Now in its eighth year, the JZ Festival sees dozens of live acts -- jazz, jazz-fusion, acid-jazz and not-really-jazz-much-at-all -- splurt out live sets over two days, this year down by the river in the old Expo site.
That’s this Saturday and Sunday. Then next week there are more formal sit-down concerts at the Shanghai Centre, with established jazz acts and other smooooooth movers. Let’s jazz!
Roy Hargrove, proper jazz.
This year it's once again at the Expo Park, an area of the old Expo site on the Pudong side that’s been converted to host big outdoor events. The main entrance is on the corner of Shibo Avenue and Chang Qing Bei Lu, though the official Expo Park address is 1700 Shibo Avenue. JZ have christened the space the “Green Note” Expo Park. Don’t let that throw you, it’s just their name for it. Here’s a map of where it is. And here’s a map of the site:
Bit small and fiddly, that map. But that's all the JZ people could give us. Ho-hum. Tickets for the festival are 220rmb on the door each day.
This year they have eight stages, too much going on to list it all here. For a total rundown, go here. Below, find some highlights we’ve picked out:
Saturday: Noukilla (2pm, at The River stage); The Hangzhou JZ Big Band (4pm, East Theatre); Softlipa + Jabberloop (5pm, Green Note); The Golden Buddha Jazz Band (6pm, Love My Music); Hanggai (7:30pm, Blue Grass); and Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor (8pm, Green Note).
Jasmine Chen, just out there ruling the town.
Sunday: Jasmine and her Jazz Men (1pm, East Theatre); Ben Huang (2pm, Earth Lounge); Theo Croker’s Afrosonic (3:30pm, Green Note); Li Gaoyang’s Jazz Band (4:30pm, Love My Music); Li Quan & B6 (5:30pm, East Theatre); and AM444 (8pm, Earth Lounge).
AM444... on their way to rob a bank
That said, it’s not worth nauzing yourself to try to see everything. The best way to spend the day is to ignore the schedule and just wander, letting your ears direct you.
On top of that, there will be stalls, beer tents and food areas, yadda yadda yadda. We’re also going to have a SmartShanghai party photographer wandering around taking shots of all the pretty people there, which will then be uploaded instantly to our site, so those who aren’t there can see what they’re missing and those who are there can… virtually look at a photograph of what they’re actually experiencing, as they’re experiencing it, on their phones. Twenty-first century, dude. It’s all happening.
Noukilla... Badass name, badass-patterned garments
This Saturday and Sunday, midday until 9:30pm. After that, there are after parties at JZ Club, Wooden Box and JZ’s new venue, On Stage, which is in Red Town. Those start at 10pm. Line-up of who’s going to be where is under wraps, but expect those three venues to be jam packed with jazz late into the night, just swimming in thick, rich goopy jazz.
Theo Croker... The man got horn.
How to Get There
Here’s a map of the area. The main entrance is a five-minute walk from Line 8 stop Zhonghua Art Palace station. There’s also a free shuttle bus every 10 minutes between midday and 10pm both days running from Shibo Avenue Station and Expo Hall Station.
Next week, Tuesday to Sunday, there are sit-down concerts at the Shanghai Centre. Those run from Tuesday to Sunday and feature Ron Carter Quartet, Yellowjackets, Chris Potter Quartet, Terri Lyne Carrington, and The Manhattan Transfer. Tickets for these shows are 200-800rmb.
Hanggai... Pretty green, looking mean.
That’s it. That’s quite enough jazz for one day.