Celebrating jazz for one day in Downtown Beirut

BEIRUT: Beirut International Jazz Day is back with a lineup of six acts, which were announced at a news conference Thursday.

Scheduled to take place on April 30 under the patronage of UNESCO, half a dozen performances will transform Beirut’s Downtown into an open-air jazz club.

The Lebanese Conservatory Big Band will open the festivities at 7 p.m., mingling jazz classics with newer tunes. The 18 musicians are set to thrill with rhythmic saxophone, trumpet and trombone solos.

Those whose taste runs toward the good old blues will be happy to hear that The Real Deal Blues Band – considered among the best Lebanese performers representing jazz culture in the country – are scheduled to immerse audiences in their smooth Chicago groove. Composed of Hani Alayli, Elie Farah and Issa Ghrayeb, the band will showcase the sound they’ve been working on together since 1997.

The Real Deal Blues Band will be followed by F.B.B. (aka “Funky Blues Band”), who will reinterpret classics by BB King and Elmore James, among other legendary jazz singers and musicians. Their set should prove a nice test for those who consider themselves aficionados of the jazz classics.

An alternative take on the jazz theme will be provided by Xango. This Lebanon-based band takes its inspiration from Brazilian music and will perform compositions by Toquinho, Sergio Mendes and Baden Powel, to name a few.

Called the “Dean of Jazz Musicians,” Arthur Satyan will also be on hand with his Organ Quartet to perform jazz fusion – both Satyan’s personal compositions and exceptional arrangements. Satyan routinely performs around the city several times a week and has released multiple albums. He is among Beirut’s most prominent jazz musicians, so for those as yet unfamiliar with his work, this could be a chance to discover his unique sound.

Jazzmine Bey Quartet will draw a curtain on this day of jazz grooves with their blend of tunes by McCoy Tyner and Abdullah Ibrahim, among others. Composed of four European musicians, this Beirut-based band promises to bring their own unique blend of jazz fusion to the mix.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 25, 2014, on page 16.




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