The fourth German Jazz Journalism Award was presented today at the international jazz exhibition jazzahead! in Bremen. This year’s winner is Martin Laurentius who collected the award in person. “Reactions to the work of jazz journalists tend to be more the exception – amongst the clients as well as the musicians and readers. This is also a good thing as it gives us a professional distance to the jazz scene. It is therefore even nicer if this distance is removed and if I am in the spotlight for a brief moment. This is because I am, on the one hand, being awarded for my “daily” work which is to a certain extent hard work at a desk and, on the other hand, the quality of my journalistic topics and writing is also being honoured and recognised,” said the award winner.
Jury member, past award winner and laudator Wolf Kampmann explaining the Jury’s decision: “Martin Laurentius has been working as a jazz journalist in many formats for press, broadcasting and festival magazines for many years. For his background stories, he always searches for and finds the greater social context. His research is precise and offers in depth insights where others remain on the surface. In his investigative research, he is respectful but also unrelenting. He dares ask uncomfortable questions and does not make do with simple answers but probes further until he has a result. Jazz is, for him, neither an end in itself nor a quality seal per se. Like hardly any other German jazz journalist, he understands how to position the individual achievement in a social and cultural-political context, reveal structural problems in jazz and to critically question the interdependencies between art and politics. Hereby he never seeks to intensify the subject just to get a headline but always remains fair, balanced and calmly orientated to the facts. However, he is, in his attitude, totally non-corruptible even if this results in personal disadvantages for him. He is, with this, a moral and skilled authority in contemporary music journalism.”
Martin Laurentius, born in 1962, studied music, German and sociology in Bonn. Already during his traineeship, he worked as a jazz critic on the Bonner and Kölnische Rundschau newspapers. Since 1995 he has been an editor and writer on the magazine Jazz thing. He has also written for numerous other music magazines and specialist book contributions and was a copywriter for advertising agencies and record companies. Martin Laurentius regularly works as an author and moderator for the jazz editorial department of Westdeutsche Rundfunk broadcasting as well as further ARD broadcasting channels and writes for “Die ZEIT” weekly newspaper. He is also a co-founder of Jazz&Worldpartner e.V. and was a member of the board of Radio Jazz Research association for several years.
The German Jazz Journalism Award is a funding element of “Jazz made in Germany” at the jazzahead! at the German Jazz Expo. “The award aims to encourage qualified jazz reporting in German media,” said Ulrich Beckerhoff from the jazzahead! management team about the award. “As jazz will only gain a broader public if it is suitably reported on!” continued Beckerhoff.
The prize was, once again, awarded with €5,000 prize money from the Hamburg Dr. E. A. Langner Foundation. Also, the Sendesaal in Bremen was a cooperating partner.