Jazz Koktebel 2018: From international grands to popularization of Ukrainian alternative

Author : Olexandr Topilov

Source : 112 Ukraine

The festival has long outgrown the genre framework, established itself in Chornomorsk and continues to develop
22:08, 27 August 2018

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Last week Jazz Koktebel festival took place in Chornomorsk - the 16th such event in a row and the 3rd one in this location. Now, perhaps, it is possible to say with certainty that the festival has accustomed itself to this place and looks at Chornomorsk as a native one. One of the important components of any festival is its atmosphere, and in this sense Jazz Koktebel, forced to leave Koktebel in 2014, suffered a rather strong blow. But the beaches of Chornomorsk turned out to be an excellent upgrade both for the festival itself and for the spectators regularly visiting it.

We must admit each year the organizers of the festival do something new for them. This season they made a new scene of Jazz & Blues Cafe, which was filled with an excellent blues program. Ukraine can hardly be called a country of blues, there are very few fans of this genre, and even less musicians. And the fact that Jazz Koktebel has finally provided a separate (well, almost) playground for blues is very good and right. Moreover, these very few compositions have an excellent level, which was confirmed by the Dnipro musicians Bullet Blues Band with the incredible Kostya Kolesnichenko and one of the main popularizers of the blues in Ukraine - Max Tavrichesky.

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Jazz Koktebel has long been positioning its format as multi-genre. This was the main reason for the audience's reproaches to the festival: people come for 1-2 days out of 4, because the music content is at times radically different.

This year, the line-up of the festival was well designed and matched. In each of the four festival days there were interesting compositions, and the stylistic variety of musicians here was, rather, a positive moment. Also, one of the main ideas of Jazz Koktebel - propaganda and distribution of the Ukrainian alternative scene was realized much more intelligently than in previous years. Indeed, the number and quality of Ukrainian bands making interesting, experimental music with its sound and without looking back on the mainstream, was impressive. Undoubtedly, these are the groups that create the most important musical relief and the background of Ukraine.

Onuka has long earned its public, and, it should be noted, her live performance in cold electronic colors and with an element of sadness is very stylish. Excellent jazz singer Laura Marti, who opened the main star day of the festival, pre-arranged the performance of the Koop Oscar Orchestra, Martina Topley-Bird and Morcheeba. Well, for fans of Oleg Skrypka, he traditionally performed.

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By the way, viewers of the festival saw firsthand how the provocation works. During one song, one of the morals lovers just climbed through the fences in an attempt to break through to the stage and talk to the musicians "in a man's way". The guard worked perfectly, stopping the attacker beyond the fence. At the same time, a quite friendly dialogue about concepts began between them. The guards nodded with their consent and agreed with sympathy that they would gladly do the same, but alas, they are at work. This was a clear confirmation of how music came out of the limits of "music" and became an instrument of influence on the viewer almost at the physiological level. This is a powerful tool.

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And all mistakes at the festival are not critical, and may even look like a small niggle in comparison with the scale of the event itself and what the organizers are doing in the context of the Ukrainian festival movement. And Jazz Koktebel makes very important and necessary things - it acquaints the viewer with a quality Ukrainian alternative music. The fact that Dakh Daughters has rocked the audience quickly, and at ease is not surprising: they know how to do this with the public anywhere in the world. But the fact that listeners with such warmth took the Dneprovsky Dz'ob, playing very difficult music with elements of the academic avangard and unobtrusive electronic substrate, was really amazing. Dz'ob is absolutely not mass music; they are more suitable for chamber formats of performances. In any case, it seemed so before their performance at the"Jazz Koktebel. Well, the festival broke the pattern, Dz'ob left the stage under a standing ovation.

But what is really critical for Jazz Koktebel - it's attendance - they have to do something with it. Because even on the day when the Koop Oscar Orchestra, Martina Topley-Bird and Morcheeba were playing, there were very few spectators under the scenes. As it turned out, many Odesa citizens did not even know that on this day only 30 km from the city world-class artists performed - for example, Tricky and Massive Attack.

Despite all the unpleasant moments, let's repeat - the festival obviously develops, the organizers are constantly looking for and coming up with something new, working with line-ups, they are able to find and bring something really interesting and original. So we are waiting for the next festival: no one yet knows who will be there next year, but there is no doubt that there will be a lot of sea, sand, sun and great music at the next Jazz Koktebel.

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