From the 1st until the 6th of November, Berliner Festspiele will host the 53rd Jazzfest Berlin in an “extended version”, including two preview events.
Jazz is, above all, the art of conversation: the exchange of fresh thoughts between individuals, between generations, between nationalities, between genders. At its most basic, it can be one musician engaged in an interior dialogue, testing his or her own view of the world. It can also be a dialogue between individuals, or it can be the more formal conversation between improviser and composer.
Conversation is a theme of this year’s Jazzfest Berlin, which begins with an exchange between Matana Roberts, the American saxophonist and sound artist, and the late Pina Bausch, amid the reconstruction of the great choreographer’s famous Lichtburg rehearsal space in the Martin-Gropius-Bau. This unique event opens the festival on Tuesday November 1, followed 24 hours later by a concert in another new venue, the Salle Boris Vian of the Institut Français Berlin, at which the singer Michael Schiefel and the Wood&Steel Trio will reinterpret the songs composed by Hanns Eisler during his Hollywood exile.
Some conversations are intimate in scale. On the main stage there will be a dialogue between the saxophonist Joshua Redman and the pianist Brad Mehldau, two old friends, and a three-way exchange between the drummer Jack DeJohnette and a pair of musicians he has known since their childhoods: the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and the bassist Matthew Garrison.
At A-Trane, a series titled “Brooklyn-Berlin Dialogues” features three overlapping duos, structured like a relay race: Mary Halvorson and Ingrid Laubrock on the first night, Laubrock and Aki Takase on the second, and Takase and Charlotte Greve on the third. Wadada Leo Smith and Alexander Hawkins perform duets for trumpet and pipe organ for the first time at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche (and Smith also presents his Great Lakes Quartet on the main stage).[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/8201181″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
At the other end of the scale, the hr-Bigband presents the world premiere of a collaboration with the Swiss pianist Nik Bärtsch, while the Globe Unity Orchestra – led by Alexander von Schlippenbach and featuring some of the great names of European free jazz – celebrates the 50th anniversary of its debut under the festival’s banner.
New solutions to the question of integrating composition and improvisation are investigated by the Norwegian saxophonist Mette Henriette, the French pianist Eve Risser and the New York saxophonist Steve Lehman. Julia Holter adds Berlin musicians to her regular ensemble as she brings the world of the singer- songwriter to the jazz festival stage. And for a second concert at the Institut Français, the pianist Achim Kaufmann assembles a new octet.
In the Seitenbühne, younger performers – the Finnish band Oddarrang, the British-Bahraini trumpeter Yazz Ahmed and the Swiss singer Lucia Cadotsch – take over for late-night performances. The richness of the current German jazz scene is demonstrated by the debut of a collaboration between the quartet of the pianist Julia Hülsmann and the young Hamburg-based saxophonist Anna-Lena Schnabel. The American pianist Myra Melford presents music inspired by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano while the Polish saxophonist Angelika Niescier and the German pianist Florian Weber co-lead a quintet including the trumpeter Ralph Alessi.[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2408434748 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]
Voices of innocence, voices of experience, blending in conversations that explore the eternal mystery of improvisation. On the festival’s various stages, friends and strangers will meet to create music that can never be played in exactly the same way again, and that its audience will never forget.
Tuesday 1st – Sunday 6th November 2016 | 19:00 Tuesday – 20:00 Sunday
Berliner Festspiele | Schaperstraße 24 | 10719 Berlin-Wilmersdorf