Festival features jazz redefined

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Festival features jazz redefined


Artists participating in the fourth Seoul Jazz Festival include, clockwise from top left, Jung Jae-hyung, Wouter Hamel, Sweet Sorrow, Eric Benet, Matt Bianco, D’Sound, Sergio Mendes, Lucid Fall, Pudditorium and Jung Sung-ha. The festival runs from May 11 to 15 at two locations in Seoul. Provided by Private Curve

The weather has been ever whimsical in the past months and the spring breeze is still chilly.

But this month’s Seoul Jazz Festival has an exhilarating array of overseas artists ranging from Sergio Mendes to Eric Benet, D’Sound and a host of major local artists that is sure to perk you up.

In the past three years, the festival has featured big names such as British jazz funk band Incognito, American trumpeter Christ Botti and the Pat Metheney Trio.

This year, the festival has added more musicians and the program reaches beyond what is conventionally defined as jazz to include musicians working across multiple genres.

“It’s very hard to define jazz but that could also mean jazz is able to encompass radically different genres and eras,” said Kim Ji-ye, a spokeswoman with Private Curve, the festival organizer. “This year we intend to further promote the event by inviting more artists.”

Running for four days from May 11 through 15, with the exception of May 13, the festival highlights a different theme and genre on each day. It will be held at two venues - the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and the 4,500-seat Olympic Hall in Olympic Park.

The festival opens with Dutch jazz singer Wouter Hamel and established K-pop singer-songwriter Jung Jae-hyung on the festival’s “lyrical and romantic night.” K-pop and ballad band Sweet Sorrow will make an appearance with Hamel, an artist who is often compared to an English singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum. The Dutch singer and the Korean band will also sing versions of one another’s hit songs on stage.

R&B and soul superstar Eric Benet will give his second concert in Seoul on May 12. The organizer says he was so captivated by Korean audiences when he appeared here last year that he decided to return.

The third day of the concert, which moves the festival to Olympic Hall, is devoted to “stylish jazz.” It will feature Matt Bianco, a British jazz-pop duo visiting Seoul for the first time, and D’Sound, a Norwegian acid jazz duo that has a wide fan base here.

The highlight of the last day will be the Brazilian bossa nova master Sergio Mendes. The musician known for mixing bossa nova, jazz and funk has made a name for himself in past years among the younger generation for collaborations with The Black Eyed Peas, an American hip-hop group, and India Arie, an American neo-soul singer. His band and three vocalists bring in a Carnival-like atmosphere, says the organizer.

The evening, tagged as Latin Jazz Day, will close with Korea’s one-man pop jazz band Pudditorium.

*Tickets range from 55,000 won ($50) to 88,000 won. For more information, call (02) 563-0595 or visit www.seouljazz.co.kr.

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]
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