Miles Davis and Gil Evans' masterpiece Sketches of Spain (1959) has never been performed in The Netherlands. Trumpet player Wallace Roney - who is seen as Miles Davis' successor - and talented composer and conductor Maria Schneider - for years the assistant of Gil Evans - will perform the piece. Davis, who played both trumpet and bugle on Sketches of Spain, was inspired for this recording by a record of Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo, who wrote the opening song Concierto de Aranjuez. Conductor-arranger Gil Evans and Davis collected various Spanish pieces for the recording, mostly old religious traditionals. Like the Spanish march 'Saeta', that deals with the Passion of Christ and is sung at processions. The hardest things about making the record were the trumpet parties substituting vocals, according to Davis' autobiography, especially when it was improvised. Everything revolved around the ability to empathise with this Andalusian music, influenced by Arab and African influences. Davis: “The problems occurred when I had to play the parts that lay between the words of the singer. (…) I noticed with Sketches of Spain that I had to read the parts and listen to them a few times, before I was able to play them. For me it was all about knowing what it dealt with. When I got that, I was able to play it.”
Maria Schneider was taught the trade of big band by grandmasters Bob Brookmeyer, George Russell and Gil Evans. During the years the American conducted many big bands in Europe and the United States. Every Monday, for five years, she played with her Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra in New York club Visiones. Schneider wrote for Mel Lewis' big band and for some time closely collaborated with Toots Thielemans. In 2002 she conducted both Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain in Carnegie Hall. Schneider ensures a combination of avant-garde and modern classic. Time Magazine states as follows: “By calling Schneider the most important woman in jazz would be wide of the mark. She is a great composer. And that's that.” One of the trumpet players who have always been capable of carrying out Miles Davis' way of playing is Wallace Roney. While Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard gave jazz a facelift in the eighties, Roney made it as the new star who carefully studied Miles' legacy. One of the zeniths of his career was the already legendary concert in Montreux, 1991, where Roney played second trumpet next to his mentor Davis, not long before Davis died. Roney was seen by many as Miles' successor. At a young age the American trumpet player got in the picture when he was playing with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, where he held the position of first trumpet. For a while he also held a prominent position in the band of Tony Williams. Roney has many albums to his name, on which one can hear also his wife, pianist Geri Allen.
The renowned Brussels Jazz Orchestra, which is subsidized by the Flemish Community, also performed at last years' festival with Maria Schneider. A collaboration that was extremely pleasing to both parties. This year the BJO will be present with nineteen musicians (including Dutch drummer Martijn Vink), among whom the horn section is strongly represented. One of the goals of the orchestra is promoting the Flemish repertoire and Flemish soloists. At the same time the orchestra honours the tradition of playing with international guests. In the past it performed with the likes of Kenny Werner, Jeanne Lee, Bill Holman and now with Wallace Roney and, for the third time now, conductor Maria Schneider