Dubai International Jazz Festival kicks off this weekend, with UAE residents in for eight days of toe tapping and string-plucking. The annual festival, now in its 12th year, is a popular attraction with thousands flocking to listen to international headline acts – paying a premium price for the experience.
But now jazz lovers can listen to the best local talent such as The Afif Brothers and Kamal Mussalam for 12 months of the year thanks to an innovative new initiative from popular eatery Jazz@PizzaExpress.
Jazz@PizzaExpress is the first licensed addition to the UAE PizzaExpress family, and has announced plans to create a unique home for jazz in the UAE for the coming year.
Based in JLT, Cluster A, it is Dubai’s newest iconic live music venue and restaurant. Anand Radia, MD of PizzaExpress UAE explains the thinking behind the concept: “The response we have had to our live jazz this past year has been phenomenal. International acts such as Peter Grant and local favourites like Hamdan Al-Abri have entertained our diners – and the response has been incredible. Moving forward, we want to build on this success and foster a jazz culture in the UAE. We have introduced open mic nights on Tuesdays, to give budding musicians a taste of the spotlight, and if we continue to enjoy the success we have, we may need to open more venues to cater to the jazz demand.”
The year ahead will see live music being played six days a week at the JLT venue, with an international musician expected every other month. The concept of nurturing local talent stems from The PizzaExpress Jazz Club, originally opened by the founder of PizzaExpress, Peter Boizot, in 1969 in the basement of the Dean Street restaurant in the heart of Soho. As time went on and its popularity grew, Boizot, a keen jazz fan, opened another two PizzaExpress Jazz Clubs in Maidstone and the Pheasantry in the Kings Road, Chelsea. The PizzaExpress Jazz Club at Dean Street is now an institution and has launched the careers for major artists such as Jamie Cullum, Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse.
Jazz@PizzaExpress celebrates its 1st anniversary early next month, and offers a wide selection of authentic Italian dishes such as Calzone, Romana Pizza and Antipasto – with everything prepared from the freshest ingredients and made to order.
Jazz@pizzaExpress will have Peter Grant playing on 13 February with no cover charge.
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PR & Marketing Accounts Executive