Bohemia Jazz Fest to play six town squares

The free jazz festival starts n Prague and will end in Brno

The 12th edition of Bohemia Jazz Fest, offering free jazz in the sense that you don't need a ticket, will be at Old Town Square on July 10 and 11. Versions of the festival will then go to five other squares in the Czech Republic, ending in Brno on July 17 and 18.

The headliner in Prague will be the John Scofield and his Überjam Band, who will play July 11 at 8:30 pm. The group will be in Plzeň on July 12.

Scofield is an American jazz-rock guitarist and composer, who has played and collaborated with everyone from Miles Davis to Pat Metheny. He plays bebop, jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul, and rock. Überjam was an album that came out in 2002, with a mix of genres including acid jazz. The personnel from the album make up the Überjam Band.

Opening for Scofield will be the entrants in the OSA – Authors' Protective Association contest to find the best jazz composition of a Czech young composer up to 35 years old. The contest is in its eighth year.

Before that, the Polish group Maciej Fortuna Trio starts the evening at 5:30 pm. This group will also be in Plzeň on July 12 and in Liberec on July 13. The trio features strong rhythms, funky grooves and live electronics, bringing a new sound to European jazz.

The first day of the festival in Prague on July 10 is headlined by Miroslav Vitouš / Rudy Linka / Roberto Gatto and Czech Radio Big Band. They hit the stage at 8:30 pm.

“Music fans in Prague are in for a special treat this year – an appearance by Miroslav Vitouš, who will celebrate his 70th birthday by becoming the first Czech musician ever to receive the Bohemia Jazz Fest Award. Widely considered the most talented bass player of his generation, Vitouš played with Miles Davis before becoming a founding member of the seminal jazz fusion group Weather Report,” a press release states.

He will play a solo set followed by a trio with guitarist and Rudy Linka, who is the founder and director of Bohemia Jazz Fest, and drummer Robert Gatto, who has played with Chet Baker and Joe Lovano. The Czech Radio Big Band will provide some backing. This program appears only in Prague.

The Pavel Hrubý Trio warms up the crowd starting at 7 pm. He will also be in Brno on July 18. Sax and bass clarinet player Hrubý is known for Between the Lines, a chamber project that blended contemporary jazz, classical and world music. He will be joined by pianist Michal Nejtek and drummer Daniel Šoltis.

Kicking off the festival is the Otto Hejnic Trio, playing original modern jazz. Drummer Otto Hejnic is a Berklee graduate, Stefan Pišta Bartuš is a renowned bassist and pianist Ondrej Krajňák is known as Europe’s Herbie Hancock, according to the festival website.

Not appearing in Prague but at other towns in the festival are the Soul Rebels, the Bad Plus, Nat Osborn Band, Pablo Held Piano Trio, Mathias Heise Quadrillion, Mynth, AMC Trio with the Stano Baláž folk band, and Paul Zauner and Sweet Emma Band.

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