Jazz it up in Koktebel

International Jazz Ensemble will have a concert jam session

International Jazz Ensemble will have a concert jam session

On the second day of the festival the fans will meet Yakov Okun’s International Jazz Ensemble international band. During a news conference, its members Yakov Okun, Craig Handy and Mark Whitfield spoke about the program they will present at the Koktebel Jazz Party.

Just like in the years before, jazz fans will hear totally new compositions.

“Making up a new program every year is no trouble for us. I love music and I know it well. Jazz has achieved a lot, it’s not an experimental art but rather a fundamental one,” Yakov Okun said.

According to him, the music they play could be described as a concert jam session.

“We always try to make it fun,” Craig Handy added. 

When asked about Crimea, the guests from the United States said they like it very much are they are trying to enjoy themselves everywhere. Meanwhile the key is that music is above politics. “Music is a universal language,” Mark Whitfield said.

According to Craig Handy, people are the same everywhere you go, be it Uzbekistan or North Korea. They want to live well, stay safe and listen to music.

“Conflicts come and go. The main thing is love,” the musician said. 

The Koktebel Jazz Party international festival is taking place in the artistic village of Koktebel on August 20-22. According to the organizing committee, in order to access the venue guests are required to provide a negative PCR test dated no earlier than August 18, 2021, test of antibodies to COVID-19 S-protein dated no earlier than May 25, 2021, or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate. Performers, VIP guests, the festival’s personnel and journalists are also required to provide one of the three documents: a vaccination certificate, test of antibodies or a negative PCR test.

This year, Koktebel Jazz Party performances will be held in a new format: the shows will be filmed. The festival streams can be found on its website and social media accounts. The number of spectators will be limited.

Koktebel Jazz Party was established in 2003 and it was the idea of journalist Dmitry Kiselev. In different years, the festival was attended by jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb (US), winner of a Grammy Award for the best Latin Jazz album Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Cuba), many-time Grammy winner trumpeter Randy Brecker (US), best baritone saxophonist of the last decade Gary Smulyan (US), nu-jazz stars Club Des Belugas (Germany), and one of the most talented representatives of the modern world blues scene, guitarist Selwyn Birchwood (US).

Vladimir Putin was a guest of KJP-2017. The festival is organized by the Krasny Kvadrat (Red Square) media group.


The KoktebelJazzParty festival is a COVID-free zone. Given the difficult epidemiological situation, the terms of access to the festival may be changed, depending on the epidemiological situation in the region and the recommendations issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor).
All festival participants, guests and spectators must present at least one of the three documents listed below:

  • A negative PCR test performed not earlier than August 18, 2021
  • A certificate showing the presence of antibodies to the S-protein of COVID-19, issued not earlier than May 25, 2021
  • A COVID-19 vaccination certificate

All guests, members of the audience and media representatives must wear masks and gloves at the festival venues.