Looking at this year’s Sopot Jazz Festival line up, I found it even more international than the last year. I understand that all these artist are your picks. Did you receive any recommendation from other people about those artist or these are all your own choices?
The artists are all my choices. I wanted to provide as much variety, excitement and color as possible from different styles, disciplines, perspectives and locations. But with each group using jazz as the foundation for their expression.
The variety of music styles is also wider. For instance Tali Rubinstein is a recorder player and she has a classical background. On the other hand we have Timucin Sahin which is quite avant garde.
Jazz has a lot of different factions, influences and levels of outreach. My responsibility as festival programmer is to show the audience all the different layers and possibilities. Jazz isn’t just Charlie Parker or John Coltrane. It has evolved a great deal.
Did you have a plan for the next festival just right after the end of previous edition or did you plan some time later?
As far as programming possibilities go, I’m always ahead of myself. Whatever I’m involved in, I’m always thinking of what’s possible or what’s next. So I’m always several steps ahead. It’s just a matter of if people are available, but also about who is in tune with my vision – cooperating and understanding that I’m not just trying to be traditional or conservative. I want to show the potential of artistic collaboration and what the future can possibly hold.
So setting these collaborations that you picked this year with those artists against themselves was the first idea or did you try some other configurations?
I thought about some other configurations, but due to budgetary and some other limitations, there was only so much of what I could do with what was available. I had a much bigger and broader artistic picture that I wanted to present. It involved poets, dancers and painters. And it can truly be that kind of festival. As a matter of fact, any festival can be like that. It’s all art, and shows the potential and possibility of what happens when musicians collaborate with artists of another spectrum. It shows us how they influence each other and inspire each other. That’s what should take place in order for this art form to survive.
This years festival first concert will be Alice Riccardi and Viktorija Pilatovic, and is entitled “Song Book”. What will it be?
They will perform original compositions as well as familiar standards, but also they will give them very personal treatments, after which those standards will sounds like their own songs. That’s the responsible thing to do. Every artist should do that so the standards all sound customized and modified, so it sounds like they wrote each one. The whole point is to leave your personality and stamp on every piece of work.
Last year you told me that you have some ideas that haven’t been done on the previous editions of the festival. Now I understand your way, but I’m curious where will it go in the future?
I don’t want to reveal everything right now, because then there wouldn’t be any surprise. All I will say is that when Greg Osby is involved – audiences can surely expect the unexpected. Always expect quality and that you will be enlightened. We attempt to introduce you to something that you did not know was possible or that you didn’t know existed or could ever happen. I really enjoy collaborations between artist from different disciplines that work with others and see if they can make a new baby, creatively speaking.
And are these choices in the line up dependant on your personal taste too?
Yes, it is my personal taste, but also my hope that I’m appealing to the taste of a people whose needs have not been met at the Sopot Festival, or any other festival. They may have come to the festival and the program was very conservative, traditional and even historical and the music didn’t reflects their taste. I’m not a selfish programmer, and I want to show people that jazz is bigger than maybe what they’ve experienced before.
I saw that just before Sopot Jazz Festival you gonna lead a 3-Night International Jazz Festival In New York between 28 and 30 September. There is also a lot of variety in the line up. That gives you two completely different festivals in short amount of time.
Yes, but the New York festival is with my own record label, “Inner Circle Music.” I have signed artists that fully represent my vision from a global perspective of what is possible in jazz. These are individuals who are already accomplished, have many compositions and have momentum artists. I use my resources to help them further their careers and to get them a broader audience. This edition of the New York festival will be our third one. We have club gigs and concerts all over New York and the festival is my idea of what jazz in 2017 should sound like.
What about your new album? Last time you told me that it’s gonna be finally released.
My artistic life is very demanding and complicated, and I have so many projects that I’m involved in. When I make a commitment to something, something else usually comes up and many things have to be delayed. But finally this year my album will be done. I’m not going to accept any other jobs, before I finish this record. I’m very proud of it. All of the preparation is done, so I just need to book the studio and record it at this point. This record will show people, what I’ve been thinking about since the previous release 9 years ago. I was in no hurry.
Thank you very much and see you at Sopot Jazz Festival 2017!
It was my pleasure.