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Famous jazz figures have had concerts at this Festival: Jan Garbarek – Norway; Sbigniew Namislowsky, Jan Wroblewski – Poland; Martial Solal, Didier Lockwood, Louis Sclavis, Jean- Francois Jenny-Clark, Birelli Lagrene – France; Gunther Hampel, Gunter “Baby” Sommer, Barbara Dennerlein, Silvia Droste, Joachim Kuhn, Peter Herbolzheimer, Alexander von Schlippenbach Germany; Jeanne Lee, Lynne Arriale, Charles Lloyd, Bill Evans USA; Liz Magnes, Zaviot Harald Rubin – Israel; Courtney Pine Great Britain.

The first three editions of the National Jazz Festival took place at the initiative of the Ploiesti Jazz Club, founded by Alexandru Comanescu and Roman Paul Mancas. In the early ’70s. The Sibiu Jazz Club was founded with the help of the County (UTC) Committee (founders: Nicolae Ionescu, J.K. Schmidt, Fred Nuss and many others).

As a consequence of “the ideological pollution”, the Festival is moved to Sibiu in 1974 and enjoys the high cultural level of a Transylvanian burg, of an ancient eurpoean culture. Three years before that, jazz music started to be noticed.

The leaders of the Sibiu Jazz Club (Nicolae Ionescu deceased in 1991 and J.K. Schmidt) promoted a sustained media presence (by lesson-themes, lesson-concerts and concerts-recitals) of the values of jazz music. The Sibiu Jazz Club became one of the most powerful jazz clubs in the country and the poet Adrain Paunescu called Sibiu the jazz capital of Romania. People belonging to different social classes and different age-groups (from highschool students to pensioners) joined the club and became members. Even some of the “leading” Communist personalities (including Nicu Ceausescu) were impressed by the organisational skills of the club’s leadership and as a result, they financed in a sustainable way the club’s activity, therefore creating the premises of the Festival’s “move” from Ploiesti to Sibiu, resulting in an increased growth in importance and value.

Starting in 1973, in spite of official and quasi official prohibitions, J.K. Schmidt established connections with Western embassies and cultural centers, establishing at his own risk contacts which, on the one hand, would make him pay a high price, but on the other hand, would bring on the Festival’s stage names and figures of international prestige in jazz music all over the world. In time, Sibiu’s performances determined artistic performances of the same kind in other cities such as: Timisoara, Brasov, Cluj, Targu-Mures, Satu-Mare, Iasi, Galati, Costinesti.

In 1977 the Jazz Festival becomes an international one, by the presence of a group of musicians from Czechoslovakia.


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