|Malta Jazz Festival|
|Years active||1990 - present|
The Malta Jazz Festival is a musical event held every July on the Mediterranean island of Malta, organised by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. The festival has been held annually since 1990 outside the Our Lady of Liesse Church, on the Valletta waterfront. The event has featured world-renowned jazz musicians such as Wayne Shorter, John Patitucci, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Natalie Cole, Betty Carter, Michel Petrucciani, Richard Bona and Mike Stern.
In 2006, the event was controversially removed from the stewardship of Charles 'City' Gatt, a pioneer in Maltese jazz and the festival's founder and original musical director. For three years the festival was placed in the hands of private promotion company N'n'G, who attempted to style it into a more populist "Rock and Jazz Festival" Festival. Subsequent line-ups almost entirely shorn of contemporary jazz content and mainly featuring a host of passé rock musicians, reformed prog rock acts and tribute bands led the festival into a period of brief decline.
2009 saw the festival return to its roots under the directorship of Maltese musician Sandro Zerafa with a line-up of world-renowned jazz musicians. Among the artists who performed at the 2010 festival were Bill Stewart, Ari Hoenig, Greg Hutchinson, Dave Weckl, Dave King, Mike Stern and Richard Bona. The 2011 festival featured Lionel Loueke, Joao Bosco, Monty Alexander and Avishai Cohen. The 2012 festival took place on July 19, 20 and 21 and included performances by Al Di Meola, Terri Lyne Carrington, Chano Dominguez, Tigran Hamasyan, Dianne Reeves, Jeremy Pelt and Will Vinson.
The 2013 festival was staged on July 18, 19 and 20, featuring the Robert Glasper Experiment, Vijay Iyer Trio, Gregory Porter, Michel Camilo Trio, Gilad Hekselman Quartet, Charles 'City' Gatt Vibraphone Quintet, Gerald Clayton Trio (featuring Logan Richardson), Cusp and Walter Vella Quartet.
Among the acts appearing at the 2014 festival were Warren Wolf, Tom Harrell (featuring Jaleel Shaw, Johnathan Blake, Esperanza Spalding, Wayne Escoffery and Ugonna Okegwo), Kneebody, Brecker Brothers Band Reunion (featuring Terry Bozzio), Laurent Coq's Dialogue Trio, Ada Rovatti, Barry Finnerty, Neil Jason, Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana. Mehldau and Guiliana performed as their synthesizer-oriented duo project "Mehliana". The festival took place between July 17 and 19.
The 2015 festival took place between July 16 and 19. Among the acts on stage were Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade, Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke, Eric Harland, David Binney, Chucho Valdes, Kurt Elling, Soweto Kinch, Joe Cohn and Richard Bona.
For 2016, the festival moved away from Ta` Liesse for its opening night, which took place at Valletta's City Gate. Among the acts at the 2016 festival were headliner Mike Stern, Snarky Puppy, Omer Avital, Harold López-Nussa and pianist Marcus Roberts' trio. This 26th edition of the festival took place between July 21 and 23.
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