Cultural Significance of the Amman Jazz Festival

Jazz festivals often fall under the radar for those who don’t connect with the music as much as others who admit a deep personal significance of the genre. But it’s the festivals, some would argue, that keep the heart of jazz alive; unburdened by the industrial nature of today’s music, where the market has become an oligopoly of dominant genres that demand no active participation from the listener. This results in an almost formulaic approach to hit song production that is ultimately seasonal and completely forgettable. None of this applies to the fluid and elusive nature of jazz. Yet, you know jazz when you hear it, and that is really the point. Jazz is a musical language that serves as a means by which individuals who seem to have little in common create a real connection. Through this music, artists express themselves in a refreshingly unlabeled way, as if masterfully maneuvering around any accusations of attempting to make a point as they execute their set. The irony is, to some it sounds like chaos, but its effects are often quite the opposite.

The Amman Jazz Festival has a special significance, bridging cultures in a region where those bridges are often hard won and easily lost. Festivals, parades, and collective rituals of all kinds have brought communities together for thousands of years. They are a way of solidifying and maintaining a common sense of purpose, a reminder of the deep human connection that gets forgotten in the daily rush. The innumerable diversity of these social rituals all have a common foundation – an art form with a deep layer of meaning. The Amman Jazz Festival takes jazz of all genres, from European, to Latin, to American, and brings them together in a new place and a new way. Jazz lovers from around the world will be happy to see the object of their passion thrive in a less familiar space. And the Amman Jazz Festival carries the spirit of jazz beautifully. Performances are not limited to theater venues, although its a great way to enjoy jazz. The festival also lives in the characterful alleyways and stairways of Amman, directly on the streets, available for modest crowds of both connoisseurs and passers by. This brings jazz to everyone, for free, in its purest form.

It’s incredibly valuable for the world to see the real colors of a region that hasn’t received a flattering portrayal in recent years. There is no debate that the troubles are very real, but perhaps they are not as all-consuming as they seem. Amman Jazz Festival brings together artists from Egypt, Syria, Libya and Jordan, among other guests from other continents. There is an authentic joy to be experienced in these diverse people genuinely enjoying their time together at a time of tension and unrest. That’s why the organisers are adamant to make sure that the festival thrives, grows and gains prominence globally. It is exciting to see the Jazz identity of the Middle East unfold and add its flavor to the musical melting pot, and the Amman Jazz Festival should be celebrated as the hub for cultural enrichment and properly good music.