Marque A. Rome
What began four years ago as a labour of love by enthusiastic jazz players in Phuket is turning into a cultural institution, now expanded to three days, with official sponsorship (and modest budget) from the City of Phuket – the UNESCO Phuket International Jazz Day concerts. Organised by pianist Jeffrey Sevilla and his partner, singer Kay Mongolkaew, at their well-known Music Matter jazz club in Phuket Town, the event this year will span three days, featuring jazz workshops at the Yamaha School of Music on April 28; Music Matter’s Wednesday Jam session on April 29; and a full blown street festival on Chana Jaroern Rd on April 30.
UNESCO in 2011 designated April Jazz Appreciation Month and International Jazz Day on April 30, designations approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, when the first Jazz Day was celebrated. Events are now held in 196 countries.
The Phuket event is the only one organised in Thailand each year (since the beginning) in addition to being the only one to receive municipal sponsorship and a place on the provincial cultural calendar.
On April 3, a meeting to finalise plans for this year’s concert series in Phuket was held at the Municipal Hall in Phuket Town, chaired by Vice Mayor Kavee Tansukhatanon, and attended by representatives from the city’s Public Relations Office and Office of Administration; the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Montri Manator; and AVL Wizard Co Ltd’s Sayan Ongwimonkarn, whose firm specialises in light and sound extravaganzas. The meeting agreed that this year’s event would memorialise not only jazz as an international medium contributing to peace and understanding, but acknowledge HM the King of Thailand as a jazz composer and performer of international renown.
In addition, the event will be covered by TAT media experts and promoted through the organisation’s websites. A professional lighting arrangement and upgraded sound system will be in place, and the city will have the Public Works Department look into tidying up the tiny soi’s electrical cables.
Last year, 14 bands took to the stage and some 800 persons attended.
This year, with performers from abroad flying in, many others lined up, local visual artists installing a display, and a variety of vendors participating – this year’s Jazz Day should be more fun than ever (and it’s always been a blast!).
Performances start at 8pm on the 30th. For more information about workshops at Yamaha Music School, contact tel.: 089-588-2347, or see Music Matter Phuket on Facebook.