Swing to the sound of the city
Guangzhou Jazz Festival, which kicked off last week, plays a role in establishing the southern metropolis’ position as a “city of jazz”, organizers said.
The event, which features 10 concerts performed by top jazz musicians from around the world, provides local residents with a feast of music and help further improve their appreciation of jazz, said Liu Ying, director of Guangdong Xinghai Concert Hall.
The event has attracted heavyweight foreign musicians, such as Ron Cater and Wynton Marsalis, who join their Chinese counterparts during the 40-day festival that will run into early January, Liu told a press conference in the Guangdong provincial capital.
Additionally, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, for the first time, joins forces with top jazz musicians from home and abroad to give performances during the festival.
“In addition to the top-billed jazz concerts that being held in the elegant concert halls, there are many outdoor jazz concerts and performances, lectures and campus salons to attract local participants and jazz fans to Guangzhou,” said Liu.
The city has a growing number of jazz aficionados, she added.
Huang Yong, deputy president of the China Jazz Association, said jazz is a fusion music that is well suited to Guangzhou, the window of China’s reform and opening-up.
As the southern gateway of the country, Guangzhou fuses western and eastern cultures and is, perhaps, more receptive to jazz than other mainland cities as a result.
“I believe Guangzhou Jazz Festival will become a signature international music event that can attract top Chinese and foreign jazz musicians in the years to come,” said Huang who is himself a famous Chinese practitioner of the genre.
Esteemed jazz man, Guo Yazhi, agreed, noting that traditional Chinese music and western music have already fused well in Guangzhou. Guo, who is also famous for his suona playing and has long been an ambassador for the region’s jazz scene, performs alongside some of the foreign talent during the festival.
According to Zhu Xiaoyi, deputy head of Guangzhou Publicity Department, the city government has promised to build the annual festival into a headline music event and a famous brand which demonstrates the city’s rich culture and diverse musical backgrounds. Cantonese music is known at home and abroad, and many famous Chinese musicians, including Xian Xinghai and Xiao Youmei, have come from Guangdong province.
“Guangzhou, an open and tolerant international city, needs music and the jazz festival,” Zhu said.
“Guangzhou, traditionally a commercial city that’s well known for its delicious cuisine can now show the world that it is not just famous for roast goose, but also jazz,” he declared.
He added that he hopes Guangzhou Jazz Festival and jazz music will be able to help the city further expand its contact and exchanges with the rest of the world.
Zhu said that, in the future, he expects more local musicians to participate in Guangzhou Jazz Festival, so that it can compete with other music events held in major cities around the mainland.
It is the fourth year that Guangzhou has held the jazz festival which, guided by Guangdong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and Guangzhou Publicity Department, is jointly organized by Guangdong Xinghai Concert Hall and Guangzhou Yuexiu district government.
Guangzhou Jazz Festival