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October 10, 2009

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Chillin' for global music bash of jazz, rock, electro-grass vibes

MUSIC to groove to, rock to and knock your socks off arrives in the Sixth Jazz Shanghai music festival from October 16 to 18. It features 40 groups playing jazz, hip-hop, rock, electronic, house, grass, folk, flamenco fusion and vibes galore.

The show opens with Grammy-winning American jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater at Yunfeng Theater on Beijing Road W. and then moves outdoors to Century Park in Pudong.

Performers from China and 12 other countries include acid jazz-rap group Us3, the 2008 Sony Music Award winner Freshly Ground from South Africa, Danish "jazz queen" Sinne Eeg, the Professor Band, Isradixie Band from Israel, Global Music Foundation from the UK, horn soloist Verneri Pohjola from Finland, Canadian saxophonist Yannick Rieu, Spanish flamenco band Abraham Carmona and Chinese singers Cui Jian, the "godfather of Chinese rock," Zheng Jun, Zhang Chu and Chang Xuan.

"The festival offers good choices in jazz and folk, as well as rock and electronic music," says Ren Yuqing, organizer of the event.

After Bridgewater's opening concert, the jazz festival becomes a music carnival at Century Park with a jazz stage, rock stage and an electro-grass stage. There will be plenty of spinning and dancing.

"We hope to convey the idea of 'jazz world, classic rock, music holiday'," says Ren.

At the jazz stage, the hip-hop jazz crew Us3 will make its China debut. Founded in London in 1991, the band is also considered the acme of jazz rap and British acid jazz.

"The whole band is excited to be coming," says Geoff Wilkinson, the producer. Over the years the lineup has changed and different vocalists are used on each album.

"Most of the band members have been with me for a good few years now, though we're quite a tight little team of people. The band is a living breathing extension of the albums really -- come and see," Wilkinson tells Shanghai Daily.

The group has been touring Europe a lot this year, promoting the latest seventh album "Stop. Think. Run" released at the end of March.

At the Shanghai show they will play tracks from all seven albums, emphasizing the last two.

Danish jazz queen Sinne Eeg became one of the most popular jazz stars in Denmark with her album "Waiting for Dawn." Her new album in English, "Remembering You," was released this year.

She says she draws inspiration from Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Dinah Washington, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Chet Baker and Oscar Peterson.

In 2004 Eeg and her band performed for three months at Shanghai's House of Blues & Jazz.

"We had such a great time that we kept coming back the following years," Eeg tells Shanghai Daily.

"I love Shanghai! It has been like my second home during three years. I love the energy here, and the way the art and music scene develops," she says.

In the upcoming show, Eeg and her band will perform her own compositions and some American jazz standards.

Other heavyweights include Freshly Ground, a South African Afro-fusion band formed in Cape Town in 2002. It incorporates traditional South African music, such as Kwela and African folk, blues and jazz, as well as features of indie rock.

The festival will feature what may be China's ultimate outdoor electronic music stage. The electro-grass stage will host over 12 hours of music and dancing; 20 DJs and VJs, MCs and vocalists, including Ben Huang, The Milkman, Dave K, Bananas Soundsystem, Void, STD, The Antidote, The Dynamic, Uprooted Sunshine Soundsystem, DJ Elnomo, Mr Tsang, The Lab and Red Star.

"Electronic, hip-hop, house and all varieties of dance music will be presented outside in the sun," says organizer Ren.

Famous Chinese musicians, such as Cui Jian, will perform on the rock stage. Others include Zheng Jun, who released his first album in 1994 and whose songs "Back to Lhasa" and "Naked" are still very popular today, Zhang Chu, regarded "the most lonesome singer-poet," Chang Xuan, a Taiwanese indie music icon, and Wang Xiaokun, a rising pop star with a rock heart.

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Date: October 16, 7:30pm

Venue: Yunfeng Theater, 1700 Beijing Rd W.

Tickets: 100-1,500 yuan

Outdoor party

Date: October 17-18, 12-10pm

Venue: Century Park, 1001 Jinxiu Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 150 yuan for single day, 200 yuan for two days

Tel: 6431-7113

Check for more information.


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