session of musicians under-30 and an audio installation by Slovenian visual artist and filmmaker Atej Tutta.

The latter, titled Footprint, will be on show at the Cerkno Museum until 19 June, transposing the sounds of nature recorded at the WWII makeshift Franja hospital into an artwork.