Jazz hands at the ready
Firstly Dominic, what do you think of the live music jazz scene in the Middle East?
I think there is a small, but very vibrant and creative arts community here, and though I haven’t met too many jazz musicians yet, I have come across some really talented musicians from other spheres. Some of the Emirati vocalists I’ve heard are wonderful. We’re bringing pure jazz here for the first time I think, and in Doha it’s been really effective. It’s been great to bring such a diverse expat community together alongside the existing local community, we do concerts at the St Regis in Doha as well as different community concerts at the Museum of Islamic Art, where all kinds of people come together. We hope to bring that sentiment of all different cultures coming together to Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Jazz can be quite an eclectic taste, for people listening to it for the first time, what would you say the trick is to really appreciating this music form?
I’m not sure there’s a trick as such, it really depends on the artist and the presentation. We like to bring in artists that are very personable and make their music accessible to both jazz aficionados and people hearing jazz for the first time as well. We bring in music from different genres and generations so there’s something in it for everyone. For example, we have an artist in Doha called Claris Assad, she’s from Brazil so brings some great Brazilian rhythms there. Essentially we incorporate different influences from round the world, melding all these different cultures together.
If you were introducing jazz to someone for the first time, what album would you give them?
Hmm that’s a good question. I think Miles Davis is a good place to start! His album ‘Kind of Blue’ is from 1959, and to this day it’s the most popular selling jazz album ever. That’s a great example to how timeless the music is, and how it triggers something in people’s hearts in different ways that resonates.
Do you think jazz is unfairly labelled as difficult music?
I’m not too sure about all unfairly labelled; I think there’s all kinds of jazz. Coming from Jazz at Lincoln Centre, our managing director has always been able to maintain a high level of artistry and appeal to all different kinds of people at the same time. We’re not concerned about the fairness label, we’re only concerned about brining great quality music that embraces the culture we’re performing to, and it constantly changes depending on the different parts of the world we go to. Each show is kind of a unique presentation.
What can we expect from the Jazz Festival at St Regis?
More of the same stuff that we champion at the Jazz at Lincoln Centre in Doha, influences from local talent and culture. We have artists and performers who live in that specific region jamming up with the team there and performing to people that reside there. And that’s exactly what we want from Abu Dhabi, bring in talent that can have engagement with the community.
Dominick Farinacci is Global Ambassador to Jazz at Lincoln Center, and has 13 recordings released internationally. He in the recipient of the International New Star Award.
Jazz at St. Regis – ABU DHABI line up
October 15 – St. Regis Midnight Supper with Gregory Generet and Dominick Farinacci
October 16 – St. Regis Family Jazz Day
October 17 – Journeys With Jazz Gala