Saturday May 21
5TH MEDITERRANEAN JAZZ FESTIVAL NYC (1st night)
After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are excited to announce the 5th edition of the Mediterranean Jazz Fest on May 21st and 22nd at Drom NYC. Over the years the festival has grown and become a highlight among New York music festivals. Besides featuring artists that present their latest projects and albums, the festival has always aimed at curating and presenting unique collaborations. This year will be no different with an exciting lineup of groups from around the Mediterranean.
6:30pm Mirabassi/Rafalides Duo
The festival will start off with Giovanni Mirabassi and Christos Rafalides, a collaboration of two world class musicians with a magical chemistry on stage, that has led to successful performances around the world.
Giovanni and Christos’ musical DNAs are routed in drama and opera; lyricism being the common denominator of Italians and Greeks respectively. Being bandleaders themselves, the duo conveys a unique sense of maturity and balance, routed in deep respect for one another as musicians, as well as their musical “upbringing”, in Europe and the US. This collaboration feels fresh and uplifting: a result that is so much more than the sum of individual parts.
Producing new music during a pandemic was challenging, but also therapeutic, turning into a beacon of hope: a silver lining at a time when everything we took for granted, no longer was. It is this shift in perspective that they try to convey in their music; to look at the world through a different lens, one that is sensitive enough to pick up the slightest ray of light, the sun behind the clouds. The collaboration is featuring music that is beautiful and the message is: beauty IS important in the way we express ourselves through words, sound and meaningful content. Art is not based on how «out» something is, nor on how perfectly refined it may seem. It is about pure, untainted beauty, the way it is born out of our soul at the moment of its creation.
Christos Rafalides – vibraphone
Giovanni Mirabassi – piano
7:30pm Manel Fortia Trio presents Despertar
Barcelona based double bassist Manel Fortià is living a very inspired and productive period. In the last 2 years alone he has released several prolific albums with very distinct projects: “Despertar”(2022, Microscopi), featuring original pieces that came to life during a extended stay in New York and were later recorded with his new European Trio with Marco Mezquida and Raphaël Pannier; “Arrels”(2021, Microscopi), the debut recording of his free-flamenco-jazz project Libérica which was in the top ten Jazz Albums of 2021 by the prestigious Enderrock magazine; the original folk-jazz duo album “Fang i Núvols”(2020, Microscopi) with Catalan singer Magalí Sarewas and “Estándares” alongside Chano Dominguez, Antonio Lizana and Marc Miralta.
Manel’s melodic sense, rhythmic precision and creativity have made him one of the most unique and original musicians of the new generation, and have allowed him to perform with jazz luminaries such as Dave Liebman, Chris Cheek, Eliot Zigmund, Bill McHenry, Ari Hoenig, Arturo O’Farrill, Chano Dominguez, Stephane Belmondo, Scott Hamilton, Dena Derose… at some of the most prestigious Jazz festivals and clubs worldwide with different projects of his own.
Wonderful interaction and beautiful compositions are highlighted on this recording. I hear the influence of Spain throughout. – Dave Liebman
Manel Fortia – double bass
Albert Marques – piano
Vinnie Sperrazza – drums
8:30pm Eleni Arapoglou Quartet
Eleni Arapoglou, an ever exploring voice from Greece; based in between New York City and Athens, will bring songs from her homeland as well as traditional melodies from Spain and Latin America. Reimagining the old with musical gestures influenced by elements of jazz, improvisation and a palette of sounds and cultures throughout her Art History, Dance and Music studies. Along with Gilad Barakan on guitar, Tal Mashiach on upright bass and Jason Burger on drums, Eleni will also share new original compositions which will be part of her upcoming debut album, LINES. Her recent collaborations with vocalist/composer Thana Alexa and Mexican singer Leonel Garcia, Eleni has been nominated for a Grammy and Latin Grammy. For the last 5 years Eleni has been a Carnegie Hall Teaching Artist, and has developed her own vocal improvisation practice BodySong, which she has been teaching at Bobby McFerrin’s yearly summer program CircleSongs. Improvisation not limited within the jazz genre has been a guiding line for Eleni throughout her music and life journey, bringing it on stage as a tool to explore songs she connects with.
Eleni Arapoglou – vocals
Gilad Barakan – guitar
Tal Mashiach – bass
Jason Burger – drums