Showcase applications for Bremen’s 2020 jazz trade fair reach a new record level…
The two main themes which emerge from the application round for the 40 showcase slots at jazzahead! 2020, (Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 April at MESSE BREMEN) is an impressive selection of large ensembles will be performing for the very first time, with a very substantial number of bands led by women. In the 40 short showcase concerts, the artists selected will be performing for an audience largely consisting of festival programmers, bookers and record label representatives. So the trade fair is not just an important platform for networking, it is also an event where bands are booked on the spot, and contracts are agreed.
“jazzahead! has repeatedly proved that it can be the launchpad both for up-and-coming and for established artists from all over the world into the markets of Germany and Europe, and also for bands from our continent into the wider world,” says Sybille Kornitschkywho runs jazzahead! for MESSE BREMEN. This is the reason why there has been such a rush to apply for slots in the showcases. This year, the four international juries have had a heavier workload than ever: their task has been to listen to, rank and discuss a total of 816 applications from 50 countries (2019: 764). “jazzahead!, the world’s largest jazz trade fair has, in its 15 years of existence, become the most important gathering of the entire worldwide jazz industry,” says Sybille Kornitschky.
21 of 40 bands are held by women. Eight showcase slots are reserved for musicians from the 2020 partner country, Canada. A further eight ensembles will be performing at the German Jazz Expo, another eight at the Overseas Night. And 16 bands will participate in the European Jazz Meeting. Of this entire complement of 40 groups, 21 are led an dominated by women. “This shows with absolute clarity that jazz music is no longer exclusively dominated by men,” emphasizes Ulrich Beckerhoff, one of the two artistic directors of jazzahead! alongside Peter Schulze.
At the European Jazz Meeting, women play an important role in no fewer than eleven out of the sixteen bands. Among these, Peter Schulze singles out the ten-piece ensemble led by pianist and composer Luzia von Wyl from Switzerland. “Among the others, I am also looking forward to hearing the charismatic voices of Torun Eriksen from Norway, Julia Biel from the UK and Macha Gharibian from France,“ he adds.
In the other showcase sections, listeners can also expect a highly contrasted offering. Beckerhoff refers for example to the Canadian duo Silvervest. With their chamber music ethos, they create music of quite astonishing variety. And with the combination of pianist Marianne Trudel and drummer John Hollenbeck, Bremen audiences will be hearing two of the most important musicians from today’s international jazz scene.
Among the German groups, Beckerhoff highlights bassist, composer and arranger Hendrika Entzian’s Big Band which received the WDR Jazz Prize. The pianist Johanna Summer impresses “as a soloist with great emotionality and immense ingenuity”.
The Brazilian guitarist and singer Badi Assad, who can be heard at Overseas Night, has a worldwide following; her music always has tremendous vitality, instrumental virtuosity and emotional range, comments Beckerhoff. As a further example of the wide-ranging showcase programme, he mentions Nigerian trumpeter Etuk Ubong. Beckerhoff was impressed with Ubong’s way of embodying the tradition of African rhythms, a vital element in the emergence of jazz in America.
From the end of January, more details and audio samples from all the bands will be available on the jazzahead! website. For industry participants, attendance at the showcase concerts is included in the registration fee. For visitors, concert tickets and tickets for the other events at jazzahead! are available at www.jazzahead.de/en and at Nordwest-Ticket.
More information: www.jazzahead.de/en
Photo credit@ Overseas_Night_EmieRRousselTrio 2 (c) Frank Thomas Koch & Overseas_Night_QuianaLynell (c) Jens Schlenker
Last modified: January 10, 2020