“Haus of Jazz” opens the 2018 Jazzfest Berlin

Berliner Festspiele announce the topics and first artists of the 2018 Jazzfest Berlin under new artistic director Nadin Deventer. The complete festival programme will be published on 3 September. Ticket sales start on 8 September.

Berliner Festspiele extend an invitation to the 55th edition of the Jazzfest Berlin under the new artistic direction of Nadin Deventer. From 1 to 4 November 2018 the festival will bring over 30 bands and projects with musicians from over 15 countries to at Haus der Berliner Festspiele and other venues in the city. The festival specifically devotes itself to stylistic families of artists, sets thematic focal points, forges new alliances and cooperations, presents several Germany and world premieres, installations, talks and films — scrutinizes, discusses and dances. For the festival start on 1 November the Haus der Berliner Festspiele opens its doors with an over 5-hour concert that makes the entire “Haus of Jazz” resound with nine acts on a total of five stages.

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!”

Thomas Oberender: “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.”

When did your heart break?*
Departing from a commissioned audiovisual work by Jason Moran and filmmakers John Akomfrah and Bradford Young on the life of visionary James Reese Europe and his Harlem Hellfighters — which was co-initiated and co-produced by serious/London Jazz Festival, 14-18 NOW and the Kennedy Center in Washington — the Jazzfest Berlin with a total of four outstanding artistic personalities focuses its attention on the emergence and emancipation of African American music of the past 100 years up to current representatives of the Afrofuturism. Among the highlights are the first-time encounter of spoken word and electronic artist Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother with jazz legend Roscoe Mitchell.

Fly or Die**
With its seven acts, the Chicago scene creates a further focal point at this year’s Jazzfest Berlin. 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. This trip to the stars in Sun Ra’s sense has a good chance of being continued next year in Knoxville/Tennessee and in Chicago following an invitation to the Big Ears Festival. Deep in the underground, on the other hand, is where the Berliner KIM Collective is being drawn to, which will articulate itself for the first time at the 2018 Jazzfest Berlin as an artistic unit: the 13 musicians create their very own parallel universe on the lower stage at the Festspielhaus.

God at the Casino***
With a total of twelve formations, the European scene is strongly represented from Greece to Norway at this year’s festival. 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 Théo Ceccaldi « Freaks » from France. Elsewhere, the Punk jazz musicians of the WorldService project fire up the audience with their British humour. Following extravagance comes introversion with sounds inspired by Estonian church music at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Memorial-Church. For the first time here in Germany, Estonian Maria Faust can be heard in a chamber music sextet formation as well as Canadian Kara-Lis Coverdale, known from the electronics scene, on her original instrument, the organ – each with a new piece in their luggage.

The Absolute Almost****
Last but certainly not least, exceptional guitarist Mary Halvorson honours us throughout the festival period as the second artist in residence in the history of the Jazzfest Berlin. This multifaceted composer and bandleader from New York City will perform in several formations and will also participate in talks and workshops. Mary Halvorson will close the festival with the European premiere of her octet.

The complete festival programme will be published on 3 September.
Ticket sales start on 8 September.

The quotes in the text are from:
*Moor Mother
**Jaimie Branch
****Mary Halvorson