Kaunas Jazz 2016 spring sounds. The second letter 3

Justina Paltanavičiūtė
www.kamane.lt, 2016-05-10

In brief: Festival Kaunas Jazz 2016 at the Vilnius Congress Hall was closed by an Ethiopia-born Israeli Ester Rada - a younger generation jazz star, who became famous only several years ago. Without a doubt, this was the best and most memorable concert of this year's festival.

Probably for every resident of Kaunas real spring comes together with the festival Kaunas Jazz, which this year took place for the 26th time. From April 25th till May 2nd jazz was heard again not only at the Vytautas Magnus University hall but in many streets of Kaunas. The program of the festival was really diverse and broad, thus there were really many things to choose from. And this year, the festival was special because it expanded its geography. Concerts took place in Palanga, Panevėžys, Alytus, Jurbarkas, Raudondvaris, Vilnius and even in the Bielsko-Biała (Poland) and Tallinn (Estonia).

Perhaps the most anticipated concert of all was the great concert of the festival - the famous Americans Take 6, who had previously performed in Lithuania. This time, on the Kaunas Jazz stage they presented their latest album Believe. Indeed, their flawlessly performed songs as well as works by such famous musicians like Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder were a real delight both for the ear and the heart. However, I have to admit that the concert, in some respects, was a little disappointing. Firstly, the constant self-promotion was slightly irritating and also they performed a bit carelessly, perhaps too formally, not quite sincerely.

The young Ester Rada's music combines different music styles. It contains temperamental Ethiopian rhythms, Jewish intonations, as well as elements of funk and soul. Not to mention the fact that the artist herself is very striking and charismatic. All of her musicians also deserve compliments - very different, but able to organically create an original sound.

Since its inception this festival offers the jazz fans a very diverse program that features a number of world-famous jazz stars. It is great that the festival provides a palette of various music styles - it features young and fresh musicians as well as the ones with a solid experience. Other Lithuanian jazz festivals really do not provide such diversity. Despite that, I have noticed (not for the first time) that the annotations of concerts do not help one choose which concerts are worth going to.

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