In 2017 the world community of musicians marked three landmark anniversaries – the centenaries of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. Many musicians seized the opportunity to make tributes and provide fresh interpretations of the great compositions and performances of the three.
The new project of Bulgarian jazz singer Hilda Kazasyan Homage to Ella Fitzgerald is yet another challenge inspired by the talent of the American jazz diva. The project features 12 of her most popular songs which Hilda presents with Hristo Yotsov (percussions) and Dimitar Karamfilov (double bass). Well, here is how it all started from Hilda:
“The provocation and the idea actually came from jazz singer Miroslava Katsarova – who organizes Bulgaria’s best jazz festival (in my opinion) –Plovdiv Jazz Festival. She had invited us to join the event last spring, but all three of us had forgotten all about it. A week before the festival in November she reminded us that we should open the event with a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. I panicked, as I had two days to select the pieces and five days to learn them. Hristo Yotsov and Jivko Petrov had to make the arrangements overnight. And because the musicians whom I usually work with(Hristo Yotsov andDimitar Karamfilov) had forgotten about the commitment made, they could not join me and I had to present the program for the birth anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald withJP3 (Jivko Petrov – piano, Veselin Veselinov – Eko – double bass and Dimitar Semov – percussions). Afterwards Hristo Yotsov listened to the recording from the concert, liked it very much and suggested recording a whole album and its launch during a tour. At first, I did not believe this could ever happen. But now it has become a fact. We got together and created a project different from everything else done before that – most of all in terms of arrangements. In the end the whole process of working on the album took 12 days. When something should happen it does happen. And in fact Hristo and Jivko made quite different arrangements of a few very popular songs of Ella Fitzgerald.”
“At the album’s promotion which took place at the end of April, we improvised again and made a few new things. This is actually my first jazz-only album. The music itself enables performers to feel free and to do their best. The tour for the presentation of the album includes the cities of Bourgas, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Dobrich, Varna and Rousse. I have again opted for theater halls to host our concerts. On 7 September we will present it at Apollonia Festival of Arts in Sozopol at the amphitheater of the Black Sea town. Director Vasil Karkelanov shot a video of the concert at the promotion, but I believe that every time makes a difference and this is the beauty of live performances,” concludes jazz singer Hilda Kazasyan.
English Daniela Konstantinova