The Netherlands as central focus at jazzahead! …and a message: „Jazz needs diversity“ — jazzahead!


The Netherlands as central focus at jazzahead! …and a message: „Jazz needs diversity“

jazzahead! 2024 – with partner country the Netherlands – will be three busy and full-on days and nights from 11 to 13 April.

Key themes of the showcase programme at the forthcoming jazzahead!2024 are: a superb array of acts from the Netherlands, this year’s partner country; a very strong presence of women among the 40 acts, particularly in the role of bandleaders; a wide range of music from all areas of jazz; a clear societal message. The jazzahead! 2024 trade fair and festival, produced by MESSE BREMEN, will take place in Bremen from 11 to 13 April.

There will be top-class artists from Germany and numerous other European countries, plus acts from overseas. „The jury has selected three exciting ensembles from Senegal, Kenya and Nigeria,” says new Artistic Advisor Götz Bühler. “Our new ‘Jazz from Africa’ theme is going to run for the next three years.“

The Netherlands this year’s partner country at jazzahead! will have the largest number of artists and bands (alongside Germany): eight Dutch acts will be performing. The twelve-piece Kika Sprangers Large Ensemble is led by the eponymous saxophonist/composer. Her music is beautifully constructed, and she is widely recognised as one of her country’s great jazz talents. BOI AKIH combine electronics, organ sounds and angular rhythms with Balinese microtones. Guitarist Reinier Baas and saxophonist Ben van Gelder, pivotal figures on the Amsterdam scene, represent a modern, melodic form of jazz improvisation, while the Marmoucha Orchestra offers a beguiling melting-pot in which the magic and mystery of North African Gnawa co-exist with the sounds of European instruments.

These acts don’t just demonstrate the diversity and high quality of the Dutch scene, and in an exciting way, they are also emblematic of the broad range of the showcase programme as a whole. The all-female quartet O.N.E. from Poland, for example, combines lyricism, folkloristic influences and songwriting with wild free jazz energy – they are as uncompromising as they are convention-breaking. Also taking part are the Open Arms Project led by Israeli-born clarinet star Oran Etkin, who will be performing with a genre-busting ensemble of musicians from Brazil and the USA (Bühler: „The name says it all“) and Hungarian guitarist Bálint Gyémánt, whose trio moves atmospherically between elegant fusion sounds and punk rock. Both Antiánima from Mexico, from the electronic avant-garde and Yonglee & The DOLTANG from Korea with their virtuoso and complex fusion will be playing in Germany for the first time, as is the case for some of the „African Jazz“ groups, and artists from the Ukraine and Israel. Kornitschky and Bühler are also particularly pleased to point out that, „for the first time since Brexit, more bands from the UK will be taking part, such as young pianist Sultan Stevenson from the Tomorrow’s Warriors talent development programme, or the jazz-folk quartet led by Scottish saxophonist Matt Carmichael“.

Another aspect which the leadership team finds particularly gratifying is the high proportion of women musicians, indeed, diversity plays an important role in the programme in general. „Jazz needs diversity!“, as jazzahead! director Sybille Kornitschky underlines: „It’s a good sign that five of the German bands are led by women – and not only because it was something we wanted, but rather because they are the most exciting bands at the moment,“ pointing out that it was the high-calibre international juries who arrived at the decisions. The German bands include the trios of pianists Alexandra Ivanova, Shuteen Erdenebaatar and Julia Kadel (the latter is also an award-winning founding member of the QUEER CHEER community), and saxophonist Phillip Dornbusch with his band Projektor, whose electro-acoustic soundscapes oscillate between avant-garde and modern jazz, and also contain a very clear anti-racist message which is central to what the band does.

„Jazz has always had a political element to it,“ say Kornitschky and Bühler with a single unified voice, and this fundamental approach runs through the entire programme. Whereas a few years ago there were doubts in Germany as to whether jazz had lost its political stance and voice, now it is again very clear that this side of the music is very much alive. As Kornitschky says: „We don’t just have a wish to make it clear that all of us, including jazzahead!, celebrate this diversity and that we live in a broad community, we also feel the obligation to do so. We see the signs of the times, but we also want to set an example. Jazz is a music that unites people and is without boundaries, and this is something we want to make clear once again during jazzahead! in Bremen in a very natural way – and through the music too.”

Further information:
The new jazzahead! website has details of the 2024 programme and where to buy tickets:

The basic information on all 40 showcase acts, full line-ups, videos, photos… is attached to this press release and is available here for the first time. There is plenty to watch and to listen to! For interviews with an individual band or artist, please get in touch – the press team will be happy to set up contact and arrange interviews!

If you haven’t already done so, please apply for accreditation via the MESSE BREMEN accreditation form – it is a simple process which starts HERE:

Ticket information:
There is a jazzahead! PASS, which is valid for all three days including CLUBNIGHT. In addition, full-day (ALL IN) and half-day tickets (DAY or NIGHT) are available for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For participants of jazzahead! 2024, admission to the showcase concerts is included in the trade fair registration.

Images can be downloaded from the following links:
Picture 1: BOI AKIH  © Merlijn Doomernik
A journey of contrasts and parallel universes: singing in an ancient language, the ferocious breath of the organ…: BOI AKIH from the Netherlands.

Picture 2: Julia Kadel Trio MPS © David Dollmann
Pianist Julia Kadel, continuously active for more than a decade at the forefront of European jazz, presents a new trio.

Picture 3:  O.N.E. © Teo Olter
Four women who combine lyricism, folkloric influences and songwriting with wild and uncompromising free-jazz energy: Polish quartet O.N.E.

Picture 4: Marmoucha Orchestra © Rob Schreuder Photography
“Sonic Bridges” from Amsterdam: a musical partnership between Marmoucha Orchestra and Moroccan guembri star Mehdi Nasouli

Picture 5: Alune Wade © Héla Ammar
One of the three acts from the “African jazz” strand, Alune Wade is a bassist, composer and singer from Senegal.

Photos of all other showcase acts can be found in our digital press kit:
Password:        Jazzahead!_2024

Copyright press photos:
The press photos may only be used for editorial purposes in connection with events organised by M3B GmbH. Copyright for these pictures is held by M3B GmbH/photographer. The rights of use and exploitation are held by M3B GmbH. Press photos that are used for editorial purposes must be credited with the appropriate M3B GmbH/photographer“ as the source. Printing and publication of press photos is free of charge. We request, however, that print media outlets supply M3B GmbH with a specimen copy.

With best regards

Frank Schümann
Press Office
T +49 (0)421 3505 453

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Julia_Kadel_Trio_MPS_(c)_David Dollmann




Alune Wade_(c)_Héla Ammar




BOI AKIH (c) Merlijn Doomernik