Monday, November 2, 2009

GigTips: November 2009

It is hard to believe that it was twenty years ago this month. Hard to believe because in some ways the Velvet Revolution seems like such a recent event to those of us who remember it happening, or perhaps we are just unwilling to face the fact that we are now twenty years older than we once were. Hard to believe because, for the outsider at least, looking at Prague today it is difficult to imagine that it could be anything other than a free, vibrant city. Hard to believe, but true.

Jazz played an important part in the artistic rebellion against Communist control. The Jazz Section of the Czech Musician's Union was a notable irritant to officialdom. And so it would be wrong to let this anniversary go by without raising a glass to the musicians, many of whom you can still see on the Czech scene, who worked under oppressive conditions. It is also important that the tradition of Czech jazz is kept alive as part of the artistic soul of the Czech nation, and not relegated to being an unimportant tourist attraction. Here are our tips for November: real live music and as good as it gets.

The one and only guitar genius that is Luboš Andršt will be working at AghaRTA Jazz Centrum this month, with his excellent Luboš Andršt Group appearing twice (6, 24/11). It is fair to say that we do tip his gigs a lot here on Prague Jazz, but he really is that good. His pianist and keyboard player, Ondřej Kabrna, will also be appearing as bandleader with the Ondřej Kabrna Quartet on 7/11. It is a good month at AghaRTA with the Robert Balzar Trio (29/11) and the Emil Viklický Trio (3/11) also dropping by. If this club offered season tickets we would thoroughly recommend getting one.

Another legend of the Czech music scene is composer and conductor Milan Svoboda. He is in action at Le Fabrika on 10/11, alongside saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi (USA):

Robert Balzar and his Trio have an alternate role in Czech music, as the core of singer Dan Bárta's band. It is unusual to see them together performing a small club gig but that is what is on offer at USP Jazz Lounge on 25/11. Be sure to book early as this will surely sell out in advance. If you're in the mood for some good vocal jazz then you are also in luck at USP with Miriam Bayle (14/11) and the Jana Koubková Quartet (13/11).

If you fancy some cool late-night jazz (finishing well after midnight) then Jazz Dock is the place to go. Pianist Najponk will be there on 22/11 and rising guitar star Libor Šmoldas will play with his Quartet on 25/11.

That wraps up our selection of gigs for this month. Of course there is a lot going on in the city so for more information click on the artist and club links to the right. Do remember to book ahead to be sure of a good seat.

Enjoy the music.

Be glad that you can.

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