Chico Freeman and the Ventzi Blagoev Band at "Plovdiv Jazz Nights” 2010 (in Engl
Written by Fannie Philipova   
Friday, 24 September 2010 14:53


The program of "Plovdiv Jazz Nights 2010" on Friday, October 8 draws special attention to a concert by Chico Freeman and the Ventzi Blagoev International Band.

Chico Freeman and jazz are inseparable. An artist, composer, and producer at the highest level, Chico is synonymous with the desire to develop surprising emotional expressions and techniques that add up to a completely new approach to the sound of jazz. Within the world of music criticism he ranks among the most prominent artists; Chico Freeman has worked and recorded with giants like Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera and many others.  

Raised in a musical family, Chico began studying mathematics at Northwestern University but quickly realized that his passion was music. Although he had learned the trumpet at an early age, he turned to the saxophone, spent 8-10 hours a day practicing on that instrument, and then joined the University’s jazz band. He graduated in composition and music theory and became a teacher. His real strength and talent, however, lay in the spotlight as a performer. Chico plays the most prestigious jazz festivals and music scenes in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. Some of the prizes that have marked his career include Best Soloist, Best Saxophonist, and he has won the New York Jazz Award. World-wide audiences have warmly applauded him and are continually surprised and fascinated by his unique style of playing; Chico Freeman has mastered his instrument to the extent that he is able to mimic the human voice; his sax literally shouts, laughs, and cries! The impact is profound.  

A most sought-after Romanian jazz bassist is an explicit description of Petronius "Pedro" Negresku. He is a teacher, a chamber-musician and an orchestra conductor and his artistry proves that jazz and classical music can exist in a wonderful symbiosis. Although Pedro graduated in the classics, jazz bass is his business card. A participant in many prestigious jazz festivals and concerts in Europe and America, in Bulgaria Pedro is associated with trumpeter Ventzislav Blagoev with whom he has collaborated on several significant jazz projects. 
The Bulgarian jazzmen of this international band hardly need introduction. Jivko Petrov is one of our major jazz pianists and a winner of numerous awards, including the Best Jazz Artist for 2005.  He has worked with Yildiz Ibrahimova, Kamelia Todorova, Beloslava, and is a founder of the popular Bulgarian jazz trio JP3. He continues his career by playing throughout Europe including the Royal Albert Hall in London.   

As project leader, Ventzislav Blagoev has participated in all of the editions of Plovdiv Jazz Nights since its inception. Last year's concert with its five-time winner of the Jazz Grammy Randy Brecker has been heralded as a significant jazz event, not only for the Plovdiv festival but as major occurrence in the history of Bulgarian jazz. Percussionist Mitko Semov and Blagoev met for the first time in 1981 when they both won the National Competition for young players in Targovishte, Bulgaria. They later both performed with the world famous Bulgarian pianist and composer Milcho Leviev. 
This year’s Plovdiv Jazz Evenings Festival’s program is composed entirely of original compositions by Chico Freeman; the goal is to provide the best examples of World Jazz to a Balkan audience.

Translated by: Thomas Lee Grigsby


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