Jazz spree in Moscow: Parks bursting with swing music
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Jazz spree in Moscow: Parks bursting with swing music

Lots of live jazz at Hermitage and Bauman gardens, and Zaryadye and Izmailovsky parks. Learn how to dance the Charleston, blues and the Lindy Hop at Krasnaya Presnya Park.

This August, everyone will be able to listen to free live jazz concerts and dance to the sounds of swing music at five parks managed by the Department of Culture.

Film music and top hats

Hermitage and Bauman gardens, and Zaryadye and Izmailovsky parks have prepared their own jazz concert programmes. Krasnaya Presnya Park is hosting the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, the blues and other dance classes. A detailed schedule and programme changes are posted on the parks’ websites.

Three 60-minute jazz programmes will be offered at Zaryadye Park. On Friday, 17 August, the Ivanov Brothers Symphony Jazz music band will perform on the park’s Large Amphitheatre stage. The band’s unusual technique combines classical, modern and jazz music. Andrei and Mikhail Ivanov will also perform their own compositions. The concert begins at 6 pm, and admission is free.

On 25 August, Saturday, the Melodiya band headed by saxophone player, orchestra conductor, composer and People’s Artist of Russia Georgy Garanyan will perform at 6 pm at the Media Centre pavilion’s hall. The musicians will entertain everyone with melodies from popular Soviet-era films, including “The Diamond Hand,” “Gentlemen of Fortune” and “The Amphibian Man.” In addition, they will perform well-known foreign hits, including Summertime, Black Orpheus, Caravan and others. Admission is free, and spectators need to book in advance.

On 29 August, Wednesday, the legendary Moscow Jazz orchestra led by sax player Igor Butman will perform at Zaryadye Park’s Large Amphitheatre. The programme includes the musicians’ own compositions and jazz interpretations of internationally famous tunes. The concert starts at 6 pm, and admission is free.

On 18-19 August, Hermitage Garden will host the traditional 21stMoscow International Festival ‘Jazz in Hermitage Garden’ from 3 through 9 pm. Noted Russian and foreign jazz performers, including Mojo Blues Band, Israeli flutist Itai Kriss and the Oleg Butman Band, a duo featuring Polish pianist and composer Krzysztof Kobyliński and Italian bandoneon player Daniele Bonaventura, as well as an international band headed by US sax player Rick Margitza, will hit the stage. The foreign musicians will perform traditional jazz compositions and jazz versions of pop songs. Musicians from a band led by drummer Vyacheslav Veliky from Moscow and the Round Band with virtuoso saxophone player Alexei Kruglov will also put on a show. The band and singer Dmitry Noskov will present a programme honouring the great Frank Sinatra from 3 pm to 9 pm.

Apart from concerts, the park has prepared a sweeping entertainment programme for the entire family. All events are free. Fashion experts will give talks on jazz-concert clothes and accessories at a summer-house near the New Opera Theater from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm. Dance classes to the sounds of jazz improvisation are scheduled for 3pm to 9 pm on the dance floor in front of the Novaya (New) Opera Theatre. Children can attend free workshops from 3 pm to 8 pm, where they’ll make colourful Jazz Age top hats from the 1920s for boys and exotic-looking hats for girls from the same period under the guidance of instructors.

Good tradition

Bauman Garden hosts jazz concerts each Thursday all summer long. The next concert is scheduled for 9 August at 5.30 pm. The band Accent will perform popular jazz compositions and film tunes. A week later, singer Ksenia Win will perform classical and modern hits from 7.30 pm.

On 23 August, spectators will be treated to a concert by the Bubamara band performing jazz interpretations of traditional Balkan songs, and they will also dance to these songs. The band Invibers will perform jazz compositions on an electronic organ from 7.30 pm, 30 August.

Izmailovsky Park hosts jazz concerts every weekend all summer starting at 5 pm at its Solnechnaya (Sunny) stage. Admission is free, and no reservations are required. The Nikolai Mishchenko trio is to perform there 4 August, offering modern improvised jazz melodies, followed by the Darya Zakharova quartet on 5 August. Ms Zakharova, a young singer, is known for her unusual style.

Balboa to the sounds of Armstrong

Those preferring dances to concerts can take free jazz-dance classes on the main stage of Krasnaya Presnya Park every Wednesday from 7 pm through 8 pm. Experienced instructors introduce their students to the joys of the Lindy hop, the Charleston, blues and Balboa to the sounds of jazz hits by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Admission is free, and no reservations are required.

The following parks will host jazz concerts:

— Zaryadye Park

— Hermitage Garden

— Bauman Garden

— Izmailovsky Park

— Krasnaya Presnya Park.

Moscow ranks among the greenest metropolises in the world with over 780 parks. Trees and shrubs cover over 50 percent of Old Moscow territory. More parks are established each year. In 2017, the 10.2-hectare Zaryadye Park opened near the Kremlin. A vacant lot on Bolshoi Spasoglinishchevsky Pereulok has turned into a public garden featuring a dry deck fountain, a rotunda with an amphitheatre, summer-houses and benches, playgrounds and sport facilities.

Parks are being renovated in every city district. The 50-letiya Oktyabrya Park in western Moscow was renovated completely early this year. Outdoor game lovers can play volleyball, basketball, badminton, and table tennis there, and street workout equipment is also available. The Garden of the Future Park, located near the former Leonovo Estate in northwestern Moscow, was renovated last year. Visitors can see restored elements of 18th-19th century park culture there and relax in modern leisure areas.