Jazz Diaries: The Black Sea Jazz Fest 2017


August 2017. Apparently, that’s how diaries start. Eagerly awaiting the Black Sea Jazz Festival. I waited so long for this! Even spent my hard-earned cash (that is, my boyfriend’s money) on tickets to Jamiroquai. The entrances were divided into three: Gold, Silver and… not Bronze, but VIP. The VIP was designed for the chosen ones: you could go to the concert straight from club Take Five. And considering that the Gold Pass cost 1000 GEL and the silver one 400, the VIP probably cost a small fortune. Or maybe it was invitation-only?

There were plenty of foreigners around, which is a good thing and tells you how ignorant some people can be when they say concerts and festivals are a waste of public spending. These people, right there, were spending their money in Georgia, on things from cocktails to a hearty meal, and even I, with my rather limited grasp of economics, can understand that that’s a good thing.

Sweltering hot. At about half past nine, the show began. What caught my ear from the very start was that the acoustics were quite mediocre, and all the noise and clearly too many people squeezed into the tiny space didn’t help, either. As far as I’m concerned, the performance was solid, though I couldn’t say that Jay put his everything out there. He came, he sang, and he left. Not exactly the ecstatic performances you hear people raving about. Might have something to do with his recent health problems, but still, it was way better and way more enjoyable than most of what we get to listen to live during summer. Not that I’m comparing Jay to the city marshrutka repertoire, of course.

The next day saw De La Soul as the star performers, and despite not being a fan of them before, I loved every minute of it. Great enthusiasm! Great attitude! With Jamiroquai gone and social justice restored, the three previously divided ticket spaces were united, there was not as much noise, you could actually move and dance if you wanted so, and you could even hear the music! All of this made this arguably the best day at the Black Sea Jazz Fest. At the end it rained, which was fine with us as it was a hot evening again and there were some kind people from the Heineken stand who gave out raincoats for free. I got one too! Yay for freebies! Definitely the best day.

On the third day, Joss Stone- a beautiful woman with a vibrant, clear voice. It was raining again, and it was rather in character as Joss’s is the music best listened to while snuggled up on a sofa with your loved one, perhaps with a glass of wine in hand. Not exactly dancing material, but I still made an effort got my feet moving to two of her songs. One, she said, was written by her brother, who “had much better taste in music,” whereas Joss herself, turns out, was “all about the Spice Girls”. Well, that song was clearly my favorite, so I’m giving credit where its due.

One thing I have to say is how much she talked with the audience. Not saying it’s a bad or a good thing, but in the end, she spent half of her concert talking to us. A bit too much communicating and reaching out for my liking, but then again, people liked it and I have a suspicion that many would have left earlier if not for her talking… in Georgian. Well, trying to – every once in while she’d go over to the Georgian soundman and ask him how to say this or that in Georgian. Then she’d come back to the center of the stage, having forgotten half of it. Very funny! She told us “Mikvarkhar” and “Madloba” and all the nice things. All positive energy, that Joss. Oh, and how could I forget? At the end, she brought out sunflowers (not seeds, actual sunflowers) and threw them to the public! How cool is that?

And that about concludes my jazz diaries. I was satisfied. Happy, even, considering the heat, rain, noise and whatnot. Will go again next year, for sure. If you enjoy life and music, you should, too!

Inga Mumladze

10 August 2017 18:41