The North Sea Jazz Festival is world-renowned for the many musical genres which it offers each year, ranging from traditional New Orleans jazz, swing, bop, free jazz, fusion, avant garde jazz and elctronic jazz to blues, gospel, funk, soul, hiphop, r&b, world beat and latin.
Consequently the list of musicians and bands who have performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival over the years reads like a virtual 'A to Z' of jazz and jazz-related music: from Nat Adderley, Erykah Badu and The Brecker Brothers to Miles Davis, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Al Jarreau, B.B. King, Wynton Marsalis, Bugge Wesseltoft, John Zorn and Joe Zawinul, to name but a few. In addition the North Sea Jazz Festival has also served as a breaking-ground for the introduction of new, hot talent.
Some of the names who were first introduced at the North Sea Jazz Festival to European audiences include Shirley Horn, Tania Maria, Roy Hargrove and Rachelle Ferrell. That is what makes the North Sea Jazz Festival so unique; a presentation of the past, present and future of jazz music in three days, all under one roof!
During the years the event has become a prestigious jazzfestival, which was declared several times 'Best Festival in Europe' by the leading jazz magazine JazzTimes. North Sea Jazz The Hague was also listed in Time Magazine's Top Ten Events of the World.
Growth of the Festival in The Hague
The first edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival, originally the brainchild of the Dutch jazz promoter Paul Acket, took place in 1976 in the Netherlands Congress Centre in The Hague. That very first year the festival featured performances by jazz legends like Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, and an (almost) complete overview of the Dutch avant-garde.
Over the next 29 years the North Sea Jazz Festival has developed into a major happening of truly international proportions: a growth to 15 concert venues, more than 1200 participating musicians annually and an audience attendance of around 70.000 each year.
The year 1989 saw the introduction of a new 'North Sea' tradition: the children's jazz matinee 'Gigs for Kids'. One year later two other successful events were first introduced: 'North Sea Jazz Heats The Hague', a free festival on 3 open air stages and in many pubs in the centre of The Hague, and the exclusive 'Midsummer Jazz Gala'. Both events are on the eve of the festival itself.
Some of the first-class musicians to have appeared at the gala over the years include Oscar Peterson, Tony Bennett, Lou Rawls, Herbie Hancock, and Dee Dee Bridgewater & Ray Brown Trio.
In 2000, for the first time in its illustrious 25-year history, the North Sea Jazz Festival was also presented away from its permanent home town The Hague. Cape Town (South Africa) proved to be the perfect place to host such an event. By now the event has experienced five successfull editions.
Relocation to Rotterdam
The 30th edition of the North Sea Jazz was celebreted in 2005, a.o. with a Special 30th Anniversary Concert by Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacok and Jack DeJohnette. It was the last time the festival was organised in The Hague. A major part of the Netherlands Congress Centre will be teared down, to make place for the new accomodation of Europol. North Sea Jazz will move to her new festival location Ahoy' in Rotterdam in 2006.