Editor’s note: please check the Jazzfest Berlin website for the latest updates relating to Covid-19.
As riots raged in the 1970s, the late jazz artist Sun Ra was making renowned music influenced by spaceflight. Fast-forward to 2020 and protestors are again lining the streets, new moon landings are planned and Sun Ra is gaining the recognition he deserves as inspiration for the 57th edition of Jazzfest Berlin (05.–08.11.2020). This year the festival – streamed in its entirety by Arte – is sending music out into space (or rather down a wire) for four days of transatlantic performances. The program is hosted at two arts venues: Wedding’s Silent Green and Roulette in Brooklyn, New York, where on Friday 06.11.2020 musician Lakecia Benjamin will present a live homage to Alice and John Coltrane followed by music from trumpeter Lina Allemano here in Berlin. The online action continues with Off Stage, offering music from the likes of Jason Moran, who comes straight from his piano in Harlem – a place crucial to jazz’s development. Finally, the Outer Spaces series transforms Silent Green’s planetarium-like Kuppelhalle into a “space lab”, with cosmic-themed audio-visual performances. Sun Ra, you would be proud! (Text: Benji Haughton / Photos: Elisabeth Leitzell [left], Bernd Brundert [bottom])