Take five for Asia’s jazz festivals in 2010

Take five for Asia’s jazz festivals in 2010

Bill Evans and Christian McBride are among the jazz stars set to shine in Asia this year

It is nearly spring time and a continuous barrage of Asia jazz festivals are right around the corner. If the dreary winter has you playing “Kind Of Blue” on repeat, it’s time to swap Miles Davis for “You Must Believe in Spring,” “Summertime” and “Autumn Leaves.” Jazz’s biggest names are flying to Asia for festivals in or near CNNGo’s six major cities. From electro-fusion to crooners, there’s an act for every jazzhead.

We recommend leaving the improvisation to the musicians and planning ahead for tickets and accommodations. Here’s what you need to know to flip your lid at jazz fests from now until the fall. 

Philippine International Jazz and Arts FestivalPhilippine International Jazz and Arts Festival

Where: Various venues in Manila, Philippines
When: February 12-28, 2010
Website: http://pijazzfest.com/
You’ll need a vacation after two weeks of non-stop performances from international and local jazz artists, and did we mention the music workshops? The dance and visual arts stages? This jazz fest wraps up with appearances by American jazz fusion band Yellowjackets and vocalist Jane Monheit.

Koh Samui Jazz FestivalKoh Samui Jazz Festival

Where: Samui Airport (Park Avenue), Koh Samui, Thailand
When: February 13-21, 2010
Website: http://www.samuijazz.com/
“When we first heard that they were holding jazz concerts at the airport, it sounded a little strange,” said David James, a Koh Samui resident and jazz fan. “But after the first show we were hooked. It’s held at a great venue and the performers so far are of a very high caliber.” In February, Canadians Irene Atman and Ron Davis are flying in to put on a free show.

Jakarta International Java Jazz FestivalJakarta International Java Jazz Festival

Where: Jalan Kawasan PRJ, Kemayoran, Jakarta
When: March 5-7, 2010
Website: http://web.javajazzfestival.com/2010/
Java Jazz is one of the world’s largest bebop and boogie-woogie gatherings. This year’s roster includes international legends (Bill Evans) and hit-makers (Toni Braxton, John Legend, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds). I’d be in the front row for Rufus featuring Sly Stone.

Bangkok Jazz Festival Bangkok Jazz Festival

Where: Central World Plaza, Bangkok
When: March 9-14, 2010
Christian McBride and Inger Marie are among the world-renown artists slotted for this annual Bangkok festival. Held at the second largest shopping complex in Southeast Asia, the varied program includes local musicians and university bands.

International India Jazz FestivalInternational India Jazz Festival

Where: Mumbai and Delhi
When: March 12-14, 2010
Website: http://www.indiajazzfestival.com/
Like a Bollywood wedding, the inaugural India Jazz Festival has lavish ambitions. The two-city event will feature over 150 concerts by both foreign and Indian groups, in every jazz/rock/pop/ethnic fusion style imaginable. Crazy.


Mosaic Music FestivalMosaic Music Festival

Where: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Singapore
When: March 12-21, 2010
Website: http://www.mosaicmusicfestival.com/
True to its name, Mosaic recently expanded its jazz lineup to include international indie rockers. Expect up to 90,000 young concertgoers this year for Pink Martini, Melody Gardot, Au Revoir Simone and Dinosaur Jr.

Miri International Jazz FestivalMiri International Jazz Festival

Where: The Pavillion, Parkcity Everly Hotel, Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
When: May 14-15, 2010
Website: http://www.mirijazzfestival.com/
Now here’s a unique experience: Jazz in the jungle. Two days of funk, Latin, Caribbean and blues, set against a tropical coastal backdrop.

Hua Hin Jazz FestivalHua Hin Jazz Festival

Where: Beach Stage on Hua Hin Beach and Jazz Royale Stage at Phonkingphet Public Park, Hua Hin, Thailand
When: Mid-June, 2010
Website: http://www.jazzfestivalhuahin.com/
Only 200 km from Bangkok, Hua Hin is one of CNNGo’s picks for a last minute getaway. Grab a mai tai, spread a blanket on the sand, and groove along to Thai, Asian and international jazz bands.

Kota Kinabalu Jazz FestivalKota Kinabalu Jazz Festival

Where: Sutera Marina Club, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
When: Late June, 2010
Website: http://www.kkjazzfest.com/
Unlike the major jazz festivals, Kota’s main aim is to showcase local talent. The organizers encourage submissions from all Sabahan musicians via their website. Held over two days, the festival has a community feel with jam sessions that wail into the early morning.

Newport Jazz Festival in MadaraoNewport Jazz Festival in Madarao

Where: Madarao plateau, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
When: July and August, 2010
Website: http://www.madarao-jazz.com/
Rhode Island’s famous fest lends its name to this three-day summer jazz jam, which takes place on the beautiful Madarao plateau. Held every year since 1982, the stage has been graced by such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Gary Burton, Dave Brubeck, Wayne Shorter, Celia Cruz and Gil Evans.

Jarasum International Jazz FestivalJarasum International Jazz Festival

Where: Jaraseom Island, Gapyeong, Korea
When: Mid-October, 2010
Website: http://www.jarasumjazz.com/
Jaraseom, which means “turtle island”, is known as a calm, flower-filled Korean retreat. But in October, the island bursts into sound for an annual jazz fest that draws in 100,000 listeners and headliners such as John Scofield. Many of the events are free and geared towards children.

Jazzmandu Jazzmandu

Where: Various venues in Kathmandu, Nepal
When: Mid-October, 2010
Website: http://jazzmandu.org/
Five years ago, Kathmandu’s enthusiastic young jazz community began organizing free music programs for local students. Their work grew into an accessible jazz festival that “promotes creativity, encourages the sharing of international sounds and ideas, and nurtures the talents of Nepali musicians.”

Shanghai Jazz FestivalShanghai Jazz Festival

Where: JingAn Park, Shanghai
When: Mid-October, 2010
Website: http://www.jzfestival.com/
Trumpeter J.Q. Whitcomb blogs that the 2009 festival “was an overwhelming success, with tickets selling out for each of the three days.” His favorite moment was “Joanna Wang hypnotizing the packed field of fans with her gorgeous singing before Incognito rocked the house.” His only criticisms: the festival did not allow re-entry -- and ran out of beer.

Hong Kong International Jazz FestivalHong Kong International Jazz Festival

Where: Various venues in Hong Kong
When: October or November, 2010
Website: http://www.hkja.org/
For one week in the fall, jazz takes center stage in Hong Kong. Free open-air shows and global performers will have locals snapping their fingers and tapping their toes.

Beijing Jazz-E FestivalBeijing Jazz-E Festival

Where: Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing
When: Late November, 2010
Website: http://www.jazzefestival.com
Jazz-E is the place for experimental music fans to discover a fish-tank of new sounds. Last fall, Norwegian Bugge Wesseltoft mesmerized crowds with his electro'“Nu Jazz,' while Dou Wei blended Chinese rock, folk and ambient in a seamless mix.

Jazz UtsavJazz Utsav

Where: Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi
When: Late November, 2010
Website: http://www.jazzutsavfestival.com/
For three days in three cities, Utsav brings together jazz greats and their devoted fans. 2009’s headliners included Wayne Krantz (guitar) and Anthony Jackson (bass) of the Steely Dan band. Previously, household names like Sonny Rollins and Freddie Hubbard enthralled audiences.

La Carmina writes about Harajuku pop culture and all things spooky-cute. She is the author of three books about Japanese pop culture and food, including "Cute Yummy Time" and "Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo" -- for which she did all the photos and illustrations. Both books were released in October, accompanied by a U.S. major city book tour.

For more, please visit her website.

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