After two years of running the Jazz Cerkno festival at a different location and at a different time, the festival is returning to its May date and to its old venue at Star plac in the centre of Cerkno. It still in no way means that the 27th edition of the festival will be in the spirit of “old normality”. Neither of the words from this phrase is consistent with jazz. Jazz is never “old” and it is not “normal”, at least not in Cerkno! During ten concerts we will admire musicians from Slovenia and eight other countries, who skilfully add elements of various genres and approaches to jazz vocabulary. We will hear lyrical as well as free jazz, bold improvisations, vocal acrobatics, poetry, flirting with rock, electronics, classical music, and traditional music from Brazil and Ethiopia… All Slovenian bands will present their new albums at our festival, and all international musicians will present new bands and perform with them for the first time in Slovenia.

Already the introductory evening will bring a string of premiere performances. Double bass player Robert Jukič and his quartet, which also includes Boštjan Simon (tenor saxophone), Tomaž Gajšt (trumpet) and Kristijan Krajnčan (drums), will premiere the album Caminos de Gloria (2021). New compositions in the spirit of lyrical, more contemplative jazz were created during joint music making with band members who brought to life the sound pictures of Jukič’s compositional sketches. Two premiere performances by foreign bands will follow. First, the Austrian trio Mario Rom’s INTERZONE led by one of Austria’s most penetrating young trumpeters, Mario Rom, who “plays solos like no other in Europe” (Die Zeit). The trio plays a kind of neobop, which the three musicians skilfully upgrade with a modern feel and sound. The evening will end with the Belgian attraction Black Flower with a stunning mix of jazz and “Ethiopian groove” with occasional connections to other traditional genres, from Balkan rhythms to klezmer, dub and maloya from the island of Réunion.

The second day of the festival will also begin with a premiere. The Slovenian-Italian quintet There Be Monsters, led by saxophonist Boštjan Simon, will present the fourth album Rubikon, which will be released in May. The band, comprised of Simon, Mirko Cisilino (trumpet, trombone), Luigi Vitale (vibraphone, balafon), Goran Krmac (tuba) and Bojan Krhlanko (drums), play abstract but extremely suggestive and diverse music, which also draws from African motifs and avant-garde classical music. Compositions from the fresh album In The Swarm, which will be released on the day of the Cerkno concert, will be played by the American Brandon Seabrook Trio. Along with guitarist (and banjoist) Seabrook, the band also includes Cooper-Moore (one-string instrument diddley-bow) and Gerald Cleaver (drums). The trio combines jazz, radical rock and punk, experiment, avant-garde and improvisation into a single mixture. The evening will be rounded off with the band Paal Nilssen-Love CIRCUS, a new project by renowned Norwegian drummer. Nilssen-Love brought together Norwegian musicians from different genres, from traditional music through classical and contemporary music to free jazz, noise and pop. “Ethio-jazz riffs and Brazilian rhythms float in a wild, freely improvised nude bath,” wrote Torkjell Hovland ( about the band’s premiere performance at the Oslo World Music Festival.

The final day of the festival will first feature a concert at 17:30 at the music school, where legendary British vocal improviser Phil Minton and Serbian-Hungarian violist Szilárd Mezei will collaborate for the first time. The musicians are announcing their world premiere as a “entirely improvisative musical manifestation.” In the evening we move to the main stage, where we will once again listen to the premiere presentation of the Slovenian album. The freejazz trio TiTiTi, consisting of Jure Boršič (alto saxophone, clarinet), Jošt Drašler (double bass) and Vid Drašler (drums), will present their debut album Štafelaj. The band will exclusively play with two guests, Serbian pianist Marina Džukljev and poet Tomislav Vrečar. This will be followed by two more premiere performances. The Polish Joanna Duda Trio, led by pianist Joanna Duda, play a suggestive mix of improvisation, electronics and minimalism. The grand finale of the festival will be provided by the London tandem Binker and Moses, “the big breakout stars of the London jazz scene” (The Guardian). The duo of drummer Moses Boyd and saxophonist Binker Golding, together with Max Luthert (electronics), will present a fresh album Feeding The Machine. The album crosses into ambient, minimalism and experimental electronic territories, whilst also nodding to the duo’s roots in riff-heavy free jazz.

The accompanying program is quite refreshed this year. A series of no less than eight accompanying events consists of a workshop, a residency, both with a closing concert, a street concert, a jam session, a jazz hike with a concert, two round tables and a sound installation. The latter, under the title Footprint, will be on display at the Cerklno Museum from the beginning of the festival until June 19. Its author is Slovenian artist and filmmaker Atej Tutta, who will transpose the sounds of nature from the Franja Partisan Hospital into a sound installation. On the first day of the festival, we will prepare a Jam session Pr’ Gabrijelu, intended for young aspiring musicians, and improvisers with prior musical knowledge up to the age of 30. For the jam session, which will take place after the end of the main program, musicians must apply to the festival e-mail by May 16. The second day of the festival brings a round table on the digital distribution of jazz music entitled Streaming revolution and jazz. An opportunity to rejuvenate the jazz audience? The debate will take place at 16:00 in the Cerkno Museum. At 17:30, the final concert of the Young Researchers V. residence will take place at the music school, where violinist Oskar Longyka will present his Slovenian-Austrian-Italian quartet καλός. From 18:30 onwards, a street concert of the Pantaloons trio will follow at various locations. On the last day of the festival at 10:30 on the main stage there will be the final concert of a music workshop for children entitled Balafon? Yes, please!, which will be held under the mentorship of Blaž Celarec and prof. Boštjan Gombač, who will later perform a solo concert for the participants of the event Jazzohod # 1: Boštjan Gombač. It is a guided hike (the start is at 11:00 in front of Bar Gabrijel) to the church of St. Judoc (Sv. Jošt) in the village Trebenče. At 16:00 in the Cerkno Museum there will be a round table of Nova Muska Margin notes to the essay collection about the book Narobe / Na robu glasbene prakse, a collection of texts by Slovenian authors on free improvised music.

You are cordially invited to the 27th edition of the Jazz Cerkno Festival, which will take place between 19 and 21 May at Stari plac and other locations. As always, Hotel Cerkno offers favourable jazz packages to our visitors, and the tickets are available in presale (until May 18) on

27. Jazz Cerkno again in May and again in the heart of the city. Sink your teeth into the essence of good music!