Ystad Sweden festival for early August

This year's slightly reduced event on the Swedish Riviera includes Jan Lundgren, Isabella Lundgren, Nicole Johänntgen and Stacey Kent

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Following the Covid-hit Ystad 2020, this August the festival returns with much of its characterful force. Twenty-two concerts, four JazzKidz events, jam sessions hosted by Swedish drummer Cornelia Nilsson and her trio, major interviews with bassist Georg Riedel – the festival’s guest of honour this year – and ACT producer Siggi Loch, both conducted at Ystads Konstmuseum by Susanne Rydén, CEO of Musik i Syd, and six Senior Jazz concerts delivered at local elderly care homes: all make for a vibrant and engaging programme at the scenically striking event, which this year features over one hundred artists in all. On 6 August, two concerts –  by the Scandinavian Jazz Orchestra with Isabella Lundgren (v), and Jan Lundgren (p) and Georg Riedel (b) – will also be live-streamed.

The chief venues for Ystad 2021 are the much-loved Ystads Teater, Ystad Saltsjöbad, S:ta Maria Kyrka, Hos Morten Café, Ystads Stadsbibliotek and Solhällan plus two new spaces: Saluhallen in Ystad and Hammenhögs Gästis. Seating restrictions will apply: for example, at Ystads Teater, which normally seats 380, this year a maximum of 220-250 will be allowed. The artist for 2021, who contributed the festival brochure’s cover, is Pia Carlström. She will be exhibiting her jazz paintings at Saluhallen in Ystad, and the festival’s “jazz ambassadors” are Susanna Alakoski and Karl Fredrik på Eklaholm.

One of the very best of the 10 excellent live-streamed concerts which constituted Ystad 2020 (all of which were reviewed in JJ) was given by the French soprano saxophonist Emile Parisien in the electric company of festival director Jan Lundgren (p) and Lars Danielsson (b). Fortunately, this superb session was recorded and the CD The Ystad Concert II  (Lundgren’s The Ystad Concert: A Tribute To Jan Johansson came out in 2016) will be released at the trio’s concert this year on 4 August. Parisien will also improvise the traditional introductory festival fanfare from the bell-tower of S:ta Maria Kyrka and appears again in the programme with his own quartet.

Ystad 2021 covers an especially wide historical range: while the entire programme for 6 August is devoted to celebrating the 250th anniversary of The Royal Swedish  Academy of Music, the Next Jazz Generation selection of up-and-coming contemporary bands features Tre Öar, the Alicia Lindberg Kvintett, the Kristoffer Sjöström Trio, Matilda Schyborger, the Alexandra Schabo Collective and the Wallander Kvintett.

I can’t be at the festival this year, but I’m delighted to note that, apart from Lundgren, Danielsson and Riedel it features such further long-time favourites of mine as Karolina Almgren (ss), Jesper Bodilsen (b), Claes Crona (p), Nicole Johänntgen (as, ss), Anders Jormin (b), Stacey Kent (v), Morten Lund (d), Mårten Lundgren (t, v) and Lena Willemark (v). All in all, It should be a blast. Complete festival programme at ystadjazz.se.