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North Sea Jazz Festival Returns July 14-16

The North Sea Jazz Festival returns for its 31st year this July 14-16 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Audiences can expect a wide range of genres-everything from jazz, blues and soul to funk, hip-hop and R&B. The North Sea Jazz Festival is described on its Web site as “a festival where, again and again, three generations of jazz lovers have been able to enjoy a varied program in a unique, intimate atmosphere.”

Though the festival has occurred for three decades, this year’s festival will be one of new beginnings, as it takes place at a different site due to concerns regarding construction and overcrowding in the previous venue. The new venue is called the Ahoy’ Rotterdam.

The festival highlights a variety of exciting new and familiar jazz performers. On Friday, July 14, master saxophonist Branford Marsalis (pictured) will perform with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the James Carter Quintet will honor the music of composer/saxophonist Don Byas. Also on Friday, fans can check out legendary fusion artists the Clarke/Duke project and Fourplay, who will delight audiences with bass and keyboard combinations. Representing American folk in jazz will be guitarist Bill Frisell, vocalist/guitarist Doug Wamble and the Tin Hat Quartet. For fans of big bands, the Danish Radio Big Band, John Hollenbeck & Jazz Big Band Graz and the Belgium Flat Earth Society will perform.

Saturday, July 15 features performances by Katrina victims such as the Irma Thomas Band and Davell Crawford Band, while soul vocalists Raul Midon, Donnie and Anthony David and the Dutch Caprice will perform sparse, acoustic sets in what the North Sea Jazz Festival refers to as “Bare Naked Brothers.” Also on this day, the festival will welcome newcomer vocalists Matt Dusk and Torun Eriksen, along with chamber jazz musician Trygve Seim and pop drummer Manu Katche. The festival will also present Nairobian groups such as Abbi and Kikwetu, Harry Kimani and Eric Wainaina.

On Sunday, July 16, the festival welcomes fusion band Weather Report and 2006 IFJO Jazz Award winner Kjetil Moster. Sunday’s program will also feature a performance from Joost Buis, a rising Dutch jazz composer selected for North Sea’s Jazz Composition Assignment.

For further information on other performers, ticket sales and hotel arrangements please visit

Originally Published