Giving the ‘jazz’ in Cairo Jazz Club a heavy sprinkling of international flavour, this year’s Cairo Jazz Festival is once again extending its eclectic line-up to the CJC stage between Thursday 20th and Sunday 23rd, for some of the most eclectic nights of music you’ll see at the Mohandiseen bar this year.
While much of the fanfare has focused on the festival proper, which this year is taking place at the Greek Campus in Downtown Cairo, few bars know how to celebrate an occasion like Cairo Jazz Club and they’ll be doing so in style, kicking off on Thursday with three very different acts.
The opening night will see performers from Japan, Czech Republic and right here in Egypt taking to the stage. Kicking off the night will be folk-jazz twosome, Tara Fuki. Having won several awards over the last ten years, the Czech duo boast one of the most unique musical voices you'll find in Europe, made all the more striking when coupled with their trademark haunting vocals.
Also on the Thursday line-up is one of the highlight acts of the whole festival: the Sori Yano Trio from Japan. Yano, a prodigiously talented saxophonist, has been destined for big things since a young age - her musical journey began at 14, before being signed to a record deal at the 16.
A hot name in jazz circles, Yano's fast-paced bebop jazz stylings are not to be missed, with the 15-plus army that is the Big Band Society rounding off the line-up.
Things take a turn for the electronic on Friday, meanwhile with a debut for Burdizo and a return for the Meteors Project. It's been a busy year for the duo of Gaser El Safty and Karim El Zanfally, who are set to release a new EP this month, with the former on double duty for the night; Gaser flies solo later on the evening, with Richard R. also getting in on the act.
There's more homegrown talent on Saturday, with Hassan Ramzy and his band opening proceedings, before Alaa Ghawas & Likwid fly the flag for Bahrain. Singer-songwriter Ghawas got together with Likwid in 2011, before going on to release material and tour together. Leaning towards indie and rock in their musical style, the ensemble certainly look the part and stand apart from much of this year's festival's line-up.
Things end with bang on Sunday, meanwhile, with a couple of potentially brilliant performances; first, Hesham Galal leads some of the finest local jazz practitioners in an open jam, before CJC pays tribute to the Rolling Stones. With the likes of Hany Mustafa, Adam Awad and George Aboutar being among the performers at CJC's previous tributes to David Bowie and Bob Dylan, it's shaping up to be a great ending.
By Kalam El Qahaira