Portraits in Jazz: all the right notes

Portraits in Jazz celebrates 20 years of Malta’s great music festival and is on sale during this week’s Malta Jazz Festival.

At the first edition of the Malta Jazz Festival in 1991, Chick Corea was enthused at how, “Until today, I had never had the opportunity to perform in a postcard.”

Published by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, the commemorative publication entitled Portraits in Jazz is itself a series of postcards, in the form of photography and paintings, which celebrates 20 years of the Malta Jazz Festival.

Starting from the memorable first edition, which hosted jazz legends Chick Corea, Michel Petrucciani and Elvin Jones amongst others, Portraits in Jazz traces the journey of one of Malta’s top cultural offerings through photos of the Festival itself and through the paintings inspired by the Festival.

For this commemorative publication, four of Malta’s top photographers - Patrick Fenech, Joe P. Smith, Pierre Stafrace and Darrin Zammit Lupi - who have been photographing the Malta Jazz Festival since its first edition, shortlisted what they consider to be the very best out of thousands of photographs. The photographs which they have chosen to be included in Portraits in Jazz give a new perspective on the jazz greats that have performed at the Festival throughout the years.

Apart from photography, Portraits in Jazz also relives the Malta Jazz Festival through the art of Jeni Caruana and the late Olaug Vethal and Ebba von Fersen Balzan. These artists’ paintings show how the medium of jazz inspires and can be translated into other forms of art without losing any of its rhythm and colour. 

Portraits in Jazz also includes interviews with Charles ‘City’ Gatt, artistic director of the Malta Jazz Festival for 15 years, Sandro Zerafa, the current artistic director, and with jazz musicians and faithful followers of the Festival.