Sunday, July 3, 2011

The View From The Front Row - July 2011

A couple of days late, but better late than never! Welcome to the July edition of Prague Jazz, this month featuring two interviews, rehearsal footage from Emil Viklický, an invitiation to download and review a Czech jazz album for free, and GigTips - our pick of upcoming concerts.

The interviews are two sides of the same coin: an American musician who now plays in Prague and a Czech musician who now plays in New York City. They talk about the good (and otherwise) points of playing in their adopted homes, their collaborations, experiences, plans and ambitions.

In June Czech Radio had their annual Open Day, with tours of the studios and a chance to meet star presenters and also the ladies and gentlemen behind the scenes who make it all happen. It was very gratifying to be instantly recognised by Petr Vidomus, the man behind the Euro Jazz project. Euro Jazz is an internet radio station that continually broadcasts jazz music from around the world, with an emphasis on Czech and European artists. The programmes are themed around genres, such as modern mainstream, experimental, swing and bop. It is free to listen to on the web at, and with little talk and lots of music it can be enjoyed even if you don't understand a word of Czech. Their jazz news pages are also very good, and although they are in Czech they can be easily decoded using Google Translate.

If you are in the mood for even more free music then do download the Libor Šmoldas album (see below). Normally we review albums so you can decide whether or not you want to buy them, but as this one costs you nothing to download we're reviewing it in reverse, and asking you the reader for your comments and thoughts.

June saw the 70th birthday of President Václav Klaus, and it was celebrated at a Jazz na Hradě concert dedicated to the occasion. The inclement weather meant that the planned garden venue had to be substituted for the Spanish Hall, but still it was interesting to see Emil Viklický and Jiří Stivín jamming together. Emil is currently working on a new album, as you will see from the rehearsal footage. More news on that when we have it.

Writing these words in the PJHQ penthouse, watching the rain coming down hard, it is hard to believe that this is really summer. Hopefully sunny days are on the way, but until then our advice is to kick back at home, open a beer or three, and put on your favourite Czech jazz album. If you want to contact us don't forget the Prague Jazz Facebook page, and also you can follow @tonyemmerson on Twitter.

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