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The 2018 edition of this iconic event presented a marvellous variety of jazz under the theme “Freedom of Expression”, starting with world-renowned jazz pianist Benny Green and his trio, who capture the spirit of the way jazz used to be played from the mid-1940s to the mid-’60s, and finishing with Idand Rasjidi who blew the roof off with his Syndicate of young bloods. Rasjidi was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the UVJF 2018 committee, while the Inspirational Musician Award 2018 was won by pianist M Ade Irawan for his colourful vision of jazz.

Among the many performers to appear, opening the Festival was the magnificent, powerful vocalist Emilia Schnall (Future Leaders), Ade Ishs trio were excellent representatives for the Festival’s new partner the Castlemaine Jazz Festival. Others performances included Judith Nijland with her latest album “A jazz tribute to Abba” accompanied by the Astrid Sulaiman Trio. Also featured on stage were Gerard Kleijn, Olaf Keus, Nita Aartsen’s Eurasian Project ft. Dian Pratiwi, Austria’s Triple Ace – Colours in Jazz, Ya!, Voices, Ito Kurdhi, Komunitas Jazz Jombang, MLD Jazz Project Season 3, Joda Band and the Underground Jazz Movement.