Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to slowly wean ourselves off our summer lassitude and gird the loins for the cooler emanations of Autumn… and what better way to see Korea’s most welcome season in with a hefty helping of Jazz. The 12th Jarasum International Jazz Festival will once again be gracing the little island in the North Han River and the environs of Kapyong with all manner of jazz flavours over the weekend of October 9-11 this year. As per past occasions the assortment of musicianship, styles, and tuneful endeavour will run the gamut from sublime to strident; deft aural flourishes and emphatically effusive excursions will abound. This year also sees a couple of tangential steps ahead compared to previous years: first, there are fewer headline grabbers, with a shift in tone to a more balanced – and newer – mix of up-and comers, returnees, and off-beat surprises; second, there will be a notable ‘Teutonic’ theme (‘Germany Focus’) to this year’s event.
Jarasum has always taken a keen interest in presenting European Jazz groups to an ever-appreciative Korean audience and this year – with the inclusion of some of the finest jazz performers from Germany added to the program, it promises to be the best yet. Klaus Doldinger’s Passport (Europe’s answer to Weather Report for more than 40 years); Wolfgang Haffner (the #1 jazz drummer in Germany); and Nik Baertsch’s Ronin (outstanding avant/mood jazz) should all wow the throngs…! Richard Bona, Paolo Fresu, Lionel Loueke, and Spyro Gyra are among those to watch who will also deliver the goods, and a stellar line up of Korean jazz luminaries, including fusionists Jambinai, will round off and smooth out any jagged edges. Be warned that while the music might be hot, the nights can be cold at that time of year so plan accordingly, and prepare your collective souls for another outstanding jazz extravaganza.