European Jazz Conference in Tallinn became one of the highlights of the ending music year - Festival Jazzkaar

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30/12/2021 European Jazz Conference in Tallinn became one of the highlights of the ending music year


European Jazz Conference 2021, titled Shapes of Jazz to Come, took place from 15 to 19 September in Telliskivi Creative City in Tallinn. The conference brought to Estonia more than 250 delegates from 34 countries and presented a music programme of 20 Estonian jazz groups. Estonian artists received 30 performance invitations and the organising quality of the event was highly applauded by the participants. Watch a summary video of the conference here.

European Jazz Conference welcomed in Estonia more than 250 important organisers of jazz music concerts and festivals, journalists and representatives of agencies and record companies from 34 countries. It was one of the largest and most important music industry events in Estonia this year, participated by more than 200 foreign delegates. Also represented were world-famous jazz magazines and platforms such as Downbeat, All About Jazz, JazzTimes, JazzThetik, etc., outstanding jazz festivals including Enjoy Jazz, JazzFest Berlin, MaiJazz, Punkt Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Tampere Jazz Happening, etc., as well as jazz clubs such as Victoria Jazz Club, Fasching, Ronnie Scotts’ Jazz Club among others. Also as part of the European Jazz Conference the annual meeting of the Europe Jazz Network was held on 16 September.

Estonian jazz musicians were introduced to the conference guests in a versatile music programme put together by an international jury. Performers included Maria Faust, Kadri Voorand in duo with Mihkel Mälgand, Kristjan Randalu, Estonian Voices, The Free Musketeers, Sooäär–Yaralyan–Ounaskari, Joel Remmel Trio & Aleksander Paal, Peedu Kass Momentum, Tormis Quartet, UMA, Ramuel Tafenau Quintet, Karja–Renard–Wandinger, Susanna Aleksandra Quartet, Tanel Ruben Quintet feat. Kadri Voorand & Kristjan Randalu, Rita Ray, Lexsoul Dancemachine, Tobias Tammearu Trio, Argo Vals, ImproVoc and Titoks. On average, the musicians performing at the conference received two invitations to perform; the largest number of performance offers to one artist was 12, three of which are already scheduled to take place.

The conference was attended by more than 20 foreign journalists who have so far published more than 15 articles in international media, praising our musicians and music as well as the excellent organisation of the event and the beauty of Tallinn. Such an unprecedented media coverage was probably contributed by the fact that at the same time with the major event of the jazz organisers, the annual meeting of European Jazz Media was held in Tallinn.

Excerpts from international media:

“It was hard to miss the sense of cautious optimism that marked the first EJN conference in two years, when its membership assembled in Tallinn, Estonia, Sept. 16–20, with more than 250 delegates representing 34 nations. /…/ Naturally, the difficulties imposed by the pandemic dominated most of the conversations, but surprisingly, the consensus seemed to be that in adapting to dire circumstances often led to productive outcomes.” Peter Margasak, Downbeat

“Estonia has a huge tradition of vocal music and choirs, and the conference showcases provided evidence of how this tradition has had a strong influence on Estonian jazz. /…/  The standard of the showcases was generally high. /…/ Tallinn is a very attractive city, and the conference was extremely well organised by the Jazzkaar Festival, Jazz Estonia and the Europe Jazz Network team.” Tony Dudley-Evans, London Jazz News

A feedback survey was conducted among the participants of the European Jazz Conference, who gave close to maximum points for the organisation of the conference in Estonia. According to the European Jazz Network, the feedback for the conference organisation in Estonia was 20% better than that for the previous places. The results of the survey showed that over 64% of the participants spent four or more nights in Tallinn. More than 87% of the respondents considered returning to Tallinn for cultural and tourism purposes to be “very likely” or “likely”.

European Jazz Conference took place at Vaba Lava and Fotografiska Tallinn. The annual meeting of the Europe Jazz Network was held in the Club of Different Rooms. The concerts of the music programme took place at Vaba Lava, Fotografiska Tallinn, Philly Joe’s jazz club, the Niguliste Museum, the Club of Different Rooms and Sveta Bar. In cooperation with the Health Board, the Safe Conference Guide was created and a COVID-19 manager was active during the conference. Although it was not mandatory to wear face masks in Estonia at that time, they were still worn at the conference to minimise risks. No people contracted COVID-19 at the conference.

European Jazz Conference is an annual major jazz event run by Europe Jazz Network. Tallinn first hosted the conference ten years ago as part of the Tallinn 2011 European Capital of Culture programme. The number of approximately 100 delegates participating at the meeting in Estonia in 2011 had more than doubled this year. The title of this year’s conference referred to the album by American saxophone legend Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come, whose release in 1959 opened up a whole new perspective in jazz music.

Read the summary of the European Jazz Conference (in English) –

Watch the summary video of the European Jazz Conference –

European Jazz Conference was part of Tallinn’s application for the UNESCO City of Music. The conference was organised by the team of the Europe Jazz Network together with Jazz Estonia and Jazzkaar Festival. European Jazz Conference was supported by the Ministry of Culture, the City of Tallinn, Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Many thanks to everyone!