With Mack The Knife stuck in her head, Solveig Steinhardt headed to the Phil­har­monie for an evening of jazz.

Where Berlin - - Contents -

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.”

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