Think of Vienna and you might not automatically think of Herbie Hancock or Natalie Cole. Or Dave Brubeck. Or Liza Minnelli. Or John Scofield. But those are just some of the big names that have appeared at the Vienna Jazz Festival – Jazzfest Wien.
- Jazz event now approaching its 30th year
Prestigiousfestival that features both global stars and regional talent
- Often dips into other genres, too, such as soul and blues
- 2020 dates: Jun 25 – Jul 11
- See also: Events in Vienna | Blues Festival
An annual event since 1991, Jazzfest Wien ranks as one of Europe’s top jazz festivals
Back in 1991, the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis arrived in Vienna, setting a precedent for top names that continues today. And the venues match the stature of the performers, with concerts typically held in the Vienna State Opera House and the old town hall (Altes Rathaus), as well as in more traditional jazz and music clubs.
(Vienna itself has a small, but vibrant, jazz scene and history. Multiple Grammy winner, Joe Zawinul, was born here, for example.)
It’s still relatively early for the full 2020 lineup, which you’ll eventually find online at the official festival website. But the organisers already announced several big names. For example:
- Herbie Hancock (July 2nd): a man who needs no introduction to jazz enthusiasts. Winner of an Academy Award and multiple Grammys (including Album of the Year).
- Paolo Conte (July 3): jazz with a southern flair in the State Opera House. Winner of the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
- The Manhattan Transfer (July 5): Ra da da da da. Oh yes, I’m old enough to remember their chart-topping Chanson d’Amour. Another name with a backpack stuffed full of Grammy awards.
- Bryan Ferry (July 6): Like Herbie Hancock, he also needs no introduction. Those of my generation will remember Ferry’s work with Roxy Music in the 70s and 80s (“Dance away the heartache, Dance away the tears…”), which presaged a successful solo career. Currently touring the UK and Europe in 2020.
- Beth Hart (July 10): the grammy-nominated blues artist from LA will perform at Vienna’s city hall. Her 2018 album, Black Coffee, for example, reached No.1 on The Billboard Top Blues Album charts.
So you know what to expect, a few stand-out names from the 2019 event: Bobby McFerrin, Jamie Cullam, UB40, Gilberto Gil, Omara Portuondo, Chilly Gonzales, and Jamison Ross.
2020 dates and tickets
The 2020 jazz festival runs from June 25th to July 11th, with tickets to the individual events eventually available through the links provided at the festival website.
Prices will depend, of course, on the concert. If you want a flavour of the festival without buying a ticket, a couple of outdoor performances are usually free.