Not even the heavy rains from that weekend managed to prevent another edition of the festival from taking place, which paid tribute to our beloved friend and Artistic Director of the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival (2004-2017), Fernando Toussaint.
Bringing together great jazz musicians in a single venue, under a large starry sky, Cecilia Toussaint, friends of Fernando Toussaint, and Señor Vitalis – the latter being made up of members who had participated in various projects with Fernando (including Aguamala) – were the ones incharge of paying homage to Fernando. Incredible saxophones and vibrant symphonies were able to immediately cheer up the jazz lovers, who were there celebrating not only the best of music, but also the vision and love that Fernando had for jazz.
The closing of the evening was in charge of Illia Kuryaki & The Valderramas, a duet which Fernando really wanted to bring to the festival. A decision that was without a doubt, assertive according to the reaction of the crowd, since most of the attendees were dancing with their music that combines hip-hop, funk, soul and rap.
The second evening featured the participation of Steffie Belt, (her big debut in this festival and the youngest artist to set foot on this stage) as well as John McLaughlin and Jimmy Herring with their world tour “Meeting of the Spirits”. This concert was of great importance to John, as it was part of his farewell tour.
Memo Ruíz came to the RMJF stage accompanied by his Big Band Bolero Jazz, who delighted us with their jazz fusion combined with Cuban bolero, and vibrant rhythms of the trumpet and sax, Wallace Roney amazed everyone. Then the presentation for two of jazz’s greats: Chick Corea and Belá Fleck, winners of 25 and 14 Grammy’s respectively. The stage was just for them, Chick on the piano and Belá Fleck on his banjo. Bobby McFerrin joined them for the closing act. (10 other Grammys on stage). Improvisation, cheers, applauses and the standing ovation of the audience were the perfect setting to conclude the 15th edition of one of the 10 best jazz festivals in the world.