Jazz Music in the Basque Country. Festivals and more to enjoy!

On 2016 I will turn 40, so does the Basque Festivals of Vitoria-Gasteiz (where I was born) and Getxo (a lovely port near Bilbao), and last year, on 2015 the San Sebastian Jazz Festival "Jazzaldia" turned 50... I do not know if it is a coincidence or imitation, but since I was in the 20s I am going every year, at least for a day to the International Jazz of Vitoria.

I love pure jazz, but to be honest, only for a couple of songs, and I prefer to hear it normally at home whilst I taste a glass of Rioja wine, to relax of the television, computer or internet... However, I love latin jazz. And I go often to the concerts as much as I can. I still recall on 2004 when Chano Dominguez played with the great Paco de Lucia and they played together with the trumpet of Terell Stafford and Wycliffe Gordon's trombone whilst two flamenco dancers were performing in front of them! That was unveliebable!!!

By the way, if you are touring in Vitoria-Gasteiz, do not leave without seeing the Florida Park. There you can find a statue of the trumpet player: Wynton Marsalis over a bench with the names of all the jazz players who have come to the International Jazz Festival of Vitoria-Gasteiz.

A different feature of the Basque festivals is that there is a big set of events outside of the official concert scenarios. You can hear jazz in bars, pubs, cafeterias, museums...

In Vitoria you can hear life jazz groups in places like: Jazz Antzokia Café, NH Canciller Ayala Hotel, Dublín Café, The Man in the Moon Bar, 4 Azules Bar, Río Café; or in the Virgen Blanca terrace (where in other moments you can also enjoy swing, blues, funk...)

During the Festival of Getxo, near Bilbao, and in other moments, you can also enjoy good jazz in Bilbao. There are jazz concerts in Bilbaina Jazz Club nearly every Thursday, or in the Jazz Club in la Haceria on Fridays. In the La Orilla Cafe of Hesperia Hotel, or in the Campos Theather, the restaurant of the Ribera Market or even in the Guggenheim Museum (check with my agenda for updates on these concerts).

San Sebastián has also very popular places to enjoy Jazz. During the Jazzaldia Festival there are typical places like the Victoria Eugenia and San Telmo Museum where you can hear nice concerts. But for me, the best place to enjoy Jazz in San Sebastian is near the Gross beach close to Kursaal Palace. However, as in Bilbao and Vitoria, you can enjoy good Jazz during the whole year in San Sebastian. Check out in Altxerri Bar & Jazz for example!

I have wondered why Jazz is so popular amongst Basques. It maybe because it takes out of our normal life and makes us enjoy a spiritual and emotionally rich moment in our lives. What do you think? 

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