Preview: WDR3 JazzFest 2013 ( Thurs 31st Jan to Sun 3rd Feb in Cologne)
I'll be attending the first WDR3 JazzFest at the end of next week, and blogging for the WDR's website from the festival.
The festival will be held in Cologne, by the fast-flowing Rhine. In future years the festival will make its home in other towns in North-Rhine Westphalia : Gütersloh, Münster, Hamm und Dortmund.
The Festival, which will be broadcast by both WDR and O1 in Austria – this will be their 49th joint “Night of Jazz” - has a fascinating line-up:
There are visitors from the US such as saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, who brings his Gamak project, and Ryan Truesdell, who will be working with the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, playing the Gil Evans arrangements which have led to a highly successful, Grammy-nominated album. Other US- based artists pop up in different contexts, such as Lionel Loueke, he'll be playing in a group led by pianist Florian Weber.
But the main thematic focus of the is on the cross-currents between Europe and the US, and a number of European musicians with international visibility will be at the festival. There will be a concert by the Orchestre National de Jazz from France; from Poland, violinist Adam Baldych with his Baltic gang. From Italy comes piano virtuoso Stefano Bollani, who will be working with Hamburg's NDR Big Band. And there is also British interest: WDR have commissioned a solo piano recital from Liam Noble which will also be released as an album.
WDR has also rolled its annual Jazz Prize ceremony – previously held in October - into the festival. We have reported this event in previous years. It provides a strong demonstration of the long-term nurturing of the regional scene, and the extensive commitment for which WDR is responsible.
This year, in addition to the prizes awarded to NRW misicians and organizations, there is a special prize for a contribution to jazz broadcasting in the German-speaking world, for which I was on the Jury.
This festival, over four days, will end up presenting a series of contrasting visions of the cross-currents in contemporary jazz . I'm excited to be going, to be writing, and that's a British understatement.
This week's prize draw for newsletter readers, courtesy of WDR, is a CD with fascinating material from the WDR archives: Joe Zawinul and Friedrich Gulda in concert in the Philharmonie in Cologne in 1988.