Interview. It’s definitely the jazz time in Romania | Dragos Basca, Twin Arts

Oana Vasiliu | 10/05/2017 | 17:22

I’m almost sure that you were wondering who is the team who brought to the Bucharest scene Ibrahim Maalouf, Youn Sun Nah, Paolo Fresu, Antonio Sanchez, Ane Brun, Hindi Zahra, Avishai Cohen, Hiromi, Kurt Elling, Dhafer Youssef or Gregory Porter. It’s Twin Arts and they bring to the jazz lovers the world’s legends, but also rough diamonds of emerging artists. They say about themselves that are sonic navigators and music wanderers, bringing together hot artists and adventurous audiences. But how is this navigation within the Romanian jazz scene? Dragos Basca, the manager from Twin Arts, explained it for Business Review.

From my point of view, the jazz scene is blooming in Romania. We have more jazz festivals & special jazz concerts than ever before and the jazz events continue to grow. Does the Romanian audience start to listen more jazz? Is the same public who travels from Bucharest to Timisoara’s JazzTM to Garana Jazz festival, to Sibiu’s Jazz Festival or to Cluj’s Jazz in the Park?

I don’t really know if is blooming, but for sure there are a lot more shows and festivals going around. Once you create great, recurrent events, people are starting to respond and to crave for more great music. However, don’t forget that jazz is a small niche everywhere in the world and it takes a lot of work to develop a loyal following. As for the above-mentioned festivals, my impression is that Garana is fueled by people from Bucharest, whereas Jazz TM, Sibiu Jazz Festival and Jazz in The Park for the most part are still counting on local audience.

How about the local scene of jazz? Are new artists/bands coming on stage with jazz music? Is there a place for them while more and more great names from the jazz world are arriving to our country and offer absolutely amazing gigs?

Here, the topic is a little bit sensitive. It seems that are very few new interesting projects from a promoter’s perspective. There are some young artists that are forging their way a bit more serious, with their own compositions, but for the most part, there are a lot of cover bands meant just to entertain at private events or in small cafés. They lack the international experience which is very valuable, and I would love to see them more ambitious. Also, you don’t often see musicians coming to a lot of the shows we are doing which is a pity. My advice for them is: come to the shows of foreign musicians, learn from their experience, hang around with them after the shows whenever is possible, ask them questions, ask for an advice. There is no better way to learn than this.

You have the experience of organizing a jazz festival. It’s been a while now since you are doing it. Did jazz music become a trend within the cultural organizations that provide this type of entertainment? Is jazz trendy in Romania nowadays?

Twin Arts has been around for 15 years now. We currently have two jazz series, Jazz Night Out which takes place in big seated venues and Jazz Nouveau in partnership with Control Club, and we are doing a lot of jazz shows and we will continue to do this. I wouldn’t call it a trend yet, but I surely wouldn’t mind if it will become one. Our aim is to expose the audience to a wide range of amazing musicians, be them legends or emerging artists and connect Romania to what’s hot today in the jazz world. This is a long term endeavor and investment and I think other promoters and organizations have more or less the same objectives.

Next in line at Twin Arts are Rotem Sivan Trio in Control Club on May 22, and the fabulous Ara Malikian on November 7, in a concert at Sala Palatului.

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