Jazz Festival Roams Czech Squares

The New York Times

Prague’s musical heritage is no secret, but often it is restrained to concert halls and the occasional club. Since 2005, though, the Bohemia Jazz Festival has brought renowned musicians to city squares across the Czech Republic for free open-air concerts. The festival, the brainchild of the Czech-American jazz musician Rudy Linka, runs in Prague’s Old Town Square on July 12 and 13.

“The festival features the very best musicians and groups on the world jazz scene today, and all the concerts are free and open to the public,” Mr. Linka said. “Over the past five years, BFJ has featured such performers as Roy Haynes, Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Kenny Garrett, Ravi Coltrane, James Blood Ulmer and many more.”

The line-up for this year is just as stellar, with the McCoy Tyner Quartet and the guitarist Terje Rypdal performing with the Bergen Big Band in Prague. In all, 26 concerts will take place in seven cities through July 23. Different musicians play in various cities — Pilsen and Brno are others — so the opportunity to make a road trip of the festival is an intriguing option.

“In just five years, BJF has become one of the largest summer music festivals in Europe. The combination of great music and spectacular historic settings attracted over 70,000 visitors to seven cities last year,” Mr. Linka said. “With world class jazz for free, great beer for half-price, beautiful historical sites — is there a reason not to come?”