October-26th-2006, 12:41 PM
The International Jazz Festival Prague
An expanded roster of international stars for the IJF's 30th
By Tony Ozuna
For The Prague Post
October 25, 2006
The International Jazz Festival Prague marks its 30th year with a surprising attempt to shed some old skin and invite more international acts than usual, including a few avant-garde groups, vintage American bluesmen and Gypsy jazz players, while still maintaining solid evenings of classic jazz by local musicians.
This year's eight-night series kicks off Oct. 26 with a screening of the video The Best of the International Jazz Festival 19642006 and a performance by the dean of the Czech jazz scene, Milan Svoboda, who is bringing his big band to Reduta.
The following evening, local jazz trio Martin Kratochvíl, Tony Ackerman and Imram Musa Zangi open for Mudcat, a highly praised blues and ragtime jazz group from the American South (specifically, Georgia) led by slide guitarist Danny "Mudcat" Dudeck.
At Reduta Oct. 28, a trio from Switzerland, Koch-Schütz-Studer, will perform "hardcore chamber music" with Koch on clarinet and saxophones, Schütz on electric five-string cello and acoustic cello, and both musicians mixing in electronics alongside Studer on drums and percussion. This meeting of avant-garde jazz, chamber music and groove is a great step forward for the festival.
On Oct. 29, Reduta hosts Basily, a Gypsy jazz sextet from Holland influenced by Django Reinhardt, Europe's most famous Gypsy jazz guitarist, with some traditional Hungarian and Spanish Gypsy sounds in the mix. This should be a show of pure, swinging energy.
There's another avant-garde show the following night, with Stephan Lipowsky and his Band Elephant Noise from Germany. Opening this show will be Djabe, a well-known Hungarian jazz fusion group. International Jazz Festival Prague 2006
When: Oct. 26Nov. 2
Where: Reduta, Lucerna Music Bar
Tickets: 250300 Kč through Ticketstream, Ticketportal, TicketArt and at the venues
For complete schedule information, check
Oct. 31 brings the highlight of the festival at Lucerna Music Bar, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jaroslav Ježek, perhaps the most famous Czech jazz composer, orchestra conductor and pianist from the 1920s and '30s. Ježek was also the third name in the famous Czech theater trio "V + W + J", using the last name initials of Jiří Voskovec, Jan Werich and Ježek for their Liberated Theatre. He died in exile in New York in 1942.
Ježek's ragtime and swing era jazz compositions will be performed by the Petr Kořínek Jazz Orchestra, composed of professors from the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatoire. Opening the show will be harmonica player Sugar Blue and American jazz and gospel singer Vera Love with the GK Brothers Blues Band.
That same evening at Reduta, classically trained French jazz pianist and composer Sebastien Paindestre leads his trio with Jean-Claude Oleksiak on bass and Antoine Paganotti on drums, mixing jazz standards with his own blues-inspired compositions.
On Nov. 1, Italians S. Forti and A. Machione and the Traditional Jazz Studio of Pavel Smetáček play together. Local group J.J. Jazzmen will open the show with a blast of New Orleans jazz.
The festival closes Nov. 2 with headliner Rhoda Scott, an unfortunately little-known master of the Hammond B3 and XB-3 organs, whose trademark sound is most often associated with '60s funky jazz icon Jimmy Smith. The American-born Scott isn't as funky as Smith, instead combining her love of gospel and classical music with jazz, most recently captured solo on the 1997 Verve recording Alone. She is nicknamed "The Barefoot Lady" or the "Barefoot Contessa" for her habit of playing her instrument barefoot. Opening for this unique jazz lady will be an interesting local combination, vocalist Tonya Graves backed by Štěpán Smetáček's New Orchestra of Dreams.