The audience flocked en masse to all of the concerts at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival, breaking all-time records for attendance, with 191,000 people having packed out the 90 concerts running on 16 stages over 5 days. Tickets flew off the shelves for 15 of the 21 paying concerts. The ‘sold out’ sign was posted for 3 of the 4 nights at the Trini, for 3 of the 5 concerts at the Kursaal, for all those in the San Telmo Museum, for the two in the Sala Club, for one of those in the JazzEñe initiative and for the one taking place in the María Cristina Hotel. A total of 18,882 tickets were purchased from 40 countries around the world. For their part, the free concerts congregated 172,000 people.
We were treated to concerts by big international stars, to rising talents set to mark the future of Jazz, to different music styles, to local groups… Concerts of excellent musical quality, many of which will forever stay on our minds such as those given, to name but a few, by: Julian Lage, Norah Jones, Ben Harper, Ezra Collective, Yosuke Yamashita…
The Festival thanks and hugely appreciates the response of the public who, despite the rain on 24 and 25 July, not only packed out the venues but, yet another year, did so with exemplary behaviour and zero incidents. Once again the city was inundated with music in a festive and celebratory atmosphere.
The first day in the Trinitate Plaza, on 22 July, brought a night of guitars. First up was Julian Lage, who gave a magnificent concert, demonstrating his position as one of the guitarists on greatest form and with most future in the Jazz world. Afterwards Bill Frisell once again delighted the audience with the sharpness, elegance and warmth of his guitar. Between their performances, the two guitarists took to the stage together for one of those moments that will be forever forged in the memory of the audience.
The 23rd was general election day, but that didn’t stop the Trini from filling again. To start with, Abdullah Ibrahim received the Donostiako Jazzaldia Award followed by a delicate and sublime concert ending with the South African maestro singing from the bottom of his heart, a cappella. The second concert was that of Nubya Garcia, whose enormous presence and punch revealed her to be one of brightest stars of contemporary Jazz.
The 24th started with Enrico Rava who, in the morning, had received the Donostiako Jazzaldia life achievement award for his musical career. Italy’s maestro on the trumpet didn’t disappoint and delivered a magnificent concert surrounded by young Jazz talents from his country. Later came the performance of David Helbock’s Austrian Syndicate which, despite the heavy rain, succeeded in keeping most of the audience in their seats, enjoying his extraordinary live show.
The concerts in the Trini ended in party mode. First of all the group from Mali, Bamba Wassoulou Groove, had the whole square up and dancing to their hypnotic guitars. And putting the final touch to the edition, we were able to enjoy the concert given by a fantastic Joss Stone who, with her impressive voice and friendly approach, had the audience in her pocket right from the beginning, coming down off the stage several times to sing among the fans and who also had everyone up and dancing in the Trini.
Offering a wide variety of styles, the Kursaal Auditorioa hosted 5 concerts of fantastic artistic quality. Kenny Barron took to the stage with the EGO Basque Youth Orchestra on the first day, delighting the audience. On the 22nd, Norah Jones was magnificent with her unique voice and marvellous piano. Ben Harper, with The Innocent Criminals, charmed fans with his extraordinary voice and brilliant guitar. On the 24th it was the turn of Pat Metheny who once again entranced his faithful followers with his guitars. And to end, on the 25th, Rocío Márquez & BRONQUIO delivered a striking concert: complex, full of nuances, sound textures, surprises and twists, of poetry, art and feeling.
FCC Victoria Eugenia Antzokia
This year, like last, the FFCC Victoria Eugenia Antzokia provided the venue for the 9th edition of JazzEñe. All of these concerts were attended by an average of 650 people who were able to enjoy 8 musical proposals of excellent quality: Lucía Rey Trio, MOVE, Carles Margarit Quinteto, NGBM Cuarteto, Alto For Two, Niño Josele, Bandolero Cuarteto and Gonzalo del Val.
The setting for 8 concerts played in varied styles to huge audiences.
On the 21st, Village People had the 40,000 people on the beach up and dancing; later, it was the turn of the great Fred Wesley, one of the big names in the history of funk. On 22 July, Blue Lab Beats, fresh and experimental, displayed a warm approach that soon won over the audience, after which the thousands of fans who flocked to the Keler Gunea to see Viva Suecia sung and danced to their numbers from the first note to the last. On the 23rd, Arde Bogotá were bursting with energy, enthusiasm and vibrancy, followed by Tiken Jah Fakoly who, with his militant reggae and his excellent band, created a spectacular atmosphere among the 16,000 fans who came along to see them. On 24 July the first concert was given by the Ezra Collective, a group on top form and undoubtedly one of the finest in today’s Jazz world, who soon got the 5,000 people who stuck with them despite the downpour up on their feet to have fun. ZETAK was tasked with giving the last concert of the year on the Keler Gunea stage, a performance played to an audience of 8,000 fans who sang along with all his songs.
Skoda San Telmo Museoa
This year we repeated the solo piano concert format in the San Telmo Museum cloister. Concerts which, completely unplugged, offer the possibility to enjoy the piano as part of a small audience and in the magical setting of the museum cloister.
Four Japanese pianists gave five concerts, all sold out: Yosuke Yamashita, recipient of the Donostiako Jazzaldia Award, performed on the 21st and 22nd with two different programmes outstanding for their quality, expressiveness and technique; on the 23rd, Eri Yamamoto, bursting with charm and elegance, was joined by her husband Bruce Barth on a number of piano 4-hands; on the 24th, Kento Tsubosaka, with his creativity and superb technique; and on the 25th, Hakuei Kim brought the solo piano season to a close with his personal, elegant and rhythm-packed style.
Frigo Gunea y Fnac Gunea
These jam-packed terraces hosted groups of several styles and origins. A wide representation of Basque groups, result of the festival’s Local Group Selection and Katapulta Tour initiative, highlighted the great moment currently being enjoyed by Basque Jazz: Xahu, Isla Trio, Motelas, Arnaud Labastie Trio, Les Cuisinieres, Lutfi Jakfar’s Sith Trio, Bamms, Amaika Rude, Mikel Legasa’s Quintet, Xavi Maldonado & David Cid Quartet, Kinfolk and Olana Liss.
There were also well-known international artists boasting brilliant careers: Damir Imamović, The Side Effects, Ill Considered, Jerry Bergonzi, The Mississippians, Sara Dowling, Pacific Jazz Ambassadors, Conversessions and Bengue.
Nauticool, Garbera, Fnac Foruma y San Martin Merkatua
Our chillout space par excellence, Nauticool, provided the venue for 5 concerts offering the audience the opportunity to enjoy music in a marvellous setting: Arima Soul, Elena Setién, Blue Lab Beats, Nakar and Ramada Inn.
There were five concerts in Garbera: Sara Dowling, Ill Considered, Jerry Bergonzi Quartet, Blue Lab Beats and Five Stars.
Fnac Foruma, for its part, delivered the concerts by Ura Dúo, Trío Nordeste and the Brian Aching Quartet.
The San Martin Merkatua also saw two concerts: Gonzalo Encinal & Fran Serrano and Rodrigo Lauroba & Aitor Miramon.
The 5 days of this year’s Txikijazz were simply marvellous. Families and the audience, Txikijazz regulars for the last 11 years, were able to enjoy a wide variety of concerts. They were treated to great Jazz by Five Stars, to Eri Yamamoto’s piano, to the fun of Amaika Rude and Les Cuisinieres, to the magic tricks of young Iago, and to the voices of Michelle Hendricks and Sara Dowling. All in 3 spaces that gain in strength every edition: Chillida Leku, Garbera and the Kutxa Fundazioa space in Tabakalera. The latter two were packed to the hilt, while in Chillida Leku there were more than 1500 people. The workshops were a huge success, full of boys and girls eager to create while listening to a Jazz concert. At the end of the day the aim is to make our mark with the new generations. Tick!
Streaming & Social Media
This year 8 concerts were streamed free of charge; all will remain available on our YouTube channel.
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59th Jazzaldia (2024):
Work and preparation are already underway on the next edition of the San Sebastian Jazz Festival, the 59th, to take place from 24-28 July 2024.