NEWS: First Artists Announced for 2018 Berlin Jazz Festival (1-4 November)

The second Artist-in-Residence at JazzFest Berlin:
Mary Halvorson
Publicity photo by Amy Touchette

Sebastian writes: 

In advance of the full festival programme announcement on 3 September, the Berlin Jazz Festival has announced its first artists and "themes" for 2018. This is the first festival to be led by Nadin Deventer as artistic director, after the successful three-year tenure of the role by Richard Williams .

Here are the details:

1) There will be a focus on "the emergence and emancipation of African American music of the past 100 years up to current representatives of the Afrofuturism". Highlights include an audio-visual collaboration by Jason Moran and film directors John Akomfrah und Bradford Young dealing with the life of James Reese Europe (1880-1919) – this is a co-commission with the London Jazz Festival and the UK's 14-18 NOW programme and the Kennedy Center in Washington. There will also be a first-time encounter of spoken word and electronic artist Camae Ayewa (aka Moor Mother) and Roscoe Mitchell.

2) In total there will be no fewer than seven representative acts from the Chicago scene. For example, "in a special edition of the Exploding Star Orchestra under the direction of Rob Mazurek, nine musicians from Chicago unite for the first time with six Berlin-based musicians to Exploding Star International."

3) Twelve formations representing the European scene . "The first edition of “melting pot:made in Berlin” brings together musicians from Oslo, Wroclaw, Gent and Berlin before the project will travel on to Wroclaw shortly after as part of a European cooperation in a reissued format. There will also be dancing: at a late hour at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele to Ragtime from Poland and to the shrill music cocktail of the band Freaks from France. Elsewhere, the punk jazz musicians of World Service Project fire up the audience with their British humour."

3) Guitarist Mary Halvorson will be the festival's second artist in residence. "She will perform in several formations and will also participate in talks and workshops. Mary Halvorson will close the festival with the European premiere appearance of her octet."

4) Other names announced are a first time appearance in Germany by the Copenhagen-based Estonian Maria Faust's sextet, Canadian organ player Kara-Lis Coverdale, and new work from KIM Collective. 

The festival press release quotes Nadin Deventer: “With my first festival edition, I would like to create new spaces for the artists and audience to meet and be creative. A variety of international musicians has responded to our invitation to come to Berlin for a creative exchange over multiple days. I am especially excited about these new creations and the other premieres. We were able to attract a multitude of artists for the festival who are politically active and seek an artistic debate concerning the more explosive topics of our time. We take up these topics in the festival’s accompanying programme. I therefore hope that the 2018 Jazzfest Berlin becomes a challenging and enriching experience!”

And the overall head (Intendant) of the Berliner Festspiele Thomas Oberender says: “Nadin Deventer is giving the Jazzfest Berlin a new face with her bold ideas, enabling the music created in Berlin in transatlantic and European cooperation projects to have an impact far beyond Berlin’s borders. Contributing to the wide coverage of the festival are our media partners, the ARD and Deutschlandradio, both of whom make it possible for listeners to experience the festival throughout Germany through their live broadcasts. I am also delighted that the Jazzfest Berlin is the first jazz festival in Germany to be an official partner of the Keychange initiative.” (pp)

LINK: JazzFest Berlin website

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