of jazz improvisation skills

Master-Jam Fest (MJF) is a professional competition
of musicians-improvisers and a jazz festival simultaneously.
It combines information and communication capabilities of the Internet
with widespread festival traditions.
MJF aims to spot the best jazz performers able to improvise spontaneously
and provide wide public recognition of their talent.

Procedure and the Basic Rules of the Festival

The Date of the MJF-2014 Final Round Holding

Holding of the final of the 2nd International Festival-contest of jazz improvisation skills «Master-Jam Jazz Fest-2014» is planned in one of «world jazz cities» in 2014. The date and venue of the festival holding are being defined and will be announced additionally.
The first final of «Master-Jam Jazz Fest 2013» was held in Odessa (Ukraine) and became the outstanding event of the International jazz community.
More about Master-Jam Jazz Fest 2013 Final Results and the winners’ names are here.
Press-Release of the «Master-Jam» project is here, watch video broadcasts of all days of the festival-contest and photo.

Contest program

Ensembles are formed from the MJF finalists by lot every competition day. Contest program of each of three days for each of the ensembles includes three themes: two of them are from the list of recommended jazz standards most often accepted in jam sessions, the third is a composition at contestants’ discretion in the style of the competition day.
On the 1st day it is proposed to improvise on mainstream and bebop themes + composition at the discretion of the ensemble;
On the 2nd day — ballad and jazz rock (funk) + composition;
On the 3rd day — Latin jazz and fusion + composition.
Performance of one ensemble should not exceed 40 minutes.

Decision on the winners

By the results of each competition day, after performances of all the ensembles, the jury assesses musicians by all the musical categories by each of presented styles and put the aggregate rating mark of the competition day. By the aggregate results of all competition days, Festival winners are determined for each of the instrumental categories, and the best jazz ensemble of Master-Jam Fest is formed.
For example,
Grand Prix of the Festival is awarded to the participant of MJF final round, whose performance at the Festival-contest becomes the brightest event of the Festival.


The Festival is completed with the Gala-concert of the winners. The concert program is opened by the combined big band «All Stars Band» featuring all the Festival finalists. Renowned Festival guests also take part in the concert program. In this day winners awarding and Grand-Prix handing is held.

Awarding of «Master-Jam Festival» winners

The Grand-Prix winner and the winners of the Festival-contest get memorable presents from partners and sponsors along with diplomas and prizes. Organizing committee is also considering the possibility of monetary rewarding of the winners and organization of concert tours for them. The decision regarding this matter will be announced before the contest final phase starts.

Brief summary of the project

Mission of the festival-contest is:

spotting the best improvising jazz performers and ensure wide audience recognition of their talent. This project combines seriousness of professional competition and unique atmosphere of the jazz festival.

Unique character of the festival and its novelty:

not jazz-bands, but individual musicians-improvisers, who form various ensembles by drawing lots, are invited for participation in «Master-Jam Fest».

Concept of the festival-contest:

Festival-contest is based on jam session principles. Aggregate results of all contest days determine winners (Grand Masters) in each instrumental category and they form the best jazz ensemble of the Festival.

Project Goals

  • spotting the best jazz musicians by certain instrumental categories, able to improvise spontaneously in the most different styles and unknown (unacquainted) lineups;
  • assistance in concert activity organization and career promotion of promising jazz performers;
  • attraction of national and foreign community interest to the Festival and performers participating in it through the mass-media;
  • increasing the value of jazz «creative product».

General Information

Master-Jam Jazz Fest is an International Festival-contest of musicians improvisers. Realization of this project has a significant impact upon popularization of jazz music and promotion of the importance and role of jazz performers in the musical community.
Master-Jam Jazz Fest also has a positive impact on development of general musical culture. This is largely achieved through the Internet and TV shows for which the scenario presented below can become one of the most top rated among musical shows. And this is due to the jazz jam sessions exclusive features — improvisational competitiveness, dynamism and expression. These features of jazz have a large potential and are able to attract a large part of Internet users and TV viewers, including youth.

«Master-Jam-Festival» is a unique event,
one of a kind in the world!

Project is protected under copyright law


Concept of the Festival-Contest

The concept of Master-Jam Festival is based on the image of jazzmen as professionals who differ from other musicians by their ability to spontaneous improvisation and adapting quickly to unfamiliar musical lineups. These are the aspects of the professional activity of jazz artists at the Festival that are presented to the attention of jazz fans and can be evaluated to a high degree of accuracy.
International format of the Festival helps to identify the «best of the best» jazz musicians and draw attention of wide audience to this event all over the world.
Participants of Master-Jam Fest can be both known musicians and beginners, regardless of their age.
Since the Festival-contest is aimed at determining jazz Grandmasters — the most talented and promising jazz performers — not the bands or ensembles but individual performers are invited to participate. Those, who are virtuosos (instrumentalists and vocalists) of the jazz instruments.
The contest is held in two phases: 1) qualifying and 2) final round live in one of the «jazz» cities of the world.
The jury of the festival selects performers on the basis of video recordings in at least two different jazz styles.
For participation in the Festival-contest musicians have to:

  1. Register on the «Master-Jam Fest» website. Registration is free.
  2. Note links to video recordings of their performing in ensemble (or solo) during registration or send to the e-mail address specified on the website ([email protected]).).

Recordings will be listened to and evaluated by the jury of the Festival-contest.

Equal number of candidates will be selected for the final for each instrumental nomination, with the exception of «Ethnic and other instruments», for which the finalists will be determined by the jury together with the Organizing Committee of the Festival.
The number of performers, as well as the variety of instruments can change from contest to contest.
In the season 2014 an additional nomination called «New musical instruments and techniques» is found at requests of the MJF Internet audience.
Nomination includes:
1. Contemporary techniques: e.g., scratch, beatboxing, bitmaking.
2. Various electronic devices: samplers, effectors, loop stations, theremin, controllers, drum machines, synths etc.
Evaluation criterion and selection mechanism of the best representatives of the new category for the final of the project are being formed.
The scenario of the category finalists’ participation in the «live» final of MJF is being developed.
Improvisers using devices and techniques above in contemporary jazz music as well as devotees of such experiments are invited to participate in the discussion of the competitive selection mechanism for representatives of the new category in the MJF-2014. For this purpose, a special platform on our website is created. The authors of the best ideas will be awarded!
Travel, accommodation and feeding of final round participants are covered by the Festival Organizing Committee.
With all the information Festival participants and jazz connoisseurs will be able to get acquainted on the website (in the section «Contestants’ Video Presentations») and in specialized musical mass-media.
The Final of the Festival-contest is held in the format of jam session. Each day of the contest is dedicated to several jazz styles.
Every day, jazz performers — the finalists of «Master-Jam Festival» — are joined together by lot in 5 ensembles of 8 or 9 performers. During three contest days the finalists will demonstrate to the public and jury their improvisational and ensemble capabilities, multi-stylistic abilities within the main stages of jazz music development from the «Swing Era» to the present days. Order of performances for ensembles is also determined by lot.
Interest of the audience will be pumped up
by lively and friendly atmosphere of jazz improvisation.
For audience it will be interesting to see variety of styles and music
performances shown by the great number of talented jazz musicians.
Reviews of the jury members — famous jazz experts and performers and also guests of the festival will also be of great interest to everyone.

Awards ceremony

On the fourth day of «Master-Jam Festival» the awards ceremony and Gala-concert of the Festival participants with demonstrational performances are held.
The concert program will be opened by the combined big band «All Stars Band» with participation of Festival finalists.
There will be held also non-competitive performance of famous artists and musicians playing instruments, that are not included in the competitive part of the festival and the jam session with the participation of distinguished jury members and guests

Criteria for assessing jazz mastery of performers

An important role at «Master-Jam Festival» is assigned to the jury, which includes leading experts and performers of jazz.
After performance of the ensemble by the results of a competition day, each of the musicians gets an aggregate jury rating score, which mainly considers the improvisational skill level in each of jazz styles and «bandability» of the contestant — the ability of musicians to adapt to different ensemble lineups (degree of «teamwork» with other leading musicians in the ensemble).
Till the first day of the final phase the audience has the opportunity to vote for their favorite musicians through Internet voting. Based on results of the voting, the «People’s Choice Award» will be handed to the winner.

«Master-Jam Festival» is of equal interest for both musical Internet community and TV,
since besides the high musical quality and rare musical genre it is also attractive
because the music — unprepared and unrehearsed — is born right in front of an audience.
Coverage of all the days of the Festival final and full broadcasting of the last day are carried on TV. On the Internet «Master-Jam Festival» is broadcasted online.
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