It is one of the oldest and most renowned festivals of its kind: Jazzfest Berlin (03–06.11.2022). After two years of pandemic hybrid formats, the festival is back for its 59th edition held in the freshly-renovated Haus der Berliner Festspiele. The program combines new works with genre classics, large auditoriums with smaller venues, live concerts with talks, and local audiences with global artists. It’s set to be a wild one: Swedish experimental artist Sven-Åke Johansson’s “MM schäumend – Ouvertüre für 15 Handfeuerlöscher” features 15 performers playing slightly unusual instruments: fire extinguishers. And on Friday 04.11, the small corners of the Festspielhaus will become center stage for “Playing the Haus” with collectives like Die Hochstapler, Umlaut Big Band, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors Camille Émaille and Otto. As for the audience: they are invited to dance on stage. Johansson and other artists from Europe and the US will pack out a program which begins with a (pre) kick off concert by British pianist and composer Alexander Hawkins at the Pierre Boulez Saal on 30.10.2022.
With the likes of Polish folklore trio Lumpeks, the festival’s musical focus has long been European jazz. But there are contributions from musicians from other continents, such as the stylistically versatile ensemble The Brother Moves On from Johannesburg, New York’s Borderlands Trio and the Chicago cornetist Ben LaMar Gay. In a return to pre-pandemic norms, the popular Kiez concerts are once again bringing global artists to the Fassanenkiez area around the Festspielhaus. The sounds will ring out everywhere, from bookstores, wine shops and galleries, onto streets and squares and into our houses, ears and hearts.
Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Rog Walker, Sonny Dayes & Def-image