On our way to the tall gate of the Ethnographic Park, we wonder: why do we come to Jazz in the Park? Is it for the experiences, for the music, for the dogs who are joyously alongside people, for the alpaca that also tastes a bit of the festival, a blade of grass, a guitar chord? Maybe we come precisely because “here, in Cluj, at Jazz in the Park, is the synthesis, the merging of the Carpathian-Danube-Pontic jazz space,” as JazzQuarters Trio said yesterday? In reality, I think we come for the people. We come for ourselves. To listen to ourselves a little more attentively, to love ourselves a little more strongly, to feel good.
Energy and Dance with Pantaloons
The second day starts energetically, with a smile and a desire for movement. In the heart of the festival, up on the hill, the sun filling the Ethnographic Park doesn’t feel as hot anymore, and we can breathe fresh air. Pantaloons manage to get the audience dancing in the shade, and the Hill Stage rises with the notes flowing freely from the saxophone. Unknowingly, we all unite in the same movement and feel. We feel the rhythm, we feel the good energy; we receive it and pass it on. If our bodies move differently, here and now, our souls unite into one. And we love. We love the music, we love life. “Love everyone, love yourself!” the trio conveys during the concert—a reminder in case we’ve been caught up in the rush of time and have forgotten to take time to just be, to listen, to love.
Emotion and Hope with Andrei Irimia
From the hill, led by the crowd filled with good spirits, we head towards a moment of calm, of closing our eyes and dreaming. We sit on the grass and begin a journey within ourselves. We feel, in Andrei Irimia’s pieces, a note of hope. Carried by the emotion of high notes, we listen as the rhythm slowly decreases in intensity, only to rise again. The artist sketches life’s ups and downs on the piano and harmoniously blends poetry with music. The simplicity of mysterious and wise lyrics teaches us the true meaning of the concept “less is more.”
Vinyl Fair – A Search for Today’s Meaning Among Records
Life spins like a vinyl record, and I am the needle that stays fixed, touches, wanders, experiments, searches for the right record to take home and listen to on one’s own, less traditional, porch.
Love and Kindness on the Porch
As we’ve grown accustomed to, afternoons at Jazz in the Park invite us to discussions about music, about life, about ourselves. Moderated by Horia Ghibuțiu, Saturday’s discussion seeks to answer a tricky question, as the journalist from Rock FM points out: “Does music make society and people better?” Larisa Perde, founder of Șaraimanic, and Tudor Sbîrcea, psychotherapist and son of conductor Petre Sbîrcea, passionately debate this subject in a discussion about rediscovery, gratitude, returning to roots, relaxation, love, and play. From Larisa, we learn that music is about us, and that within us lies a world we need to reclaim. “Artists are our mirror,” says Larisa, reminding us how important it is to feel good, to feel like ourselves, while Tudor talks about music therapy and the role of a festival like Jazz in the Park in bringing us back to reality, in making us listen, in making us observe. The two affirm that music is a form of freedom and that it’s important to allow yourself to play. After all, the positive effects of a music festival are that it helps people love in all its forms.
Happiness and Obsession with 7th SENSE on the Porch
We also meet on the porch with the young people from 7th SENSE, Laura Benedek, Sergiu Bivol, and Lucas Contreras. The discussion with them revolves around the joy of singing, of finding the perfect sound together, of creating together. Harmony, groove, melody are their ingredients to get closer to the audience, and this closeness is sincere, authentic through their accessible and fresh jazz music. Being in love with one’s own creations can often lead to exaggerated ego, but this is not the case with 7th SENSE. The love – even obsession – they have for their own songs performed on stage reaches people and sensitizes them. To experience the emotion from their concert, we must have a little more patience; one more day and we’ll be there, in front of the stage, living alongside them the joy of singing and listening.
Echo and Journey with The Heliocentrics
Towards evening, we gather again at the Backyard Stage, where we are drawn by the echoes and sound effects that take us to a realm where we feel anything is possible. The Heliocentrics combine jazz with psychedelic-funk and ethnic music, and the result is a journey beyond the boundaries of what we have known so far in the world of jazz. Everything becomes a perfect harmony, a painting of colors, movements, and smiles.
Inner Rhythm and Sunset
Slowly, we continue our journey to Find Your Rhythm (School of Drums & Hearts), where we barely find space among others who want to sync their heartbeat with that of the drums. We sit among friends who are harmonizing, strangers trying to unite their individual, indivisible inner rhythms into a single, complex one, under the caressing sunset. The rays illuminate our palms, the beats intensify, and the rhythm is almost found; we’re just missing a sound, a feeling, a thought, and it’s ready!
Play and Feeling with Mansur Brown
For the first time in Romania, Mansur Brown calls people to the Backyard Stage, with powerful chords. Surrounded by old houses and trees, we feel as if we’re in our grandparents’ backyard, sitting in a hammock, listening to our favorite tune at full volume in headphones. Now we are us; now we’re not alone, we don’t have headphones, and we’ve learned to feel music differently. It takes us far and tells us a lot without needing words. The song “Serious” takes us back to childhood, to how we grew up; the musical inflections are like a game of hide and seek, one chord hides, as it were, behind the other and chases it. I’ve always wondered what people in Mansur Brown’s audience are thinking when they close their eyes and let themselves be carried by rhythm, by play. Perhaps that’s the moment when we just feel, leave thoughts aside, and live, beautifully and sincerely, a moment we won’t forget. I stumble over a blade of grass and laugh. Nobody saw me feel the rhythm a bit too strongly. Music is best lived by dancing barefoot in the grass!
Warmth and Essence with Mulatu Astatke
The father of Ethio-jazz completes the second evening at Jazz in the Park. Mulatu Astatke warms us both bodily and spiritually. We listen, we dance, and we love every moment, savor every note played on the vibraphone and the conga drums. We are many and we are beautiful, and midway through the festival, we can say that music does indeed make us better.
It’s late and the park is about to close its gates. We watch the moon on our way out, with longing and joy that there’s another day tomorrow. A day of Jazz, a day of listening, of loving, and of feeling the goodness that surrounds us.
Text: Alice Constantinescu, Communication & PR Volunteer
Images: Mara Andrea Țuică, Communication & PR Volunteer