JZ’s Festival Of Jazz Begins…

And just keeps going and going! Starting this month, Shanghai punters get the opportunity to soak up a whole month of jazz-related shows, from the two-day Sennheiser Green Note event, to the BMW Master Hall performances, plus a smattering of live shows in between. 

Now in its ninth year, the JZ Festival has grown so big, they’ve had to split the event into three parts.

The two-day outdoor festival is still there, now known as Sennheiser Green Note. It’s running from 20th to 21st September in Expo Park with more than 40 acts playing over eight stages.

Following on from this weekend extravaganza will be Jazz Around Town, from 22th September to 14th October, which features jazz performances around Shanghai’s parks, streets, hotels and clubs by local and international performers for free (yes, you read that correctly, free).

Finally, this feast of a jazz festival concludes with part three, the BMW Master Hall performances from 15th to 19th October, where some of the world’s most sought after jazz musicians will strut their stuff for Shanghai audiences.

If you are interested in getting your jazz on at JZ Festival, but don’t know where to start, never fear, Talk Magazine is here with our pick of who to see and where to be throughout Shanghai’s season of jazz.

More information about JZ Festival acts and scheduling can be found at www.jzfestival.com



Robert Glasper Experiment + Yasiin Bey f.k.a. Mos Def

Bringing New York roots music to Shanghai with a bang will be jazz pianist Robert Glasper and his partner in crime – well, music actually – Yasiin Bey (formerly and probably still better known as Mos Def) who has been a regular on best MC and lyricist lists all over the music press since he started his hip hop career in the late 90s.

Seeing the truly talented Bey/Def rapping over the top of Glasper’s array of arrangements, is sure to be a treat – expect these guys to bring a serving of Soul and RnB alongside their rootsy feel. 

Sennheiser Green Note, 20 September, 8pm. Web: www.robertglasper.com



Lisa Ono

No stranger to Chinese audiences, Lisa Ono is known as the queen of Bossa Nova with good reason (mainly because she absolutely is the queen of Bossa Nova). Born in Brazil, to Japanese parents, Ono’s appealing voice and rhythmic guitar skills have broken down barriers between musical genres and continents, opening up many parts of Asia to the previously unfamiliar sounds of Bossa Nova. If you happen upon this set, don’t be surprised if the urge to tap your feet and swing your hips gets out of control. 

Sennheiser Green Note, 20 September, 5pm. Web: www.onolisa.com



Coco Zhao

Speaking of being no stranger to Shanghai audiences, it’s actually hard to imagine a JZ Festival without the inimitable Coco Zhao. Originally accepted into the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as an oboe player, Zhao discovered jazz in the early 90s and has been one of Shanghai’s most sought after jazz vocalists ever since. Much of Zhao’s career has been spent acting as something of a bridge between Chinese musical heritage and the growing influence of modern Western musical genres in the country. 

Sennheiser Green Note, 20 September, 5:30pm. Web: www.myspace.com/cocozhao



The Brand New Heavies

This UK group has been at the forefront of the acid jazz and funk movements for almost 30 years, occasionally incorporating more RnB and hip hop into their sound on some albums. Over the years, the group has had a revolving list of female vocalists, with that mantle currently being shared by N’Dea Davenport, who had her first stint fronting the Heavies in the early 90s, and Dawn Joseph.

This prolific, hard-working band is equal parts funky and good fun – be sure to bring your dancing shoes. 

Sennheiser Green Note, 21 September, 6pm. Web: www.thebrandnewheavies.net



Yoga Lin

Taiwanese Mandopop star, Yoga Lin, may have shot to fame after winning the debut season of television singing contest, “One Million Star”, but since then he has become equally well- known for his impressive vocal range and decidedly mixed-genre song choices. Continuing this history of unpredictable choices, Lin released a jazz album this year and will almost certainly be singing some standards from it at this year’s JZ Festival. 

Sennheiser Green Note, 21 September, 8pm. Web: www.facebook.com/yogalinmusic



Ibrahim Maalouf

A pioneering figure in the world of contemporary jazz thanks to his fusion of pop, soul, electro, hip-hop, and French chansons with the music of his Lebanese roots, trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf is the highest selling jazz act in France. Prior to his work in jazz music, Maalouf pursued a classical career – which gives you an idea of his technical abilities – while his current brand of music is strongly influenced by Arabic culture. For his Shanghai show, Maalouf is planning a mix of contemporary rock, electro and jazz funk flavor. Look out for his signature mystical musical interlude – which he calls a “collective universal prayer” – it’s a feature of all his live shows. 

BMW Master Hall, 15 October, 8pm. Web: www.ibrahimmaalouf.com



Helen Sung Quartet

Though her family name betrays some Chinese ancestry, Helen Sung is actually a native of Houston, Texas, and was a prize-winning classical pianist until jazz intervened and stole her heart. Since graduating from the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, Sung has won the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition and has cultivated a reputation for captivating listeners with her soulful and smart musical performances, punctuated by irresistible grooves. At her Shanghai show, Sung will play many of her own original compositions, as well as works by Monk and other jazz greats. 

BMW Master Hall, 16 October, 8pm. Web: www.helensung.com



Jack DeJohnette

A Grammy-winning jazz drummer, pianist and composer, Jack DeJohnette is probably best known as being a key figure in the fusion era of jazz. A career spanning five decades and collaborations with greats such as Freddie Hubbard, Keith Jarrett, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, and John Scofield has cemented DeJohnette’s position as one of the most influential drummers of the 20th century. From DeJohnette’s Shanghai show, you can expect a number of stylistic influences, from hard bop, to RnB, avant-garde and everything in between. 

BMW Master Hall, 17 October, 8pm. Web: www.jackdejohnette.com




John Scofield and the Überjam Band

How any musical group that combines the words “über” and “jam” in their name can possibly not be amazing is beyond us, and thankfully, this reunited group lives up to the hype. John Schofield is known for pioneering the fusion of jazz, funk and electric music and is currently known as one of the world’s “big three” guitarists (along with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell). Expect to hear Schofield’s distinctive rock-oriented sound, and masterful jazz improvisations, with the musical spectrum covered from post-bop to jazz soul. 

BMW Master Hall, 18 October, 8pm. Web: www.johnscofield.com



Patti Austin

JZ Festival’s number one diva (and we mean that with the upmost respect) Ms Austin has made 17 solo albums, performed her award-nominated hits songs at the Grammy and Oscar awards and, all the while, has crossed a variety of musical genres wining legions of fans with her musicality. Austin’s performing career started at the age of four and the 63-year-old is now one of the most beloved jazz vocalists, with her albums a virtual constant on the Billboard Jazz Albums charts. At her Shanghai show, Austin plans to showcase her jazz pop stylistic works; a sure crowd-pleaser. 

BMW Master Hall, 19 October, 8pm. Web: pattiaustin.com


Get Your Tickets

Sennheiser Green Note tickets are RMB 200 (presale) and RMB 250 (on door) per day, and there are no two-day packages available for this year’s festival.


BMW Master Hall shows have tickets available from RMB 280 to RMB 1,280.


Tel: 962388. Web: www.ticket2010.com



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