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Jazz to open summer festival season this weekend

2012/05/19 | 217 views |  | Permalink | Source

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American soul and funk band Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire, George Benson to headline; Park Ji-min, 'K-pop Star' finalists to join for duets

By Kwaak Je-yup

The 2012 Seoul Jazz Festival this weekend kicks off the crowded summer festival season with American big-name artists filling the lineup.

Among those slated to perform are legendary soul and funk band Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF), jazz guitar greats George Benson and Al Di Meola, as well as one of Korea's favorite R&B singers Eric Benet.

In its sixth run, this year's festival has grown considerably in size compared to the past efforts, with more than a dozen local acts also scheduled for solo or joint concerts on three different stages.

Venturing outside the conventional auditoriums for the first time, the event's venues at the Olympic Park in Bangi-dong, southeastern Seoul, will give the festival an atmosphere worthy of its name.

The Seoul Jazz Festival is the only large-scale musical event that caters to genres outside rock, pop, or electronic dance music. Since its inception in 2007 by the promoter Private Curve, it has been widely credited as the only provider of a much-needed space for the audience seeking a non-mainstream sound.

Though many of the previous performers had little to do with the jazz genre, the organizers have unabashedly attracted more people every year with some unlikely musical combinations. The choice of quirky American singer-songwriter Ledisi or the Korean hip hop duo LEESSANG on Saturday would be just two (welcome) examples.

This year will also see the star trainees from the popular TV audition program, "K-pop Star", joining professional artists on stage as guest performers. Notably, the winner of this year's inaugural season Park Ji-min will attempt a duet with Benet, the organizers announced Monday.

The festival is going to be divided into three different stages named Jazz Forest, Spring Garden and Belle Bridge in the order of size, from big to small. Opening at 12:30 p.m. each day, ticketholders can move from one venue to another on their own but will end up reconvening at the largest of the three for the two main acts, EAF for Saturday and George Benson for the following.

The 2012 Seoul Jazz Festival, organized by Private Curve, takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Olympic Park. A day ticket, which includes entry to any of the performances scheduled for a single day, costs 99,000 won. The two-day package is priced 178,000 won. For more information, call 02-563-0595 or visit www.seouljazz.co.kr or www.interpark.com.

Artist lineup (in order of appearance):

Saturday, May 19

Jazz Forest:

Ledisi

LEESSANG with Jung-in

Eric Benet

Earth, Wind & Fire

Spring Garden:

Choi Min-ho Quartet with Eaeon

Go Sang-ji and Choi Go-eun

Na Hee-kyung

Afternoon

Bang Joon-seok, Baek Hyun-jin and Jeong Jae-il

Belle Bridge:

Burnout House

One Punch

Soul Train,

Sunday, May 20

Jazz Forest:

Autumn Vacation

The Fellowship Band

Lee Byeong-woo

Al Di Meola

George Benson

Spring Garden:

The Bird & Go Chan-yong

Chong Park's Nothing in Common

Park Ju-won

sonodaband

Cho Kyu-chan and Lim Ju-yeon

Belle Bridge:

Charlie's Ukulele

Timirho

ParkKun Saloon

jay@koreatimes.co.kr

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