When legendary pianist Bill Evans was once asked what jazz is, he answered that jazz is not a “what”, it is a “how”. We couldn’t agree more; and let us just add: amazing, world-class, star-studded! And this is how this year’s JazzLent could be characterized. Without resorting to hyperbole, we can easily say that we’re in for a festival for the ages. We’re about to host not one, not two, not three, but rather four global jazz (super)stars!
Let’s take it from the top. The first to appear on stage at Minoriti will be the French drum virtuoso Manu Katché, who shared the spotlight with the likes of Sting and Peter Gabriel and appeared as a studio recording artist on albums of a literal who-is-who of music: Tori Amos, Jeff Beck, Dire Straits, Jan Garbarek, Al Di Meola, Herbie Hancock … After the turn of the millennium he embarked on a solo career and exceeded all expectations with his band The ScOpe that he has been playing with since 2018. A fusion of rock, soul, reggae, and even pop music, naturally with a jazz air, clearly shows that Katché is not only a world-class drummer, but also as an amazing contemporary music author.
Next up is Seun Kuti, the Nigerian afrobeat saxophone player, who successfully continues the legacy of his famous father, Fele Kuti. Under the mentorship of his father, Seun began his music career at a very early age. As a nine-year old boy he appeared as the opening act for the band Egypt 80, and after Fela passed away in 1997, Seun was ready to take the reins of this legendary band. Did we mention that he was only fifteen at the time? Today, at the age of forty, he’s no longer heralded only as the keeper of his famous father’s legacy. Seun is an energetic, electric, and politically engaged artist, whose uncompromising activism is the secret spice of nearly each and every of his gigs and who has long since secured his spot under the global stage lights. Accompanied by his supporting band, a well-oiled afrobeat machine, he tours the most famous stages and festivals around the world, bringing the fire with his explosive funky, high-energy groove that never fails to get the audience on their feet. Are you ready to move?
Another funk bomb is about to go off on our stage and spread an unforgettable musical shockwave that, despite the fact that the artist is getting rather long in the tooth, always makes the cup of energy run over. We look forward to hosting the eighty-year-old American funk elder Fred Wesley, who shared the stage with countless legends such as Count Basie, Ray Charles, and last, but certainly not least, James Brown. Wesley was a key member of James Brown’s ensemble and the godfather of some of his greatest hits. Add to the mix his supporting band The New JB's, which consists of true heavy-hitters of funk music, and we can look forward to one of those concerts that make you go “Yes, this is it!” from the very first minute. Another world-class soul, funk, and jazz gem to add to our festival treasure chest.
We’ll be closing up in grand style, too. The infamous (in the best sense of the word) groove machine known as Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (DLO3) is coming for its first ever appearance in Slovenia. The famous music star, who refuses to accept this label without any false modesty, will bring his funk, soul, and groove rhythms and melodies, spiced up with guitar stunts a la Jimi Hendrix and his organ virtuosity hailed around the world, to take you through a night of pure unadulterated fun. The kind of fun that befits the closing night of one of the best festival iterations of all time. Hurry and get your tickets and avoid feeling sorry for yourself for years to come because you couldn’t be there!