Shakti, from left, Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, John McLaughlin, Ganesh Rajagopalan and V. Selvaganesh

World of big names for Timisoara jazz

The JAZZx event in Timisoara from Wednesday June 28 to Sunday July 2 will be the 11th edition hosted by the Romanian city, and this year’s event will be a highlight of their ongoing European Capital of Culture 2023 program.

The artists announced for the upcoming shows are SHAKTI, Thundercat, Ezra Collective, Bilal, Ibeyi, The Comet is Coming, Ben l’Oncle Soul, Tigran Hamasyan, Mammal Hands, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Acetoba featuring Arcuș, Andrei Petrache Trio, Blue Noise, Luiza Zan Quintet and VanDerCris.

Shakti, an internationally renowned Indo-jazz pioneer whose founding members include guitar virtuoso John McLaughlin and tabla master Zakir Hussain, are marking their 50th anniversary with a world tour and new studio album in 2023. The current line-up also features Indian vocalist and composer Shankar Mahadevan, percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan.

The band has a large global and forged the template for what is now called “world music”. McLaughlin surprised the music world when he walked away from his successful Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1973 and went to play with three Indian musicians, seeking music described as reflecting his evolving spiritual practice while feeding his insatiable hunger to converse, communicate and explore

Alongside Hussain he joined forces with violinist L. Shankar and ghatam player T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram to found Shakti. “For me,” McLaughlin reflects, “it was an imperative that Shakti become my permanent group after the Mahavishnu Orchestra.” Together they honed a new fusion, blazing uncharted pathways and demonstrating the potential of such global composites to generations of musicians around the world

Now McLaughlin and Hussain are preparing to resume their journey joined by Selvaganesh (T.H. Vinayakram’s son), Mahadevan and Rajagopalan for the 50th anniversary. Today’s Shakti honours the legacy of the original band by acknowledging their tradition while continuing to push beyond boundaries into new musical landscapes.

“It’s really a thrill,” McLaughlin says of Shakti’s 50th anniversary plans. “I’m delighted to be part of this marvelous tradition of the Shakti group.”

Ben l’Oncle Soul 

Ben l’Oncle Soul is a French soul singer-songwriter with a retro style. He is known for his great live shows.  The artist has already performed at several festivals and TV shows such as the 2010 FrancoFolies, the 2011 Montréal High Lights Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival and the London Jazz Festival.

His eponymous debut album was released by Motown Records in 2010. The album is comprised entirely of original material, plus the cover version of the White Stripes hit “Seven Nation Army” and sold more than 600 000 copies worldwide. His music is like a vision from the modern soul and jazz, mixed with hip hop and R&B, influenced by his French and Afro-American roots.

The Comet Is Coming 

The Comet Is Coming is one of the most defining and forward-thinking trios of the British jazz scene, which has blossomed more spectacularly than ever in the 2010s, featuring perhaps the most important instrumentalist on the 21st-century London jazz scene, saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings (also Sons Of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down), a real groove factory in drummer Betamax and an endlessly creative keyboardist in Danalogue.

On their latest offering, “Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam”, The Comet is Coming open new worlds and sonic vistas.  Their most fully realised and deeply produced album yet, it is an expression of unity and magical alchemy that amplifies the combined powers of Danalogue, Betamax and Shabaka to new heights. 

Acetoba featuring Arcuș

Acetobă means experiment in creation, influenced by undefined states left by the spaces in oblivion in the human mind. It is the newest project of drummer Radu Pieloiu, who through this experiment adopts the electronic side and integrates it into his live setup. The concert within JAZZx 2023 also brings a new experiment for the artists, the collaboration with saxophonist Alexandru Arcuș, who also integrates the effects and live sound processing into his setup.

Andrei Petrache Trio

Andrei Petrache Trio is a fresh project that was born three years ago, when musical ideas and group synergy converged and they were given the opportunity to realise their musical plans. Petrache is a pianist and composer, and together with Mike Alex (bass) and Philip Goron (percussion) they form a trio with a solid classical and alternative music background, all three being students or graduates of a music conservatory.

Their repertoire contains original pieces written by Petrache especially for this trio formula, at the intersection of modern jazz, contemporary Nordic jazz and Balkan-Oriental colours, to which are added some fresh reinterpretations of several jazz standards.

Blue Noise

Marina-Alexandra Arsene (soprano), Elena Moroșanu (mezzo soprano), Ana Dubyk (alto), Mihail Grigore (tenor), Bogdan Tudor (bass) and Denis Bolborea (vocal percussion/beatbox) form the “voice laboratory” where they experiment, explore and play with a diverse range of sounds that the human voice can produce.

Blue Noise is the story of antagonisms that together create an original musicality. The colour blue takes you to thoughts of tranquillity, melancholy, harmony. And noise is the disturbing element, it brings dissonance, lack of calm. Blue is also a reference to the mythical jazz label Blue Note, jazz being the musical genre at the heart of the band’s repertoire. Noise represents all the other influences that enrich this repertoire. The two together tell the story of a unique band in Romania: six voices create a cappella music like you’ve never heard before.

Luiza Zan  Quintet

With a new musical concept and visual aesthetic, Luiza Zan launches a new musical project this year. The quintet brings to the stage young musicians with solid training in both classical music and jazz. The new musical concept is a mix of jazz fusion and American folk music, R&B, bossa nova and jazz standards, with musical allusions to Miles Davis, Meshell Ndgeocello, Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and Jill Scott.


VanDerCris is a notable combination of musicians: a young, optimistic bassist, mature in his clear thinking – Dănuț Blaga; an alert keyboardist with a sense of harmony – Marcelle Poaty Souami; a rock and pop drummer with music producer skills – Florin Cvasa; a visitor from distant planets on his way to infinity – Lucian Nagy; and a guitarist whose name is convoluted and anagrammed –SSS VanDerCris (Horea CrisoVan).

JAZZx previously brought to the stage such names as (in chronological order): Richard Bona, Marcus Miller and Macy Gray, Terri Lyne Carrington / Lizz Wright, Al Jarreau, The Cat Empire, The Chick Corea Elektric Band, Miles Mosley x The West Coast Get Down, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Monty Alexander, Gregory Porter, The Cinematic Orchestra, Kurt Rosenwinkel, R+R=NOW, Laura Mvula, Jazzmeia Horn, Moses Boyd, Yussef Dayes, Tank & the Bangas, Bokante, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Ibrahim Maalouf,  Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Stanley Clarke, Hiromi, Ashley Henry.

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