The Melilla Jazz Sessions celebrate their 10th anniversary and pay tribute to Cifuentes





Melilla doesn’t like its wall, because it has an ugly face and a barbed skin. Its border fence has sprouted an extra three meters and is now six meters high, but life is still worth the same as before - a price dictated by the color of your passport. Every day the city experiences the anguish of immigration and bemoans the fact that this human drama only arouses interest when it hits the headlines. On a different plane, the city also laments the indifference shown by the mainland towards its cultural life, in spite of the fact that this 12 square kilometer enclave hosts interesting film, poetry and singer-songwriter cycles, and a jazz festival that is the jewel in the musical crown.
This weekend the UNED Jazz Sessions celebrated their tenth birthday and are now well on the way to their coming of age. The mood of the celebration was halfway between remembering a job well done and looking forward to new emotions; between

the certainty of the past and the uncertainty of what is yet to come. The sessions have seen out their first decade as one of the benchmark events of the Spanish jazz scene, although now the organizers should reflect on the need to take on new challenges without abandoning any of their hallmark features. At least that’s the opinion of Angel Castro, a history teacher with a doctorate in jazz who is the festival’s prime mover.
The latest edition of these UNED jazz sessions features the classical contribution of guitarist Jordi Bonell, the vocal renderings of Celia Mur and her Orange Swing, the avant garde inspiration of pianist Abe Rábade, and the orchestral power behind Madrid-based saxophonist, Bob Sands’ Big Band.
The sessions also included a master class from our very own Toots Thielemans, Antonio Serrano, plus talks, films, and a photographic exhibition by Coral

Hernández entitled Jazz Impressions, which will go to Madrid in the third week of March The Espacio Bop gallery of Madrid will be hosting the exhibition, displaying the jazz personalities and moments that this artist of the lens captured at major jazz festivals in the eighties.
This year the Aula 10 Award went to Juan Claudio Cifuentes

Cifu, the true doyen of the musical press in Spain and director of the radio program, Jazz porque sí, which next week celebrates its 35th anniversary. Nobody asked why he was chosen: his name alone was explanation enough.
As for the music, highlights included the new repertoire from young Galician pianist Abe Rábade, soon to feature on his new Playing on Light album, and the festival-closing gig by the Bob Sands Big Band which received an abundance of critical plaudits thanks to the orchestral direction of New Yorker Bob Sands and the individual talent of soloists such as Chris Kase on trumpet or Bobby Martínez on sax.






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