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Review: Barcelona Jazz Festival 2012

Doing it right with a varied, international focus

Christian Scott, Barcelona Jazz Festival 2012
Melody Gardot, Barcelona Jazz Festival 2012
Chick Corea, Carles Benavant, Christian McBride and Brian Blade, Barcelona Jazz Festival 2012

Mastering the necessary algorithms for a successful, annual jazz festival is tricky. Ask any producer. So much pulls in opposite directions, like the need to satisfy a core jazz audience while attracting more mainstream fans. Meeting an ever-fluctuating bottom line while maintaining a consistent musical vision. It was challenging enough when money was more plentiful. Things are increasingly difficult now-fewer jazz legends can pack a theater, and fewer corporate sponsors and public funding sources are able to lend support.

Not the best conditions for taking chances or innovation, which is the lifeblood of any festival. Today, the well-established ones (think New Orleans or Newport, Monterey or Montreux) keep to winning formulas; the headliners make perfect sense and are perfectly predictable. In places where economies are teetering, like Italy and Spain, other festivals rely on less major acts, get creative and soldier on.

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