With Mack The Knife stuck in her head, Solveig Steinhardt headed to the Philharmonie for an evening of jazz.
This year's Jazzfest Berlin has plenty to celebrate, from Martin Luther King to the fall of the Wall.
I t don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing,” Ella Fitzgerald famously sang. And Berlin’s sure got it. Germany’s historic capital of jazz has been swinging since the 1920s, when the rhythm of big band orchestras would resound in all of the vast cafés in a collective desire to embrace the dancing mania of the post-WWI era.
Nowadays, the free spirit of the jazz era seems to have pervaded every crevice of the city’s music scene, and this freedom is precisely what this year’s edition of Jazzfest Berlin is all about. And with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s 1964 visit to Berlin, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, as well as the festival’s own 50th birthday, the Jazzfest has many things to celebrate this year, so do not miss some of the most important international stars as they perform at the Philharmonie, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, and Akademie der Künste between 30 October and 2 November.
Passionate about contemporary jazz and historic reminiscence, pianist Jason Moran will be appearing in two different formations, with his avant-garde group The Bandwagon as well as with his newly-formed yet old-school-inspired band, Fats Waller Dance Party. Those who prefer old-school tunes should catch a concert with jazz legend Benny Golson, while band Mostly Other People Do the Killing and the Italian saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti with Monk’n’Roll will be presenting creative and cheeky remakes of the old standards.
To reflect the festival’s freedom theme, WDR Big Band and singer Kurt Ellis will bring their Freedom Songs series. But to immerse yourself in the anniversary celebrations for the fall of the Berlin Wall, catch the Ulrich Gumpert Workshop Band performing Vier Kurz-Opern, four recently rediscovered mini operas, composed at the end of the Cold War. Meanwhile, guitarist Elliott Sharp will stage a project developed especially for the Jazzfest, which traces an arc to Martin Luther King’s Berlin visit.
“The free spirit of the jazz era pervades Berlin’s music scene.”