The 36th Budapest Spring Festival will run for 17 days from April 6-24 and involves many of the arts, with events in classical music, opera, jazz and pop, world music, dance, theatre and the visual arts.
One of the world-recognised performers will be the Wayne Shorter Quartet (pictured), led by the American jazz saxophonist and composer with no fewer than 10 Grammy Awards to his name.
Shorter, born in Newark, New Jersey, on August 25, 1933, had his first great jazz epiphany as a teenager. He recalls: “I remember seeing Lester Young when I was 15 years old. It was a ‘Norman Granz Jazz at the Philharmonic’ show in Newark and he was late coming to the theatre.
“Me and a couple of other guys were waiting out front of the Adams Theater and when he finally did show up, he had the pork-pie hat and everything.
“So then we were trying to figure out how to get into the theatre from the fire escape around the back. We eventually got into the mezzanine and saw that whole show – Stan Kenton and Dizzy Gillespie bands together on stage doing ‘Peanut Vendor’, Charlie Parker with strings doing ‘Laura’ and stuff like that.
“And Russell Jacquet… Ilinois Jacquet. He was there doing his thing. That whole scene impressed me so much that I just decided, ‘Hey, man, let me get a clarinet’. So I got one when I was 16, and that’s when I started music.”
Switching to tenor saxophone, Shorter formed a teenage band in Newark called The Jazz Informers. Army service disrupted his climb up the scene but in 1964 Miles Davis invited him to go on the road, and he joined Davis (trumpet), Herbie Hancock (piano), Tony Williams (drums) and Ron Carter (bass). This tour turned into a six-year run with Davis in which Shorter recorded a number of albums with him.
In 1970 Shorter co-founded the group Weather Report with keyboardist Joe Zawinul, which remained the premier fusion group through the 1970s and into the early 1980s before disbanding in 1985 after 16 acclaimed recordings. In 1988 he toured with guitarist Carlos Santana.
The Wayne Shorter Quartet will be at Müpa Budapest on April 11. This is one of the main venures of the festival, with the Hungarian State Opera, Liszt Academy, Bálna Budapest, Vigadó, Budapest Music Center and other theatres, cultural institutes and museums.
Other jazz events include two “Feast of Hungarian Jazz 2016” shows at Budapest Jazz Club on April 8 and 9, and the Joey DeFrancesco Trio playing two sets at the club at 7pm and 9pm on April 10.
DeFrancesco is often named as a master of the jazz organ, having emerged in the 1980s to mark the onset of a musical renaissance. Organ jazz had literally gone into hibernation from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s largely because of the introduction of high-tech, lightweight keyboards. It was DeFrancesco who ignited the flame again with the sound of his vintage Hammond organ and Leslie tone cabinet.
With over 30 recordings as a leader and numerous collaborations with the masters of modern jazz in his legacy, DeFrancesco deservingly takes his place with Fats Waller, Wild Bill Davis and Jimmy Smith in the lineage of jazz organ.
The same night sees Kálmán Oláh’s Jazz Concert “In the Footsteps of Liszt – 33” at the Liszt Academy.
Festival details: http://www.btf.hu/ (with English option).