Jazz took over the CD Congress Centre Ljubljana from 21st to 24th September 2017, hosting the most important annual meeting of European professionals of one of the most creative music sector, jazz.  The 4th European Jazz Conference was organized in Slovenia for the first time, specifically at the CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, prominent cultural and congress institution.

The theme of the 4th European Jazz Conference (EJC) was “WHAT IF …”. What if … the time has come for a new vision of the world? What if … we go for a utopian search for new ideas, new answers, new debates and new coalitions? What if … we start here and now? In the light of the world changing and challenges the modern society brings (racism, refugees, migrants, nationalism, etc.) the conference emphasized the importance cultural organizations and jazz music have with the possibility of transforming public views. This year’s EJC was dedicated to discovering how the music professionals can deal with these issues and how music and creativity can be used for positive effects on the society. Jazz music simply has to remain the place of understanding and creativity, so numerous working groups and networking sessions were organized to share expertise and the knowledge to work on gender balance, jazz and young people involvement, social inclusion through music, digital tools for audience engagement … all with intention to focus on changes in modern society, the importance of cultural institutions and music, bringing the fresh wind of changes, emphasizing the freedom, humanity and positive energy.

Delegates had the privilege to listen to three outstanding musicians, keynote speakers of the European Jazz Conference 2017 in Ljubljana: Lebanese composer and oud master Rabih Abou-Khalil, Malian award-winning singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré and Serbian pianist and Balkan jazz icon Bojan Z. They’ve presented their views on the theme of the EJC “WHAT IF…” and their personal experiences as artists who travelled across borders and cultures and were able to merge these different influences to create something unique.

EJC2017 keynote speakers

CD Congress Centre Ljubljana organized the conference for the first time and EJC organizers explained their choice of destination by saying: “There is no better place than Ljubljana, with its past, present and future, to reflect on who we are, why we are together, and where we want to go.” Jazz is basically implemented in the DNA of leading Slovenian congress centre, also hosting the most important Slovenian jazz festival, the prestigious Jazz Ljubljana. This year, the 58th Jazz Ljubljana welcomed more than 2,500 visitors in its 6 days and approximately 14 days ago, they’ve introduced Edi Zubčević, Director of Sarajevo Jazz Festival as the new Art Director for Jazz Festival Ljubljana.

About the European Jazz Conference:
The 4th European Jazz Conference, the most important annual meeting of jazz professionals in Europe is centred on building relationships between jazz professionals in Europe, developing new projects and artistic collaborations, sharing expertise, learning about jazz scenes and best practises from all around the world. The event is co-organised by Europe Jazz Network and by Cankarjev dom, Culture and Congres Centre with support by the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia, Municipality Ljubljana and the Creative Europe of the European Union.