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The concept of Pori Jazz sees important changes this summer. Kirjurinluoto is being transformed into a large concert park, and Pori Theatre will no longer be in use. Ultra Music, the concert series dedicated to alternative and avant-garde music, is to be discontinued too. Thus, after ten active years, the curating duties of Charles Gil come to an end.

This seems to be a good time to give space for new concepts,” states Gil. “I’m very grateful to Pori Jazz for having been able to run eleven editions of Ultra Music, and for having the chance to realise my visions. It has been a great and unforgettable experience. I have given, received and learned a lot. Our collaboration is ending, but in a good spirit. Pori Jazz faces new challenges and I will continue my work as tour producer, tour manager and artists’ agent through Vapaat Äänet, my company. I hope that our paths will cross in the future, one way or another.

When Gil started to put together the first of his Ultra Music program in October 2002, his touring programs with Vapaat Äänet had already been running for 6 years. In January 2003, the artistic director of Pori Jazz Jyrki Kangas stated to Helsingin Sanomat: “We have followed the work done by Charles Gil, and we have decided to give him a free hand.”

The Ultra Music in 2003 featured an almost exclusively French lineup. The program on the main stage of Pori Theatre ran from early afternoon till the end of the evening. After midnight, club acts on the small stage of Pori Theatre gave a final touch to the full day’s program. Among other acts we listened to Triade & Mikko Innanen, Marc Ducret trio, Kimmo Pohjonen & Eric Echampard,  Didier Petit & Terje Isungset, Arfi’s 32 Janvier, and the “superb French grand finale” when a 18 piece band paid a tribute to the late saxophonist Maurice Merle. ”Fanfare Finale was a definite peak in the whole history of Pori Jazz” wrote Jukka Hauru in the Helsigin Sanomat. The heart of the city witnessed a wave of super interactive French street music with the appearance of Auprès de ma Blonde.  The new Ultra Music was successfully launched.

During the two following years Nordic modernists enjoyed considerable exposure on both stages of the theatre: Stefan Pasborg & Liudas Mockunas Toxikum, Doctor Structure, Quatuor iXi & Sound of Choice, Sidsel Endressen Merriwinkle, Supersilent, Zanussi 5, Atomic, The Thing…At the same time the French also remained in the spotlight: Louis Sclavis Napoli’s Walls was brilliant; La Campagnie des Musiques à Ouïr offered a delirious dance party, and the Mongols of Led Zeppelin put the packed crowded into hysteria.

In 2006-2010 Ultra Music moved to the north bank of the river of Kokemäki. Its name became The Ultra Music Nights since the program concentrated on evening concerts. The space of the Rakastajat Theatre immediately felt a perfect venue in the balance of size and ambiance. From these five years we remember among others: Tim Bernen Big Satan, Raoul Björkenheim & Mika Kallio, Pori Voices Project, Innanen-Sooäär-Bennink, Ayler Quartet, Musica Brass, Bobines Mélodies, Phil Minton & Roger Turner, Das Kapital, the marathon of Jari Hongisto, Gnomus, Melosolex, Pipoka, Mazalda, Kalle Kalima K-18, Amarco, Mark Helias Open Loose, Claude Tchamitchian & Uffe Krokfors, Erdmann 3000, Vincent Courtois quartet, Fred Frith & Lucia Recio, Maja Ratkje, Marilyn Crispell & Joëlle Léandre, Iro Haarla Sextet, Trio Grande & Matthew Bourne,  Sun trio, Claudia Quintet, Pepa Päivinen North Pipe, Kahden Miehen Galaksi, Caravaggio.

In 2011 the Ultra Music Nights returned to Pori Theatre. The French Day of Independence, July 14th, was celebrated by the large orchestra Tous Dehors on the main stage. All the other concerts took place on the small stage, which established itself in the new home of Ultra Music. Over three festivals it witnessed many excellent shows in this fine and intimate venue. Let’s mention for instance: Barry Guy, Maya Homburger and Janne Tuomi, RöD BLå, iXt-Haarla_Norvio_Rinne, Francesco Bearzatti Tinissima quartet,  Olavi trio & Juhani Aaltonen, Paolo Angeli & Takumi Fukushima, Black Motor, Journal Intime, Elifantree, Innanen-Piromalli-Hauta-aho-Lovens quartet, Pascal Niggenkemper Vision 7, Mopo and Mâäk.

The full programs and lineups can be found at the History of Pori Jazz: http://porijazz.fi/historia/

Altogether, between 2003 and 2013 Ultra Music has hosted more than 150 concerts performed by some 320 musicians.

Charles Gil thanks all the artists and the audience who have participated in Ultra Music over these years.

Warmly thanks to the Artistic Directors who have served during these years: Jykri Kangas, Tuomas Kallio and Mikkomatti Aro ; also to the festival directors: Alpo Suhonen, Katja Leppäkoski and Juha Miikkulainen ; and to the production managers: Vesa Sytelä and Jari Leskinen. A big thank to Mikko Peltola and the press team, to Elina Yrjölä and the office team ; to Markus Partanen and all those who inside the organization of Pori Jazz, have made Ultra Music possible during these years.

Humble thanks also to the technical team of Pori Theater, the team of Backline Rental Finland, Jussi Niemi.

Many artists have received support to travel to Finland. For that reason we wish to thank: Afijma / AJC Association Jazzé Croisé , Institut Français, Goethe Institut, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Finland, the Danish Jazz Federation, the Italian Cultural Institute as well as the Embassy of the Netherlands.

Mâäk Mopo Spirit – photo by Maarit Kytöharju / Pori Jazz 2013

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