Earlier today, I went to the press conference for this year’s Jazzfest Berlin which is the first one with Richard Williams as artistic director. Richard attended the first Berlin Festival back in 1969 and has written for Melody Maker, the Times, and Time Out and has also written several biographies.
So as it turned out, the 2015 edition will be a mix of tried and tested young acts and special projects put together and of course some German/Berlin acts as well. Cécile McLorin Salvant it seems has played constantly the world over in the past two years and it will be interesting to find out how she has developed over the years. The last time I saw her was at the Institut Francais in New York a couple of years ago. Her new album will be released at the end of August. Someone from the audience asked the question why there have been so few singers in recent years to which Richard answered that most of them are just singing the Songbook and standards and that there aren’t that many imaginative singers around who have something to say. I strongly disagree with that but you can’t please everybody I think.
Another young artist who has already made the rounds, and especially in Berlin as well, is trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire who will be joined by Theo Bleckmann for his concert at the Festival. Tigran Hamasyan from Armenia will perform with his trio as is Louis Moholo-Moholo from South Africa. In fact, musicians from 30 countries will be on the various stages in early November. The great Charles Lloyd will appear with his sextet performing his suite “Wild Man Dance”. Keith Tippett will make his first appearance outside Britain with his project “The Nince Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon” which also features his wife Julie Tippetts.
Then there is Miguel Zenón from Puerto Rico, also a regular visitor to the city, the Free Jazz Trio The Necks from Australia, Paal Nilsson Love’s Large Unit from Norway, British drummer Dylan Howe and his quintet called the Subterraneans playing the music of the two David Bowie albums the singer recorded in Berlin in the 70s which will be accompanied by a documentary about 70s Berlin. Also, two big bands will be part of the deal: the Splitter Orchester will perform a piece written by the great composer and trombonist George Lewis who will be here as well. And the Divan of the Continents is an orchestra formed by singer Cymin Samawatie and drmmer Ketan Bhatti and will explore the various cultures and ethnicities that are part of Berlin’s rich musical life.
Rounding out the programme is Vincent Peirani (who played the festival last year) and some trio performances at Berlin’s A-Trane club by the Julia Kadel Trio, Giovanni Guidi Trio, and Plaistow from Switzerland as well as late-night performances from Lumen Dromes from Norway and Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur from the UK. The Festival will run from November 5th-8th.
Starting tomorrow, my posts will be written from Rotterdam where I’ll attend the 40th edition of the Northsea Jazz Festival. See you around.