Press — jazzahead!


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For more information, please contact Frank Schümann.

Press Releases

  • jazzahead! | 03.03.2023

    The countdown to jazzahead! 2023 is under way!

    CLUBNIGHT will be on Friday 28 April, when, for one night, one ticket will give admission to no fewer than 30 clubs – 36 showcase concerts will take place at the MESSE BREMEN site – ...

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    This year’s programme of festival events and concerts is now in place.

    CLUBNIGHT will be on Friday 28 April, when, for one night, one ticket will give admission to no fewer than 30 clubs – 36 showcase concerts will take place at the MESSE BREMEN site – The German Jazz Prize concert is on the Thursday evening 27 April – Evening of words and music with German film and stage star Sebastian Koch on Saturday 29 April.

    The festival programme for jazzahead! has been finalised – and it’s really something to look forward to this year! The highlights include an evening of words and music with celebrated actor Sebastian Koch on Saturday, 29 April, the big CLUBNIGHT on Friday, 28 April, the German Jazz Prize concert on Thursday, 27 April, and the 36 showcase concerts spread over three days. MESSE BREMEN’s jazzahead! 2023 will take place from 27 to 30 April. This year, the festival programme will mainly run concurrently with the trade fair.

    CLUBNIGHT is expected to be the focus of a lot of attention again this year. It takes place under the motto: „1 night, 1 ticket, 30 clubs“. The all-in-one ticket also includes public transport in the network of the Verkehrsverbund Bremen Niedersachsen (VBN), so people’s transport needs will be taken care of. The one ticket will grant admission to all 30 locations.

    CLUBNIGHT will kick off at 5 p.m. with a concert to set the evening’s programme in motion on Bremen’s Marktplatz. After that, the Croatian-Slovenian female indie pop/ singer-songwriter duo „freekind“ will be performing in KLUB DIALOG on the banks of the Weser. The Caribbean-born singer Sera Kalo will present her project eXante, a mix of R’n’B, hip-hop and soul.

    The jazzahead! CLUBNIGHT 2023 has a particular bias in terms of its content: it will extend into different areas on the borders of jazz, and put down markers in almost all genres of music – in the pop and electronica area (such as in IRGENDWO, Villa Sponte or KITO) as well as in the direction of world music (among others in Lagerhaus, Focke-Museum or the Kulturkirche St. Stephani). Fans of R’n’B, hip-hop and soul should head for the Bremer Theater or Kränholm) and techno devotees will want to note that the trio LBT will be appearing in the vaulted hall of the Ratskeller winery. And those who like to hear jazz in combination with folk or rock should make a note that violinist/ singer Susanne Lundeng will be in the ACHAT Hotel. She has her roots in Norwegian folk music. At the Metropol Theatre, this year’s offering is a stage with a programme of Finnish acts, throughout the evening and deep into the night. There are other evenings with a focus on specific countries, for example a wide-ranging programme at “Tower” with their Québec evening, and a selection of Danish bands at Lila Eule.

    HFK Jazzclub, the MIB, the Zentrale (joining in for the first time!) and the Sendesaal Bremen and the bremer kriminal theatre – where there will be no shortage of groove – will be offering a more „classical“ programme, whereas the programmes at both etage° and Canova definitely come with an unmistakable invitation to dance; swing bands will be performing throughout the evening.

    According to Sybille Kornitschky, who runs jazzahead! for MESSE BREMEN, the bremer shakespeare company will also play a major role this year, with performances by the Paschulke dance orchestra from the Ruhr area, among others. This group draws on very different styles and cultures and is committed to inclusion. „This is something very close to our hearts at jazzahead!“ says Kornitschky. There is also a special programme at the Weserburg: here, among others, the pianist Jason Miles will be performing. He worked with Miles Davis, Marcus Miller and Luther Vandross and is widely considered to have been one of the pioneers of synthesiser programming.

    The main meeting point for people from the German scene will probably be the late night show at the Römer, where a duo project led by Hamburg drummer Silvan Strauß will be offering nocturnal grooves. Like Neustadt, the district looks like the place to be for the night owls – there will also be parties at Theater Bremen CLUB, IRGENDWO and neusi’s.

    Other highlights of the festival include the German Jazz Prize concert on the evening of 27 April, and the reading with Sebastian Koch (in German) on Saturday evening, 29 April (both at the Metropol Theatre) and the 36 showcase concerts on the trade fair site. These have all been listed in detail in previous press releases.

    A special guest at this year’s jazzahead! is internationally renowned actor Sebastian Koch. Now based in Berlin, Koch will perform Arthur Schnitzler’s „Traumnovelle“ (Dream Story) as an evening of words and music together with the Hubert Nuss Quartett. Cologne composer/pianist Hubert Nuss and his band playing jazz will provide the perfect backdrop for Koch’s speaking voice and acting with their jazz sounds. The actor himself describes Schnitzler’s „Traumnovelle“ as a „highly musical text, written almost like a fugue.“ In addition to Koch and Nuss, Bastian Stein (trumpet), Robert Landfermann (bass) and Fabian Arens (drums) will be performing. Sebastian Koch had his breakthrough in 2006 with the huge success of the Oscar-winning feature film „The Lives of Others“. Since then, he has appeared in films such as „Effi Briest“ and „Werk ohne Autor“ (Never Look Away) and the TV series „Der Seewolf“ (Sea Wolf).

    Tickets for all events are available from Nordwest Ticket at the advance booking offices or by calling

    +49 (0)421 – 36 36 36, or via their own webshop. Tickets are also available from the ticket service in the Glocke

    (+49 (0)421 – 33 66 99), in the press building of the Weser Kurier, in all regional newspaper offices or online at

    Further information

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  • jazzahead! | 15.02.2023

    Götz Bühler to join the jazzahead! leadership team

    A Change is Gonna Come…After this April’s jazzahead!, Ulrich Beckerhoff and Peter Schulze, Artistic Directors of the world’s biggest jazz industry gathering, will leave the team, it ...

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    Change is on the way - Ulrich Beckerhoff and Peter Schulze will be retiring after jazzahead! 2023

    A Change is Gonna Come…After this April’s jazzahead!, Ulrich Beckerhoff and Peter Schulze, Artistic Directors of the world’s biggest jazz industry gathering, will leave the team, it is announced today.

    After seventeen years, both of them are very much of the same mind: they now want to make the way clear for the next generation. A successor has already been appointed: Hamburg music journalist, author and radio/TV presenter Götz Bühler. He was the unanimous choice of the entire management. Beckerhoff was Artistic Director from the very first edition of jazzahead! in 2006, and Schulze, having been involved from the beginning as an advisor, joined the team officially in 2013. Bühler and Sybille Kornitschky will form a new dual leadership team, starting with the preparations for next year’s event.

     „It’s clearly now time to pass the baton on,“ says Beckerhoff. „We’ve done a lot in the past to get things going, but now it is right that other and younger people should be taking over.“ The jazz scene as a whole is once again in a phase of radical change, a new generation is taking over, Beckerhoff continues. And Schulze adds:“It has been a great time, seventeen wonderful years. But you should always quit when you’re ahead.“ Schulze comments that it is good that the team have found in Götz Bühler „someone to whom all three of us on the management team are keen to offer an unreserved and undisputed welcome.“

    It was Hans Peter Schneider, Managing Director of M3B GmbH, who, alongside the two Artistic Directors, brought jazzahead! into being in 2006. He comments: „I would like to offer my wholehearted thanks to both of them. With jazzahead! we have created a successful event which is unique worldwide and constitutes an integral and indispensable part of the jazz world. And in Götz Bühler, who has known jazzahead! for several years, we have found the right successor. I am very much looking forward to our work together.“

    It has always been one of the great strengths of jazz that it is permanently changing, says Beckerhoff: „And that won’t stop, even if our generation won’t be so involved with it.“ Schulze adds, „We are looking forward to the change with great confidence.“Both Beckerhoff and Schulze were born in 1947; their successor Götz Bühler is 21 years younger than them. The jazzahead! trade fair and festival are far from unknown territory to Bühler. He has been present in various functions right from the beginning, for example in his roles as editor of the magazine Jazz thing, as label manager working with artists such as Kellylee Evans or Ed Motta, or as presenter of the digital jazzahead! in 2021 and the German Jazz Award last year. Since 2020, he has been Head of Content for the ‘Jazzed’ app for Germany.

     „For me personally this is, of course, a huge honour,“ says Bühler. In New York, where he was representing jazzahead! in January this year alongside Peter Schulze, he could witness at first hand quite how highly valued jazzahead! is abroad: „To experience international perceptions of jazzahead! for myself, and to hear such positive sentiments being expressed gave a very good feeling,” he remarks.“I am immensely looking forward to taking on this task.“

    And what of future directions for jazz and for jazzahead! ? “Jazz is opening up allthe time anyway,” Bühler notes. „We see all kinds of influences from electronic pop music and hip hop, to various kinds of roots music, ’new music‘ and neo-classical“. jazzahead! clearly needs to reflect this range, and to some extent it already does.”At Winter Jazzfest in New York, he was reminded of how wide the range of music related to jazz is. Bühler continues: „The fascination of this music isn’t coming to an end any time soon, quite the opposite. It’s getting bigger and stronger.“ He also underlined the importance of opening up to a younger audience, of making it clear to young people what an opportunity jazzahead! can represent:“jazzahead! is the door which can open up the whole international jazz scene for them!“

    Ulrich Beckerhoff and Peter Schulze, as well as Götz Bühler, are available to answer questions, and for interviews.

    Further information

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    Further information for editorial offices:
    Frank Schümann, Tel. +49 421 3505 – 453
    E-Mail:; Facebook Instagram Twitter


  • jazzahead! | 09.02.2023

    Commissioned Works as Highlights

    Challenge and opportunity The four “Commissioned Works” bands are taking shape and their performances are set to be both highlights and focal points of jazzahead! 2023. Bandleaders Heinrich von Kalnein, Daniel ...

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    „Herausforderung und Chance“

    Challenge and opportunity

    The four “Commissioned Works” bands are taking shape and their performances are set to be both highlights and focal points of jazzahead! 2023.

    Bandleaders Heinrich von Kalnein, Daniel Erdmann and Felix Schlarmann talk about their projects.

    Thursday, 9 February · The “Commissioned Works” programme, in which four German bandleaders resident in other countries use their networks to form bands is now coming into much clearer focus. There has already been an exclusive concert in New York by Ingrid Laubrock’s new group „Lilith“, and the bands in France, Austria and the Netherlands are truly taking shape now, their first concerts to be given soon in the run-up to jazzahead! 2023.

    The band projects are expected to be highlights of this year’s jazzahead! 2023, which will take place from 27 to 30 April at MESSE BREMEN. With Germany as partner country this year, musicians have been selected who have set up band projects in the neighbouring countries of Austria, France and the Netherlands as well as in the USA especially for jazzahead! These new projects are expected to have a life beyond the trade fair and the festival.

    Heinrich von Kalnein and Jakob Helling’s „Alpine Air“ (Austria)
    The German-Austrian group assembled by Heinrich von Kalnein (saxophones/flute) and Jakob Helling (trumpet/flugelhorn) as the Kalnein-Helling Unit bears the project title „Alpine Air“. Alongside the two band leaders, the other members of the group are Theresia Philipp (saxophone/clarinet), Alois Eberl (trombone), Hanno Busch (guitar), Sebastian Scobel (piano), Gina Schwarz (bass) and Reini Schmölzer (drums). Dual leadership of the ensemble was a deliberate and conscious decision by Heinrich von Kalnein.

    „Many outstanding musicians from both countries were pleased to get involved in the initiative and united to form an eight-piece band offering a richness of timbres and colours“ says von Kalnein. He explains: „When the invitation for this commissioned work came, Jakob Helling and I were not yet sure what form this ensemble would take. We are both quite active musically; Jakob with his big band – myself currently with my wonderful trio with the Austrian bassist Gina Schwarz and drummer Ramón López and many other projects. So it was clear that we didn’t want to compete with each other, but we did want to take advantage of the opportunity. So after many walks, phone calls and conversations together, it became an octet. The line-up alone made both of our hearts beat faster!“ Some of the most distinguished players on the German and Austrian scene are part of it, von Kalnein continued: „And our first rehearsal phase in Vienna in January also revealed to both of us that we had not been mistaken. What a great band! We’ll see where it is going to take us after our performance at this year’s jazzahead!“

    Before the festival opening at jazzahead! there will be an early concert for the band at Tube’s in Graz, Heinrich von Kalnein’s home town, on 24 April 2023.

    Daniel Erdmann’s „Thérapie de Couple“ (France)
    The bandleader for France is also a saxophonist, Daniel Erdmann. His ensemble, which also includes Hélène Duret (clarinet), Théo Ceccaldi (violin), Vincent Courtois (cello), Robert Lucaciu (double bass) and Eva Klesse (drums), is called „Thérapie de Couple“. „We are talking, of course, about the couple of Germany and France, the engine of Europe, which occasionally gets into a crisis and is therefore always in need of therapy,“ says Erdmann with a smile. The bandleader knows both sides of this divide very well; both France and Germany have been the bases of his musical activities for over 20 years.

    Franco-German and European projects in general are at the heart of his work, in which he has been supported by Philippe Ochem and the Jazzdor Festival from the very beginning. „I am very lucky to have been given this commission by jazzahead!“ says Erdmann, „to start a new Franco-German band to offer musical therapy to our ageing couple.“ In recent years, Daniel Erdmann has tended to prefer smaller groups, but now he is taking on the challenge of a larger line-up with real enthusiasm. The choice of musicians was determined by his perception of the kind of sound this new group should have: „We wanted a more orchestral sound, with a mix of strings and woodwinds in middle and low registers,“ says Erdmann. „In addition, we wanted a rhythmic foundation offering both silky smoothness and stability. This particular instrumentation can be treated compositionally in many different ways.“ Luckily, Erdmann recounts, all the musicians who were offered the chance to take part accepted immediately. In general, he says about this project: „To create a completely new band in a relatively short time, to conceive a band sound, to find musicians who represent at least part of the scene of two countries, that has been both a challenge and an opportunity.“

    The initial idea was to write a piece for each instrument, where it is the central focus, the bandleader continues: „But especially with the musicians‘ commitments and their musical attitudes, new composition ideas were added and others were discarded again.“ This really is a ‘work in progress’, and in the best possible sense!

    Before jazzahead!, Daniel Erdmann’s band „Thérapie de Couple“ can be heard in Rheims on 20 April 2023.

    Felix Schlarmann’s  „Tree House“ (Netherlands)
    ‘Work in progress’ is the right expression for all of the newly created bands, including „Tree House“, the German-Dutch project led by Felix Schlarmann. Drummer Schlarmann, who lives in Amsterdam, is deeply rooted in the Dutch jazz scene – the country which shares a land border with Germany has been his new home for almost twenty years now. „I was delighted to be chosen,“ says Schlarmann, „it was also very fitting – I had the desire to realise such a project anyway and am very happy that it has now worked out with the larger line-up.“

    Schlarmann, who teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, has always enjoyed bringing together musicians from different backgrounds and generations in his various activities in the Netherlands – and that is exactly what he has done with Tree House. He has put together a group of musicians to reflect the varied and international jazz scene of the Netherlands, but also has the aim to foster cooperation between different generations.

    to Schlarmann, the band includes Ben van Gelder (alto saxophone), Mete Erker (tenor saxophone), Līva Dumpe (voice), Olivier van Niekerk (guitar), Franz von Chossy (piano) and Pat Cleaver (bass). He says he felt more like a curator than a bandleader when putting the band together: „All of them are not only superb instrumentalists,“ Schlarmann says, „but also interesting composers – which is precisely what this group will reflect.“

    At the heart of this project are collective processes to identify, develop and work at the repertoire and to arrive at an overall band sound. „The starting point is the sound of the group,“ says the band leader. Hence the band name: „Our Tree House is actually a tree house, a project that is both a challenge and an inspiration because of its line-up alone. We create music that is like the ramifications of a tree through the different musical personalities, with many timbres and textures.“

    Felix Schlarmann’s Tree House can be heard in the run-up to jazzahead! at Splendor in Amsterdam on 6 April 2023.

    Further information

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    Further information for editorial offices:
    Frank Schümann, Tel. +49 421 3505 – 453
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  • jazzahead! | 11.01.2023

    The thirty-six showcase artists/bands for jazzahead! 2023 are announced

    The jury’s decisions have been made, jazzahead! 2023 at MESSE BREMEN continues to take shape – there is a definite buzz of anticipation here! Out of no fewer than 576 applications, 32 artists ...

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    A varied programme - Juries hugely impressed by the overall standard – 576 applications from 45 countries – Performances from 27 to 30 April at MESSE BREMEN – Full lists and brief band descriptions with this press release.

    The jury’s decisions have been made, jazzahead! 2023 at MESSE BREMEN continues to take shape – there is a definite buzz of anticipation here!

    Out of no fewer than 576 applications, 32 artists and bands have been selected to perform at the world’s largest jazz trade fair from 27 to 30 April. These are in addition to the four “Commissioned Works”, collaborative bands brought into being by invitation, which were outlined in the most recent press release. As well as the “Commissioned Works” bands, there will eight other showcase concerts at the German Jazz Expo, the eight concerts of the Overseas Showcases, plus the European Showcases which consist of 16 concerts. „I believe that we have once again put together a programme which is not just really exciting but also shows huge variety,“ says Sybille Kornitschky, who runs the jazzahead! trade fair.

    Once again, the jury members had substantial quantities of listening to get through; there were no fewer than 576 applications from a total of 45 countries. The artistic directors of jazzahead! and the four international juries, consisting of programme directors from festivals and clubs, did not have an easy ride: every single application was considered and listened to in detail, this resulted in initial rankings and the building of shortlists. „Many more deserved to make it than those who actually did,“ says Kornitschky, „the overall level was again very high – so unfortunately there are many who will be disappointed.“ Seventeen countries (out of the 45 who applied) are now represented by their artists in the showcases. All the acts in the final selection, with a brief description of each, can be found at the end of this press release.

    Once again, the programme shows phenomenal diversity. In fact the range is even wider than in previous years. Thus, the 36 showcase acts include everything which – alongside what is generally considered to be jazz – is related to it, whether it be folk, world music, rock or electronica.

    Other remarkable aspects this year are worthy of mention: „Several large ensembles applied,“ says Uli Beckerhoff, artistic director of jazzahead! together with Peter Schulze. Three of these groups made it to the shortlist in the German Jazz Expo alone – „and they are all very different from each other, right across the spectrum from free spontaneous arrangements to very precise orchestrations.“

    The final programme includes an „incredible guitarist“, the Australian Josh Meader with his trio as well as the Cuban cellist and singer ANA CARLA MAZA, who is already a big YouTube star with over a million views of her very individual and distinctive music, with its fascinatingly deep and direct connections to Cuban music royalty.

    The formation „Schntzl“ from Belgium stand out for their originality, the Norwegian band LILJA bring some exciting rock influences, and as for the French duo „No Sax No Clar“ – „they are incredibly good in the way they play together,“ says Beckerhoff.

    According to the artistic directors, the fact that there has been a move closer to the stylistic fringes is very much in line with the artistic directors’ priorities: a good example is the German band Conic Rose, says Beckerhoff: „Their pop and electronica mix is jazzy, and yet at the same time finely structured, very free-spirited and yet well thought-out. The more you listen, the more exciting it gets – very modern!“

    It is also good that the geographical categories used for the programme modules have been freed up somewhat compared to previous years. Peter Schulze: „How do you classify a Cuban musician who lives and works in Spain, for example, or the many African musicians who live in France? Jazz simply cannot be placed within borders.”

    The international jurors were pleased to have been part of this process. Raluca Baicu, Artistic Curator from North Sea Round Town, a member of the jury for the German Jazz Expo, says: „Being part of the jury was a great source of discovery – it was inspiring to hear all these applications and to discover so many high-quality projects and passionate artists from Germany.“ At the same time, making the choices was also a great challenge: „It was not easy for a jury to make a short list when there are quite so many good projects, especially among the larger ensembles. That aspect was the most surprising part of the process for me personally, seeing the artistic interest and developments for larger ensembles.“

    The individual line-ups of the juries can be found on our homepage:


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  • jazzahead! | 16.12.2022

    jazzahead! Building Bridges in New York

    Four „Commissoned Works“ are announced as part of the Germany partner country programme. Band line-ups announced. jazzahead! in New York: a delegation from Bremen will be travelling to the U....

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    Announcing an exclusive pre-jazzahead! concert in New York

    Four „Commissoned Works“ are announced as part of the Germany partner country programme. Band line-ups announced.

    jazzahead! in New York: a delegation from Bremen will be travelling to the U.S. metropolis in January to present jazzahead! and this year’s partner country Germany. And that’s not all: Ingrid Laubrock will give an exclusive concert in the run-up to jazzahead! 2023 with her newly formed ensemble „Lilith“ at the renowned Blue Note Club on 14 January.

    In addition, a panel discussion on jazz in Germany will be taking place two days earlier at the Goethe-Institut, with Charlotte Greve, Ingrid Laubrock, Timo Vollbrecht and Tobias Meinhart, all German musicians who have developed strong networks in the USA, and who live and work there.

    „We want to strengthen artistic exchange“
    Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock is one of the four artistic directors of the „Commissioned Works“ series, an artistic concept which will be a part of the jazzahead! 2023 partner country programme. Germany, which will be in focus as partner country in the next edition, will cooperate musically with four other countries – three neighbouring countries Austria, France and the Netherlands as well as the USA. Sybille Kornitschky, who runs jazzahead! for Messe Bremen says of the „Commissioned Works“: “At the core of our plans is the idea of artistic exchange. We want to shed new light on and thus strengthen it too.“ Both Peter Schulze and Götz Bühler will be travelling to the USA on behalf of jazzahead!

    The other three “Commissioned Works” in detail: the bandleader of the Austrian formation is saxophonist Heinrich von Kalnein. Drummer Felix Schlarmann leads the project with the Netherlands, and saxophonist Daniel Erdmann will lead the venture with France.

    Kornitschky: „We selected the musical directors in consultation with our cooperation partners, but the leaders themselves had a completely free hand in putting together their ensembles, which naturally – and this is something that we are working together with the partner organisations – are intended to have a life beyond jazzahead!“

    Ingrid Laubrock talks about the project.
    Ingrid Laubrock is very pleased to be part of this project, and is looking forward to working with her band „Lilith“: „At this early stage when a project only exists in the composer’s imagination, it is somewhat daunting to find a name for it and to write about it. When I was thinking about a potential name for the band, it occurred to me how rare it is to have an Adam and an Eve in the same group. And that reminded me of Lilith, Adam’s first wife. Unlike Eve, Lilith was formed at the same time and from the same clay as Adam. There are several myths around Lilith, but they all have one thing in common: she is not submissive, but powerful and feared. At a time when women’s rights are in danger of being abolished, put into reverse, or indeed simply don’t exist, it seems appropriate to celebrate a dangerous and uncomfortable woman.“

    The complete line-ups of the four bands whose premiere performances will be given at jazzahead! in Bremen between 27 April and 30 April are announced:

    Ingrid Laubrock / USA
    Ingrid Laubrock: saxophones
    David Adewumi: trumpet
    Adam Matlock: accordion 
    Eva Lawitts: double bass
    Yvonne Rogers: piano  
    Henry Mermer: drums

    Heinrich von Kalnein / Austria
    Heinrich von Kalnein: tenor and soprano saxophones, flutes
    Jakob Helling: trumpet and flugelhorn
    Theresia Philipp: alto saxophone and clarinet
    Alois Eberl: trombone
    Hanno Busch: guitar
    Sebastian Scobel: piano and electric piano
    Gina Schwarz: double bass
    Reinhold Schmölzer: drums

    Felix Schlarmann / Netherlands
    Felix Schlarmann: drums
    Ben van Gelder: alto saxophone
    Mete Erker: tenor saxophone
    Olivier van Niekerk: guitar
    Liva Dumpe: vocals
    Franz von Chossy: piano
    Pat Cleaver: bass
    Daniel Erdmann / France
    Daniel Erdmann: tenor saxophone
    Théo Ceccaldi: violin
    Hélène Duret: clarinet
    Vincent Courtois: cello
    Robert Lucaciu: bass
    Eva Klesse: drums

    For further information about the New York trip, the jazzahead! contact is Jakob Fraisse. Email:

    More Information at

    (3.986 characters incl. spaces)

    Further information for editorial offices:
    Frank Schümann, Tel. +49 421 3505 – 453
    E-Mail:; Facebook Instagram Twitter





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