An alto saxophone lying about at Festival of Slovenian Jazz, 2014
The Festival of Slovenian Jazz is an annual presentation of the current creative endeavours among the Slovenian jazz musicians of various musical orientations. Taking place since 2003, it has hosted big bands, contemporary jazz collectives and free jazz practitioners, all of them sometimes playing with an international cast, thus giving the festival – despite its name – a somewhat international character.
Until 2010, the festival was organised by the Jazz Society and held in the auditorium of Hotel Lev, Ljubljana. Then, after a two-year break, it continued in Ravne na Koroškem, produced together with the crew of the Jazz Ravne cycle. The festival now takes place in the Kompleks Youth Culture Centre and partially also in the Cultural centre Ravne.
The history of the Jazz Society goes back quite a long time, as they are the ones who in 1960 brought to life the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, nowadays still existing as the oldest European jazz festival. At that time, it was called Yugoslavia Jazz Festival and was held in Bled, moving to Ljubljana only later in 1967. A dozen years later, at the end of the 1970s, the festival organisation was handed to the then newly established Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre. Consequently, for a few years, the Jazz Society ran its own festival (once again set in Bled), organised regular concert evenings in Ljubljana, and worked on the local jazz culture, managing, for example, to install a jazz course into the Ljubljana Music and Ballet Conservatory curriculum.
Some of the bands and musicians that have appeared at the festival include RTV Slovenia Big Band, Jure Pukl Quartet, Balžalorsky / Drašler 3o, Lolita, Vasko Atanasovski Trio, Jazoo, Robert Jukič, Jaka Kopač, Zlatko Kaučič, Cene Resnik, Samo Šalamon and Igor Bezget. Playing on the same stages, have been such notable musicians as Giovanni Maier, Clarence Penn, Howard Curtis, and Wayne Darling.