jazzahead! Festival: Special guests announced: Stars from the Netherlands — jazzahead!


jazzahead! Festival: Special guests announced: Stars from the Netherlands

One of the largest international music festivals in Bremen presents its programme.

With just under a month to go, the jazzahead! leadership team has just given its main press conference in the run-up to jazzahead! 2024. On Tuesday afternoon they were at Union Brauerei Bremen, which will be one of several first-time venues included in this year’s CLUBNIGHT. The team presented this year’s programme of around 120 concerts.

Sybille Kornitschky, head of jazzahead! at MESSE BREMEN, and Götz Bühler, the new Artistic Advisor, together with Mark van Schaick from Buma Cultuur/ inJazz, representing this year’s partner country, the Netherlands, drew attention to the music festival – including numerous international stars and premieres  – which will take place this year over four days and three nights from 11 to 14 April in Bremen.

120 concerts at more than 35 venues
Well over one hundred concerts will take place at more than 35 venues. One of the largest music festivals to take place in Bremen will once again earn its international reputation as a place for new discoveries, the „Eldorado of the jazz world“. The key events are:

  • The official opening ceremony with its prestigious line-up
  • 40 showcase concerts selected by international juries
  • The CLUBNIGHT programme which brings jazz and related music from all over the world to the city’s venues on Friday 12 April
  • The gala concert on Saturday evening

Stars from the Netherlands as Special Guests
This year’s Gala Concert will take place in the main concert hall of the Congress Centre Bremen, returning there after many years. Artistic Advisor Götz Bühler expressed his delight that the internationally renowned Dutch youth jazz orchestra NJJO (Nationaal Jeugd Jazz Orkest) under the direction of Dutch trumpeter Maite Hontelé will be performing here with two genuinely special guests, whose names were announced for the first time at this press conference.

„If a Cuban pianist has an international career, that is a sign of fabulous quality in itself – you really do have to be one of the best to be allowed to represent the country,“ said Bühler, adding: “ And Ramón Valle is definitely one of the best. He received public backing early on in his career from Chucho Valdes, and his originality has been compared to that of McCoy Tyner or Chick Corea.“ The second special guest is Surinam-born, Delft-based flautist and composer Ronald Snijders, who won the prestigious Boy Edgar Award last year for his pivotal role in the national scene. The fact that the profile outside the Netherlands of this revered multi-instrumentalist, who celebrates his 73rd birthday just a few days before jazzahead!, remains confined to expert circles, is essentially due to his private circumstances. Bühler told the story: „When Joe Zawinul tried to invite him to tour as part of the legendary fusion group Weather Report – which of course also included Wayne Shorter – Snijders turned him down…because he preferred to look after his family.“

The Netherlands as the „New York of Europe“
The entire festival programme is star-studded, with musicians of international renown, and many of these hail from the Netherlands, this year’s partner country, or, as Sybille Kornitschky called it at the press conference, „the New York of Europe.“ „We are a melting pot,“ says Mark van Schaick, who has lead responsibility for jazz in the culture department of Buma, the Dutch music rights collection agency. „The divergent influences from former Dutch colonies, from Surinam and the Caribbean to Indonesia, have always been a source of enrichment for our music scene,” he continued. “They can be found both in the showcases and as part of our evening at CLUBNIGHT. What we understand by jazz today has a lot to do with these new influences, including electronica and other music. Certainly jazzahead! will be a great way for people to get to know and understand the Dutch vision.“

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Alune Wade_(c)_Héla Ammar


Ramon Valle (c) Ray van Schaffelaar


Ronald Snijders (c) Raoúl Neijhorst