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NEWS/Beirut’s Jazz Jubilee

The seventh annual Beirut Jazz Festival, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), began this summer with a huge, melody bang. Every year, the Beirut Jazz Festival showcases a plethora of both local and international musicians and performers, allowing the curious to experience an entirely new scene within the Lebanese music world.

Kicking off the evening’s festivities at 7pm, the Lebanese Conservatory Big Band shook the very foundations of the ground, knocking everybody’s socks off with the “...mountains of sound,” as was described by many that were produced by their multitude of instruments. A combination of 18 Saxophones, trumpets, and trombones played harmoniously as the crowd swooned. 

As the crowd anxiously awaited the next performance, fans of the conventional blues tunes became ecstatic when The Real Deal Blues Band strutted out onto the stage. Founded in 1997 by a group of musicians whose mission was to “...maintain a tradition of the Chicago groove to local audiences,” this band is now considered to be one of the best Blues bands in all of Lebanon. As the Festival continued, The Real Deal Blues Band once again proved to a cheering audience that their embodiment of Urban Blues was indeed the “Real Deal.” Ushering in modern interpretations of the Classical Blues music, the Funky Blues Band, or F.B.B, proceeded to leave the crowd’s jaws hanging agape after their mind-blowing performances of rehashed blues legends like BB King and Elmore James.

Warping and completely morphing the pre conceived notions of Jazz, the Lebanese band Xango presented the starry eyed audience with their alternative perceptions of the term “Jazz.” Covering Afro-Brazilian music and compositions by popular Brazilian artists like Toquinho and Sergio Mendes, Xango definitely got the crowds pumped up with with their fast Samba and African rhythms. Visibly impressed by the Beirut Jazz Festival’s turnout and the liveliness of the crowds, Xango tweeted “Thank u all that came yesterday and for all the wishes!! That is the best birthday when u share such good vibes, I am so happy”

The legendary Arthur Satyan also made an appearance at the festival, performing some of his best Jazzy works. Satyan began performing Jazz in the Lebanese region in early 1996 and regularly performs his Jazz works throughout the region and has inspired almost every Jazz musician in Lebanon. 

Ending this wonderful night of good vibes and smooth grooves, Jazzmine Bey Quartet performed the night into oblivion with originally composed music by one of the band’s members, Bruno Paoli.

by Jamil Richane

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