It’s the time of the year for overdosing with jazz, baijiu jelly shots, and some of the coolest jam sessions of the year during the after-hours at JZ Club. This weekend is JZ Festival, now on a new location, the Expo Garden Park in Pudong. On the map it looks like an interesting set up for music, and maybe it will be a very nice space to hang around, but there is a chance that some of us will miss the actual real grassy park. To me JZ’s festival is at a park, my first one was the second one of JZ, at Fuxing Park, and although we were less people on the audience than around and on the stage, we had much fun having a two days long classy drunken jazz picnic. But, probably I’m just being a spoiled cat, and it will be just great to have the festival by the river. It could be good for the feng shui of the festival after all.
This year the festival will try a different style, first will be the outdoors festival this weekend, and the week after will be the hall concerts with the biggest names coming to the festival. Last year was backwards. I think this way can be more successful, the outdoors festival should cheer up our mood and motivate us to go for more jazz later. And in case you can’t make it to the hall concerts during next week, then you should know that very probably we can catch all the musicians playing on those concerts, and this weekend’s outdoors festival, on late jam sessions at JZ Club, or also at dear Cotton Club, or the mythical House of Blues and Jazz. So, from now on these three spots of Shanghai are basically burning with music, musicians, music lovers, and all related to them. Sweet times in Shanghai.
Now, besides getting ready to prepare an awesome pic-nic for this weekend, forgetting about the number sixteen of the “Notice” for the festival, it’s time to create the plan to go to the best shows of the festival. I usually never do so. I’m not really a very good planner. (Actually, honestly, I am a terrible planner.) But this year it seems recommendable to go with a little bit of previous knowledge, because the festival is not anymore the one stage at Fuxing park, neither the three stages at Century Park. This year it will have five stages, plus some extra distractions around the spots for the music. And although on the map all seems to be near, if I remember right, it can take a long run to go from one venue to other, though when it was the Expo there were parades. Sure it was pretty funny to be stopped by a line of ultra shiny parade floats with too-much-smiling people constantly waving hands, and no way to cross it, so well, better enjoy the thing. But at the risk to miss the concert, specially for the indoor venues, where they were closing the doors once the concert started. Hopefully the organizers of JZ will be cool and keep the doors of the venues open during the shows.
So here we go, this is a draft of a listening plan for this weekend. Sure no one can yet teleport, or be at two places at the same time, also one can always end up just staying in a fixed spot partying with the new friends around, but …trying, trying is very important too.
Saturday October 16th
14:00 I won’t be there earlier than this really. If you are, then go to check the band Djanzz at 13:00 on the Earth Lounge, they sound nice, similar to Pat Metheny having a romance with Cinderella, I’m not being ironic, they sound like a positive vibes band with a cool guitarist . But be sure to be at River Stage at 2pm to listen to J3. J3 is the band of Jianyi Huang (keyboards), Wilson Chen (sax), and Jhonny Joseph (drums), these three cats are classic in Shanghai’s jazz scene. Jianyi Huang is a very talented piano player, his solos are fun, and mystic even. Wilson Chen is a quiet guy, kind of shy I believe, I’m not sure he really knows the size of his talent, which it adds an extra spice to listen to him. And Jhonny Joseph is one of the best drummers in town, and probably in Asia, his energy is just … solar, he is really fun, and I think he is one of the musical treasures we have in Shanghai. J3 should be groovy groovy.
14:50 Either leave J3’s concert before is over, or make it late to the Blue Grass stage, to check out The Tree. I like how he sounds, and I want to see him playing live. Check him out on his Douban page.
15:20 Mood check, depending on that stay with The Tree, or go back to the River Stage for some modern jazz with Laurent de Wilde from France. You can listen to his music now on his Sina Music page. He will be playing by the river until 16.20.
16.40 If not already there, go to the River Stage for Girls in Airports, for some indie Danish jazz. Pre listen to their music on their Soundcloud page. Also will be good to chilled and socialize with unknown people around, spreading the love with baijiu jelly shots with the friendly neighbors.
17.20 Noukilla to me is a classic of Shanghai, Noukilla is a band formed by this urban family of musicians from Mauritius, some of the most musical people I have ever met in my life. These guys live in music, Noukilla is a fun band, lots of drums, played at the rhythym of sega, and other African grooves. Not only that, but they have taught me the best bad words I’ve learnt in any language. Feel free to yell at them “falumamma, likimamma” if you want them to play more.
18:30 In the Theater Stage will be 3some, the new band of Coco Zhao, with Steiner on keyboards, organ, and many machines, and Chris Trzcinski on drums. Three very handsome, and ultra talented and creative musicians. I know they have been together for a while already, and still I haven’t listened to this band, I have no doubt at all that they are a cool band, so I will be there, no matter what. (Hopefully there won’t be any parades around)
19:30 On the Green Note stage, The Word, hip hop and jazz from the world made in China, pretty cool stuff. Dana, the awesome singer, is just a lot of fun, and thrill. Also the big duck of Layabozi, Mike, was the bass player of the band until he crossed the ocean back to the States, so for me at least, that’ll be the place to be. I have to insist anyway, this is a very nice band, with really cool beats, and let me insist, Dana is specially great!
20:30 Stay where you are, or go to the Green Note stage if you were somewhere else. Jazzanova will play after The Word. And Jazzanova is cool cool cool.
21:30 If we really would follow this schedule for real, then this would be the first free minutes of the day to go to pee. It seems very unlikely that any of us is going to wait until this minute. And if there’s anyone that does so, please email me to send you my respect and a box of chocolates for your love for music.
22:30 It is recommended that while some people takes a break, other will keep an eye on their seats, this will be the last band of the day, so the demand for seats, or space in the theater could turn a bit wild. Tower of Power should have us dancing like is 1977 until 23.30pm if all goes well.
After that, go back home, get a shower, do not seat down just for a minute, and run out, either to Live Bar to make it to the end of the show there with X is Y, The Song Dynasty, and CAssette. Or go to JZ Club for the epic jam session that will sure be happening there, starting from 2 am.
Tomorrow: the plan for Sunday.