The an­nual XJAZZ Fes­ti­val is back with a col­or­ful mix of con­certs ex­plor­ing the many di­verse facets of con­tem­po­rary jazz. Hilda Hoy has her tick­ets al­ready.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

Not just big brass! The an­nual XJAZZ Fes­ti­val presents a fresh and di­verse look at to­day's jazz.

For the av­er­age per­son, the term “jazz” might con­jure up an image of a man on a sax­o­phone, wail­ing away in a smoky bar. Or per­haps the Jazz Age of the 1920s, when flap­per girls and their dap­per com­pan­ions danced the Charleston in

il­licit speakeasies. But for­get any stereo­types you may have about the jazz genre: The

XJAZZ Fes­ti­val (www.xjazz.net) is here to present a fresher, more di­verse, and thor­oughly mod­ern look at what’s hap­pen­ing in jazz to­day. From 3–7 May, the fes­ti­val’s concert pro­gram presents a wide view of con­tem­po­rary jazz in all its many facets.

“The spirit of jazz is the spirit of open­ness,” leg­endary jazz pi­anist-key­boardist Her­bie Han­cock once said. Or as Sonny Rollins put it, “Jazz is the type of mu­sic that can ab­sorb so many things and still be jazz.” Re­flect­ing this open­ness, the XJAZZ con­certs include not only the kind of mu­sic that you might typ­i­cally think of as “jazz” but also elec­tron­i­cally im­pro­vised sound­scapes, con­tem­po­rary takes on clas­si­cal mu­sic, and singer-song­writer per­for­mances. The Atom String Quar­tet, for ex­am­ple, play­ing on 5 May, uses the in­stru­ments of a tra­di­tional cham­ber mu­sic en­sem­ble to play im­prov mu­sic that merges jazz with Pol­ish folk mu­sic. Nige­rian sax­o­phon­ist Or­lando

Julius will play with the band He­lio­centrics at Bi Nuu on 4 May, de­liv­er­ing a lively, rhyth­mic fu­sion of Afrobeat, R&B, and funk that is guar­an­teed to get every body in the house mov­ing. The fol­low­ing night, leg­endary Nige­rian drum­mer Tony Allen, con­sid­ered one of the found­ing fathers of the Afrobeat genre, will per­form songs from one of his great­est in­spi­ra­tions, US be­bop drum­mer Art Blakey. At the more elec­tronic end of the spec­trum is

Pan­tha du Prince, per­form­ing 7 May at Funkhaus. Some­where be­tween a min­i­mal techno mu­si­cian and con­cep­tual sound artist, he co­a­lesces acous­tic el­e­ments and dig­i­tal fea­tures into the kind of many-lay­ered, sym­phonic sound­scape you can get lost in. Sim­i­larly, the mu­sic of Berlin-based com­poser Mar­tyn Hyne starts out de­cep­tively hushed and sim­ple, though his gui­tar loops and elec­tronic el­e­ments grad­u­ally build up to a hyp­not­i­cally lush sound. See him work his magic live on 4 May at Em­mauskirche in Kreuzberg. Award-win­ning trum­pet player Se­bas­tian Studnitzky will be at Lido on 6 May with his lat­est mu­si­cal project, KY or­ganic, which mar­ries trum­pet and pi­ano, jazz and min­i­mal techno for clear, emo­tion­ally strik­ing melodies. For more on what drives his mu­si­cal style, flip to his in­ter­view on p. 58.

Clock­wise from far left: Ja­cob Col­lier; Mopo; Adam Baldych and Helge Lien Duo; Di­nosaur; Gi­lad Hek­sel­man Trio; Global Dance Kul­ture; Or­lando Julius. In­set, be­low: Ace Tee.

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