|Bursting onto the stage at the opening ceremony with a snow shovel:|
Some overheard remarks are what stay in the mind from today: "I never knew until now that I was part of an industry quite like this." That was the wry but pertinent comment of one very eminent musician. The first sight of all the massed ranks of people who now make an annual journey to Bremen to partake in this gathering must indeed come as a surprise . The organizers of Jazzahead have indeed built up a very strong following and loyalty. People want to be here, and look forward to it.
|A calm introduction from Peter Schulze|
Another comment was "it all seems much calmer this year." The urbane welcome speech of co-founder director Peter Schulze was certainly in accord with the professionalism of the whole endeavor. The familiarity of the larger Halle 7 in which the event is being held for the second year probably helps too.
There was also a very strong speech from Carmen Emigholz of the City of Bremen which was not just a passionate defence of the value of culture as a binding, civilizing force, but also a heart-warming expression of the joy and pride which the City can take in hosting arguably the most significant jazz gathering anywhere in the world.
The Partner Country this year is Switzerland, and there are few performers anywhere capable of making quite such a dramatic entrance on stage as Erika Stucky. Her weapon of choice for her arrival, a snow shovel (above). Her partners on stage for a set interspersing the opening manouevres were Lukas Niggli on drums and Marc Unternaeher on tuba, a very classy pairing in a context which was a tough call to bring off.
|Nine dignitaries declare Jazzahead officially... open.|