From November 9th through November 12th
For 14 years, jazz aficionados from around the world have come to the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival to hear top-of-the-line Latin jazz musicians from the Caribbean, and Central and South America in the tropical towns of Cabarete and Sosua on the north shore of the Dominican Republic. This year’s event is from November 9th through November 12th.
Part of what makes this festival different from others is that during its four days and three nights it wanders from venue to venue so attendees listen to outstanding jazz in different acoustical settings—most of them outdoors.
The festival is free for all but one session.
We did this, says Jennifer Kirkman, a founder and director of the festival,
because we wanted as many people as possible to have exposure to jazz and its international character.
free is made possible by its music-supportive sponsors: Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, Dominican Republic Ministry of Culture, Ferreteria Ochoa, Millennium Resort in Cabarete, Sea Horse Ranch in Cabarete (founders), and Ayuntamiento (City Council) Sosua.
The festival is more than an entertainment experience. It gets attendees the privilege of sitting in the VIP section in front of the stage with the sponsors and the musicians during the event. This continuous opportunity has the reasonable price tag of US $150.00. It includes complimentary Cuba Libres made with Brugal rum, one of the sponsors. This is a good deal. Opening night on Wednesday is in the Parque Mirador Sosúa at 8pm. Under the stars, fans hear the Puerto Varas Jazz Sextet from Chile and Sabrina Estaban, the Dominican Republic’s
Las Divas del Jazz.
Thursday’s music is in the open-sided, roofed-over amphitheater of the Casa Marina resort. A workshop/seminar starts at 10:30am with the Puerto Varas Big Band from Chile. The afternoon is free to sightsee at such places as Monkey Jungle and Zip Lines, or snorkel or SCUBA in the really, really crystal-clear waters of Sosua Bay.
The night session features the Dominican Republic’s Tes-A-T, and Ismail Miranda from Puerto. This is a charity session that has a price of US $200.00. The proceeds go to fund special educational music programs. This session is included for the VIP ticket holders.
Friday starts at 11 am under a tent on Cabarete Beach with workshops for school children, but anyone can attend to learn from these master jazz musicians.
The afternoon starts at 1 pm and with a concert for youth by youth. This is led by the Puerto Varas Big Band, whose musicians are between the ages of 16 and 22. This session is in keeping with the goals of the festival to expose and inspire young people to learn to enjoy and appreciate music. They also have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument.
The evening starts at 8 pm. Because this year’s theme is vocalists, it starts by featuring Tutti Druyan, from Israel. She is a young and up and coming vocalist currently studying at the Berkelee Collegee of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Following her is the Afro-Cuban Antillean fusion specialist, Xiomara Fortuna from the Dominican Republic. Turning up the heat to close the evening is the amazing and accomplished singer from Cuba, Gema Corredera.
During the break, there are approximately 15 restaurants and bars along the beach to enjoy dinner at—local seafood, steaks, Italian food and an Irish sports pub. No shoes necessary at any of them.
Saturday night starts at 9 pm, still on the beach, with Rando Camasta from the Dominican Republic and Jerry Medina y La Banda from Puerto Rico. The evening ends by opening part of the audience floor for dancing—no telling which artists will jump back up on stage for an impromptu jazz session.