Home » The Malta Jazz Festival: Everything you need to know

The Malta Jazz Festival: Everything you need to know

The Malta Jazz festival is an eclectic mix of the world’s best jazz talent fused with the obscure. The festival lasts for three days and takes place in July. In 2019, the festival takes place between the 15th and 20th July. The event is always held in Malta’s capital Valletta at the spectacular setting at Ta’ Liesse, on the Grand Harbour side of the city.

The festival kicks off on the 15th July with a free event at Valletta’s City Gate.

Why the Malta Jazz Festival is a Must

If you are a music lover or simply want a new fresh experience the Malta Jazz Festival offers this in abundance. The organisers go to great lengths to show the best-established jazz artists together with rising local talent.

Attending the festival will:

  • Allow you to see the best jazz talent in the world together with local Maltese talent
  • Hear different styles and flavours of jazz music from traditional, contemporary, to modern
  • Discover jazz music for the first time if you’re new to the scene
  • Immerse yourself in the festival feel of brass, bass, and beats
  • Get to know Valletta, Malta and her rich history and culture

The festival gets bigger every year and it is arguably one of the most important and authentic in the jazz circuit.

Malta Jazz Festival Line up 2019

So far two artists have been confirmed for the event. They are:

  • Chucho Valdes – Six GRAMMY® and three Latin GRAMMY® Award winner, Valdes is arguably the most important figure in Afro-Caribbean jazz. His career has spanned 50 years and he is probably best known for being the founder member of the quartet Irakere. The band debuted in 1977 and put Afro-Caribbean jazz on the map. This is an artist not to be missed.
  • Jazzmeia Horn – Jazzmeia Horn may not have the years and experience of other acts at the festival but she clearly has the voice. Her 2017 debut album, a Social Call earned a GRAMMY® Award nomination for best Jazz album in 2018. The Dallas born singer has already forged a solid reputation for having immaculate jazz vocals and this is one singer you must see perform live.

Keep up to date with Malta Jazz Festival Announcements

To stay up to date the easiest way is to follow the Malta Jazz Festival on Facebook. The event’s main website can be found here: Malta Jazz Festival.

Getting your Tickets

Although the ticket prices are yet to be confirmed they normally go on sale from the end of March. Ticket tend to be priced as follows:

  • €30 for a single day ticket – seated (VIP)
  • €50 for a 2-day block ticket – seated (VIP)
  • €20 for single day ticket – standing (free seating will be available)
  • €35 for a 2-day block ticket – standing (free seating will be available)
  • Early bird tickets available from 31 March
  • €25 instead of €30 for a single day ticket – seated (VIP)
  • €40 instead of €50 for a 2-day block ticket – seated (VIP)
  • €30 instead of €35 for a 2-day block ticket – standing (free seating will be available)

You can get your tickets from the event’s website and through sites such as Showshappening.com.

Ticket prices may vary from those shown.  Again, keep an eye on the event’s Facebook page for availability.

Transport – Getting there

Valletta is well served by public transport and it is a good idea to use it to get around.

The Valletta bus terminus is a pleasant ten-minute walk to Ta’ Liesse. It is also close to the City Gate where the free event takes place.

Car parking in Valletta is free after 6pm but is advisable to arrive sooner.  You can park in the centre of the city or park just outside the centre and walk down the perimeter road.

If you’re catching the Sliema to Marsamxett ferry, walk around St Elmo and the Mediterranean Conference Centre and you’ll soon be at the festival.

Local Talent & Fringe Jazz

The Malta Jazz Festival has not only delivered jazz to the Maltese and wider world, it has nurtured current stars who have progressed to the international jazz scene. The local and international fusions are a highlight of the festival and regular attendees look forward to them.

As well as the fusions there are plenty of jazz workshops and the ‘Jazz on the Fringe’ event. These take place across the city around a week before the big festival event. There are few cities in the world where jazz can be heard playing loud and proud. The events are well attended and bring the musical art form to the people. Jazz fans can watch the workshops free of charge.

For many years Jazz has been seen as quintessentially American music. Over the last 5 decades, however, jazz has taken on an international flavour fusing Latin, swing, be-bop, electro jazz, hard bop, vocal jazz, avant-grande/free jazz, afro-jazz, ethio-jazz and the list goes on. 

European jazz stands proudly in this list and it is because of events like the Malta Jazz Festival that it does.

Stars of Past Events

The Blue Tangerine

The Blue Tangerine is a Franco-Maltese outfit and the product of the festival’s Fringe Youth Jazz Orchestra. This shows what an investment in youth and the arts can do.

The band’s enthusiastic improvisation could be argued to be the spirit of jazz. It is fair to say nobody was disappointed with what their take on this musical art form.

Christian McBride

The Philadelphia jazz legend was joined by his new outfit New Jawn featuring Marcus Strickland (tenor, soprano and bass clarinet), Josh Evans (trumpet) and Nasheet Waits (drums).

Chick Corea Trio

Chick Corea was joined by John Patitucci and Dave Weckl and started a set which Jazzbluesnews.space described as compelling. They kicked-off with Corea’s own Morning Spray and threw in a couple of standards.

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