It all started when Cadenza was playing at the Palmer Street Festival in Australia in 2000. It seemed obvious, if audacious – a jazz festival in Kathmandu. Cadenza's Nabin Chettri says, "When we organised the first Jazzmandu in 2002, we weren't thinking of doing it on a large scale. But the response was so overwhelming that we continued, and it's been great." An impressive, varied emsemble of invitees testifies to the growing success of the event.
Jazzmandu will kick off on 29 October with gigs at Upstairs Jazz Bar, Moksh and House of Music. These will be followed by the regular shows at Gokarna Village Resort and Patan Museum, and the grand finale at Hotel Shangri-La will cap it off. There will be a special free show for students at Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, where a band from Woodstock School, Mussorie (India), will perform. Jazz enthusiasts will also get a chance to interact and learn from the musicians.
Ari Hoenig is headlining this year's festival. A renowned drummer, Hoenig will bring a welcome dynamic change to the Kathmandu scene, where guitars usually dominate. "Hoenig adds not just beats to a piece but has a way of creating melody with his drumsticks," says Pravin Chettri, who will be playing bass with Hoenig at the festival.
Simak Dialog from Indonesia will be showcasing their unique jazz fusion with Indonesian beats. Alukomarai, with members from England, Thailand, Japan, Norway and Germany, will treat the audience to progressive jazz, blended with their varied influences. Other international acts to look forward to are Adrian d'Souza Quartet from India, Bug from the USA and Saksri Pang Vongdhradon Quintet (above) from Thailand. If last year's explosive mix of Asian, European and Latin influences are any indication, this year will be a sonic treat. And of course, our very own Cadenza, Kutumba, Gandarva, and Prabhu Raj Dhakal & Friends will join the fray for their own Nepali take on the genre.
The jazz scene in Kathmandu has come a long way in the last decade. Musicians who have been involved in the festival from way back say that the majority of faces in the audience are now Nepali. And while Jazzmandu is a frenetic, creative time, there's plenty going on at other times, not least in the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, where Nepali as well as foreign artists come to learn and teach. "Every year, we feel our culture growing," says Nabin. "Seeing young musicians interested in jazz means we can be optimistic about the future."
Date: 29 October, Friday
Ticket: Rs 400
Upstairs Jazz Bar, Lazimpat: Simak Dialog (Indonesia), Alukomarai (England, Thailand, Japan, Norway, Germany)
Moksh, Jawalakhel: Adrian D'Souza Quartet (India)
House of Music, Thamel: Saksri Pang Vongdharadon Quintet (Thailand)
The valley will resound with the sounds of jazz! Different venues in Kathmandu will feature performances by various Jazzmandu artists.
GOKARNA JAZZ BAZAAR
Date: 30 October, Saturday
Ticket: Rs 699
Gokarna Forest Resort
(Gates open at 1.30pm and close at 7.00pm)
Featured artists: Ari Hoenig, Simak Dialog, Bug, Saksri Pang Vongdharadon Quintet, Adrian D Souza Quartet, Alukomarai, Cadenza Collective, Kutumba, Gandharva, Prabhu Raj Dhakal & Friends
A marathon of jazz and traditional Nepali folk and classical music performed by international and Nepali musicians. Jazzmandu T-shirts and souvenirs will be on sale. No outside food and beverages or pets are allowed. A shuttle bus will be available every hour from 1pm to 4pm. Shuttle bus pick-up is outside the Hyatt Regency gate, Boudha. Return shuttle bus available from 10.30pm to 11.30pm to Lazimpat.
(Please note that the availability of seats is not guaranteed)
JAZZ FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Date: 31 October, Sunday
Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC), Jhamsikhel
Free entry by invitation only
An opportunity for young students from various schools around the valley to experience quality jazz by international musicians.
JAZZMANDU MASTER CLASS
Date: 1 November, Monday
Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC), Jhamsikhel
Free entry (limited seating)
The master class is for music students & jazz enthusiasts to interact with musicians, share their experiences and learn different instrumental tips and techniques.
JAZZ AT PATAN
Date: 2 November, Tuesday
Ticket: Rs 1199
Patan Museum Square, Patan
(Gates open at 5.00pm, please be seated by 5.45pm)
Featured artists: Headliner Ari Hoenig Trio, opening act Cadenza and Friends
A unique evening of Nepali classical music fused with jazz at a historic and magical venue.
ALL STAR FEVER
Date: 3 November, Wednesday
Ticket: Rs 799
Hotel Shangri-La, Shambala Garden, Lazimpat
(Gates open at 5.30pm, please be seated by 6.00pm)
The festival finale - The All Star BIG JAM. Musicians from different bands play their sets and later jam together, creating high-energy, improvised music.