Showcasing Bands 2021: German Jazz Expo (Part 2)18. February 2021
In this series one person from the jazz scene in Germany and one from abroad each reveal their views on German jazz and their current recommendations for jazz made in Germany.
When I started up Jazzfest Bonn in 2010, I have to say there was one thing that never really occurred to me at the time: that through the years of running the festival I would discover quite so many incredibly interesting musicians who are either based in Germany or who have their origins in this country.
The German music scene is chock-full of good music. It is a very busy scene not just because there is such a wide range of outlets for jazz compared to most other countries, but also because there is a relatively large and enthusiastic audience.
There is an abundance of fantastic new talent in this country. It is constantly either coming to the fore or developing, and the scene here is always enriched by it. Not a single festival has gone by without me being taken agreeably by surprise
So I would like to take this opportunity to recommend a few musicians:
Peter Materna Peter Materna has been artistic director and managing director of the Jazzfest Bonn since 2010. The festival has a strong bias towards the creative and contemporary jazz scenes. The concerts, at several venues in Bonn are always sold out, thereby raising the profile of this music. Materna studied classical and jazz saxophone in Cologne (Musikhochschule) and Essen (Folkwang Hochschule) graduating in 1992. He founded his own quartet in 1989, consisting of his fellow students Martin Scholz on piano, Michael Gerards on bass and Benny Mokross on drums, and this quartet continued for two decades. A first album, "Jazz Contract" (Jazzline/EFA) was released in 1992, and eight more followed., The most recent is "Silent Session" (JazzHausMusik, 2008) which was recorded in the radio hall of the Deutschlandfunk in Cologne.
Jo is a young drummer from Cologne who plays in various groups. He has a wonderfully refreshing sound, and is involved with jazz in the broadest sense. His trio MALSTROM is well worth checking out. This group opens the musical floodgates to all kinds of things, with jazz as just part of the story. There is an abundance of energy, of experimentation...but also fun and enjoyment. Fabulous!
Lucia Cadotsch and Speak Low:
Lucia was born in Switzerland but is based in Berlin, so she is in effect part of the German scene - as well having an international profile. Alongside her in this trio are the incredible Petter Eldh on bass and saxophonist Otis Sandsjö, an effervescent source of ideas who also has a fabulous technical command of the saxophone. Lucia sings just magically. The trio combines classical repertoire with contemporary expression, and they succeed in being both captivating and remarkably impressive.
Tobias Hoffmann Trio:
Tobias uses sounds that are familiar, but transforms them with his very individual and vivid imagination, and always takes the listener on a journey. In his wonderful trio are Frank Schönhofer on bass and Etienne Nillesen who is incredibly resourceful on his reduced drumkit. Definitely worth hearing!
Of Cabbages And Kings:
This vocal ensemble of the four young singers (Laura Totenhagen, Rebekka Ziegler, Veronika Morscher and Zola Mennenöh) experiments with free improvisation and microtones. They also have complete mastery of all conceivable forms of expression and techniques, from clasical to a capella jazz singing. Their confidence as live performers always leaves a strong impression and their individual and inspiring settings of poetry bring new life to the texts. An unqualified recommendation!
Lisa plays a whole family of basses. I have known her for many years from the
various musical contexts. She is an excellent, extremely confident musician, composer and bandleader and appears again and again as a bass player alongside international stars. Her quartet was the opening band at Jazzfest Bonn 2019 and a highlight of the festival. There were more than a thousand people in the audience at the Bonn Opera House, and their enthusiasm was palpable.
o promote Jazz in Romania wasn’t such a easy thing. The genre wasn’t popular at all, when we’ve started with the festival, so we made a long term strategy to grow along side with the public. We were always searching for a new generation of Jazz artists to inspire and reach the younger audience. We love those eclectic projects, that combine jazz with other influences and are not shy from experimentation. And from this point of view, Germany has a lot to offer.
My first recommendation is Grey Paris:
They applied in 2019 at our Jazz competition and won Best Club concert. They’re a modern band, very disciplined and with a lot of electronics involved. They’re sound was so surprising, it just captured the audience and took us all on a mental trip to the Berlin jazz scene.
Another band that I’ve been watching closely is Wanubale.
You just have to love a large ensemble! It’s that band that you need to see live, perfect for summer festivals, regardless of the music genre. It that type of band that will contribute to making jazz popular alongside the “cool kids”.
Last but not least, one of my favourite German bands is Tingvall Trio.
We’ve had them in Romania in 2018 and I would bring them back anytime. They’ve launched a new album in 2020.
Alina Vaida is the founder and director of the Jazz in the Park Festival in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He has been working in event production since 2007 and has specialized in festival management since 2013, when he founded Jazz in the Park. All of his projects have a dual approach, focusing both on performing arts and on the social impact in the local community. His organization called Fapte (the word for deeds in Romanian) organizes cultural events aiming to tackle different problems in communities, such as social inclusion, better use of public space and cultural policies. In 2019, Jazz in the Park won Best Small Festival in Europe at the European Festival Awards.