Bohemia Jazz Fest has two Prague dates

The festival offers free jazz, as in you don’t need a ticket to go and listen

Bohemia Jazz Fest will present a series of free concerts in six cities including Prague. The outdoor concerts held in town squares are free and do not require tickets.

The Prague concerts are July 9 and 10 in Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí), with different lineups each day. The headliner on July 9 is Enrico Rava New 4et from Italy. Rava will receive the 2018 Bohemia Jazz Award for his lifetime contribution to the art of jazz.

Born in Trieste in 1939, he began as a trombonist in Dixieland bands and changed to trumpet after hearing Miles Davis.

He was at the head of the new Italian jazz movement. “When I first started, I was the only one. For many years there were no musicians, no concerts, no audience,” he once said.

Rava was as a member of Gato Barbieri's Italian quintet in the mid-1960s and later a member of Steve Lacy's group. In 1967 he moved to New York City and became a member of the group Gas Mask. Since then, the has also worked in Buenos Aires and has a long list of collaborators including Pat Metheny, Gil Evans, Miroslav Vitouš and John Abercombie.

Currently his group includes guitarist Francesco Diodati, bassist Gabriele Evangelista and drummer Enrico Morello. The group will only play in Prague during the festival.

Opening acts on July 9 include Austrian group Soia, and the Czech-German group Scotch and Soda with Martina Bárta and Marcus Gartschock.

The headliner for July 10 is also impressive: Mike Stern/Randy Brecker Band featuring Dennis Chambers and Tom Kennedy.

Stern is regarded as a guitar great, mixing by bebop and the blues. He played with Miles Davis in the early 1980s before launching his solo career in 1985. A serious accident in 2016 left him with two broken arms and nerve damage in his right hand, but he has made a recovery and a comeback. He is joined by Randy Brecker on trumpet, Tom Kennedy on bass and Dennis Chambers on drums.

The opening acts for the second night in Prague are the local act Miroslav Hloucal Quintet and the American group Elmhurst College Jazz Band.

The other shows in the festival outside of Prague are one-day events, save for Brno, which is two.

Mike Stern and his friends will headline in Plzeň on July 11 and Liberec on July 12.

The July 14 concert in Domažlice and July 15 concert in Tábor will see headliners Bryan Carter & the Young Swangers. Drummer and vocalist Carter began his career after studying at the Juilliard School in New York City and has also recorded with a list of notables including Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Mulgrew Miller, Jon Faddis and Ted Nash.

Brno will have the same headliner both nights but different opening acts. The headliner is Bill Frisell - When You Wish Upon a Star. Guitarist Frisell has been around the jazz scene since the 1980s, and has delved into folk, country and Americana.

The festival dates back to 2005 and is overseen by jazz guitarist Rudy Linka. Awards to international acts have been given out since 2008.

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