The “Gipsy Kings” are the closing group for this year’s Nišville!

Gipsy Kings na Nišville Jazz Festivalu 12.08.2018
The world famous music group from France “The Gipsy Kings”, whose frontman is the guitarist Paco Baliardo, will perform on Sunday, the  12th of August, on the final evening of this years “Nišville” jazz festival, continuing the finest tradition of  “flamenco – gipsy jazz” expression as a part of their coming world tour.
Gipsy Kings - Nisville Jazz Festival 2018
Gipsy Kings – Nisville Jazz Festival 2018
This unique travelling music family will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, and as a part of  “Nišville” they will be receiving the most prestigious award – Grand Prix statuette  of  Šaban Bajramović which is awarded each year to the most important world fusion jazz musicians. Paco Baliardo is the son of the famous guitarist and singer Ricardo Baliardo, famous under his stage name Manitas De Plata (“Silver hands”) who brought flamenco, beforehand a local musical tradition, to the world, and the man who was characterized by the great Pablo Picasso as “Greater than even himself!”. It has been 25 years since The Gipsy Kings have graced the public with their first ever album which has gone gold and platinum all over the world, introducing millions to the unique and wonderful mix of traditional flamenco sounds to the beats of western pop and Latino music, at the same time mixing them with the gipsy jazz expression. Since then the band has been on many tours all the time reaching all corners of the world, selling 20 million copies of their albums. Recently, The Gipsy Kings have returned to the scene with their ninth album SAVOR FLAMENCO. With this project the group members were able, for the first time in their careers, to record their own music, independent from big recording studios. Through the years, the “King’s” music has incorporated Latino and Cubano styles, Arabic traditional music, reggae and jazz guitar sounds, which often reminds of French “gipsy swing” virtuoso – Django Reindhart. Despite that, as can be heard on their new album, they have never lost their strong connection with the traditional flamenco sounds they’ve inherited from their predecessors. “Bamboleo”, “Volare”, “You’ve got a friend in me”, are some of the greatest hits of this group, which are fan favorites through generations of this genre’s fans. Their brilliant cover of The Eagles’ “Hotel California” is another musical project The Gipsy Kings are very famous for. A very interesting fun fact about the group is that they draw inspiration fron their living place in Montpellier, France, where they spend their free time while they’re not touring with their families. Each time they come back to their enclave on the south of France, they relieve their experiences as migrants. The slogan of The Gipsy Kings’ current tour is a very effective one: “The Music of “The Kings” will make the whole world dance!”.   Their prestigious awards: Victoire  de  la  Musique:  Group of the year (1990) Roots  (2004)  named best album of the year at the 2005 Billboard  Latin  Music  Awards  2005 Grand Prix of the SACEM Directory for Export 2012 GRAMMY best Album WORLD MUSIC 2014

Lisa Simone performs on Nišville

 Renowned American singer and actress Lisa Simone will perform on the 11th of August of this years Nišville jazz festival. Lisa Simone is the daughter of late and great jazz, soul-rhythm, blues singer and fighter for civil rights, Nina Simone. With this performance, Lisa will comemorate her mothers 85th birthday, as well as her entry to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.   Through past couple of decades, Lisa Simone has shown that she is a performer by her own merit. As a singer, she performed on numerous prestigious venues like „Karnegi Hola“ in New York, the „Lincoln Centre“, „Town Hall“, the „Sydney Opera“ and „Olympia“… commonly alongside the great female vocals such as Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo, Odetta, Lizz Wright and Tracy Chapman. She was the headliner for many great Jazz festivals (Montreaux, North Sea, Marciac, Telluride), and also produced five solo albums: „Simone Superstar“, „Simone on Simone“, „Lisa Simone with Tromsø Big Band: Live at the Edge”, “All Is Well” (which made it to the 4th place on the FNAC jazz list), and “My world”(2016). She participated in recording of the soundtrack for the Tyler Parry movie “For Colored Girls”, and she was the co-producer, and one of the participants in the “Netflix” documentary about her mother “What Happened, Miss Simone?” which was nominated for an Oscar a couple of years ago. Another, quite interesting, accolade of Nina is that she served as an engineers apprentice in the US Airforce in a brigade in Germany. Along that she started singing, and performing as a back vocal to various European musicians, she also went on tours as a part of a Spanish musician choir “Rafaela”. However she received her big break on Broadway, where she debuted as her Soul Sister role in the famous Andrew Lloyd Weber musical “Jesus Christ-Superstar”. Her next role was in the year 1996. in an original Broadway lineup of rock musicals (inspired by Puccini’s “La Boheme”) “Rent”, and later that year she would go on her national, year and a half long, tour performing the main role (Mimi Marquez) for which she was nominated for the prestigious awards “Helen Hayes” and “Jefferson” respectively. She made a short break from Broadway when she joined an acid jazz group “Liquid Soul” with whom she went on tours and has recorded two albums, out of which “Here’s the Deal” was nominated for the “Grammy” award of the year 2000. Her return to Broadway was even more successful: Main roles in Disney productions such as “Aida” as Aida, and Nala in the legendary “Lion King”. For the role of Aida she received the “National Broadway Award for the best actress in a Musical”. With that show she went on an American tour, and after that she went on to play in the New York’s own “Palace Theatre” for which she got highest reviews in the topic centric magazines (Variety, Billboard). Lisa has remained in that production (but also while guest starring with the same role in the “Muny Theatre” in Saint Luis) up until the tragic passing away of her mother in the year 2003. She has returned to Saint Luis three years later starring a role of Fantine in the Musical “Les Miserables”. Nishville organizers are currently in the talks with mrs.Simone about a possible acting workshop alongside her musical one.  

Four Women: Lisa Simone, Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright, Angélique Kidjo

“Four Women” by Nina Simone Recording session: “Sing The Truth”, Jazz à Vienne 2009 by Simone, Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright, Angélique Kidjo: Four Women

Featuring the Original Nina Simone Band:

Al Shackman, guitar Chris White, bass

Paul Robinson, drums

Leopoldo Fleming, percussion

Jeremy Berlin, piano

Lisa Simone “Work Song” @Jazz_in_Marciac 2015

Individual night tickets for Nišville 2018. on sale starting the 1st of April!

Lineup - Nišville Jazz Festival
Nisville 2018 – presale tickets Individual night tickets for Nišville 2018. on sale starting the 1st of April!   The 35th International Nish Jazz festival „Nišville 2018“ will be held from the 3rd to the 12th of August, with the main festival program spanning four days: 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th of August (2018), within the fortress of Nish. The festival will be hosting a record of 1000 performers which will be presenting 250 different performances throughout 20 different stages and sets. Starting 1st of April of 2018. the ticket set costs 20 Euro. In the tradition of previous years, the ticket sets include the popular Midnight Jazzdance stage, which hosts prestigious DJs and Producers from Serbia and all around the world, as well as the most of the following programs of the festival. Starting sunday, April 1st, tickets for individual festival nights will be sold at the price of 12 Euro, as well as entrys for the VIP grandstand – the VIP sets will be sold at the price of 33 Euro and the VIP tickets for individual nights of the festival will be sold at the price of 16 Euro. Tickets can be aquired in all outlets which are a part of CS Eventim network in Serbia and abroad, as well as via online store at the following link: CS Eventim stores: The organizers of the festival exclaim that every ticket counts for one person. The ticket is taken at the entrance of the festival and a bracelet is acquired in place of the ticket. Among many of the performers, the festival will host some of the names such as: Gipsy Kings, Lisa Simone, Inner Circle, Omarr Hakim. Matt Bianco and many others.   You can find more festival information at the following link:

Get your Nišville ticket set at a promotional price by the end of March!

Individual night tickets for Nišville 2018. on sale starting the 1st of April!   The 35th International Nish Jazz festival „Nišville 2018“ will be held from the 3rd to the 12th of August, with the main festival program spanning four days: 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th of August (2018), within the fortress of Nish. The festival will be hosting a record of 1000 performers which will be presenting 250 different performances throughout 20 different stages and sets. Up until 31. of March ticket set for the whole festival can be purchased at a promotional price of 16 Euro which will cover all 25 concerts on the main stages, and start 1st of April of 2018. the ticket set will cost 20 Euro. In the tradition of previous years, the ticket sets include the popular Midnight Jazzdance stage, which hosts prestigious DJs and Producers from Serbia and all around the world, as well as the most of the following programs of the festival. Starting Sunday, April 1st, tickets for individual festival nights will be sold at the price of 12 Euro, as well as entries for the VIP grandstand – the VIP seats will be sold at the price of 33 Euro and the VIP tickets for individual nights of the festival will be sold at the price of 16 Euro.   Tickets can be acquired in all outlets which are a part of CS Eventim network in Serbia and abroad, as well as via online store at the following link: CS Eventim stores: The organizers of the festival exclaim that every ticket counts for one person. The ticket is taken at the entrance of the festival and a bracelet is acquired in place of the ticket. Among many of the performers, the festival will host some of the names such as Gipsy Kings, Lisa Simone, Inner Circle, Omar Hakim. Matt Bianco and many others. You can find more festival information at the following link:

Black Art Jazz Collective at Nisville

An all-star ensembles come to Serbia  Black Art Jazz Collective, an all-star ensemble of young American African musicians celebrating black culture in a positive way through music is going to perform at Nisville 2018 at Sunday, August 12th. The Collective was co-founded by saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and drummer Johnathan Blake. All graduating from esteemed music programs in the Northeast at the same time, the three quickly became ingrained in the New York Jazz scene as leaders and invaluable members of ensembles led by legends like Tom Harrell, Bobby Hutcherson, Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter and others.
Black Art Jazz Collective - Nišville Jazz Festival 2018
Black Art Jazz Collective – Nišville Jazz Festival 2018
Black Art Jazz Collective came together during an important period of Black identity in American society and in the arts, one of finding new strength and identity within America’s true art form, an African American art form, Jazz. Black Art Jazz Collective brings together an all-star ensemble of young musicians who felt that it was necessary to celebrate Black culture in a positive way and the focus on camaraderie between members who grew up playing music together comes through in their music. BAJC premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in April 2013 with then member bassist Dwayne Burno. His passing the following December was a shock and upset the jazz world, not to mention theCollective. It would prove to be a challenge to find a replacement and it wasn’t until Jeremy Pelt recommended Vicente Archer that the group found a perfect replacement, one who had connections to all the members and who was influenced greatly by Burno. In 2016 a great opportunity came by way of Ken Kitchings and Jan Mullen of The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme, Connecticut, namely a two-night gig and an opportunity to record with the venue’s new recording equipment. Kitchings and Mullen had expressed their love ofthe group and felt that it would be a perfect fit for their debut recording project. The resulting album Black Art Jazz Collective Presented By The Side Door Jazz Club has garnered much praise and 4.5 stars in Downbeat Magazine. The album is a tremendous example of theensemble’s incredible drive, swagger and cohesiveness, and is a fantastic document of authentic and expertly wrought music. Currently the band tours internationally performing all original music inspired by African -American icons such as W.E.B. Dubois, Sojourner Truth,Barack Obama and others. Black Art Jazz Collective is not only a band of some of the most talented and respected musicians their generation, but also a band of proud African American men dedicated to celebrating Black culture and committed to being positive role modelsto young musicians of all ethnicities and cultures. Qutoes: “The Black Art Jazz Collective is a powerhouse of contemporary jazztalent…” Downbeat Magazine “This collective sextet brings together an allstar lineup of rising postbob stars in a group with a political, as well as a musical purpose.” Joel Roberts – The New York City Jazz Record “The live audience is appreciative, and the listener will be, too. This is art music that grooves.” Brian Zimmerman – Downbeat Magazine “Black Art Jazz Collective delivered the strong tunes, sturdy structures and purposeful, formhugging improvisation” Mike Hobart – Financial Times

Latin jazz legends come in Serbia! Matt Bianco at Nisville 2018!

Mark Fisher & Mark Riley
One of the most popular Latin jazz bands in the world, British MATT BIANCO will perform at this year’s Nisville Jazz Festival on Saturday, August 11, 2108. Matt Bianco is a UK group formed in 1982 by Mark Reilly (vocals),Danny White (keyboards) and the late Kito Poncioni (bass) , all originally members of the band Blue Rondo A La Turk. For their first album “Whose Side Are You On ?” they hired unknown polish vocalist Basia Trzetrzelewska. Her vocal arrangements gave the album a jazzy dimension that Reilly and White couldn’t anticipate and hits like “Get Out of Your Lazy Bed” and “Half a Minute” turned Matt Bianco into one of the biggest acts of the 1980s . The bands name suggests that Matt Bianco is a personal name, but Matt Bianco is a fictitious character they invented from the spy, secret agent world that laid the concept for their music and imagery. “We loved spy TV themes and film s the 50s/60s/70s” said Mark Reilly
Mark Fisher & Mark RileyPRESS+SHOT+1
Matt Bianco – Nisville 2018
Basia and Danny White left the group after the first album to pursue a solo-career with Sony under the name Basia. Mark Reilly now without a musical partner found keyboard player and session musician Mark Fisher and recorded the next (self titled) Matt Bianco album which included the big hit “Yeah Yeah”, followed up by a European tour that saw them perform in front of more than 250,000 people. Now Matt Bianco was a household name in Europe and Warner Brothers thought it was time to get them into the U.S. market. In 1988 they hired Gloria Estefan’s husband and producer Emilio Estefan and recorded the album “Indigo”, which included the singles “Don’t Blame It On That Girl” and “Good Times”. Another song “Wap Bam Boogie” became European dance single of the year. After another album with Warner Brothers – “Samba In Your Casa” (1991), Reilly and Fisher split from their record company and went freelance. From now on they would record their albums in their own studios and then offer them to independent distributors worldwide. This way they had total artistic freedom but still scored contracts with ZYX Music ,Intercord in Europe and JVC-Victor in Asia. They created a loyal fan base in Japan and the rest of Asia with the albums “Another Time Another Place,” “Gran Via”, “World-Go-Round”, “A/ Collection”, “Rico” and “Echoes” with great success.
Mark Fisher & Mark Riley
Mark Fisher & Mark Riley – Matt Bianco nastupa na Nisvillu 2018
Basia and Danny White joined with Mark Reilly to reform the original Matt Bianco in 2003, after 20 years apart. In 2004, Matt Bianco released the album “Matt’s Mood” on Universal Records. The following year they embarked on a world tour which included stops in the UK, Japan, and the United States. In 2009 Mark Reilly and Mark Fisher joined forces again and released the album  “HiFi Bossanova” on the German label Edel, their first studio album together for 7 years.  They went on to perform concerts and jazz festivals worldwide and in 2012  released the album entitled  “Hideaway”. Mark Reilly looking to expand his creative outlook now teamed up with the Dutch band New Cool Collective to make a collaboration album called “The Things You Love” ( New Cool Collective – Mark Reilly/Matt Bianco ) which along with concerts all over Holland has been very well received on it’s release in November 2015 .The album had a Worldwide release with JVC/Edel and a tour started in March 2016 carrying on into 2017 with great success. Mark Reilly is looking forward to the next chapter of Matt Bianco after the sad loss of his long term partner Mark Fisher. A new Matt Bianco album nears completion featuring a new band of musicians from the Jazz world. The new album was recorded in Brixton London and Stockholm with collaborations from Jazz saxophonists Dave O’Higgins and Magnus Lindgren, mixed by Mark in his studio in London. The new album “Gravity” is available now on CD + Download

Inner Circle at Nisville 2018 opening

Inncer Circle - Nisville 2018
Legendary reggae band for the very first time in Serbia   Inner Circle at Nisville 2018 opening   As part of the world tour of the great jubilee – 50 years of existence, one of the most significant reggae band  –  INNER CIRCLE will be on the opening of the upcoming Nišville Jazz Festival on Thursday, August 9, 2018.
Inncer Circle - Nisville 2018
Inncer Circle – Nisville 2018
When looking at Inner Circle and their 20 year plus history in the reggae field there is much more than what meets the eye. This Jamaican bred, Grammy award winning quintet, is one of the world’s most respected reggae groups with a long string of successes stretching back to the mid-70′s. Inner Circle blends a special style of pop-oriented Jamaican beats and energy that have made them the leading stars of their movement. Their spirit through the power of reggae within live performances has allowed the band to transcend the traditional reggae niche and create a widespread crossover appeal. Inner Circle plays at many of the world’s largest music festivals, headlining alongside such towering pop and rock music icons as Elton John, Van Morrison, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Carlos Santana, and many others. In 1978, while playing for the One Love Reggae Peace Concert in Jamaica, the historic event in the film “Heartland Reggae,” which featured Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, the band achieved a major breakthrough when Chris Blackwell signed the group to Island Records. That same year, they achieved substantial commercial success with the Island album “Everything Is Great,” which became a Top 20 hit in the U.K and a Top 10 smash in France, and produced the popular singles “Mary, Mary” and “Music Machine.” Tragically, just as the band was poised for a major international breakthrough, Jacob Miller, the lead vocalist was killed in a car accident on March 23, 1980. Devastated, the rest of the band broke up. Ian Lewis and Harvey moved to Miami and opened a recording studio named Circle House, while Roger Lewis joined them not too long after. Inner Circle became one of the first Jamaican groups to tour in the U.S. Circle House Studios remains one of the most prominent recording studios in Miami to date and was the home of the 2014 worldwide smash hit “Happy,” by Pharell Williams. Inner Circle achieved new levels of international success in the 1990s. The title track of the album “Bad Boys” became a #1 hit in almost every European territory, and sold approximately seven million copies worldwide. Meanwhile, the Fox television network chose “Bad Boys” as the theme song for its reality show Cops, premiering in March 1989. As the program turned into a hit, “Bad Boys” became a household pop-culture reference. Marking the 25-year anniversary that “Bad Boys” has been on Cops, it has been named the #1 most played reggae song across the world. “Sweat (A La La La La Long)” exploded across the world right after, topping the charts in several countries in Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand as well as the European continent where it became the most played record in Germany and remained at #1 for a full three months. After winning a 1993 Grammy for Best Reggae Album with “Bad Boys,” the band scored again with the 1994 album Reggae Dancer, which earned another Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album. “Summer Jammin” was featured in the soundtrack of Eddie Murphy’s film Beverly Hills Cop III. The track “Bad Boys” became a hit again when it was used as a title song for the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action film with the same name, including the sequel, Bad Boys II. Since 1997 Inner Circle has undertaken one of its most intense periods of touring, playing to enormous crowds, often in territories where few touring acts dare to venture.
Inncer Circle - Nisville 2018
Inncer Circle – Nisville 2018
“In the last three or four years, we’ve been everywhere in the world, ” says Roger Lewis. “Brazil, Guam, India, Taipei, Beirut, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Asia, India the United Arab Emirates,” continues Lancelot Hall. “To some people a world tour is North America, Europe and Japan, but not us. If it’s on the map, we’re going there.” “Traveling around the world, you really learn that everybody’s basically the same,” observes Ian Lewis. Inner Circles recent collaborations include a remix of Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dog’s “Young Wild and Free,” featuring Bizerk, and I-Octane, which has reached up to 3 million views on YouTube, an amazing feat for a reggae track. Recently in May of 2014 young artistes and producers Chronixx, Steven McGregor, Don Corleone and Supa Dups assembled together at Circle House Studios. Chronixx is the latest to work with the Miami based veterans. He sang the lyrics to Tenement Yard with Miller’s distinctive vocals from the original track in the background. According to Lewis, “Jacob would be very happy…It’s a perfect bridge of past and present.” He says, “This song is gonna run Reggae Music.” Inner Circle is also releasing new projects with the talents of Nengo and Flo Rida in a song called “Fall in Love.” They also recently did a “One Love” remix and included the works of artist Pitbull, as well as Peter Morgan. Roger Lewis, Inner Circle’s co-founder and guitar player, says working with contemporary reggae acts is their way of reaching out to a new generation. “In a way (it is) to reach a new ‘demo’ but we collaborate with the artists we feel have the right vibe and who touch us musically,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “We are all one, regardless of our different ideas, and music is the best way to communicate that. Music is the highest language; it transcends politics, geography, and skin color, and it transcends all the things that separate people.” According to Touter Harvey, “The name Inner Circle means family, and that’s what we are. We’re all devoted to the band and each other, and that’s what makes us strong. We believe in the spiritual vibes of family and friends. Our success is nothing without warm, genuine people around to share it. Being successful is day-to-day just trying to be happy and keeping it real.”  

Omar Hakim & Rachel Z “OZ Experience” at Nišville

OZ experiance - Nisville 2018
  Legenadry drummer comes to Niš   Omar Hakim & Rachel Z “OZ Experience” at Nišville   The band “OZ Experience” led by legendarz drummer Omar Hakim and his wife – pianist Rachel Z is going to perform at Nisville 2018, at Friday, August 10th. Members of the band are also bassist Linley Marthe and guitar player JC Maillard leader of the band “Grand Baton”.    
Rachel Z_033_by John Abbott - nisville 2018
Rachel Z_033_by John Abbott – nisville 2018
  Pianist Rachel Z and drummer Omar Hakim bring their considerable skills and combined wealth of musical experiences to bear on their collaborative project, The Trio of Oz. Blending a deftly swinging jazz sensibility with their genuine love of alternative rock, the two kindred spirits put a new spin on edgy anthems like “Angry Chair” by Alice in Chains, “Sour Girl” by Stone Temple Pilots, “Lost” by Coldplay and “I Will Possess Your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie, among others. And while some jazz-oriented interpreters of pop music often make the mistake of ‘playing at’ the music, O and Z interpret these tunes from the inside out, capturing their essence before applying creative reharmonizations, rhythmic twists and stirring improvisations. Perhaps it comes across so organically because both Rachel and Omar are uncommonly open-minded artists, equally conversant in jazz and rock – Rachel having apprenticed with Wayne Shorter and Peter Gabriel, Hakim having played with Weather Report and Miles Davis as well as Sting, Madonna and David Bowie. Or maybe their near-telepathic connection comes from the fact that they are husband and wife. Whatever the reason, the tremendously talented couple has found a perfect musical match in The Trio of Oz.
OZ experiance - Nisville 2018
OZ experiance – Nisville 2018
While the two have known each other for the past 20 years and even did sessions together, they didn’t hook up romantically until 2009. As Omar recalls, “I hadn’t seen her in maybe eight or nine years. I admired her, she admired me; we just never had a chance to really hang out. So in 2009, we were both free and we just discovered there was a vibe there. We went on a date in August, 2009, and we’ve been inseparable ever since.” Their musical collaboration began on Rachel’s 2009 album I Will Possess Your Heart for the Japanese Pony Canyon label. Omar played on half of the recording and they recognized on that session that their chemistry was both deep and immediate. “As soon as we started playing together the vibe was so thick,” Hakim recalls, “It had an instant kind of cohesiveness to it. And because both of us play rock music, I think that I was able to kind of pay respects to the original forms of the songs but then reframe them rhythmically and give them the space for the improv for Rachel to explore.” Rather than touring as the Rachel Z Trio in support of the music on I Will Possess Your Heart, Hakim suggested an alternate course. “Because the music is so banging,” he told Rachel, “why don’t we just rebrand it and call it something else and just go out and have some fun.” And so The Trio of Oz was born. They began recording sessions for their self-titled debut in April, 2010, and they have been receiving glowing reviews for their live shows with bassist Maeve Royce ever since. New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” the Morissey-penned “There is a Light” and “Det Tar Tid” by the Swedish band Dungen are other examples of the trio’s teamwork. On the bandstand or in the studio, Omar and Rachel engage in conversational call-and-response interactions from bar to bar within a song, in the tradition of all great piano trios over time from Erroll Garner to Ahmad Jamal to Bill Evans and beyond. But the repertoire is very different from the standard jazz piano trio. No other band on the scene today includes Wayne Shorter’s “E.S.P.” and “Stone Temple Pilot’s “Sour Girl” in the same set, and can cover both songs with such integrity and authenticity. Just as Miles Davis covered popular tunes of the day back in the 1950s like “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “Someday My Prince Will Come” and John Coltrane interpreted “My Favorite Things” and “Chim-Chim-Cheree” in the 1960s, so too are Rachel and Omar putting their stamp on pop tunes of their time.
Omar HakimPhotograph by John Abbott©
Omar Hakim
Photograph by John Abbott
“I think what gives us an edge is the fact that we do play rock music,” says Hakim. “And when we’re playing rock we’re not jazz musicians who are playing rock. We are playing rock! But at the same time, both of us are steeped in jazz. I think that’s another reason why Rachel’s concept was a good fit for me. I was able to give it a shape that comes from playing rock but growing up in the jazz tradition. I could blend things differently from a guy who really didn’t grow up playing rock on drums, let alone playing rock in front of 50,000 people. So now when I hear a Coldplay song, I’m listening to it like a rock drummer but when I hear Rachel’s arrangement, I’m framing it as a jazz drummer. So it’s and interesting blend.” Adds Rachel, “We really love this music, so when we play it, we really have a respect for it that I think is really useful.” Rachel’s classical upbringing – her mother was an opera singer and she began voice lessons herself at an early age — was interrupted by her immersion in jazz as a teenager. At age 15, she went to a summer session at the Berklee College of Music and later studied with pianists Joanne Brackeen and Richie Beirach, followed by jazz studies at the New England Conservatory. She subsequently landed gigs with Mike Mainieri’s Steps Ahead in 1990 and the Al Di Meola group in 1992 before apprenticing with master composer Wayne Shorter . Her tenure in Peter Gabriel’s band during his Growing Up tours from 2002 to 2006 flung open the door to the rock world, and she’s been at the forefront of blending alternative rock and jazz ever since in her own trio. Omar’s roots are strictly in jazz. His father Hasan Hakim was a trombonist who played with such jazz legends as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong and often brought his young son along with him to gigs (even allowing him to sit in at the age of 10). Growing up in Jamaica, Queens with such other musically-inclined friends as bassist Marcus Miller, keyboardist Bernard Wright, trumpeter Tom Browne and drummer Lenny White and later attending the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan put Omar on a track toward a career in music. His big break came when he joined the premier fusion group Weather Report in 1982. He subsequently ventured into the pop realm by touring and recording with superstars like Sting, Madonna and David Bowie while also appearing on albums by Mick Jagger (1987’s Primitive Cool), Dire Straits (1985’s Brothers in Arms, 1988’s Money for Nothing), Mariah Carey (1990’s Mariah Carey) and Michael Jackson (1995’s HIStory). During her years of intensive woodshedding at the New England Conservatory, Rachel was a self-described jazz purist. As she recalls, “The only non-jazz groups I really liked were Steely Dan, Yes and the Police. My attitude toward pop then was, ‘It’s all commercial bullshit!’ So I didn’t really allow myself to get into rock music then.” A turning point for her came in 1995 while working on Wayne Shorter’s Grammy Award-winning High Life album. “After that I started getting into bands like Depeche Mode, Coldplay and U2. I was a little late on Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, Courtney Love, Alice in Chains. The Killers and New Order came much later. I basically caught myself up on that whole English rock scene and the alt rock scene, and I found myself kind of attracted to goth rock. So I had the concept to kind of be a goth jazz band. And that’s why I tend to pick songs that are more hard-edged.” On Coldplay’s “Lost” she uses Shorter’s style of non-functional harmony. On Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart,” she incorporates a bit of Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay” while on the Morrisey song “There’s a Light,” she uses “Giant Steps” kind of changes. Says Rachel, “It’s really important to me to have blowing changes on these tunes that are as challenging as Wayne Shorter’s ‘E.S.P.’, which is another reason why we keep that song in our live sets. It’s a kind tune that really keeps you on your toes, and it also inspires people who don’t know anything about jazz to go find out more about Wayne Shorter.” She is also quick to point out that the lyrical content of some of this alternative rock piece were particularly inspiring to her. “Tunes like ‘Angry Chair’ and The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young’ are really important to me. ‘Angry Chair’ is a really dark song but the bridge is all about there’s light, there’s hope. And shortly after he wrote that tune, the singer committed suicide. And ‘When You Were Young’ is a really heavy song about dreams and love and being disillusioned. The Stone Temple Pilots song ‘Sour Girl’ has really important lyrics to me. And ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ has really intense lyrics that Omar and I really like. ‘There Is A Light’ is a dark, twisted lyric about if a double decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is a wonderful way to die. And the lyrical content of these songs really plays into the arrangement for both of us. Because Omar will play a beat that goes with the feeling. And we both have such a conversational thing going on through all of these songs.” Adds Omar, “Oh, it’s incredible, man! It’s this weird, magical thing that happens when we play together. It’s almost like it taps you on the shoulder in a way, ‘Here it is, here’s the magic.’” While Rachel and Omar are touring this summer in The Trio of Oz, they will also be backing Italian legend Pino Daniele on some select concerts in Europe.   PRESS QUOTES
  • The Guardian/John Fordham: “Witty, original, focused,
and a formidable exponent of a post-Herbie Hancock/ McCoy Tyner style meets the Bad Plus, Z makes a charismatic role model…the pairing of Z and Hakim turns up the intensity and the piano virtuosity more”
  • Financial Times/Mike Hobart: “….Rachel Z, whose new
piano trio dovetails the detailed choreography of jazz into the flimsier structures of pop and rock. It featured the pyrotechnic flare of drummer Omar Hakim – introduced, not inconceivably, as “the best drummer in the world” – and any musician would need to be on their mettle simply to keep
  1. Rachel Z not only complemented Hakim’s rhythmic
tiger, but also joined a still small group of jazz musicians whose canny arrangements and trenchant swing rejig indie pop into unadulterated jazz.”
  • JAZZWISE UK July 2007: “there are few artists as gifted as
Miss Z”.
  • LA Times/Don Heckman: “…Z’s piano work, with its
marvelous combination of air, flow and rhythm…”.
  • Keyboard Magazine: “If you’re a jazz aficionado, this CD
will give you newfound respect for rock songwriting. If you’re not, it may well turn you into one. Essential listening.”  

Second Round of Promo Prices for Nisville Jazz Festival 2018 Ticket Sets

SECOND ROUND OF PROMO PRICES FOR NISVILLE JAZZ FESTIVAL 2018 TICKET SETS The 35 th international Nišville jazz festival 2018 will be held from 3 rd to 12 th of August, with the main festival programs to be held from 9 th until 12th of August 2018 at the Fortress of Niš. A total of 1000 participants will be performing at 250 shows on 20 different stages and scenes. The tickets for 25 concerts at the main stage (Earth & Sky Stage), from January 22nd, 2018 will be sold at the price of 17 Euro. The ticket set will be also for the Midnight Jazzdance Stage, where eminent world and local DJs will perform. The purchased sets will also be valid for the Nišville Jazz Theater festival, as well as for the Nišville Movie Summit. Otherwise, the price of the set immediately prior to the festival will be 35 Euro and the individual ticket will cost 13 Euro. The number of promo tickets is limited and a special discount of 50% for the sets will be valid until the end of the contingent sale. Tickets can be purchased at all CS Eventim stores in Serbia and abroad, as well as online at nis-niska- tvrdava- 474116/event.html CS Eventim stores: The organizers emphasize that the ticket set is valid for one person only. The tickets are exchanged for a special festival bracelet at the festival entrance. More information at

Nisville 2018 ticket set at the price of a one-day ticket – first 500 ticket sets at 12.5€!

Nišville Promo Komplet Karata

As of Tuesday, October 03, the ticket sets for Nišville 2018 will be on sale at the price of 12.5 euros each. This promo price is available for first 500 tickets only.

The 35th international Nišville jazz festival 2018 (August 03 -12), held at the Fortress of Niš, Serbia, will include 250 performances of the total of 1000 musicians at 20 stages. The 60% discount for the ticket sets means that you pay less than 0.5 euros per performance at the main festival venues. The original price of a ticket set is 35€.

Are tickets available in CS Eventim stores and online at Look for CS Eventim stores at

The ticket set is for one person only – during the festival, the visitors will get a special bracelet with which they will be able to enter the main festival area.

More information at