A Journey Through the Amazonas Green Jazz Festival
The Amazonas Green Jazz Festival took place in Manaus, Brazil, from July 21 to July 30, 2023. This remarkable event featured a diverse range of programming that showcased both renowned and obscure Brazilian musicians, as well as international bands and commissioned works. This article delves into the highlights of the festival, exploring the incredible performances and unique atmosphere that made it an unforgettable experience.
Teatro Amazonas – A Surreal Setting
The historic Teatro Amazonas, built during the rubber boom of the 19th century, served as the primary venue for the festival. This ornate French Revival opera house is located in the heart of Manaus, a city of 2.2 million people nestled at the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Amazon River. The city’s distinctive cuisine, featuring regional fish, fruits, vegetables, and grains, complements the vibrant culture and rich history of the area, and adds to the ambience of this unique event.
Festival Director Rui Carvalho curated the programs with a mix of hipness, soulfulness, and daring, blending concerts by both well-known and lesser-known Brazilian musicians, international bands, and commissioned works. The festival opened with the Amazonia Green Forever Suite, a collection of five pieces by Ed Sarath that incorporated multiple rhythms and timbres of Brazil, performed by the Coral do Amazonas and the big band.
Other notable performances included a set by Camille Thurman-Green’s quintet, pianist Amaro Freitas presenting his Afro-Brazilian-Jazz concept, Ellen Rowe’s “Portraits of Women in Motion” suite, and Felipe Salles with the Amazonas Big Band. Throughout the festival, audiences were treated to a variety of captivating performances that showcased the incredible talent and diversity of the musicians involved.
A Celebration of Women in Jazz
In addition to the wide array of musical styles and performers, the festival also celebrated “woman warriors” or “Amazonas do Jazz,” with many groups led or formed by women. This recognition of female musicians was represented in the festival’s logo, which featured the word “Ellas” (meaning “she” in Portuguese) and a portrait of the legendary Ella Fitzgerald.
A Truly Unique Experience
The Amazonas Green Jazz Festival was a celebration of not only the incredible musical talent on display but also the rich culture of Manaus and the surrounding Amazon region. From the beautiful setting of the Teatro Amazonas to the diverse array of performers and the unique atmosphere, this event was a truly unforgettable experience for all who attended.