Groznjan Jazz Programme Gathers Generations from Multiple Countries

Lauren Simmonds

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As Morski writes, exceptional cooperation between participants of various educational programmes and their mentors, along with top-notch knowledge and great talent have been woven into the foundations of the International Cultural Centre of Croatian Musical Youth under whose auspices jazz programmes are being held in Groznjan, which is fondly referred to the smallest jazz metropolis in the world.

The Groznjan jazz programme, Festival Jazz is Back! BP, the Summer Jazz School and the Croatia Drum Camp, has successfully brought together all generations from as many as twenty countries spanning four continents, as well as a large audience, that enthusiastically followed the musicians this summer.

Along with the main organiser, Croatian Musical Youth (HGM), the co-organisers of Festival Jazz is Back! BP, is the Istrian Municipality of Groznjan itself, and the Polyvalent Cultural Centre in Groznjan.

”With its favourable geographical, climatic and traffic conditions, this small, old Istrian town on the one hand optimally meets the needs of artists and the Musical Youth for a place to gather together and work, and on the other hand, the artists and the Musical Youth offered a superior programme back to Groznjan,” pointed out Dubravka Dujmovic Kusan, the secretary of the HGM.

The participants of the Groznjan jazz programme were from all over Croatia, Germany, the neighbouring countries of Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, as wellas Israel, Bulgaria, Austria, Australia, USA, Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Russia, Puerto Rico, Greece, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Workshops were held daily as part of the Groznjan jazz programme, and music was also played on the streets of this quaint Istrian town, sometimes in an organised manner, and sometimes quite spontaneously, which was enjoyed by both Croatian and foreign visitors to the town.

It is important to mention that the participants of the Groznjan jazz programme were accompanied by their mentors Luis Bonilla, Alex Sipiagin, Famoudou don Moye, Elvis Penava, Karlheinz Miklin Jr., Lea Lovrencic, Joe Kaplowitz, Goran Rukavina, John Riley, Dick Oatts and Marko Lazaric. Also performing were Jim Rotondi, Jon Boutellier, Gary Smulyan, Andrea Pozza, Aldo Zunino, Bernd Reiter, Primoz Grasic, Mario Mavrin, Vid Jamnik, Blaz Jurjevcic and Tijan Grasic, all of them being truly excellent musicians immortalised by their numerous awards, and among them were and multiple Grammy and Porina winners.

Zvjezdan Ruzic, Borna Sercar and Lado, Zdenka Kovacicek and the Green House Band, Amira Medunjanin and Ante Gelo, Branko Sterpin, Srdjan Kolarevic, Srdjan Kuzmanovic, Marco Quarantotto and Edi Maruzin with the Edi East Trance Blues Band also performed as part of the Groznjan jazz programme.

Young talent is continuing to arrive in Groznjan to attend the string seminar led by Andjelko Krpan, Milan Cunko, Branimir Pusticki and Ilin Dime Dimovski, and the programmes of the International Cultural Centre of the Croatian Musical Youth in Groznjan are going to be held until the middle of September.

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