At yesterday’s press conference to Berlin’s next XJazz Festival in early May, artistic director Sebastian Studnitzky (pictured at right) introduced some of the bands and the clubs and this year’s focus country which happens to be Israel, partly because there seem to be so many musicians from Israel playing the Berlin clubs and off scene.
What started more or less as an experiment last year turned out to be a great success with a sold-out festival. Not bad for the first edition! The secret or one of the secrets is clearly the fact that the programming caters to a young, open-minded audience which is into Electronic Jazz as well as into Avantgarde or anything Modern as long as it’s not your Mainstream fodder. Plus, the locations are not your typical Jazz clubs, but rather most of the surrounding live music clubs which again take part this year, among them Privatclub, Watergate, Lido, Bi Nuu, Prince Charles, Monarch, or Wendel.
Which doesn’t mean that you don’t get your acoustic Jazz this year. In fact, there are many bands and collaborations which promise to be very exciting, like Ack van Rooyen with Chris Adams, Ronny Graupe and Spoom, Gebhard Ullmann & Almut Kühne Duo or the Melt Trio + Jan Bang. But the focus again is on contemporary, explorative, current, and modern Jazz in all its facets. The line-up features anyone from Gilles Peterson to Hyperactive Kid, from Mark de Clive-Lowe to Nightmares on Wax, from Nils Wogram to the Brandt Brauer Frick Trio.
Bands from Israel include the Buttering Trio from Tel Aviv with their exciting mix of Jazz, Soul and Trip Hop, the Omer Klein Trio with an engaging pianist who used to record for John Zorn‘s Tzadik label, or the Uri Gincel Trio which can make the most tried and tested Jazz standards sound fresh and young again. About 75 % of the line-up are local groups. 65 bands in total will perform in ten different clubs.
Tickets for the Festival go on sale on February 9th. That’s when all the details for the individual clubs will be available. The Festival runs May 7th to 10th. Mark your calendars! I’ll also keep you posted on this page.