Beside numerous world musicians who performed in the past 20 years on Jazz Fest stages representing the best musicians of our time, 60 musicians from Bosnia and Herzegovina have participated in more than 100 performances organized by Jazz Fest in the past two decades.
From the very beginning, Jazz Fest has devotedly and with a lot of care and enthusiasm introduced the work of Bosnian and Herzegovinian musicians, especially those representing the younger generation, not because they are native, but because they are good. This led to Jazz Fest programs presenting performances by Bosnian and Herzegovinian musicians of different generations, from Tomislav Karača, Krešimir Vlašić, Edin Bosnić or Darko Poljak, whereas some of the best and most wanted instrumentalists of today’s B&H scene gathered experience, among others at continuous performances at the Jazz Fest, like Dino Šukalo, Amar Češljar, Edvin Hadžić and others.
For years, within the festival we have introduced musicians of the new generation with a special, Next Generation program, who in our opinion, represent the future of the scene. It was no accident that we presented musicians who play traditional music, mostly the Sevdalinka, music traditions of the Balkan and Sephardic music, performed by ensembles Halka or Arkul, Amira Medunjanin or Damir Imamović. These concerts were an organic part of our concert program together with Fado, Flamenco or African music. Today, some of these local B&H musicians are among the most successful Bosnian musical exports – they play concerts throughout Europe and other continents and release albums for important international record labels. Their achieved success is primarily merit of the musicians and represents their personal success.
In 1999 Jazz Fest released Bosian Jazz Document, the first Bosnian and Herzegovinian jazz CD documenting the prewar, war and post-war jazz period in Bosnia and Herzegovina and musicians like Sinan Alimanović, at the time one of the most important musicians one B&H scene, who appears on 4 of the 7 compositions on the release, then Bojan Zulfikarpašić, the ensembles Yazzya (with Darko Poljak, Edin Bosnić, Mirko Manojlov and Saša Miličević with guest musician Džemal Cakić), and Josip Jurić Quartet with Igor Karača, Enes Seferović and Jasmin Zoranić.
The CD also contains the war recording of the composition Sarajevo Remake, performed by the Big Band RTV BiH led by Sinan Alimanović. For the most participants on the Bosnian Jazz Document release, this was the first discography release in their career that introduced them as jazz musicians.
In 2001 Jazz Fest launched the project Jazz Fest Clubbing which resulted in more than 250 performances during three years by mostly local, but also regional musicians at Club Jež.
Jazz Fest has often initiated new projects and collaborations too, like Xenophonia, a musical happening which took place in 2009 and 2010, aimed primarily at establishing collaborations between musicians from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Europe, offering audiences performances by musicians who practically met on stage. The first edition already meant a starting point for the collaborations of Amira Medunjanin and Bojan Zulfikarpašić or the one of Damir Imamović and Eric Vloeimans.
Beside concerts, Jazz Fest started organizing master classes, workshops and lectures in 1999, while in 2012 it launched Music Meeting – the regional educational program for young musicians within which more than 70 workshops and talks took place, with musicians like Kurt Elling, Omar Hakim, John Scofield, John McLaughlin, Bill Frisell, Dave Holland… Unique in the region, this program became a platform for new collaborations between artists from different parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, for establishing new connections between musicians from different parts of the deeply divided Bosnian and Herzegovinian and regional society. The project gathered few hundred young musicians from B&H and the region whose time is yet to come.
Jazz Fest has also organized 30 additional programs like workshops by B&H musicians, for young musicians and music students, workshops for kids or exhibitions introducing works by local photographers as well as numerous jam sessions where local musicians played with a considerable number of world musicians, like Grammy Award winner Gregory Porter or Stefano di Battista, Tigran Hamasyan, Julien Lourau, Michel Alibo, Terrenon Gully and many others.
A list of Bosnian and Herzegovinian musicians who performed at Jazz Fest programs (including the Xenophonia program):
Adis Sirbubalo (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Admir Vraćo (2014)
Adnan Cico (2009, 2010, 2011)
Almir Čopra (1997)
Amar Češljar (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Amira Medunjanin (2008, 2009, 2012)
Ana Brežnik (1997)
Anes Beglerbegović (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016)
Atilla Aksoj (2005, 2009, 2012)
Belma Alić (2016)
Bojan Ahac (2010, 2014)
Boris Gutić (2005)
Boško Jović (2010, 2011)
Božo Vrećo (2013)
Damir Arslanagić (1997)
Damir Imamović (2008, 2009)
Darko Beus (2014)
Darko Poljak (1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2010, 2014)
Davor Maraus (2009, 2010, 2011)
Davorin Samek (1997)
Dejan Rafajlović (2012)
Dinko Šimunović (2000, 2002)
Dino Šukalo (1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Edin Bosnić (1998, 2000, 2009, 2010)
Edvin Hadžić (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Elvir Bandić (2010, 2014)
Enes Seferović (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Faik Lačević (2010)
Faruk Omanović (1997)
Goran Rebac (2009)
Gordan Kranjčić (1997)
Jasmina Bašić (1997)
Josip Jurić (1997, 1998)
Krešimir Vlašić (1997, 1998)
Marin Gradac (2000)
Mario Knezović (2005)
Marko Jakovljević (2009)
Merima Ključo (2008, 2016)
Mirko Manojlov (1998)
Miron Rafajlović (2012, 2013)
Mirza Krupalija (1997)
Muamer Đozo (1997)
Naim Grebo (1998)
Nusret Pašić / Zlaja Bacardi (1997)
Ognjen Šavija (1997)
Robert Kranjčić (1997)
Sanel Kabiljagić (2000)
Saša Miličević (1998)
Saša Vižin (1997)
Sinan Alimanović (1998)
Tarik Karačić (1997)
Tijana Vignjević (2016)
Tomislav Karača (1997, 1998)
Toni Pešikan (1997)
Vanja Radoja (2008)
Vedran Kranjčić (1997)
Vladimir Borovčanin (1997, 1998)
Vladimir Mićković (2009, 2012)
Vlado Džihan (2015)
Vlado Grizelj (2010)
Musicians originating from B&H who performed at Jazz Fest programs: