Pori Jazz Festival – once again full of stars!

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The Pori Jazz Festival was held for the 46th successive year – Pori Jazz is going on as one of the major venues in jazz festival scene in Europe.Pori Jazz Festival were attended by around 57000 paid visitors: in all there were heard 140 concerts, around 100 performing ensembles/bands and single performers more than 600.
On the stage were seen such jazz names as Randy Brecker / Bill Evans Soulbop feat. Medeski, Martin & Wood, Charles Lloyd New Quartet, Randy Weston African Rhythms Trio, Jeff “Tain” Watts and Sing the Truth feat. Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves & Lizz Wright.

In Finnish Jazz scene was performing among others composer & pianist Kerkko Koskinen’s new 14-man orchestra and Aki Rissanen Trio with famous trumpetist Verneri Pohjola.

Johanna Försti, alias Jo Stance published last year her first solo album, Jo Stance, which put her right away to the highest level of Finnish soul singers.This woman with great voice has since sung mostly soul/funk oriented music with the UMO, Sami Saari, Tuomo Prättälä, Niko Ahvonen and the Boston Promenade, to name a few.

Johanna was at her best in her solo Jo Stance, produced in that warm 60’s style by drummer Teppo Mäkynen. It was funky sound with great melodies was inspired by Aretha Franklin, poppy motown and atmospheric torch songs á la Julie London. But the fire to this piece of dynamite was lit by Jo’s awesome high-energy singing which made the audience dancing and singing along.

Soul, funk, blues and world music were also strongly presented: Elton John, Tom Jones, Ricky Martin, Black Dub feat. Daniel Lanois, Brian Blade & Trixie Whitley, Seasick Steve, Rumer, Zigaboo Modaliste, Ojos de Brujo, James Hunter, The Budos Band, Menahan Street Band and Aloe Blacc. Mos Def is the biggest name on hip hop genre.

Pori Jazz Festival had during three successive days three cash magnets Elton John, Tom Jones and Ricky Martin, which financed the actual various jazz venues for jazz lovers during the festival.

Elton John during his four-decade career has sold more than 250 million records – made of mixture of blues, country, soul, rock and pop – including the famous Candle in The Wind song – making him one of the most successful artists of all time. He has won six Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award.

Jovial and energetic Sir Elton started his “Greatest Hits Tour”- Finland Concert with Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting and presented also various other fine old hits from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road to wild Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock with audience singing, and Daniel and Your Song. During his concert Sir Elton also presented some pieces from his newest album The Union, which he published last year with Leon Russell.

Band Members: Parmet DC, Bullard J Kim, keys, Birch Bob, bass, Olsson Nigel (original member since 1969), drums, Mahon John, percussion, Banks Lisa, vocals, Witherspoon Jean, vocals, Stone Rose, vocals, Vega Tata, vocals, Sulic Luka, cello, Hauser Stjepan, cello, Johnstone Davey (band leader since 1971), guitar. Sulic Luka, cello and Hauser Stjepan, cello were new members and made excellent cello music contribution to the band.

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 Tom Jones is not being called The Welsh Tiger for nothing. Whether one talks about the power of voice or sheer life energy, few can equal to Tom Jones. More than fifty years in the show business have not slowed him down at all. His lates album, Praise & Blame, where he interprets Dylan and John Lee Hooker, among others, came out in 2010 and went straight to nr. 2 on the British chart.

His performance in Pori Jazz was a full-bodied show with his 12-man band from I Never Fall in Love Again, Delilah to Dixie Chicken, which his audience (around 18000 listeners) liked very much.

The ruling super star of Latin pop singer Ricky Martin appeared into international popularity in 1999 with his massive Livin’ la Vida Loca single hitting the charts in many countries from US to Asia and Europe.

Ricky Martin and his big show group with outstanding dancers performed in hot style also on other hits like from his 9th album, Música+Alma+Sexo. Audience got a hot music and show package, which unfortunately the rain cooled off a little bit – therefore their audience was not more than 10000 listeners.

Sing the Truth Concert was performed by the world famous singers Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Dianne Reeves (US) and Lizz Wright (US) which go deep into material by great female singers of jazz, blues, soul and folk, such as Miriam Makeba, Billie Holiday, Odetta, Abbey Lincoln, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman and Lauryn Hill, throwing in some of their own songs as well.

The band was featuring renown players, too, like pianist Geri Allen, bass man James Genus and drummer Terry Lyne Carrington. They gave a lot of women power with excellent music for the festival.

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Text och foto: Esa Paavolainen

For more information see www.porijazz.fi for this festival and for the next year festival dates.