Swing to the sound of the city

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TREND - By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou zheng­caix­iong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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

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