Chick Corea promotes Hubbard

Legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea played a special concert on February 12th, in Hollywood, with his group and Spanish flamenco dancer Auxi Fernandez. Organised to celebrate St Valentine's Day, the concert featured Corea playing an exotic mixture of compositions of Spanish, North Africa and Near Eastern-based melodies from his latest album, "The Ultimate Adventure" (Concord Records, 2006). The inspiration for this work came from one of his spiritual guru Ron Hubbard's fantasy novels. Following this album a new edition of Hubbard's book will be published. This is the second time Corea has based work on the work of Hubbard, who was the founder of Scientology. In 1980 he re-formed his group 'Electric Band' for the programme, "To the Stars". Corea is accompanied on the new album by illustrious musicians like: flautist Hubert Laws, on percussion Airto Moreira, flamenco bassist Carles Benavent, Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy, Saxophonist Tim Garland, percussionist Rubem Dantas, drummers Tom Brechtlein, Steve Gadd and Vinnie Colaiuta, saxophonist Jorge Pardo and guitarist Frank Gambale.

Norah Jones to Appear on the Silver Screen

According to the "Jam Showbiz" site, popular American jazz singer Norah Jones is soon to appear on the big screen: she has been offered a role in the new film of major Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai. The film, working title "My Blueberry Nights", will be the first English language film for the director whose previous films, "Happy Together" (1997) and "In The Mood For Love" (2000), were awarded the 'Palme D'Or' at the Cannes Film festival. The storyline is still a secret. Wong Kar-Wai is known for working without official approval, and showbiz insiders affirm that this film will be made the same way.
Casting is still not complete; the only one confirmed is the famous Indian sitar player, Ravi Shankar's daughter, eight times Grammy nominated Norah Jones.
It is not known yet whether her music will feature in the film.

Java Jazz Festival

The Indonesian capital will once again play host to a major international musical and cultural event on 3, 4 and 5 March 2006. The flagship 2006 Dji Sam Soe Super Premium Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival is the second in an annual series and is already positioned as the largest Music Festival in Asia and one of the most important events in Indonesia's arts and cultural calendar.
More than 100 jazz and contemporary groups, featuring over 1, 000 musicians will perform in more than 150 shows on 15 stages over the three days. Six 'Special Shows' will see Patti Austin and the Dave Koz Rendezvous All Stars take to the stage on Day 1, followed by Tower of Power. Day 2 will see Take 6 and the Brand New Heavies on stage in separate shows and to wrap up the three day extravaganza Omar and Carleen Andersen will perform with Incognito, followed by the final act of the Festival, Kool & the Gang.
Other international performers include Amp Fiddler, Bob James, Doug Cameron, Eric Benet, George Duke, Lee Ritenour, Patti Austin, Vinny Valentino and a host of others.
The Indonesian line-up includes award-winning singer, Ruth Sahanaya, veteran pianist Bubi Chen, I Wayan Balawan with his exciting mix of Balinese Gamelan and Jazz, top Indonesian drummer Gilang Ramadhan, local rhythm & blues (R&B) crooner Glenn Fredly, Simak Dialog, who have won praise on the local jazz scene for successfully blending European-style jazz with local traditional music and scores of other top local stars.
As well as the local and foreign icons there will be newcomers. Several performers from overseas - the Ad Colen Jazz Quartet Raphael Gualazzi, Youn Sun Nah. Piere Dorge's New Jungle Orchestra and Hari Stojka - will star in a special bilateral cultural series of performances.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Despite the devastation by Hurricane Katrina, there will be a traditional and jazz music festival in spring, in New York (the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival). According to the Associated Press Agency, a number of jazz bands will play simultaneously on different stages in the "Fair Grounds" hippodrome. The line-up of acts is still to be finalised, but it is certain that the R 'n' B legend and native of Louisiana, 78 year old singer and pianist Fats Domino will play in the festival. As before, tourists will have the opportunity to hear well-known musicians from New Orleans, the home of jazz. The main acts will play during the last weekend of April and the first weekend in May.
The organisers faced difficult problems this year: as a result of Hurricane Katrina, jazz stars were dispersed around various states of the USA and it is no easy task to assemble them in New Orleans. The organisers say: "This festival will become a holiday at home for thousands of local musicians, cooks and artists."

Keiko Matsui Plays in Kiev and Riga

Japanese jazz pianist Keiko Matsui was in Kiev at the end of February. On 26th February she played at the International Culture and Art Centre (the former October Palace). This was her third visit to Ukraine. First there in December 2003, she was there again in April 2005. She was scheduled to be there in December 2004, but this was the eve of elections and it had to be postponed in those unstable times.
Keiko Matsui thrilled her audience with a programme based on selections from her latest album, "The Walls of Akendora".
On February 28th, on the eve of her visit to Riga, Keiko was interviewed by the newspaper, "Jazz", published in Riga. She said, "Akendora is my utopian dream; the name has no meaning, I just like it; harmony rules there. The new album is a cycle of sound sketches. I am trying to describe Akendora city in this way; the basis of the sketches is modern jazz, enriched with elements of classical music, but I also use rock and funk styles. For the music to have real meaning, a singer has to constantly listen to her own internal music. The music should contain the singer's own energy and a part of her soul; for me, music is as sacred an action as praying.

Memorial Event for Rafiq Babayev in Baku Jazz Centre

On 30th March the Jazz Centre organised a memorial evening dedicated to legendary Azerbaijani jazz pianist, composer and arranger, Rafiq Babayev. His family, friends and admirers were invited and were shown a film about the life and work of a musician who was struck down in his prime.

Ornette Coleman Receives Honorary Doctorate

Groundbreaking saxophonist, composer and father of free jazz Ornette Coleman received an honorary doctorate of music degree from Berklee President Roger Brown, and gave the keynote address at an annual, two-day Berklee College of Music faculty conference. The ceremony also included a musical tribute by alumnus Greg Osby and Coleman's longtime friend, piano professor JoAnne Brackeen.
At the event, Berklee Professor of Africana Studies/Culture Bill Banfield asked Coleman what it felt like to be a doctor. "I need a doctor, " replied Coleman. "This university of knowledge that we call music is represented by the quality of Berklee, " said Coleman. "I am very happy and honored today to be standing here experiencing something I never believed I would achieve."
From 1959-1961, Coleman recorded a series of influential albums - including the nearly 40-minute pulse-driven epic, Free Jazz - greatly affecting John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, and most of the other advanced on all his instruments. In the 70's, Coleman formed Prime Time, a "double quartet" comprised of two guitars, two electric bassists, two drummers, and his own alto. Coleman recently started his own label, Sound Grammar - named after the universal language used by musicians to communicate - and will release Live At Carnegie Hall, 2003, in early 2006. He is also working on his third music theory book.