Kaunas Jazz

There is no doubt that deep jazz tradition flourished in Lithuania in recent years. Each year listeners from United States and Europe come to Lithuania to listen to new jazz sounds Lithuanian jazz festivals have to offer. There is nothing to be surprised about as Lithuanian jazz festivals are highlighted even in such jazz magazines like “Down Beat” or “Jazz Forum”. Of course Lithuanians themselves join these festivals not less, if not even more than foreign fans. One of the most impressive jazz festivals held in Lithuania is the international Kaunas Jazz festival held each year since 1991.

Kaunas Jazz – it is the festival of word wide level according to its capacity and stylistic content. In 1991 the start of the festival was pretty quite in comparison with today`s conception. But the event grew much through struggle of its organizers and, of course, the support of audience.

Till nowadays Kaunas Jazz festival became a prestigious jazz event which earned reliance among international jazz celebrities, public and sponsors. Every year Kaunas jazz offers wide and pithy spectrum of modern jazz programs. Professional jazz performers from more than 20 countries have already put up shows on Kaunas Jazz stages. For Lithuanian performers attending this festival is also a great opportunity to improve their skills, to sound Lithuanian jazz and to get the inspiration of world famous jazz stars to create and to jazz with more gusto.

When Kaunas Jazz was started to be organized annually, it was arranged only one time a year – in spring. Nowadays it is arranged 3 times a year. It is a tripartite show held in spring, autumn and just before Christmas. In 2009 the program of the festival was shortened a little bit through financial difficulties that overtook the whole capitalist world in 2008. Despite these difficulties, in 2009 spring the fest still retained its annual traditions like procession of “Ąžuolynas“ (Oakery) wind orchestra down the Freedom Avenue, the bell music announcing the beginning of Jazz Festival, the children drawing on paving tradition, free of charge concerts, night time program in clubs, concerts of sacral music in the church of the Vytautas the Great, Jew theme in jazz that could be heard in Kaunas synagogue. Kaunas Jazz every year overtakes the whole city scattering its program in many different places: the square of Vienybė (Unity), the church of Vytautas the Great, the stage of Vytautas the Great University, “Combo” club and other places. And every year the audience gives the Jazz Eaters Award to one of the performers. In 2009 spring this award was given to brazil musician living in London Chico Chag who enthralled audience with warm music of accordion.

The Kaunas Jazz 2009 Autumn invites listeners to come to listen to 3 concerts in 30th of October. 5:00 PM Lithuanian performers D. Paulauskas and V. Ramoška will show in the former Kaunas Presidential palace, 7:00 PM the concert hall of Vytautas the Great University will attract audience to watch the film directed by Rytis Zemkauskas “Kaunas Jazz 2009 Relax”,  and to listen to performers from Great Britain “YellowJackets”. Late in evening 10:00 PM the restaurant and club “Combo” will wait for the audience to come and listen to performers from Great Britan “RB Funkestra”. Short one day trip of jazz of Kaunas will rock the Vilnius city on the 4th of December in Vilnius. Yea, the rest f Kaunas Jazz is going to move to Vilnius for a final concert of the year in National Philharmonic Hall. Musicians from Brazil Leny Andrade and Banda Sambop will thrill hearts of listeners there.

One famous Lithuanian jazz lover say that “ There is jazz for the mind and jazz for the feet”. Kaunas Jazz undoubtedly fulfills both. Otherwise it would not pull in so many people from so many countries every year to come long journey to Lithuania to have a great jazz session.