When I booked for Mrs Wilbur & I to visit the Slovenian capital this June I had no idea that it would coincide with the city’s 60th jazz festival.
We have both grown to love this musical genre and indeed the whole trip that saw us ending up in Vienna was predicated on us going to see Canadian jazz songstress & pianist Diana Krall performing almost exactly a year since we saw her hubby Elvis Costello at Love Supreme Festival at Glynde in Sussex.
As further luck would have it there were also two acts that we loved who were performing whilst we were there.
First up were an energetic trio from Norwich, UK called Mammal Hands that consisted of pianist, saxophone and percussion.
The venue was an arts centre named Cankarjev dom, very much a mini version of London’s South Bank Centre.
The Linhart Hall was sadly less than half full so we took front centre seats in the ‘sit anywhere’ auditorium. The unfashionably early start of 7pm may have had something to do with the lack of paying punters.
The Mammals didn’t disappoint the sparse but enthusiastic crowd as they energetically went through their rousing repertoire.
A good hour of grand entertainment was concluded with a number called Tiny Crumb, my personal favourite.
We left to go and eat, lingering for some free music outside in a small park, one of several such stages dotted around the small city.
Next night was the headline act, Snarky Puppy, who had embarked on a mammoth tour of Europe & North America.
They were playing at the iconic Križanke open air theatre, usually the preserve of classical music & opera.
The one big downside was that it decided to start chucking it down before the pups were due to bark.
We needn’t have worried about the concert being canceled as the performers were nice and dry, whilst we were left jockeying for a view between umbrellas as we strived to stay dry.
Snarky from the US are veterans of 13 albums, half of which we own. We were treated to a good portion of their latest called Immigrance, plus a fair few of their best known numbers from the back catalogue.
We were wet witnesses to two hours of rip-roaring tunes from the big band of more than a dozen brass, woodwind, percussion, keys & string musicians led by bassist & founder Michael League.
Apart from the persistently heavy rain, our one disappointment was the absence from the line-up of Brit keyboardist Bill Laurance, who’s solo stuff we adore.
We however left very happy with what we had seen & heard, looking forward to seeing them again two weeks hence at Love Supreme 2019.
I liked Ljubljana but not the graffiti. Have they cleaned it up?
Still there in the Bohemian areas (and the trains).