Last night, the first edition of the Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival concluded with a sensational concert by one of the world’s most renowned jazz musicians, four-time Grammy winner Antonio Sánchez, and his band Bad Hombre. Sánchez performed the album “SHIFT” (Bad Hombre vol. 2) in front of an enthusiastic audience. This album is the result of collaboration with some of today’s most eminent jazz artists, featuring compositions from international musicians and songwriters who entrusted him with their songs for reinterpretation. Joining Sánchez on stage at the Grand Hotel’s garden were Thana Alexa, BIGYUKI, and Lex Sadler. As a special surprise, Joe Lovano and David Sànchez joined them during the final performance.
The enchanting evening concluded with a jam session where participants of the Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival showcased their talents alongside their mentors, culminating in a grand closing party.
“I am so proud, happy, and fulfilled. Although I am well aware of the greatness of all the artists who honoured us with their presence on Lopud, as well as the boundless talent of all the participants, the first edition of the Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival exceeded all our expectations. A magical atmosphere of creation, mutual inspiration, support, and true love for music unfolded. I will savour the fruits of our intensive months of work a bit more, and then we will begin preparations for the second edition. I want to thank all the masters, participants, and all the good people who made these three days feel like the most beautiful dream,” said Thana Alexa, the artistic director of the Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival.
The last day of PL Jazz started with a masterclass conducted by Antonio Sánchez himself, where participants had the opportunity to gain the necessary tools for storytelling through music, a skill that musicians of all instruments, styles, and levels can use to organize their thoughts through music and start telling their own stories.
From August 31 to September 2, Lopud was a place of meeting, learning, and idea exchange among world-class jazz musicians and young professionals. Lectures were given by the master in residence and the renowned saxophonist Joe Lovano, and mentors such as drummer Antonio Sánchez, Grammy-nominated jazz singer, composer, and arranger Thana Alexa, Japanese pianist BIGYUKI, Australian bassist Lex Sadler, Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sánchez, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, Croatian drummer Lada Obradović, and French pianist David Tixier. Thirteen young professionals from Croatia and other countries attended their lectures and workshops: Haddis Alemayehu, masinqo – Ethiopian lyre (Ethiopia), Mirsad Dalipi, drums (Kosovo), Aldo Foško, piano and saxophone (Croatia), Maja Grgić, vocals (Croatia), Milena Jančurić, flute (Serbia), Lana Janjanin, piano and vocals (Croatia), Jošt Lampret, bass (Slovenia), Stevan Milijanović, piano (Serbia), Borna Pehar, piano (Croatia), Žiga Smrdel, drums (Slovenia), Ajda Stina Turek, vocals (Slovenia), Lidija Strika, bass (Croatia), and Angelica Zacchigna, vocals (Italy and Croatia).
Concerts and jam sessions were held throughout all three festival days. On the first festival night, Grammy-winning saxophonist Sánchez, along with long-time collaborators Luis Perdomo (piano) and Ricky Rodriguez (bass), performed a compact adaptation of a contemporary ensemble of pan-African music, rooted in Afro-Puerto Rican music. They were joined by fellow drummer Antonio Sánchez. The following evening featured the Obradović & Tixier Duo, led by French pianist David Tixier and Croatian drummer Lada Obradović. Each evening ended with a jam session where top jazz artists united with participants, delivering virtuosic jazz improvisations that blended elements of jazz, classical music, hip-hop, soul, rock, dance, and electronic music, expanding musical horizons and connecting through music.
“Organizing such a festival is challenging on multiple levels. But night after night, as I sat under the beloved palms of the Lopud locals and enjoyed the performances of some of the world’s best jazz musicians, I became even more aware of how all the effort paid off. The reactions of the masters, lecturers, participants, the audience, and, equally importantly to me, the Lopud locals, motivate me to continue, and I’m already looking forward to the second edition of the Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival. Thanks to everyone who, with their hard work, love for music, and talent, enriched our lovely island,” concludes Tilda Grossel Bogdanović, co-organizer of the Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival.
Just as Tilda Grossel Bogdanović passionately stated, after Joe Lovano symbolically planted the first festival olive tree in the Đorđić Mayneri park in the company of other mentors and participants, we believe that one day there will be a real olive grove in this beautiful park on one of the most gorgeous Mediterranean islands.