Spreading jazz music all over Valletta – The Malta Jazz Festival 2016

Jazz Festival 2016  - Mike Stern, Bill Evans

The Malta Jazz Festival, which is one of the longest running and highly-acclaimed festivals organized by the Malta Arts Council, is back with a new format under the artistic direction of Sandro Zerafa.

The 26th edition of the festival intends to create a vibrant jazz atmosphere all around Valletta. The event of Thursday night have been shifted from Ta’ Liesse to Valletta centre with free concerts featuring headliners. The festival also strives to reach out to wider and younger audiences.

The programme for this summer is highly eclectic and will feature a diversity of styles.

“The jazz world is constantly evolving. And so is the Malta Jazz Festival. With one foot in the past and another one in the future, we keep adjusting to contemporary trends whilst respecting tradition, ” said artistic director Sandro Zerafa.

The festival, like previous years, will include some of the most significant bands/ musicians in the music sector such as Mike Stern/ Bill Evans band, Snarky Puppy and Omer Avital.

World famous Mike Stern and Bill Evans, both Grammy award nominees and former members of the Miles Davis’ band in the 80s, will close off the Friday programme with their band. The duo will be accompanied by legendary drummer Dennis Chambers and Darryl Jones, who has been the Rolling Stones’ bassist since Bill Wyman’s departure.

Jazz Festival 2016  - Mike Stern, Bill Evans

Twice Grammy award winner Snarky Puppy, who is currently one of the most sought-after bands in the jazz world, is a collective of nearly 40 musicians, with a line-up which is often in flux and collaborates with a variety of artists. By this summer they will have released 11 albums. The band will close off Saturday’s programme.

Jazz Festival 2016 - Snarky Puppy

Saturday’s programme will also feature Israeli-American Omer Avital who plays the double bass and the oud but is also a composer and bandleader. Reviewers have compared him to Charles Mingus and described him as ‘roaringly inventive’ and ‘a pioneer in combining jazz with a myriad world music elements’.

Jazz Festival 2016 - Omer Avital

Pianist Marcus Roberts, is perhaps best known for the development of a new approach to jazz trio performance. He will be performing on Friday night.

Jazz Festival 2016  - Marcus Roberts Trio

Dominic Galea will perform alongside late jazz legend Stan Tracey’s son – Clark Tracey, a friend since the 1970’s, with whom he recorded an album last March in London. They will open Saturday’s programme.

Jazz Festival 2016  - Dominic Galea - The UK Connection

The line-up for the Thursday concerts includes world-known Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa, who has gained international attention since 2005, when he won top honours at the Montreux Jazz Piano Competition at the age of 22. Preceding López-Nussa, there will be the Oliver Degabriele Trio featuring Damien Fleau, who will open the night at City Gate Entrance, and The South Sound Experience featuring Joe Debono, who will play in front of the Law Courts at 9pm. Both events are free of charge.

Jazz Festival 2016  - Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio

Zerafa explained that he has seen an increase in the following of jazz music not only amongst the audiences but also in attracting young musicians to the genre. With the Jazz on the Fringe activities, mainly the Youth Jazz Ensemble and masterclasses offered to anyone interested in the music, a platform has been created, offering new lifetime opportunities. Young talented musicians now have the opportunity to share the stage with Grammy award winning artists, which is also encouraging them to continue studying abroad.

Jazz on the Fringe

The Mid-day Concerts happening during the 19th to the 23rd of July will be introduced in this summer’s Fringe and will also be free of charge.

Masterclasses will be offered again by some of the festival’s participants to all interested musicians. This year they will be held by Marcello Pellitteri (drums; Berklee College of Music, Boston), Roberto Occhipinti (bass; Humber College, Toronto), Vincent Jacqz (improvisation, EDIM, France), Stjepko Gut (trumpet/improvisation) and Rino Cirinnà (sax).

Jacqz, head of the jazz department at the EDIM, will coach and direct the Fringe Youth Jazz Ensemble. The medium-sized jazz ensemble will feature the best of young talent from Malta and France, and will work on a repertoire which will be presented for the first time at the festival during Friday’s opening and at a later date in Paris.

The second edition of the Fringe Youth Jazz Ensemble was originally conceived by Zerafa and is performing in collaboration with the renowned EDIM music school in Paris. It is supported by Valletta 2018.

Thursday 21st July

CityGate Entrance, Valletta at 8pm

Oliver Degabriele Trio feat. Damien Fleau

Opposite Law Courts, Valletta at 9pm

South Sound Experience feat. Joe Debono

Harold López-Nussa

Friday 22nd July

Ta’ Liesse, Valletta at 8pm

The Fringe Youth Jazz Ensemble

Marcus Roberts Trio

Mike Stern/ Bill Evans band feat. Dennis Chambers & Darryl Jones

Saturday 23rd July

Ta’ Liesse, Valletta at 8pm

Dominic Galea – The UK Connection

Omer Avital

Snarky Puppy

Ticket Prices

€30 for a single day ticket – seated (VIP)

€50 for a 2 day block ticket – seated (VIP)

€20 for single day ticket – standing (free seating will be available)

€35 for a 2 day block ticket – standing (free seating will be available)

Early bird tickets available from 15 April – 15 May

€25 instead of €30 for a single day ticket – seated (VIP)

€40 instead of €50 for a 2 day block ticket – seated (VIP)

€30 instead of €35 for a 2 day block ticket – standing (free seating will be available)


Tickets can be bought from Visit for more information.



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