The new Europe Jazz Media initiative: once every season, our writers recommend forthcoming jazz festivals in their country or region and share their recommendations with the readers of all member media!
By Martin Laurentius, Jazz thing,
for Europe Jazz Media
June 23-26: JAZZ BALTICA, Timmendorfer Strand, Germany
The famed festival’s relocation was as gentle as the change of the artistic direction: when the Swedish trombonist Nils Landgren took over directing the Jazz Baltica in 2012, he also focused even more attention to the fact that Baltic Sea was a polyglot cultural area. For his 5th festival, he put on the program the likes of Iiro Rantala & Ulf Wakenius, the NDR Big Band with Polish violinist Adam Bałdych, and – a tradition – the Jazz Baltica All Stars. From the Baltic seashore, he also extends the view to other jazz regions, like southwestern Germany with the father-son duo Dauner // Dauner, or Anke Helfrich Trio with US trumpeter Tim Hagans, then to Cuba, with the NDR Big Band plus pianist Omar Sosa, and the European-American quartet Amok Amor.
June 24 – July 03: SÜDTIROL JAZZFESTIVAL ALTO ADIGE, Südtirol, Italy
Okay, viewed from Berlin, South Tyrol (Südtirol in German, Alto Adige in Italian) is far away. But this ancient area along the Austrian/Italian border that was so often conquered and fought for in its history, is bound to be a place for a multi-stylistic festival. For many years, the organization team follows a concept that in times like today, with borders promptly closing, a few things is more important than ever: to build bridges, to ignore boundaries, and to involve other jazz cultures in Europe into conversation – Switzerland, Austria, and many other countries. The festival is not only using the regular concert halls, but setting unusual festival performance sites among the the rugged peaks of the South Tyrolean Alps. The Südtirol Jazz Festival Alto Adige makes the entire region a stunning backdrop for jazz and improvised music from entire Europe.
July 08-17: JAZZOPEN, Stuttgart, Germany
For ten days, Baden-Wuerttemberg’s state capital Stuttgart is dominated by jazz music that overcomes the stylistic boundaries. Big stages, indoors and outdoors, are reserved for the international stars of jazz and pop – in 2016, among others, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, Van Morrison and – once again in Stuttgart – Jamie Cullum. But the charm of JazzOpen is to be found elsewhere, and it’s Jazz Club Bix (on the picture). The intimate atmosphere of this club guarantees the audience a unique concert experience – this year, for example, with Nils Petter Molvær, Steps Ahead, or Christian Scott.
August 11-13: BEZAU BEATZ, Bezau, Austria
Did you know Bezau as a jazz fan should? If not, then you should anchor this place in Austria’s westernmost province of Vorarlberg in your festival calendar. This is where the drummer Alfred Vogel lives. He has a few successful multicolored and multi-stylistic jazz projects under his belt, but also organizes the Bezau Beatz festival, which found its home in the historic depot of the former Wälderbähnle railroad three years ago. There, the festival presents a program of free improvised music and avant-garde: a challenge for the audience, but worth every second of it. 2016 roster includes New York bassist and guitarist Tony Scherr, Scandinavian trio The Thing, saxophonist Gebhard Ullmann / singer Almut Kühne duo from Berlin, and other open-minded artists.