The 2024 edition of Savoy JAZZFest, set to take place in March, promises an exceptional lineup of international jazz artists. The festival, now in its sixth year, will be headlined by Grammy-nominated singer Gretchen Parlato and the legendary saxophonist Kenny Garrett, alongside the rising star vocalist Michael Mayo. Kaisa Mäensivu, the artistic director, has curated a program that showcases the evolving boundaries of jazz.
The festival opens on Wednesday, March 6th, with the Nordic Stew production by saxophonist Timo Lassy and trumpeter Jukka Eskola. They will be joined at the Savoy Theatre's album release concert by a cadre of top musicians from New Orleans' vibrant jazz scene, including pianist David Torkanowsky, bassist Roland Guerin, drummer Jason Marsalis, and Miika Jämsä on tuba.
The following day, Norwegian jazz pioneer and saxophonist-composer Marius Neset takes the stage. His album with the London Sinfonietta, "Geysir," was named the second-best jazz album of 2023 by The Guardian, and his Kork ensemble's "Summer Dance" was listed among the best albums of the previous year by The Times. Neset will perform with his international quintet, featuring musicians from the UK, Denmark, and Sweden.
Celebrating International Women's Day on Friday, March 8th, the festival presents a double concert. Young vibraphonist phenomenon Sasha Berliner opens the evening, followed by one of today's most revered jazz vocalists, Gretchen Parlato, who is a Grammy nominee for her album "Lean In." Parlato, known for her sensuous and nuanced voice, will perform for the first time in Helsinki with the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Ed Partyka with arrangements by Jim McNeely.
The festival continues on Saturday, March 9th, with an intimate duo project featuring pianist Shai Maestro and vocalist Michael Mayo. Mayo, who has performed at the White House, released the critically acclaimed album "Bones" in 2021. Shai Maestro, celebrated for his unique musical expression, has composed for TV series and movies and performed with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
The festival concludes with a performance by Grammy-awarded saxophone icon Kenny Garrett. His latest album, "Sounds from the Ancestors," pays homage to the rich R&B, jazz, and gospel traditions of his hometown, Detroit. The album, which received rave reviews, was named one of the best jazz albums of 2021. Garrett will be accompanied by an ensemble of talented musicians, including Corcoran Holt, Rudy Bird, Keith Brown, Ronald Bruner, and Melvis Santa. The group will also perform at the Turku Jazz Festival.
Kaisa Mäensivu, the artistic director of Savoy JAZZFest, is excited about the lineup: "Looking at the carefully crafted program, it's clear that this year's festival is going to be spectacular!"
The festival's program features a mix of American jazz artists and Nordic talent, including several unique international collaborations. The additional program will be announced in February.
Savoy JAZZFest, a premier jazz event in the Helsinki metropolitan area, showcases big names and rising stars in international jazz. Produced by the Savoy Theatre and in collaboration with Hotel Haven, the festival is a highlight for jazz enthusiasts.
Tickets are available at Lippu.fi, with a 4-day festival pass priced at 185€, individual concert tickets ranging from 15-77€, and a Saturday day pass (2 concerts) at 75€, plus applicable service fees. The ground floor offers an 18+ drinking area, while the balcony is non-alcoholic.
For more information, visit Savoy JAZZFest's Facebook page.