Germany has the largest network of jazz clubs, initiatives, concert series and festivals in Europe. In 2015 the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt listed almost 250 festivals focusing on jazz in Germany. Fans everywhere are discovering a German jazz scene that is attracting increasing attention around the world. Big cities such as Berlin and Cologne, Frankfurt and Hamburg have become magnets for jazz musicians around the globe. One meeting is particularly striking: the original Berliner Jazztage were founded in 1964, making today’s Jazzfest Berlin into Europe’s oldest and most renowned festival. Whereas the programme in the first decades was shaped by famous musicians from the USA, today’s main focus is on the contemporary jazz of European and German artists.
Tribute to Pina Bausch
Jazz is continuously developing. It is taught in independent courses at 18 German music academies. There are competitions for budding young artists in all of the federal states. Foundations and other institutions award generous scholarships and prizes to outstanding jazz performers. This wealth of talent is reflected at the Jazzfest Berlin 2016, for instance in the collaboration between the quartet headed by pianist Julia Hülsmann and the young saxophonist Anna-Lena Schnabel from Hamburg. The festival is being opened with a musical tribute by the American saxophonist and sound artist Matana Roberts in memory of the German choreographer Pina Bausch.
This also illustrates how jazz influences other genres in Germany, such as pop music. The crossover pianist Michael Wollny is inspired by the interplay between jazz and pop. His recordings sell very well and he received an ECHO jazz award in both 2015 and 2016. Julian Maier-Hauff is another good example. He studied jazz trumpet and has worked together with Rapper Samy Deluxe. He experimented with electronic music in techno clubs together with his improvisations on the trumpet: “I think people are ready again to listen to instrumentalists. When they go to a concert they expect to find more than just a computer on the stage.”
53rd Jazzfest Berlin from 1 to 6 November 2016