The major European Jazz conference has taken place in St. Petersburg

On November 15 and 16, the third International forum&festival Jazz Across Borders was held as part of the VIII St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum.  The forum&festival was attended by more than 3,000 people from more than 20 countries of the world.

General Manager of Europe Jazz Network Giambattista Tofoni (Italy), virtuoso trumpeter nominated for a Grammy Till Brönner (Germany),  Cofounder and vice-president of The International Montreal Jazz Festival André Ménard (Canada), Managing Director, Nasjonal jazzscene, President of Europe Jazz Network Jan Ole Otnæs (Norway), Artistic director of Porgy & Bess Christoph Huber (Austria), Reykjavik Jazz Festival Manager Sunna Gunnlaugs (Island), Founder of Jazz Fest Sarajevo, co-curator of Ljubljana Jazz Festival Edin Zubcevic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Executive director of Tampere Music Festivals Minnakaisa Kuivalainen (Finland) and others.

Jazz Across Borders is rapidly expanding as in previous years: for the first time, the JAB partner has become the Europe Jazz Network (EJN) — one of the largest and most important organizations in the jazz industry and improvised music, combining leading European festivals, clubs, concert venues, independent promoters, and national organizations. The membership includes 156 experts in 35 countries.

EJN exists to support the identity and diversity of jazz in Europe and broaden awareness of this vital area of music and create opportunities for interaction between artists, organizers and audiences from different countries. EJN board meeting has been held within the forum&festival.

«The first and second Jazz Across Borders forum-fest in 2017 and 2018, as well as the International Jazz Day in St. Petersburg in 2018, have attracted attention and publicity, once again confirmed that jazz music and jazz industry in our country is an important cultural force that shows rapid growth.
Jazz plays an increasingly significant role in Russian cultural export, and the JAB Forum-Fest is a unique platform for the international integration of the Russian performers, strengthening the intercultural dialogue and long-term cooperation.

Recent statistics showed: In 2017 and 2018, more than 200 bands from 15 countries submitted applications for Jazz Across Borders Showcases. Many artists got offered to perform at festivals and prestigious venues in the USA, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, South Korea, Indonesia through the participation in JAB Showcases.

Over the two years of the forum&festival, JAB brought together the world jazz elite in St. Petersburg — on this occasion many visited Russia first time and got acquainted with its musical culture.  Today, the jazz community defines our Forum-Fest as one of the largest events in the world for representatives of the jazz industry,” noted Igor Butman, President of Jazz Across Borders.

The Jazz Across Borders 2019 program was divided into five parts: JAB Conference (panel discussions, round tables, workshops и business meetings), JAB Showcases (Showcases Festival), JAB Clubnight (series of concerts at jazz clubs of St. Petersburg), JAB Expo (an exhibition of Russian and foreign jazz companies) и JAB Gala (a gala concert featuring forum&festival headliners).

Workshops have become an important part of the JAB Conference program. One of the most outstanding jazz trumpet players, nominated for a Grammy Till Brönner has given an exclusive workshop and shared his experience in different instrumental improvising techniques, jazz vocal for instrumentalists and musical business overall. There were held such workshops as “The Rhythm developing system for instrumentalists and vocalists” by jazz drummer Sasha Mashin and “Team impact on the success of a jazz project” by LRK Trio. Workshop “Festival as a cultural institution”«PR in Jazz: Revisions»«Jazz Accounting: Self-Employed or Sole Proprietor»were held as well.

As part of the JAB Conference, a pitching of jazz projects has taken place. The jury consisted of Editor-in-chief of InterMedia News Agency, member at the Council for Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Member of the Board of the Unit House Concert Association, member of the Academy of Russian Music Evgeny Safronov, Radario Marketing Manager Kirill Malyshev, Head of Creative Projects and Product Integrations at Group and OK Anton Danilov, creative musical and educational projects manager at CASIO company Ivan Parshentsev and Head of the Department of Urban Development of the Skolkovo Foundation, Skolkovo Jazz Science Festival Manager Anastasia Zelenova.

The jazz projects pitching has included brief presentations of six projects selected in the preliminary round. The projects have been presented by founders: Ekaterina Kolesova – Blues on Veranda Festival (Vologda), Lyudmila Swarovskaya — the Jazz Birds Competition (Yaroslavl, Moscow), Natalya Faustova – the Lullabies for the Whole Family Festival (Moscow), Andrey Lipatov – Lanote Education Center (Moscow), Oleg Rubtsov — Jazz May Festival (Penza), Elena Zakharushkina – Jazz on the water Festival (St. Petersburg). Following the results of the pitching, in addition to tips and valuable recommendations, Blues on Veranda Festival and the Jazz May Festival have entered into a partnership with CASIO, Radario has provided the Jazz on the water Festival free access to the ticket platform for 3 months, and an audit review and expert recommendations on working with the audience. Lanote Education Center has agreed to create a scientific and musical lecture hall at the Skolkovo Jazz Science 2019 Festival, as well as the Jazz on the Water, Jazz May and Blues on Veranda Festivals and the Lanote Education Center have got promotion service in Odnoklassniki social network for 3 months.

Matchmaking session has become a remarkable event within the JAB Conference. Musicians, managers, label owners, promoters, festival producers and journalists could talk with foreign and Russian jazz industry experts face to face. The result has been 72 productive dialogues aimed at strengthening international cooperation.

Russian and foreign artists have had a unique opportunity to show their own music to the leading world-famous producers and promoters in showcase format – short set to show their talent within the JAB Showcases program. More than 100 artists and bands from Russia, Israel, the USA, Switzerland, France, Estonia, the Netherlands, Armenia and Ukraine have applied for participation in JAB Showcases this year.

The jury had selected 12 band for JAV Showcases: Ivanov Vibe Band, Amber Sept, Makar Kashitsyn — Jazz Animals, Anton Gorbunov Trio, The Aftermath, «Christya in Namisti» by Kristina Kovalyova, Oleg Akkuratov Trio, Natalya Skvortsova & Live people — from Russia, Miqyael Voskanyan & Friends (MVF Band) from Armenia, Woodoism band from Switzerland, Andres Alaru Quintet from Estonia, OZMA from France.

The participation of Andres Alaru Quintet and the OZMA band in JAB Showcases was sponsored by new partners at Jazz Across Borders — Le Bureau Export (France) and Estonian Jazz Union (Estonia).

Following the performances, Amber Sept has been selected by the artistic council of the Skolkovo Jazz Science festival to perform at the Festival in 2020.

This year’s innovation has been the Auditions of student jazz bands, which have provided an opportunity for young musicians to show their music in front of the international expert jury and the Forum-fest audience. More than 30 applications had been submitted to the auditions, there were selected 6 bands: Sofia Atzbeha-Negga and “NE Trio”, Traditional Jazz Ensemble, The Settlers, Ensemble of Eugenia Peters, TenBiz and DooBand. Following a performance at JAB, Sophia Atzbeha-Negga and NE Trio has received a special gift from Casio, and The Settlers has got the offer to perform on the experimental stage of the Skolkovo Jazz Science Festival in 2020.

JAB Gala first time has been held in Grand Hall of Saint Petersburg Philharmonia. The concert headliners have been one of the best-known German virtuoso trumpeter nominated for a Grammy Till Brönner and Honored Artist of Russia — Igor Butman and Moscow Jazz Orchestra.
LRK Trio and the Quintet of trombonist Sergei Dolzhenkov have been opening bands.