In order to give more national, but especially international, visibility to jazz and improvised Portuguese music, Portugal Jazz was created, a cultural structure to congregate musicians, promoters, editors, teachers and researchers.
“What is behind the need to make the network is the observation made by some of us that Portugal is a peripheral country and has no funds, supports, structurally has a very large deficit to support internationalization,” told the musician Carlos Martins, one of the founders of Portugal Jazz.
This is the first Portuguese network dedicated to jazz and improvised music, having been constituted at a general meeting last November in Jobra, Albergaria-a-Velha. The process of construction of the project had state funding of around ten thousand euros, through the Cultural Development Fund.
Carlos Martins, who will be the executive coordinator of the network in the next two years, explained that at this stage of the network’s constitution, the goal is “to get people together, create critical mass, start developing thinking” about four intervention areas: Creation, Teaching, Promotion and Research.
The network, built in the same way as other existing structures in Europe, notably in France, Germany or Italy, may join music schools, record companies, festivals, clubs and musicians, as long as they are associated in one entity.
“In all areas, there is a wealth of possibilities and needs that can be, and will certainly be, more fruitful if they are thought of in a network.” The idea with this is to stimulate this creation of community among musicians, so as to that in the near future there may be an association of jazz musicians and make themselves represented in the network. What is important is that people organize themselves a little more, “he said.
In addition to Carlos Martins, the direction of Portugal Jazz – Portuguese Jazz Network integrates Massimo Cavalli, Pedro Costa, Carlos Mendes, Pedro Cravinho, while Pedro Guedes and Rui Eduardo Paes are part of the general assembly and José Miguel Pereira and Carla Pomares of the council Supervisor.
According to the musician, the goal of the network is to give visibility to “the number of fabulous musicians of improvised music and jazz” and respond to “the need for Portuguese jazz to be present in Europe.”
At the next general meeting, not yet announced, the headquarters of Portugal Jazz will be defined.
“Some people still think that Lisbon or Oporto or Coimbra is the centre of jazz. Such a network has to be much more inclusive and much more attentive to all actors and not just think about the big centres,” said the musician.