Samui International Jazz Music Festival 2012

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review on the Samui Jazz Festival 2010

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Tropical jazz on Samui

Smooth jazz is best served with a cocktail on a hot, tropical night. That is the concept of the Koh Samui International Jazz Music Festival, and the winning formula worked this year once again.

Over 100 international and local artists were in the Gulf of Thailand recently to showcase their saxophones, trumpets, and most importantly, their rhythm and soul. The 2010 International Jazz Music Festival welcomed musicians from all over Europe and the United States, particularly with a large group of talent from the Netherlands. Led by jazz-saxophonist Alexander Beets, who has performed over 2000 concerts worldwide, the Dutch musicians shared their talent and love with the Samui audience, playing soulful classics and also instrumental contemplations. Beets kicked off the festival on the Chaweng main stage with energy and flavour. His cover of Summertime with singer Eline Gemerts left the perfect taste in the humid air.


After all, on Koh Samui, it is always summertime.

The diverse range of local bands impressed audiences, playing everything from jazz-infused pop and ska to disco funk and flamenco. Many will forever remember the performance of Lamduan Latigo – Latin rhythm and jazz – fitting snugly on the Fisherman’s Village stage. Surrounded by the sounds and smells of trinket-selling and street food, people dancing and moving in their seats, special moments were created. Jazz is often improvisation and you can’t let yourself linger on the previous note – you have to stay with what’s being played now.

So while America gave jazz to the world, Thailand should be proud in how they are continuing that gift. His Majesty the King, an accomplished saxophonist and jazz lover, has made the music very dear to Thai culture and its people. While jazz was traditionally closeted and against the mainstream, the festival presents a more modern picture. Perhaps that’s why the festival’s collaboration with the Netherlands, which also has a vibrant jazz community, worked so well.

In this way, the festival was more than an exhibit of unique talent and skill. It was an education in good music.

Free admission, dozens of booths featuring traditional Thai food and crafts, and venues all across the island helped make the Jazz Festival a success. The music was paired with a lively cultural experience that was intimate at the same time. Despite the bright lights and large crowds, the festival was a throwback to the atmosphere of the underground jazz dens in Manhattan and New Orleans’ French Quarter – except with the welcome addition of warm weather.

The 2010 Koh Samui International Jazz Music Festival was a busy, loud and fun weekend full of syncopation, improvisation and swing notes that managed to be both upbeat and laid-back at the same time.

You know, baby, that’s jazz!

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 17:44