The Algarve Smooth Jazz Festival, which will be held May 3-8 at the scenic Pine Cliffs Resort, is a promising example of how music and culture are making a comeback in the area.
The first festival was held in the Algarve in 2016 and continued through 2018 at the Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa. Since the fourth edition in 2019, the home is the Pine Cliffs Resort and was intended to become a regular happening except for the fact that a major pandemic crisis closed down virtually all such events for over two long years. Now the festival is back with an international lineup of stars in the genre.
Each day, the festival will feature performances by some of the smoothest and popular jazz artists from around the world.
There’s Ken Navarro, for example, a popular guitarist from the States (one of this author’s particular favourites) who has had 26 best-selling solo albums and numerous top five radio hits with at least one number 1.
From Toronto, there’s the highly successful studio duo Four80East, who have transformed their music into a live performance, with Rob DeBoer playing guitar, bass and keyboards and Tony Grace on percussion. These two have combined electronic production with live instrumentation to provide a high-energy show.
Keyboardist James Lloyd, drummer Curtis Harmon and bassist Cedric Napoleon founded Pieces of a Dream in Philadelphia way back in 1976 and have been going strong ever since with 25 albums, including one number 1 and 11 top 10s.
There are two performers from the UK – Peter White, a charming and playful guitarist, and Oli Silk, who not only has the coolest name but is a dynamic and energetic keyboardist.
No one since Junior Walker has brought saxophone and vocals in one package to the forefront of modern music like Mindi Abair. A commanding presence on stage, she adds an interesting funky mix of rock, soul and blues that ruffles the smooth edges of her jazz.
As they say, “and many more”. There are at least a dozen acts spread over the six days and nights of the Algarve Smooth Jazz Festival, with many of the musicians backed up by a very promising festival band consisting of leading featured performers.
Currently, there are two Smooth Jazz Festivals organised by Sandra Hoffman and Christian Bössner, who describe themselves as music travel organisers. The other event is in Mallorca and was first held back in 2012.
According to Bössner, “Mallorca is still approximately twice as big as Algarve, but the Algarve is catching up fast.” This year’s Mallorca edition is scheduled for October.
Even the audience is international with smooth jazz fans flocking from all over the world, especially Europe and the UK as well as the United States.
As Bössner explains it, they have “specialised in this kind of music and its artists, so that our music travels are unique all over Europe. It is our intention to create an intimate atmosphere at our festivals (artists within the guest’s reach) at high-class locations. This, in combination with an engaged hotel partner, such as Pine Cliffs, make the ingredients of our unique boutique-style festivals. As a result, we welcome guests from over 20 countries worldwide at every festival: Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Israel, Hungary, Australia, etc…. and more and more from North America (USA, Bermuda, etc.).”
Residents of the greater Algarve area should also find attending the festival attractive, since it is a unique opportunity to enjoy the music in a stunning location among audiences in rather intimate and picturesque settings both in the afternoon and warm evenings. There are several different packages on offer as well as a limited number of daily admissions available.
It is interesting to note that the Smooth Jazz Festival is part of an ongoing celebration by the Pine Cliffs Resort with 30 years serving the greater tourist community. Nestled as it is on a high 200-foot promontory overlooking the sprawling Atlantic, this “luxury collection resort”, with its iconic nine-hole golf course, offers sweeping scenic views from well-kept gardens and grounds. For those seeking a quick holiday, not that far away, it is relatively centrally located near Albufeira.
For information about the Algarve Smooth Jazz Festival, go to www.algarve.smoothjazzfestival.de; and for ticket information check out www.smoothjazzshop.ev. There’s even an online magazine all about the event available at www.asjf22-Magazin.indd. To find out more about Pine Cliffs, go to www.pinecliffs.com
By Craig Weincek