Blog

Jazz Festivals from 30 Years Ago

Blog
Jazz Festivals from 30 Years Ago

01.08.2018

Article: Cem Kayıran
Translation: Yetkin Nural
Collage: Sadi Güran

As the summer festivals starts, we are going back 30 years to see what went down and who took stage by a storm at the jazz festivals back then.  

1988 was an important year for Istanbul as well, a city that has been hosting various jazz events and festivals. The jazz music section of International Istanbul Jazz Festival had started two years ago and the honor guest of 1988 was no one else than Miles Davis. The legendary musician’s performances at the Harbiye Theatre are remembered as one of the most inspiring moments of Istanbul’s jazz festivals.

Some of the most essential and prestigious jazz festivals of today had impressive line-ups back in 1988 as well. 1988 line-up of Montreux Jazz Festival, which has always been known with its comprehensive program that expands over various cultures, included iconic names such as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Charles Lloyd as well as names from various regions of the world like Mory Kante, Milton Nascimento and Salif Keita. Make sure to check one of the highlights of the festival, Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter performance video below.

One of the jazz capitals of the world is no doubt New Orleans. The city’s iconic The New Orleans Jazz Festival and Heritage’s 1988 line-up expanded beyond the city’s own jazz scene and flirted with genres such as blues, reggae, Latino and country. Some of the prominent names of the festival’s 1988 program were B.B. King, Los Lobos, Al Green, Otis Redding and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

You could easily say that the most established jazz festival of the European continent is the North Sea Jazz Festival. And the festival’s rich and diverse 1988 line-up is just another proof of this statement.  Still organized at the city of Lahey at the time, before it moved to its current home Rotterdam, North Sea Jazz Festival managed to organize dozens of concerts over 12 stages from impressive names such as Eddie Palmieri, Curtis Mayfield, Michel Petrucciani, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Hancock, during its three day program back in 1988.

Organized for the first time as The First Annual American Jazz Festival in 1954, New Port Jazz Festival changed its name later on; adopting the name of the city it is held in. Hosting numerous important performances, special anniversary celebrations of the legendary names from jazz history and never failing to impress with its programs, Newport Jazz Festival’s 1988 line-up included names like Wynton Marsalis, Ray Charles, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, The Count Basie Orchestra and B.B. King, all of whom went on stage at The Newport Casino, the festival’s original venue.

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