As travelers on this Barcelona Jazz trip will discover, Barcelona is historically, and remains, the capital of jazz in Spain.
On our trip, we’ll explore how Barcelona’s famous art and design landmarks and artists connect with jazz, and we´ll pair jazz with Catalan wines, artisanal cheeses, tapas and vermouth, swing dancing, flamenco and Afro-Cuban music.
And of course, we will attend concerts staged by The Barcelona International Jazz Festival, our main nightly event on this tour.
Every fall, Barcelona residents mark their calendar for The Barcelona International Jazz Festival, the season’s most important annual musical event, presenting sold-out concerts in venues ranging from the magistral art nouveau Palau de la Musica Catalana to modern mid-size halls, small neighborhood clubs and outdoor stages. Founded in 1966 with a concert by Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Bebo Valdés and Dexter Gordon are among the artists to mark the festival’s stages in historic shows.
Now in its 54th year, the Festival has expanded, while always keeping its local and original flavor.This year, you´ll have a chance to catch shows by the James Frances Trio, Chucho Valdés and Paquito D´Rivera, Yamandu Costa, Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland; Ken Hays, Ben Street and Billy Hart; plus jazz fest artist workshops, especially selected performances around town, and events created especially for our group.
Judy Cantor-Navas is a an award-winning journalist, producer and Grammy-nominated liner notes writer whose work explores contemporary issues and the social history of the Spanish-speaking world through music. Her recent credits include Story Producer and Lead Writer of the Audible Original podcast “Punk in Translation” and Cultural Music Consultant for Disney Animation’s Oscar-Winning “Encanto.” Judy lives in Barcelona, where she covers the city’s music scene for Billboard and other publications. She never misses the Barcelona Jazz Festival, where, in addition to covering concerts, she has participated as a guest speaker at festival events.
The founding editor of Billboard en Espanol and a writer for Billboard for over a decade, Judy’s writing now appears frequently on GladysPalmera.com and in No Depression magazine. She has curated Latin music for MTV and Google, was a rock critic for the Buenos Aires Herald and staff writer at the Miami Herald and Miami New Times. She has frequently covered music and cultural politics in Cuba, where she earned the nickname “the journalist without fear.” Accolades for Judy’s work include a National Music Journalism Awards first prize, a Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award for criticism, an Inter American Press Association fellowship and a grant from the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation.
We´ll get to know our fellow travelers and go over our full itinerary at 7 Portes, the Barcelona institution where we might encounter one of the Barcelona Jazz Festival’s international headliners being wined and dined by Festival director Joan Anton Cararach, a regular. At the 185-year-old restaurant, where the vintage café-society décor preserves the spirit of good times past, we´ll get a crash course in true Catalan cuisine and an introduction to jazz in Barcelona from Judy Cantor-Navas (and maybe surprise guests).
“A place of freedom, transgression and artistic creativity,” the Harlem Jazz Club is Barcelona’s oldest music club and ongoing incubator for Barcelona’s trademark fusion of sounds, on a stage where jazz meets flamenco, Latin music, gospel and Afro beats.
We´ll take a guided tour of the Mies Van der Rohe Pavilion, the minimal symbol of modernism built by the famed architect on Barcelona’s Montjuic mountainside for the 1929 International Exposition, and we´ll learn how that event ushered in the jazz age in Barcelona and take in the city views.
On a special visit to the hill-top Miro Foundation, where the works of master Joan Miró co-exist with cutting edge contemporary art, we’ll observe the musical qualities of Miró’s work and discuss the artist’s inspirational relationship with music, particularly jazz and flamenco.
We´ll relive the swing dancing craze that swept through Barcelona before WWII and is today enjoying a huge local revival. An introduction to Lindy Hop and solo jazz dance with the cats at Swing Maniacs in Gracia, a thriving residential neighborhood unknown to many tourists.
Monvinic has been called “the best wine bar in the world.” In an intimate, impeccably designed setting, we’ll taste a selection of Catalan wines and artisanal cheeses from the region,and hear the stories behind them from Monvinic’s experts.
Latin jazz, particularly Cuban jazz, is always an essential element of the Barcelona Jazz Festival – from annual appearances by the Festival’s official Godfather, legendary pianist and composer Chucho Valdés, to up-and-coming artists from the island and notable Cuban artists who’ve made Barcelona their home. Today we’ll celebrate the relationship between Afro-Cuban music and jazz.
An authentic, feels-like-Havana place with a great ambiance and playlist where photos of Cuban musicians cover the walls. Our host, Judy Cantor-Navas, will give informal talk about the history of Cuban jazz.
The stories of jazz and flamenco have always been intertwined in Barcelona, as reflected by the Barcelona Jazz Festival’s inclusion of a full program of diverse flamenco shows in its yearly schedule (there is a festival within the festival called De Cajón!)
A unique opportunity to attend a master class by one of the jazz festival artists.
Past BCN Jazz Fest master classes included Maria Schneider, Chucho Valdés, Tomatito, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Richard Bona, the Charlie Parker Legacy Band, and many more.
In Barcelona, vermut (vermouth) is more than a cocktail, it’s a ritual, like the Catalan version of weekend brunch, an excuse to get together and catch up over typical food and drinks.
Led by an acclaimed Barcelona-based food historian and chef, we´ll visit to a traditional vermutería (Vermouth bar) to enjoy vermut with small bites, and a talk about the history of vermut and its cultural significance over time.
A unique monument to Catalan Art Nouveau architecture, the Palau de la Música is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that remains a vibrant concert venue, decorated with stained glass and mystical sculptures of musical muses. It’s the site of the Barcelona Jazz Festival’s headlining performances.
(This itinerary is a sample and some events could change and certain days could alternate to accommodate different music performances, etc)
Please Note: This tour is not organized by the Barcelona Jazz Festival. However, we are collaborating with the festival producers and artists to create a very unique experience based around the best performances and events happening in Barcelona in November 2022.
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