Malta Jazz Festival returns in July

The Malta Jazz Festival 2012 will see the return of guitarist Al di Meola, after 19 years, who will be playing on the first of three nights in July.

Al di Meola (Photo: Francesco Cabras)
Al di Meola (Photo: Francesco Cabras)

The Malta Jazz Festival will be held between 19 and 21 July at Ta’ Liesse, and will include a cocktail of different musical styles such as vocal jazz, flamenco, hard-bop, fusion and Latin jazz.

The main highlights this year will be Al di Meola, who is returning to the Malta Jazz Festival after 19 years, and Terri Lynne Carrington, whose album Mosaic Project has just won a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Jazz Album.

Grammy Award winning Al di Meola will return to Malta to perform rhythmically-charged flamenco and tango inspired originals on Thursday 19 July.

Al di Meola a highly celebrated career which has spanned a wide range of emotions into a unique style embodying the artist’s world inspired influences.

Virtuoso pianist and eight time grammy nominated Gonzalo Rubalcaba will be accompanying Al di Meola. He has proven himself to be an established force in the modern Jazz world.

Drummer Carrington, featuring premier jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, will be performing at the Malta Jazz Festival on Friday 20 July. She has performed with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, and the Yellowjackets.

Her latest album released features Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding - who participated in last years Malta Jazz Festival, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Gretchen Parlato.

The Jeremy Pelt Quartet will also be performing on the first night. Jeremy Pelt began his career playing with Mingus Big Band and has performed with Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Charli Persip and Keter Betts to name a few.

Pelt was voted Rising Star on the Trumpet five years in a row by Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Journalist Association.

The Tigran Hamasyan Trio, which will perform on the second evening, finds inspiration from traditional Armenian folk music as well as poetry. Tigran won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2006 and is considered one of today’s most vital and original young jazz artists.

Will Vinson Quartet will perform on the 21 July. Will Vinson is thought to be one of the most exciting alto players on the New York Scene.

His last recording ‘The World (through my shoes)’ has been described as "marvellous" by Downbeat and "exhilarating, cascading...outstanding" by JazzTimes.

Chano Dominguez will close the festival with his combination of flamenco and jazz and will present his latest album which gives homage to Miles Davis. The group will feature a flamenco dancer, singer and cajon player.

The Maltese bands this year will include the Paul Giordimaina Trio which will kick the festival off on 19 July and Carlo Muscat/Alex Bezzina on 21 July.

The Off fringe festival, coordinated by Andrew Alamango, will also be taking place on the days preceding the Malta Jazz Festival and is supported by MIA.

The Malta Jazz Festival is supported by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts and the Ministry for Tourism, the Environment and Culture. Sponsors of the festival include Go, MSV Life, Switch, CyberPass, and Phoenicia Hotel.