In a few days the Rifftides staff flies to Europe to report from the Ystad Jazz Festival on the southern coast of Sweden. Organized by pianist Jan Lundgren in 2010, the festival has developed into one of Europe’s most important music events. Among the US contingent August 2-5 will be Benny Green, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Eliane Elias and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Billy Harper and Victor Lewis will play with Swedish trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz. Dozens of Europe’s brightest stars will perform, including Bengt Hallberg, the dean of modern Swedish jazz pianists, in a two-piano concert with Lundgren. Tomasz Stanko, Richard Galliano, Paolo Fresu, Arild Anderson, Tommy Smith and Claire Martin are among other major artists set for the festival.
Ystad is one of Sweden’s best known small cities because of its beauty, its long history and, in modern times, because it is the headquarters of Kurt Wallander, a fictional detective who has become real to millions through novels and a successful BBC television series. If I catch a glimpse of Wallander, I’ll try to get a picture.
Quincy Jones is the festival’s guest of honor. His long involvement with Sweden dates back to classic recordings he produced and arranged in 1953 with Clifford Brown, Art Farmer and a group of Swedish all-stars, including Bengt Hallberg. Lundgren and the festival organizers have asked me to appear with Mr. Jones in a one-hour conversation at the Ystad Konstmuseum on August 4something to which I look forward. To see the festival rundown and roster of artists, go here and click on “Programme.”