The Costa Rica Internacional Jazz Festival begins Tuesday with the Joel LaRue Smith Jazz Trio performing at 7 p.m. in the Centro José Figueres Ferrer, San Ramón. This is the first performance by the invited group of musicians from the United States, Guatemala, Switzerland and Costa Rica.
The event is an annual one sponsored twice a year by the Centro Cultural Costarricense-Norteamericano. Performances are planned in Alajuela, Santa Ana, Manuel Antonio, Jacó and Guápiles as well as the metro area.
Smith and his fellow musicians are coming here as the U.S. State Department’s Cultural Ambassador Program. He is, among other positions, the director of the jazz orchestra and jazz studies at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
Smith is a pianist, arranger and composer. The U.S. Embassy said that his music builds on diverse influences, including Afro-Cuban rhythms, classical music and jazz, creating a mosaic of musical themes in his compositions and interpretations. His music is full of rich sounds and unpredictable delights, imagination, rich textures and passion, all the while looking for ways to redefine the musical experience, it added.
The trio has been all over the world, and Smith has played at Carnegie Hall in New York, Lincoln Center and the Whitney Museum, also in New York; The White House. Symphony Hall in San Francisco and The Royal Albert Hall in London.
The only appearance in the San José area will be Wednesday at the Hogar de Ancianos Carlos María Ulloa, which is in Guadalupe, Goicoechea. That will be at 10 a.m.
Thursday the trio plays at 5 p.m. in Parque Vargas in Limón Centro and then Friday at 11 a.m. in the American Corner, in the public library in Limón at 11 a.m.
The final concert is also Friday at the Black Star Line in Limón at 7 p.m.
But there is much more. The Centro Cutural gave this outline:
Wednesday: The Kansas State University Jazz Sextet will play at 11 a.m. in front of the Correos Nacional in San José, at 4 p.m. at the Automercado in Guachipelín, Escazú, and at 7 p.m. in the Studio Hotel, Santa Ana.
Thursday: The Centro is holding a conference at its Los Yoses location to discuss studying music in the United States at 2 p.m. At 5 p.m. the Kansas State University Jazz Sextet performs at the Automercado in Plaza del Sol, Curridabat.
Friday: The Kansas State University Jazz Sextet will give a master class at 3 p.m. in the Centro’s Teatro Eugene O’Neill. Then at 8 p.m. the sextet will give a concert at the same place.
Saturday: The Kansas State Sextet has two concerts, one at 11 a.m. in Parque Morazán in San José and at 7:30 p.m. in the Hotel Club del Mar, Jacó. The Frank Salis Jazz Trío from Switzerland will be performing at the Teatro Eugene O’Neill at 8 p.m., and the Juilliard School’s New York Jazz Quartet will perform at the Hotel GAIA in Manuel Antonio at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, July 29: The New York University Jazz Quintet will play at 11 a.m. on the steps of the Museos del Banco Central at Plaza de la Cultura downtown. The Juilliard School Jazz Quartet will give a master class at the Teatro Eugene O’Neill from 2 to 5, and then it will perform at 6 p.m. at the Centro.
Tuesday, July 30: The Frank Salis Jazz Trío performs at Costa Rica Costa Rica Country Club, Escazú, at noon. The New York University Jazz Quintet also performs at noon at the Teatro Nacional. Later the group has a concert at 7 p.m. at the Studio Hotel, Santa Ana. At the Teatro Eugene O’Neill the Guatemalan group , the IMOX Trío de Jazz, performs at 8 p.m.
Wednesday, July 31: The New York University Jazz Quintet will play at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Correos de Costa Rica downtown. At 11:30 a.m. IMOX Trío de Jazz will performs in the lobby of the Centro in Los Yoses. At 7 p.m. The Frank Salis Jazz Trío performs at the Museo Juan Santamaría in Alajuela. Also at 7 p.m. the Costa Rican group, The New Jazz Project, will be part of the entertainment for pilgrims at the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago.
Thursday, Aug. 1: The IMOX Trío de Jazz plays at 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Centro’s facilities in Heredia. The New York University Jazz Quintet will play at the Centro’s facilities in Guápiles at 7 p.m. The Juilliard School Jazz Quartet gives an 8 p.m. concert at the Teatro Eugene O’Neill.
Saturday, Aug. 3: On this, the last day of the jazz festival, the New York University Jazz Quintet plays at 1:30 p.m. at the Centro facilities in La Sabana and gives a final concert at 8 p.m. in the Teatro Eugene O’Neill