Jazz under the stars in Playa del Carmen

Since 2004, the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival has become somewhat of an institution for jazz and live music lovers. Set on the shores of Playa del Carmen at Mamitas Beach, this festival provides a unique evening of world-class international musical acts under the stars.

Now in it’s ninth year, the festival attracted a stellar line up this year, and took place over three days. Some highlights of the 2013 festival included the following stand-out local and international performers:

Aguamala | Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Aguamala

Mexican band Auguamala are committed Riviera Maya Jazz festival performers, having played at every festival since its inception. A blend of Jazz, Rock, Funk and regional Mexican music, they are a long-time favorite among local festivalgoers and are even becoming popular with international audiences.

Their music embodies the colorful, frenetic and often chaotic lifestyle of modern Mexico, and is an excellent local addition to the cultural cross section of the festival.

Brent Fischer | Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Brent Fischer

Heralded by jazz critics and fans alike, The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Group (the band’s original name) has appeared on dozens of CDs over the decades, known for their Afro-Cuban and Brazillian rhythms and Brent Fischer’s unique writing.

Adding a distinctly Latino flavour to the lineup, they are well loved by fans all over the world for their spicy sound and hip-swinging beats. You will be hard pressed not to get up and dance to these guys.

Celso Pina | Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Celso Pina

Celso Pina, ‘The Accordion Rebel’ hails from Monterrey in northern Mexico and has a distinct sound which spans across genres such as hip-hop, reggae, rock, pop, danzon and bolero. Opening the festivities on the final night, Celso created an electric atmosphere with his unique signature sound and it’s no wonder that he’s collaborated with many successful musical acts such as Lila Downs, Cafe Tacuba and Control Machete in countries such as France, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Colombia and Argentina.

Earth, Wind and Fire | Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Earth, Wind and Fire

Headlining the festival this year and proving to be a draw card which attracted a large international crowd were iconic musical sensation, Earth, Wind and Fire. Closing the festival with a bang, this internationally acclaimed act didn’t disappoint, leaving a lasting impression with their signature sound.

Crowds flocked to the sand at Mamitas Beach like seagulls, hungry for the eclectic pop sounds of this iconic group, well known for bridging gap between black and white musical sound in the 70′s.

The last evening of festival was proof that their message of racial harmony and heightened cosmic consciousness is still extremely relevant, and their music has certainly stood the test of time.

We’ll have to wait until next year to see what the festival has in store for 2014, but whatever the lineup, we can be sure it will be another night of unifying, eclectic sounds in a magnificent setting on the shores of the Caribbean.

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival | Mamitas Beach

Tip: The Riviera Maya Jazz festival takes place on the last weekend in November, from Thursday to Saturday. Entry is free, just bring something to sit on and your dancing feet…