When ACT founder Siggi Loch invited journalists over for a special luncheon during the 1992 Montreux Jazz Festival to celebrate the start of his new label, I didn’t expect this particular label to be where it is, 25 years later. Or that it still would be in existence even. I also remember that a young guitarist, Nguyen Le, was part of the event as well.
Yesterday, almost 25 years later, that same label, now a global force in European jazz, opened its Berlin office adjacent to the A-Trane, Berlin’s arguably best live jazz club. And once again, several of ACT Music’s artists were around to help celebrate the new premises. The timing was perfect since the label is continuing its immensely popular Jazz at the Berlin Philharmonic series today with a special concert, “The Art Of The Duo”. Three duos are scheduled to perform there tonight: Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren with Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresú, bassists Lars Danielsson and Dieter Ilg, and guitarists Philip Cathérine and Larry Coryell.
To celebrate the 25 years, the label will stage a jubilee concert at Konzerthaus Berlin on April 2nd and calls it a mini-festival since over 20 acts will perform starting at 2pm. The first part of the concert features Natalie Mateo, Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr, Torsten Goods, and Three Fall under the Young German Jazz umbrella. Later that afternoon, singer Youn Sun Nah and guitarist Ulf Wakenius will join forces for another duo before the Tears For Esbjörn tribute to the late great Esbjörn Svensson will unite Iiro Rantala, Jan Lundgren, Viktoria Tolstoy, Adam Baldych, Lars Danielsson, and Morten Lund. Rounding up the celebrations is the ACT Family Band with Michael Wollny, Nils Landgren, Wolfgang Haffner, Dieter Ilg, Joachim Kühn, Nguyen Le, Caecilie Norby, Emile Parisien, Vincent Peirani, Eric Schaefer, and Andreas Schaerer.
The label is also preparing the first releases of 2017: singer Viktoria Tolstoy with “At The Movies”, an album with 11 movie theme songs with special guests Nils Landgren and Iiro Rantala, pianist Jan Lundgren’s “Potsdamer Platz”, a dedication to Berlin’s vibrant and lively square in the city’s centre, and “Landed In Brooklyn” by German brothers Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr, recorded at System Two Studios in Brooklyn with fellow New York-based artists Donny McCaslin, Tim Lefebvre, and Nate Woods.