21th IASJ Jazz Meeting 2011, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Over 100 students, teachers and representatives from 29 countries around the world came together in Sao Paulo, Brazil for the 21th IASJ Jazz Meeting 2011 taking place from Sunday the 3rd of July till Friday the 8th of July 2011. The IASJ Jazz Meeting 2011 was hosted by the Souza Lima Conservatory, founded exactly thirty years ago. Director Antonio Mario da Silva and vice-directors Marcelo Coelho and Lupa Santiago, assisted by a sheer countless number of staff people and volunteers, pulled of a IASJ Jazz Meeting that was incomparable with any of the twenty IASJ Jazz Meeting that were taking place preceding this first one in South America. The 21th IASJ Jazz Meeting was exceptional in all aspects!!!
The opening concert was impressive. The famous Brazilian composer, guitarist and singer Guinga, saxophonist Marcelo Coelho and David Liebman played at the cultural center in the middle of Sao Paulo. Over eight hundred people listened for almost two hours to a program of ballads of extreme beauty.
On the first day and the official opening with honorable guests such as JD of the USA, six combos were formed that would rehearse during the week under the guidance of two teachers. The first day was concluded with two parallel jam sessions taking place in the Centro Cultural Rio Verde.
The mornings were opened by lectures of specialists in Brazilian music. Pedro Ramos lectured on the Choro, Carlos on something else and Raphale on again something else. The lectures made clear that jazz and Brazilian music not only share the same roots but also influenced each other in the past up till today and will continue to do so. The similarity of interaction between the members of the jazz combo and e.g. the Choro group, in which both improvisation play a predominant role, was made clear as well.
During the teacher concert on the second night in the Souza Lima Music Hall it became clear that the students were in good hand. Seldom were both the diversity so wide and the level so high as during this performance of teachers of the 21th IASJ Jazz Meeting.
On the Tuesday night in the famous club O do Borogodo the participants witnessed how much alive the tradition of playing the Choro really was. It was not for long when everybody was dancing to the Choros performed by the local musicians who saw a completely packed house.
On the Wednesday afternoon the participants could meander into Sao Paulo, a city of 18 million inhabitants and rich of culture. A number of participants visited the island of Santos, the center of coffee trade in the world. At the beach many enjoyed fresh coco milk form coconuts opened with big knives.
On Thursday and Friday night the combos played at in the concert hall of the Sports Center. After only 4 of 5 rehearsals these young professionals sounded extremely well together, improvised on the highest level imaginable and made a deep impression on the audience.
In the General Assembly of the IASJ, the membership decided on future IASJ Jazz Meetings in Graz, Austria, Herning, Denmark, Cape Town, South Africa, and New York, USA.
Not only was the level of the lecturing, teaching and playing extremely high, the Brazilian host school as well as the Brazilians in general made the stay in Sao Paulo into a creative, unique and 'gentle' experience, as Artistic Director David Liebman expressed in his final speech.