Something for everyone at Slovenian Jazz Festival

Ravne na Koroškem, 17 September - Slovenian jazz musicians, both internationally-acclaimed acts and up-and-coming talents, will be showcased at the 15th annual festival in Ravne na Koroškem in the north of the country this week.

Ravne na Koroškem
The poster of the Slovenian Jazz Festival.
Photo: Vesna Pušnik Brezovnik/STA

Ravne na Koroškem
The jazz magazine issued with the Slovenian Jazz Festival.
Photo: Vesna Pušnik Brezovnik/STA

Along with the pre-festival events, the Slovenian Jazz Festival is featuring 23 events at nine venues, including 12 concerts, three exhibitions, two film screenings and two days of workshops.

The festival is getting under way at the central library tonight with the launch of an exhibition of jazz-themed photographs by Iztok Zupan, followed by a concert by percussionist Gal Furlan.

In one of the highlights the internationally-acclaimed percussionist Zlatko Kaučič will give a concert with his international trio at KMKC Kompleks on Friday, along with the ensemble of saxophonist Boštjan Simon.

On Saturday, pianist and composer Sašo Vollmaier will offer his take on Laibach, while Mario Vavti and his Goran Bojčevski Quintet will wrap it all up.

Robi Jamnik and Franc Kokal, who have been organising the festival in Ravne since 2013 when it was moved from Ljubljana, are keen to showcase all the variety of Slovenian jazz and attract diverse audience.

"I personally find it the most gratifying when we host a band featuring a Slovenian, possibly even as a frontman, along with musicians from all over the world," Jamnik has told the STA, referring to Kaučič.

Apart from well-established names, the festival also seeks to provide the venue for local musicians who have been pursuing their studies or career abroad but are still little known in Slovenia.

In this way, some musicians of world renown appear in Ravne in a tie-up with a Slovenian musician that the organisers could not have afforded otherwise.

In preparing the festival's programme, priority is given to the acts that have not appeared at the festival before, or at least have not appeared for some time.

Through the organisation of the festival and jazz concert seasons in Ravne, Jamnik and Kokal have educated a "variegated audience" of some 200 people for whom listening to jazz has become a way of life.

Over the years, they expanded the musical offerings, including with events such as traditional concert of gospel music at St Egidius Church, this year featuring Bird-land on Saturday.

"Everyone must find something for themselves at the festival, even those who don't listen to jazz," Jamnik said, noting that gospel and jazz have the same roots.

An important mission of the festival is education of the youngest. The Jazz Ravne School has already presented many of its own projects and produced several good young musicians.

© STA, 2019