Jetzt erst recht: Now is the time! JazzFest Berlin 2020

The Jazzfest Berlin 2020 will take place online!

Due to new nationwide Covid-19 regulations, the 2020 Jazzfest Berlin will not be able to welcome its audiences at its venues, but it will be broadcast live on the radio and made available for video-streaming online, free of charge – on ARTE Concert and Berliner Festspiele on Demand. The live streaming will also be available on the websites of the ARD’s radio broadcasting channels, Europe Jazz Network and our partners in the US – Roulette in New York, Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago and WBGO, a nationwide jazz station and our latest media partner. The detailed streaming programme will be announced shortly before the festival.

Festival Director Nadin Deventer on the Current Status

We have been working on a wide range of scenarios for the 2020 Jazzfest Berlin at silent green for months. Ever since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, we have been considering a hybrid festival format which could work both online and live. In conversations with our colleagues at Roulette in Brooklyn during the summer, we developed the idea of a digital bridge to the US, featuring musicians from New York. This was complemented by concerts in eight different state broadcasting institutions across the German jazz scene. In all these new cooperation projects and formats, we were aware of the concern that all of this might have to happen without any audience at the venues. And now it has become clear: Audiences will no longer be allowed in any of the venues, either in Brooklyn, in Berlin or the other German cities. I am delighted that all 27 projects can take place over the four days of the festival as announced. Together with our fantastic musicians and partners, who have stayed with us throughout this long journey, we are hoping all the more that the live streaming option will create a very special experience for our international festival audience.

The connection between the jazz scenes in Berlin and New York is the focus of the third festival edition of the artistic director Nadin Deventer. The festival presents live concerts at silent green in Berlin, at Roulette in Brooklyn New York and nationwide in eight radio studios as well as numerous commissioned works, including multimedia projects and video productions. All projects are broadcasted on radio and streamed on ARTE Concert and Berliner Festspiele on Demand.

Since it was held for the first time in 1964, Jazzfest Berlin has been a platform for musicians from around the world. Over the years it has enjoyed particularly close links with musicians from the USA. In this year full of social challenges and political unrest and only a few days after the presidential election in the USA, Jazzfest Berlin 2020 will build upon this transatlantic dialogue in defiance of the coronavirus crisis and places the creative centres of New York and Berlin in the centre of the 57th edition. Due to the renovation of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, the festival will take place in the silent green for the first time.

With the silent green in Berlin-Wedding and the partner venue Roulette in Brooklyn-New York, a celebrated centre for experimental music and performing arts, this year's festival will take place on two days of concerts, alternating between two continents. Jazzfest Berlin – New York will link the Roulette’s theatre directly with the Betonhalle at silent green using a dedicated streaming line to allow twelve top quality bands to enter into a dialogue. In New York, Anna Webber, Tomas Fujiwara, Lakecia Benjamin, Craig Taborn, Tomeka Reid and Joel Ross will play with their current formations, if possible in front of a live audience. In Berlin, Lina Allemano’s Ohrenschmaus, MEOW!, Y-Otis, the Jim Black Trio as well as two commissioned works can be experienced: Silke Eberhard dedicates herself to the work of the legendary US multi-instrumentalist Henry Threadgill; the world premiere of the live presentation of their transatlantic collaboration lasting several months is celebrated by the Berlin duo TRAINING and the American guitarist John Dieterich (Deerhoof) with the video artist Işıl Karataş, who comes from Vienna.

Trailer Jazzfest Berlin 2020

Also under the sign of Berlin – New York is Jazzfest Berlin Off Stage, another novelty of the festival: Besides the three videos of the project TRAINING feat. Dieterich/Karataş, six other video productions artistically deal with life in times of the corona pandemic in Berlin and New York: three video statements by the American multimedia artists Camae Aweya (aka Moor Mother), Matana Roberts and Jason Moran on the situation in the USA and three audio-visual works by the Berlin KIM Collective on places that were and are particularly affected by corona-related restrictions. These nine videos will be published successively at Berliner Festspiele on Demand until the festival starts. At the end of the festival, members of the KIM Collective will transfer their videos in collaboration with other actors of the Berlin scene into the live performance De-Isolation.

In Jazzfest Berlin Outer Spaces international sub-scenes from Berlin and London form new interdisciplinary line-ups in three commissioned works. In site-specific works, the artists will stage the planetarium-like architecture of the Kuppelhalle. The creative heads of these multimedia projects are the Swedish bassist Joel Grip and the British-Colombian duo Witch ’n’ Monk from Berlin, and the pianist Alexander Hawkins from London, who joins forces with the Beirut-born visual artist and rapper Siska.

In the Jazzfest Berlin Radio Edition the festival is intensifying its decades-long partnership with the German public service radio. A series of regional ensembles, each selected by the broadcasters throughout ARD’s national network, will present nine studio concerts – some of which will have a small live audience – to be heard on the radio throughout Germany and seen online by video stream anywhere in the world. The performing artists are: Philipp Schiepek Quartet in Munich (BR-Klassik), Philip Zoubek Trio in Cologne (Deutschlandfunk), Lauer / Lakatos / Glawischnig / Höchstädter in Frankfurt Main (hr2-kultur), Beyond w/ Bernhardt feat. The Micronaut & Meuroer Mandolin Orchestra in silent green Berlin (MDR Kultur), Gabriel Coburger Quintet Jean Paul feat. Ken Norris in Hamburg (NDR Info), Natalia Mateo in Studio 14 in Berlin (rbbKultur), Kammerflimmer Kollektief in Freiburg (SWR2), Hydropuls in Saarbrücken (SR 2 KulturRadio) and Shannon Barnett Quartet in Cologne (WDR 3).

Rest Assured. Bodi No Be Fayawood. In an unprecedented collaboration with Jazzfest Berlin the Wedding arts space SAVVY Contemporary will create an island of radical care and an open space for encounters, exchange and regeneration to be shared by musicians, artists and theoreticians from communities that are constantly reminded that the mere act of breathing is permanently in a precarious state.

In total, the 27 live projects of Jazzfest Berlin 2020 will feature over 30 musicians from the USA and over 40 international musicians living in Berlin, as well as artists from London and over 50 from various regions of Germany. Most of the four-day festival will take place live in Berlin, New York and six other German cities.

Thanks to our media partnerships with ARTE ConcertARD broadcasting stations and Deutschlandradio the festival can also be experienced on the radio as well as online through video streaming. At the Kick off Jazzfest Berlin – Meet the Artists on Thursday, November 5 at 7:00 pm, numerous international protagonists of this year's festival will introduce themselves to the audience in the silent green and the global online community.

For further information about this year's festival focuses and current dates, please see below.

Please find the entire festival Line-Up here.

The press releases and press photos for download can be found in the Press section of Jazzfest Berlin.

Jazzfest Berlin – New York
Twelve formations from New York and Berlin live and live-streamed from the Roulette in Brooklyn and the silent green in Wedding.

Jazzfest Berlin Off Stage
Nine commissioned video works by Jason Moran, Camae Aweya (aka Moor Mother), Matana Roberts, TRAINING feat. Dieterich/ Karataş and KIM Collective.

Jazzfest Berlin Outer Spaces
Three multimedia commissioned works for the Kuppelhalle in the silent green by Joel Grip, Witch ’n’ Monk and Alexander Hawkins and Siska.

Jazzfest Berlin Radio Edition
Nine concerts from eight radio studios of ARD and Deutschlandradio in seven cities throughout Germany with regional bands.