Category Archives: Jazz in Darmstadt

Jazz @ 100

Conference, 28 – 30 September 2017
Concerts, exhibition (September / October 2017)

In the centenary of jazz – the recordings of the Original Dixieland Jass Band from 1917 are often cited as the first jazz recordings ever – the Darmstadt Jazzforum conference looks at the pitfalls of jazz historiography, which often relies on myths and legends that distort what is even more important: the multi-perspectivity of a music which is being created not only by great masters, but certainly by many individualists.

In all of this, the 15th Darmstadt Jazzforum does not plan to re-write jazz historiography. During the international conference, during concerts and an exhibition, however, we hope for a lively discussion about how our understanding of the music, its history and its aesthetic has been shaped. We see jazz as a music with a history of more than a hundred years, and we know that it’s much more complex than history books usually tell us. Our objective is to unravel some more of this complexity, even though we know that we will only be scratching at the surface.

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Conference/Short Overview
“Jazz @ 100. An alternative to a story of heroes”

On Thursday we will look at the perception of jazz history, its heroes and the places where it develops. For his book “American Jazz Heroes” the photographer and journalist Arne Reimer visited musicians in their personal homes, received intimate insights into their lives, and reflects about the difference between reality, self- and outside perception.  Nicholas Gebhardt reflects on Alan Lomax’s Library Of Congress recordings of Jelly Roll Morton in 1938 and connects them to broader issues in historiography, especially the relation between narrative, memory and the cultural imagination. Katherine  M. Leo ends the first day of the conference looking at the Original Dixieland Jazz Band whose recording of “Livery Stable Blues” and “Dixieland Jass Band One-Step” from 26 February 1917 is often cited as the first jazz record ever, and uses court documents for copyright lawsuits as well as a critical reading of the music’s reception to set the different narratives in perspective which the record evoked.

Six papers on Friday will focus on the changing perspectives on jazz and its history.  Klaus Frieler reports about an attempt to tell jazz history not just through a mixture of biographical, social and cultural context and musical characterizations but by using a computer-based analysis tool to approach solo improvisations. Andrew Hurley reads the different editions of Joachim Ernst Berendt’s influential “Jazzbuch”  (The Jazz Book), focusing on the author’s changed and changing attitudes and using this example to describe different methods of narrative formation. Tony Whyton discusses the influence of local and often very personal memories of musicians or promoters on the discourse about jazz as a trans-national practice. Mario Dunkel reads Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society as a attempt of imagining an alternative kind of jazz history and thus making room for a history of jazz as a story of both realized and unrealized potentialities. The pianist and composer Orrin Evans talks about jazz as a current and relevant art form as well as about (African-)American identity of the music in the context of a more and more complex global network.  Krin Gabbard looks at the film “Syncopation” from 1942 in order to ask how “new jazz studies” approaches can help analyze racial and economic ideologies and to emphasize the importance of not only concentrating on the (mostly male) heroes of the music.

The papers on Saturday will deal with the issue of major narratives in jazz, how it is being influenced by the music industry, how musicians have the power to change the historical narrative which involves them directly, and how all of such discourses influence the perception of the public. Wolfram Knauer looks at specific places where jazz is being performed, and asks about the effect of such often iconic venues with the music, the musicians, the jazz scene(s) and the public perception of the music. Oleg Pronitschew looks the increasing institutionalization of the German jazz scene during the last 40 years, discussing selected case studies and asking for its effect on the public image of the music. Rüdiger Ritter examines the idea of “jazz giants” in East and Central Europe and finds that myth in jazz can be a productive element and an artistic prison at the same time. Karen Chandler describes the influence of Gullah and Geechie culture on the coastal region of South Carolina and argues that a representation of jazz history along clear geographical centers can distort the much more complex notion of jazz as a musical as well as social practice. Scott DeVeaux revisits the birth of bebop, which provided the ideology for much of modern jazz, but asks us to reconsider whether the choices made by musicians in the 1940s should still govern contemporary music-making. Nicolas Pillai ends the 15th Darmstadt Jazzforum with a look at the representation of Miles Davis across different media, asking in which ways the late Miles created impact beyond his music.

Conference/Lecturers and Timetable
Jazz @ 100. An alternative to a story of heroes”

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Opening remarks

Arne Reimer, Germany
My Encounters with “American Jazz Heroes”

For his two coffee-table-sized books “American Jazz Heroes”, Arne Reimer visited older American jazz musicians at home, covering artists whose career proved to be financially successful as well as such who live under economically unstable conditions. At the Darmstadt Jazzforum Reimer asks how musicians deal both with the gap between their self- and their media perception, how they handle a lack of recognition or the fact that the most creative and successful part of their career might be long past. At the same time he reflects about his own approach as a photographer and journalist whose focus on these musicians will put them back into some sort of spotlight and thus create its own, new narrative about them.

Arne Reimer studied photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, Germany (HGB) as well as at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA. He has taught for six years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig. His photos have been widely published; his two books “American Jazz Heroes” published in 2013 and 2016 have been praised and won several prizes, among them an 2017 Echo Jazz special award. Reimer also works as a curator and freelance photographer for magazines (Jazz Thing) and record companies (ECM Records).

Nicholas Gebhardt, England
Reality Remade: Historical Narrative and the Cultural Imagination in Alan Lomax’s Mister Jelly Roll

Nicolas Gebhardt looks at one of the first autobiographical documents on jazz, Jelly Roll Morton’s interview for the Library of Congress from 1938 and asks about the different perspectives reflected within this material: Morton’s view of his own role during the early history of the music, Alan Lomax’s editorial decisions and thus interpretation of the excerpts which he selected for the book “Mister Jelly Roll”, and our own approach as jazz researchers contextualizing musicians, their music, their living and working conditions in order to gain a more nuanced description of jazz history.

Nicholas Gebhardt is Professor of Jazz and Popular Music Studies at Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom. His work focuses on jazz and popular music in American culture, and his publications include Going For Jazz: Musical Practices and American Ideology (Chicago), The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives (Routledge) and Vaudeville Melodies: Popular Musicians and Mass Entertainment in American Culture, 1870-1929 (Chicago). He is the co-editor of the Routledge book series, Transnational Studies In Jazz and the forthcoming The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies.

Katherine M. Leo, USA
The ODJB at 100: Revisiting Essential Narratives and Victor 18255

Katherine  M. Leo examines the self-portrayal as well as the public image of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band whose “Livery Stable Blues” and “Dixieland Jass Band One-Step” from 26 February 1917 often are called jazz history’s first recordings. She discovers that the band’s critical and public reception often is being reduced to this recording from 1917 and pleads for a more nuanced discussion not just of the music but also of the narrative which was attached to the ODJB over the last 100 years. Among the sources she uses for this reconsideration are court documents for copyright lawsuits  about exactly these two tunes.

Katherine M. Leo is an Assistant Professor in Musicology/Ethnomusicology at Millikin University, in Decatur, IL. Her research explores the intersection of American legal and music histories, with specific emphasis on early-twentieth-century popular musics. Having recently received her Ph.D. (2016) and J.D. (2015) from Ohio State, Katherine’s dissertation examined the history and nature of musical expertise in federal copyright litigation, while her masters’ research focused on notions of authorship surrounding the ODJB. Katherine has notably presented papers for the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music, and will soon be published in the Journal of Music History Pedagogy.

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Friday, 29 September 2017

Klaus Frieler, Germany
A Feature History of Jazz Solo Improvisation

Klaus Frieler reports about an attempt to narrate jazz history not so much by mixing biographical accounts of eminent figures, descriptions of sociological and cultural context and genuine musical characterizations, but through the computer-based analysis of solo improvisations. For this he uses high-quality solo transcriptions from the Weimar Jazz Database as well as an analytical software developed for the Jazzomat Research Project which allows to search for a variety of characteristics such as scalar features, tonal and rhythmic complexity and other parameters. Frieler then discusses how such seemingly objective finds can be useful to describe the creative process and looks at potential future extensions to the project.

Klaus Frieler graduated in theoretical physics (diploma) and received a PhD in systematic musicology in 2008 from the University of Hamburg. He worked as a freelance software developer for several years, before taking up a post as a lecturer in systematic musicology at the University of Hamburg in 2008. In 2012, he spent a brief period at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London. Since autumn 2012, he has been working as a post-doctoral researcher with the Jazzomat Research Project at the University of Music “Franz Liszt” Weimar. His main research interests are computational and statistical music psychology with a focus on creativity, melody perception, singing intonation, and jazz research. Since 2006, he has also been working as an independent music expert specializing in copyright cases. See for more information.


Andrew Hurley, Australia
In and Out: Processes of Inclusion and Exclusion in Joachim-Ernst Berendt’s Jazzbuch/Jazzbook, 1953-2011

For German jazz fans the books written by Joachim Ernst Berendt were a major point of reference. Andrew Hurley reads the different editions of “The Jazz Book” from 1953 up to the presently available edition and discovers shifts in narrative perspective and elisions. He discusses what the decisions about which narratives to use (or not) tell us about changing concepts of jazz historiography. In a close reading of “The Jazz Book”, Hurley discovers how narratives establish themselves, how alternative readings are suppressed or emerge, and how the quarrel between narratives can change perceptions of apparent reality.

Andrew W. Hurley is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney, where he teaches in the International Studies programme. He is the author of two monographs: The Return of Jazz: Joachim-Ernst Berendt and West German Cultural Change (Berghahn, 2011) and Into The Groove:  Popular Music and Contemporary German Fiction (Boydell & Brewer, 2015)

Tony Whyton, England
Wilkie’s story: hidden musicians, cosmopolitan connections, and dominant jazz histories

Tony Whyton discovered a box full of memorabilia by a distant family member documenting his connections within the British jazz scene since the mid-1920s. Using this example, Whyton discusses the hidden histories of musicians and the role they play in the ecologies of jazz. Archival materials such as these comment on the inter-relationship between dominant jazz narratives and other cosmopolitan connections. They can enable us to start a conversation about the realities of the jazz world, the connectedness of people in different cultural settings, and the development of jazz as a transnational practice.

Tony Whyton is Professor of Jazz Studies at BCU. His critically acclaimed books Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Beyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album (Oxford University Press, 2013) have sought to develop cross-disciplinary methods of musical enquiry. As an editor, Whyton published the Jazz volume of the Ashgate Library of Essays on Popular Music in 2011 and continues to work as co-editor of the Jazz Research Journal (Equinox). In 2014, he founded the new Routledge series ‘Transnational Studies in Jazz’ alongside BCU colleague Dr Nicholas Gebhardt. Gebhardt and Whyton also edited The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music (Routledge) in 2015, a collection that explores the ways in which musician-led collectives offer a powerful model for rethinking jazz practices in the post-war period. From 2010-2013, Whyton was Project Leader for the ground-breaking HERA-funded Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities project (, where he led a consortium of 13 researchers working across 7 Universities in 5 countries.


Mario Dunkel, Germany
Darcy James Argue’s Uchronic Jazz

Mario Dunkel presents the latest project of composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue as an attempt to investigate an alternative history of jazz by, for instance, asking how big band music might sound if it had stayed popular and incorporated many of the popular genres that have emerged since, including rock, grunge, steampunk, and hip hop. By asking what might have been, argues Dunkel, Argue provides a new perspective on what was, and on what was not, making room for a history of jazz as a story of both realized and unrealized potentialities.

Mario Dunkel is assistant professor (Juniorprofessor) at the Music Department of the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg. His research interests include transcultural music education, the history of jazz, and the practice of music diplomacy.

Orrin Evans, USA
A Talk with Orrin Evans

As a pianist and composer Orrin Evans who lives in Philadelphia is very much a part of today’s New York jazz scene. For the Darmstadt Jazzforum he shares his view of jazz as a relevant art form, talks about improvisation as a road to artistic identity in jazz history, as well as about the changes of jazz from an (African-)American music towards a complex global art form which developed quite varied practices that at times seem to be difficult to subsume under the same term.

Since 1995 pianist and composer Orrin Evans has recorded more than 25 albums as a leader or co-leader and performed on numerous others. He came up in the culturally rich jazz scene of Philadelphia where he still lives although he plays in New York (and elsewhere) on a weekly basis. Evans performs with his trio, his band Tarbaby or his Captain Black Big Band. From early 2018 he will replace Ethan Iverson in the trio The Bad Plus. Orrin Evans will perform a solo piano concert at the Darmstadt Jazzforum on Saturday evening.

Krin Gabbard, USA
Syncopated Women

Krin Gabbard picks up discussion of our last Darmstadt Jazzforum in his presentation when he asks, after a close reading of William Dieterle’s film “Syncopation” from 1942, how specific representations of jazz and jazz history reflect racial, gender, and economic ideologies.  Unlike virtually every other jazz film of the 1940s, “Syncopation” acknowledges slavery as a crucial element in jazz history.  It is also unique in distinguishing between the economies of black and white jazz bands.  In addition, the film has an unusually ambivalent view of the participation of women in the music’s development.  Using the example of “Syncopation”, Gabbard argues that the “new jazz studies” can provide a rich conception of jazz histories and how these traditions have been understood.

Krin Gabbard is Professor of Jazz Studies and director of the J-Disc, the jazz discography project at Columbia University. His books include Jammin’ at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema (University of Chicago Press, 1996), Black Magic: White Hollywood and African American Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2004), and Better Git It in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus (University of California Press, 2016). He is also the editor of Jazz Among the Discourses (Duke University Press, 1995).

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Saturday, 30 September 2017


Wolfram Knauer, Germany
Four Sides of a House. How jazz spaces irritate, fascinate, stimulate creativity or become icons

Wolfram Knauer looks at the ideal room for jazz from different perspectives. There are venues with an excellent acoustic, clubs with their own aura (often soaked in jazz history), halls where one can literally hear everything, and others that offer an intimate connection between the artists and their audience. Knauer looks at several examples to speculate about different conceptions of what might constitute an ideal room for jazz. He discusses the involvement of such venues with local and regional scenes, and he asks how changes in the presentation and reception can be both seen as a chance and as a threat to established local activities because (a) they indeed have an impact on the perception of the music, and because (b) new venues will also change the general expectation of the audience in regard to the music they are going to hear.

Wolfram Knauer is the director of the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt since its inception in 1990. He is the editor of Darmstadt Studies in Jazz Research (14 volumes till now, Wolke 1890-2016) has published several books, among them critical studies of Louis Armstrong (Reclam 2010) and Charlie Parker (Reclam 2014). A study of Duke Ellington and his music will be published in 2017 (Reclam). He has taught at several schools and universities and was appointed the first non-American Louis Armstrong Professor of Jazz Studies at the Center for Jazz Studies, Columbia University, New York, for spring 2008.

Oleg Pronitschew, Germany
A New Place for Jazz. Insights Into the Historic Institutionalization of German Jazz Music.

Oleg Pronitschew looks at the institutionalization of the German jazz scene during the last 40 years and asks what effect it had on the public image of the music. He describes how jazz was more and more seen as a form of art music and discusses how as a result the aesthetic, social as well as commercial expectations have changed that both musicians, the industry and the audience directed towards the music.

Oleg Pronitschew is an European Ethnologist and PhD candidate at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. He has studied European Ethnology, Political Science and New German Literature and Media Studies at the CAU Kiel from 2005 to 2011. He was as a lecturer at the Department of European Ethnology in Kiel from 2011 to 2013. Currently he is finishing his PhD project on the topic of jazz/popular musicians as a cultural practice between imagination and valuation. He is a PhD-fellow of the Ernst-Ludwig-Ehrlich-trust in Berlin since 2014.

Rüdiger Ritter, Germany
Myths in jazz – artistic prison or productive element? Examples from East and East Central Europe

The history of jazz in Poland and other East European countries was often presented as a succession of national “jazz greats” who could be compared with their US-American counterparts. Thus, the highest praise for a Polish musician might have been to be described as the “Polish Charlie Parker”. Rüdiger Ritter asks how such a view of jazz musicians as national heroes influenced the role of jazz as a constitutive moment of Polish national culture. He also discusses a different kind of identification with jazz “myths” in the Soviet Union and in Czechoslovakia where musicians saw jazz as an option to realize one’s own aesthetic ideas without seeking out specific role models. The Polish example demonstrates that clinging to the “giant” myth does not necessarily have to be an aesthetic prison, but can offer creative paths to music-making as well – and the Soviet and Czechoslovakian examples show how rejecting the mythical jazz narratives allowed for a maximum of aesthetic possibilities, even though these came with the danger of the music being questioned as to its jazz content. Myths in jazz, then, seem to be a productive element and an artistic prison as well.

Rüdiger Ritter is an expert on Eastern Europe and has published extensively about jazz in countries of the former Eastern bloc. He teaches at the University of Bremen; at the same time he is assistant director of the Museum of the 1950s in Bremerhaven. Ritter was coordinator for the research project “Jazz in the Eastern Bloc”, and has written his habilitation dissertation about Willis Conover and the effect of his jazz radio broadcasts.

Karen Chandler, USA
Bin Yah (Been Here). Africanisms and Jazz Influences in Gullah Culture

Music like most cultural expressions is based in regional networks, in the communities in which they serve specific functions. Karen Chandler describes some of the Africanisms which survived in the Gullah and Geechee culture of the coastal region of South Carolina and which strongly influenced the music in Charleston. Jazz history is often told by focusing on clear geographical centers (New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Kansas City, Los Angeles etc.), a narrative that thus blurs the real complexity of a music which, after all, was not just “invented” a hundred years ago but is the result of cultural negotiations between people of different origins in different places and under different conditions.

Karen Chandler is the Director of the Arts Management program at the College of Charleston. She is also Co-Founder/Principal of the Charleston Jazz Initiative (CJI), a multi-year study of the jazz tradition in Charleston and South Carolina. From 2001-2004, she served as director of the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.

Scott DeVeaux, USA
An Alternative History of Bebop

Bebop was a crucial moment in jazz history.  In the 1940s, musicians made choices that separated jazz from popular culture and defined it as a new and distinct genre, one that still governs our sense of jazz today.  Yet, as Scott DeVeaux notes, the assumptions underlying bebop can be reconsidered.  Why should jazz be seen as separate from dance and popular song? Why should jazz audiences insist on hearing instrumental improvisers in isolation, instead of encouraging collaborations with other spheres of pop culture? He will illustrate with examples from contemporary music.

Scott DeVeaux is a nationally recognized jazz scholar whose 1997 book The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History won the American Book Award, an ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award, the Otto Kinkeldey Award from the American Musicological Society, and the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Sound Research. He has taught jazz history at the University of Virginia since 1983.

Nicolas Pillai, England
A Star Named Miles: tracking jazz musicians across media

The perception of jazz heroes is influenced by many aspects, music being just one of them. In the final presentation of our conference, Nicolas Pillai looks at the media representation of trumpeter Miles Davis in his later years, and describes “the dissonant image” of his appearances in film, television drama, music videos, fashion magazines and TV advertising. He considers the industry networks which formed Miles’ multi-media personality, taking into account the trumpeter’s own influence on his public image, discussing gesture, speech and costume.

Nicolas Pillai is the author of Jazz as Visual Language: Film, Television and the Dissonant Image (I. B. Tauris, 2017) and the co-editor of New Jazz Conceptions: History, Theory, Practice (Routledge, 2017). With Tim Wall and Roger Fagge, he is preparing an edited collection on late Miles Davis. He has published work on jazz and film in The Soundtrack journal and Darmstadt Studies in Jazz, 14. He is currently working on chapters for The Routledge Companion to New Jazz Studies, The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage and The Oxford History of Jazz in Europe.

Jazz Conceptions (small print)

Sorry, this content is only in German.


Kulturzentrum Bessunger Knabenschule, Bernd Breitwieser, Ludwigshöhstraße 42, 64285 Darmstadt, Tel. (06151) 61650, Fax (06151) 661909, e-mail:, Internet:

Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, Arndt Weidler, Bessunger Straße 88d, 64285 Darmstadt, Tel. (06151) 963700, Fax (06151) 963744, e-mail:, Internet:

Back to main page 26. Darmstädter Jazz Conceptions 2017!

Jazz Conceptions

27th Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions (25 to 30 June 2018)

Summer courses for jazz

The Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions, founded in 1992, have become a major German jazz workshop. The workshop’s success is based both on its concept and its unique atmosphere. Instead of masterclasses the students work in ensembles from the start and rehearse pieces chosen by the respective teacher (or composed or improvised during the week). They learn the secrets of improvisation, the planning of musical processes and arrangements, and thus the philosophy of jazz and improvised music. The workshop takes place at Bessunger Knabenschule, a former boys’ school which has been transformed into a socio-cultural center and which, for one week each year, becomes a home for jazz. During this week the music fills each room, and in between the students meet in the courtyard for breakfast or to share lunch cooked on the premises, and to chat about their experiences or plans for further musical activities.


Artistic director: Jürgen Wuchner | double bass, ensemble, artistic director

Conditions and application form (only in German) hier entlang bitte!

What are the Jazz Conceptions?

The Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions workshop is a unique opportunity to work with professional musicians and to discover some of the secrets about the making of jazz. During the ensemble sessions the musicians rehearse pieces, learn about how to practise correctly, discuss the finer points of harmony, rehearse and analyze solo or group improvisation. In the late afternoons, an orchestra workshop brings most of the students together for an unusual orchestra of up to 40 instruments. Between ensemble sessions there is plenty of opportunity for individual practice with other students, or for relaxed conversation in the Jazz Conceptions’ cafeteria. Also on the agenda are also a number of theoretical or jazz-historical items (the latter in combination with an obligatory visit to the Darmstadt Jazzinstitut). Every evening, at one of the many Darmstadt clubs, students can show the results of their day’s work to an audience or just jam.

The Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions are popular not only with the participants, many of whom have been coming back for years, but also with the teachers who appreciate the creative atmosphere which fills the Bessunger Knabenschule with jazzy music for six days. At the 26th Jazz Conceptions once again we plan to invite some excellent teachers, each of whom has developed his or her own concept as a soloist or in a group, individually or collectively.

For participation in the Jazz Conceptions it is not necessary to speak perfect German, but you should have basic knowledge of the language. The registration formalities (below) are be made in German. If you need assistent, don’t hesitate to call or mail us at the Jazzinstitut.

The Jazz Conceptions are a joint project organized by the cultural center Bessunger Knabenschule and the municipal Jazzinstituts Darmstadt.

All teachers of the Jazz Conceptions since 1992

Felix Astor, Peter Back, Johannes Bauer, Harry Beckett, Han Bennink, Karl Berger, Élodie Brochier, Rüdiger Carl, Graham Collier, Marty Cook, Thomas Cremer, Christopher Dell, Erwin Ditzner, Axel Dörner, Silke Eberhard, Reimer von Essen, Jörg Fischer, Martial Frenzel, Christina Fuchs, Valentin Garvie, Peter Giger, Rachel Gould, Sebastian Gramss, Carola Grey, Michael Griener, Gerhard Gschlößl, Gunter Hampel, Gabriele Hasler, Allen Jacobson, Ute Jeutter, Nicole Johänntgen, Sven-Ake Johansson, Llewellyn Jones, Ekkehard Jost, Wollie Kaiser, Kalle Kalima, Günter Klatt, Hans Koller, Peter Kowald, Steve Lacy, Tony Lakatos, Detlef Landeck, Ingrid Laubrock, Christoph Lauer, Hazel Leach, Martin LeJeune, Kathrin Lemke, Rudi Mahall, Emil Mangelsdorff, Stefan Meinberg, Krzysztof Misiak, Frank Möbus, Mani Neumaier, Angelika Niescier, Tom Nicholas, Uwe Oberg, Uli Partheil, Michel Pilz, Elvira Plenar, Wolfgang Puschnig, Gerd Putschögl, Adam Pieronczyk, John-Dennis Renken, Wolfgang Reisinger, Michael Sagmeister, Heinz Sauer, Ack van Rooyen, Joe Sachse, Jon Sass, Uli Scherer, Ulli Schiffelholz, Daniel Schmitz, John Schröder, Matthias Schubert, Thomas Siffling, Günter ‘Baby’ Sommer, Janusz Stefanski, Oliver Steidle, Norbert Stein, John Tchicai, Christof Thewes, Gebhard Ullmann, Philipp van Endert, Felix Wahnschaffe, Peter Weiss, Jürgen Wuchner … (to be continued)

15th Darmstadt Jazzforum

Jazz @ 100 | An alternative to a story of heroes

Conference, Concerts, exhibition, 28 – 30 September 2017

Details about the conference “Jazz @ 100 | An alternative to a story of heroes”
Details about the concert with the Kirk Lightsey Quintet feat. Paul Zauner
Details about the concert with the Julia Hülsmann Octet

Details about the concert with Orrin Evans
Details about the exhibition “My Encounters with ‘American Jazz Heroes'”

In the centenary of jazz ­– the recordings of the Original Dixieland Jass Band from 1917 are often cited as the first jazz recordings ever – the Darmstadt Jazzforum conference looks at the pitfalls of jazz historiography, which often relies on myths and legends that distort what is even more important: the multi-perspectivity of a music which is being created not only by great masters, but certainly by many individualists.

In all of this, the 15th Darmstadt Jazzforum does not plan to re-write jazz historiography. During the international conference, during concerts and an exhibition, however, we hope for a lively discussion about how our understanding of the music, its history and its aesthetic has been shaped. We see jazz as a music with a history of more than a hundred years, and we know that it’s much more complex than history books usually tell us. Our objective is to unravel some more of this complexity, even though we know that we will only be scratching at the surface. We do not just want to look at the past, either, but are just as much interested in papers that focus on today’s developments and their significance in the cultural discourse jazz always was a part of.

The Darmstadt Jazzforum will focus on different aspects of jazz historiography, such as:

Jazz historiography mostly talks of major cities, of New Orleans, Chicago or New York, of Paris, London or Berlin. An alternative reading might identify other places (such as Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles or Lyon, Leeds, Wuppertal) and link these to specific events, movements, or group activities. An alternative reading might also stress the fact that any fixation of cultural activity to a specific place forgets aspects of mobility which are important in a music dealing mostly with cultural encounters. How do “scenes” and connections between scenes work? What does the historigraphic choice of focusing on a specific “place” or the deliberate negation of geographical positioning mean for our understanding of jazz? And what are the specific connections between locations and the music itself?

Jazz historiography often talks about successful or tragic heroes. An alternative reading might move other protagonists into the focus, might talk about temporary networks which enable artistic developments but are much more than mere musical relationships. An alternative reading should not necessarily question the importance of the great personalities but ask what kind of an example they set and/or what examples might have been alternatives from a very different direction. Focusing on people in jazz one needs to ask about the concept of artistic or commercial “success”; one needs to look at the processual aspects of improvisation (as opposed to the “Werk” aesthetic which shines through in most artists’ discographies); and one needs to look at the involvement of artists in the cultural discourses of their direct environments (community, city, scene, politics).

It seems like those lucky days when jazz history could easily be categorized with clear stylistic distinctions are over since the 1970s. And yet we often search for new descriptions to sum up more recent developments. The designation of stylistic names may be helpful for talking about music, but is it a suitable procedure in the internet era in which genre-hopping is the rule for a whole generation? The discussion about “genre” or “style” needs to take into consideration how such terms and categories have been canonized in the past and are being used in the present, by the music press, the industry, by fans as well as even by those pretending not to like jazz (Branford Marsalis: “People think if nobody sings it’s jazz.”). When questioning the illusion of genre purity, one has to ask about the general necessity  for categories in the first place and speculate about a future with no need to “file under…”

Presentations, Discussions, Concerts, Exhibition

At the 15th Darmstadt Jazzforum all of these topics are addressed by scholars from different disciplines, by journalists and by musicians. An exhibition with photos by Arne Reimer allows a “view behind the scenes” of the public life of jazz musicians. Three concerts will complete the event (and some of the musicians will also talk at the conference). Attending the conference is free. We ask, though, for informal registration.

More about the 15th Darmstadt Jazzforum about “Jazz @ 100. An alternative to a story of heroes” (concerence program, information about the concerts and the exhibition) will be online here in late May.

PS: The language at the Darmstadt Jazzforum conference is English.

14th Darmstadt Jazzforum


Conference, exhibition, workshop, concerts
Gender and Identity in Jazz

Darmstadt Jazzforum 2015 GENDER_IDENTITY from Jazzinstitut Darmstadt on Vimeo.

The speakers have been chosen; here is an overview of the papers.


Jazz used to be a predominantly male music. Not only were most of the musicians male, but its aesthetics and social environment was dominated by male ideals and male players as well. In the public perception of this music women as well as other groups or identities not compliant with the male orientation of jazz’s origins played only a minor role. Strong female instrumental voices, for instance, or musicians with a LGBT background were marginalized both by the media and by the jazz scene, seen as an exception or celebrated as a fig-leaf for the alleged openness of the music.

Celebrating the Jazzinstitut’s 25th anniversary, the 14th Darmstadt Jazzforum will approach the gender topic from different sides. We are aware of the fact that there is no “female jazz” or “male jazz”, that music in itself does neither have a gender nor a sexual orientation. And yet our identity which we acquired in our respective environments are highly influential on how we express our creativity, how we think about art and music, which associations we may have with specific genres if not even with specific sounds. “I don’t care whom you’re screwing”, said the pianist Orrin Evans in September 2014 at the first “Queer Jazz Festival” in Philadelphia, “as long as you’re screwing somebody” – music, after all, is a taking place between people, it’s not a hermit’s art.

How, then, is our identity forming our understanding of jazz? Or to be even more precise: Is jazz really a man’s music? And if so, where exactly do its male attributes come from? Is some kind of emphasis on masculinity in the African-American community one of the reasons for the stereotype of jazz as a male art form? How can such an attitude be described – and how does it translate into other cultures? Why, for instance, doesn’t the slow softening of masculine values in global pop music since the 1970s have a stronger effect on jazz? Or is this actually happening and we just don’t notice it because of the general changes we experience around us? Are there musical qualities which are determined through identity (if not through gender)? We know about and acknowledge gender-typical approaches and methods of problem-solving in many other fields; can we identify such in music? Do men play more aggressively, are women more anxious to reach a consensus? Are words such as “empathetic” or “forceful” clearly linked to specific gender characteristics? What is the difference between the self-view and the independent view of this topic? How does one deal with the phenomenon that a musician such as Gary Burton makes clear that, of course, he does not play “gay jazz”, yet acknowledges that after his coming-out many of his colleagues told him he sounded much “freer”?

How, then, does one take the roles one is playing in the real world along into an art form which is about “playing yourself” on the one hand and which deals with an open kind of communication of specific individuals on the other hand? Jazz, after all, is one of the most individual approaches in the music field; it seems odd to argue that one’s personal background has no influence whatsoever on the musical result. “Where you come from is where you go to”, is at least part of the rule: Whoever you are, will define what and how you will play and perform.

At our 14th Darmstadt Jazzforum we plan to look at different views on this complex field of topics. We will focus on three thematic blocks. (1) We will discuss topics such as masculinity / gender / intersectionality / identity. (2) We will invite some analytical case studies, in which the art of specific musicians is being approached without first looking at the gender aspect of their music. (3) A third block is to bring us into the lived-in reality both of days gone by and of today’s world, allow for focused views into jazz history and for conversations with men and women active on today’s jazz scene.

The view of jazz musicians and their art may be distorted if we reduce them to any parts of their identity, be it their gender, their sexual orientation, their ethnicity, or anything else. However, to ignore these facets, be it in jazz history or today’s jazz scene, is a proof of neglect as well. At the 14th Darmstadt Jazzforum we hope to contribute to a discourse which is and remains important in our changing modern world.

Please find Darmstadt Jazzforum on Facebook    GENDER_IDENTITY

„GENDER_IDENTITY“ is hosted by the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, a cultural institution of the City of Science Darmstadt.

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The 14. Darmstädter Jazzforum is fonded by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt Rhein-Main, the  Hessischen Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst and the jubilee-foundation of the Sparkasse Darmstadt.

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hr2 Kultur, JAZZTHETIK and MELODIVA are media partners of the 14. Darmstädter Jazzforums     JT_box_purple    LogoMelo_orange

We are co-operating for the 14. Darmstädter Jazzforums with the „Frauen machen Musik e.V.“, the Kulturzentrum Bessunger Knabenschule, WAGGONG Frankfurt e.V., the Centralstation Darmstadt and the Romanfabrik in Frankfurt/Main

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Gender and Identity in Jazz


Conference schedule

(All papers of the 14th Darmstadt Jazzforum – except for the three presentations on the morning of 3 October – will be presented in English.)

FRIDAY, 18 September 2015, 8:30 pm
Opening-Concert at Jazzinstitut

JazzTalk 109 with “Playground”

with Stephanie Wagner (fl), Esther Bächlin (p,voc), Gina Schwarz (b), Lars Binder (dr)

Playground 1The three musicians Stephanie Wagner (fl-Darmstadt), Esther Bächlin (p/voc-Lucerne) and Gina Schwarz (bs-Vienna) met in 2014 while teaching at during a women’s workshop. They found their interplay at the final teachers’ concert so stimulating that they decided to form a new ensemble to be enlarged by other musicians whenever necessary.

The original compositions by the three musicians’ original complement each other: impressionist, colorful harmonies with a tendency towards darker nuances, entwined and filigreed melodies, airy odd-meter rhythms and bulky grooves – the band explores this rich musical playground with delight and develops the musical ideas in dramaturgical arches. Far from any clichés they create an intelligent collective interplay which alternates with sparkling solos and engulfs the listeners into the creative moment: music between freedom and concentration, pluse and breath!

Stephanie Wagner is one of just a few jazz flutists in Germany. She just recorded her second album with her quintet, “Stephanie Wagners Quinsch”; sie also published a textbook for jazz flute (Schott-Verlag). Esther Bächlin has returned to the contemporary jazz idiom with this project after working in improvisation projects across genres in recent years, including her collaboration with Lauren Newton. The Vienna-based bassist Gina Schwarz has just released her album “Jazzista” on Unit Records and toured with the American drummer Jim Black earlier this year. The drummer Lars Binder is well-known in Germany, having performed with Cécile Verny and the quintet L14,16. He supports and enriches the trio in his nuanced and creative approach.

Spontaneous. Female. Genuine

Exhibition at the Gallery of the Jazzinstitut 
September to December 2015

The exhibition Spontaneous. Female. Genuine focuses on four female jazz musicians from different countries, different eras and different stylistic approaches: the American “First Lady of Jazz” Ella Fitzgerald, the German organ virtuoso Barbara Dennerlein, The German-Polish energy saxophonist Angelika Niescier, and the Swiss free jazz pianist Irène Schweizer. The exhibition documents four lives and artistic approaches far from the usual clichés of “female jazz”  – an inviting trip to different scenes of the jazz world shown on photos, in films, covers and posters.

Echibition at the Gallery of the Jazzinstitut from 18 September to 4 December 2015
Opening of the exhibition: Saturday, 19 September 2015
Open MO, TU, TH 10am – 5pm, FR 10am – 2pm

FRIDAY TO SUNDAY 2 – 4 October 2015
Workshop at Waggong, Frankfurt

with Esther Bächlin, Gina Schwarz, Stephanie Wagner

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THURSDAY, 1 October 2015
Literaturhaus, Kasinostrasse 3
free and open to the public

1:30 pm

Opening remarks

Gender and Identity

2:00 pm

Wolfram Knauer, Darmstadt, Germany:
Clash of Identities

In his introductory paper, Wolfram Knauer asks about the stereotypes of identity. He looks at different criteria denoting musicians’ “identity” and asks in how far they can be found in the music itself or whether perhaps they have become a cultural vocabulary spoken and understood both by musicians, critics and audience while being hard to prove analytically. Knauer categorizes musical features which might represent identity to the listener and reflects both upon the explicit and implicit vocabulary jazz musicians have at their disposal to frame identity.

Wolfram Knauer is a musicologist and the director of the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt since its inception in 1990. He has written and edited more than 14 books on jazz and serves on the board of editors for the scholarly journal Jazz Perspectives. His most recent books are critical biographies of the trumpeter Louis Armstrong (2010) and the saxophonist Charlie Parker (2014). He has taught at several schools and universities and was appointed the first non-American Louis Armstrong Professor of Jazz Studies at the Center for Jazz Studies, Columbia University, New York, for spring 2008.

3:00 pm

Mario Dunkel, Dortmund, Germany:
Sexual Desire, Eroticism, and the Construction of the Jazz Tradition

Mario Dunkel argues that rather than revising the largely masculinist and sexist representations of eroticism in early texts on jazz, jazz writers of the 1940s and 1950s sought to legitimize jazz by entirely denying its erotic appeal. Besides leading to a largely de-eroticized jazz tradition, their de-sexualization of jazz continues to complicate attempts to re-inscribe eroticism into the jazz tradition. Dunkel explores how the de-eroticization of jazz interacted with conceptualizations of gender, and discusses how a reconsideration of jazz’s eroticism can actually help to position jazz within the larger narratives of musical history in the 20th century.

Mario Dunkel is a researcher and instructor in Musicology at TU Dortmund University, Germany. He holds a PhD in American Studies, which he completed in 2014 with a thesis on “The Stories of Jazz: Performing America through Its Musical History”. His articles and reviews have appeared in American Music, Jazz Research News, Musiktheorie, Popular Music and Society and other publications. His current research interests include the practice and repercussions of transnational music diplomacy as well as the conceptualization and performance of music history in Europe and the U.S.

4:00 pm
Katherine Williams, Plymouth, UK:
‘Alright For A Girl’ and Other Jazz Myths

Katherine Williams looks at the British saxophonists Kathy Stobart and Trish Clowes to explore how they, representing different generations in jazz history, negotiated their path through the traditionally male jazz environment. She draws upon existing jazz literature and original interviews to explore the challenges and rewards of their gendered and musical environments, offering a reworked narrative of the female role in jazz history.

Katherine Williams is a Lecturer in Music at Plymouth University. She gained her degrees from King’s College London (BMus(Hons)), and the University of Nottingham (MA, PhD). Her research specialisms are jazz, gender, popular music, digital cultures, and music and geography, and she has published in many of these fields. She has articles in Jazz Perspectives (2013), Jazz Research Journal (2013), and the Journal of Music History Pedagogy. Her first monograph (Rufus Wainwright), is forthcoming with Equinox in spring 2016, and she is editor and contributor to the Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter (also forthcoming 2016). Katherine is an active saxophonist, and practices in the idioms of jazz, classical and new music.

5:00 pm

Monika Bloss, Berlin, Germany:
Trouble with Genre and Gender: Female Jazz Musicians and their (Print) Media Representation – Four Examples from Past to Present

Monika Bloss asks how the thinking about women in jazz is being shaped by its coverage through the media. She takes the example of four female musicians, Hazel Scott, Diana Krall, Maria Baptist and Esperanza Spalding, and discusses the way their public representation is shaped by subtle forms of discrimination through both words and photos. She also discusses what actions female musicians can take to change the way in which they are being portrayed by the mainstream or the specialized jazz press.

Monika Bloss has published extensively about pop music and gender. She taught at Humboldt Universität Berlin as well as at the universities in Potsdam, Bremen, Dresden and Oldenburg. In 2010, she held the Aigner-Rollet Visiting Professorship at the Institute for Jazz Research of Art University Graz. Bloss curated the exhibition “SHEPOP – Frauen und Mädchen auf den Bühnen populärer Musik” at the rock’n’popmuseum Gronau in 2013 and organized a conference about gender and popular music accompanying that exhibition.

FRIDAY, 2 October 2015
Literaturhaus, Kasinostrasse 3
free and open to the public

9:00 am

Michael Kahr, Graz, Austria:
Chromaticism and Identity in Clare Fischer’s Music

Michael Kahr focuses on the pianist and composer Clare Fischer who has developed a highly individual style characterized by voice-leading and chromaticism. He asks about the interrelations between harmonic structures, personal experiences and general socio-cultural matters and how all of these help to describe indicators of Fischer’s musical identity.

Michael Kahr (Dr. Mag.Art., MMus, PhD Sydney) is senior lecturer at the Institute for Jazz at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz/Austria. He conducted the FWF-funded project Jazz & the City: Identity of a Capital of Jazzand teaches jazz piano. His dissertation on aspects of harmony and context in the music of Clare Fischer at the University of Sydney/Australia was funded by an International Endeavour Research Scholarship by the Australian Government. In 2010 Kahr conducted a research project on the music of Clare Fischer in Los Angeles as a Fulbright Scholar and, subsequently, organized the first International Clare Fischer Symposium at the University of Music in Graz with international presenters such as Bill Dobbins and Brent Fischer. In 2011 he was awarded the Morroe Berger – Benny Carter Jazz Research Award by the Rutgers University. In addition to his academic activities he pursues freelance work as a jazz pianist, composer and arranger.

10:00 am

Yoko Suzuki, Pittsburgh, PA, USA:
Gendering Musical Sound in Jazz Saxophone Performance

Yoko Suzuki focuses on jazz saxophone performance, examining how the instrument’s sound, intonation, and performance style are “gendered” in the narrative of her informants, four male and thirty female saxophonists. She asks what exactly is being associated with a masculine performance and what is being perceived as feminine. She suggests that while gender norms in general are constantly challenged and reconstructed, in jazz they seem to be rather stable. She discusses the effect of such gender norms in jazz and how the emergence of female jazz saxophonists in recent years could change them.

Yoko Suzuki earned a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology and a Ph.D. certificate in women’s studies at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. Currently, she teaches jazz history and jazz ensemble at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also an active jazz saxophonist performing in Pittsburgh and New York City.

11:00 am

Ilona Haberkamp, Cologne, Germany:
(Jutta) Hipp Style or Adaption?

Ilona Haberkamp looks at the two musical careers of the German pianist Jutta Hipp, who was considered the most advanced pianist in Germany, male or female, in the early 1950s, and changed her piano style after moving to the United States in 1955 due to the competitive environment in New York. Hipp had developed her personal style through the adaption and imitation of musical role models, and Haberkamp shows by comparing recordings from different periods of Hipp’s career that once her life situation changed, so did her piano style.

Ilona Haberkamp studied saxophone in Dortmund and Köln as well as musicology in Münster (M.A.). She teaches at the Dortmund music school and the Jazzakademie, where she heads several jazz ensembles and the big band, but performs with her own musical projects as well. Her current band, Ilona Haberkamp Quartett, played at the Berlin Jazzfest in 2013 performing her “Cool is Hipp is Cool” project. He has been researching jazz in the Soviet Union, the musical style of Paul Desmond, and the art of Jutta Hipp.

12:00 – 2:00 pm
lunch break

2:00 pm

Martin Niederauer, Vienna, Austria:
Male Hegemony in Jazz

Martin Niederauer sees the genre of jazz being dominated by men. However, gender relations in jazz, he argues, cannot be explained merely on account of stereotyping of women or the preponderance of men; it is rather due to a jazz-specific production of masculinity prevailing both among recipients and musicians, in which male-to-male relations in jazz become increasingly important. As a result, it is less a case of the percentage ratio of men and women, but rather the social relations and practices in jazz which pave the way for the prevailing gender relations and through which they are manifested.

Martin Niederauer, Dr. phil, studied Sociology in Trier and Frankfurt am Main. He wrote his doctoral thesis on “Die Widerständigkeiten des Jazz – Sozialgeschichte und Improvisation unter den Imperativen der Kulturindustrie” (“Jazz as social criticism and aesthetic resistance”). Since 2013 he works in a research project at the Institute for Music Sociology at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna on the relation between knowledge and artistic practices in art music composing. His further research interests are critical theory, aesthetics, jazz, and empirical social research.

3:00 pm

Joy Ellis, London, UK:
Women and the Jazz Jam

Joy Ellis looks at the jam session as a specific jazz practice which due to its competitiveness seems to have often been considered a predominantly masculine one. She examines prejudices which female musicians might encounter sitting in and, referring to interviews with musicians, both male and female, asks in how far general social changes in today’s culture have influenced the acceptance of women playing at jam sessions.

Joy Ellis is a jazz pianist, vocalist and composer based in London. Since appearing on the music scene in 2003 she has performed in the UK, Europe, the USA and Southeast Asia. She achieved a Masters in Jazz Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in July 2008. Since then Joy has performed with an array of well-established artists on the UK music scene including Omar Lye-Fook MBE, Nikki Iles and Anita Wardell. This year she is looking forward to the release of her debut jazz album entitled “Life On Land”. Joy has a growing portfolio of work as a composer, arranger and orchestrator. In 2012, she was the winner of the BASBWE festival for an original composition for concert wind band due for publication this year. Renowned UK composer Philip Sparke described one of her pieces as “the work of a composer with an original voice and the means to express it.”

4:00 pm

Christopher Dennison, New York, NY, USA:
One-Armed Ball Players: The Language of Homosexuality in Jazz

Christopher Dennison finds that stereotypes of gay men as effeminate have been present throughout jazz history, and that some of these stereotypes have become so central to jazz’s treatment of homosexuality that even prominent gay musicians seem to believe them. In his paper Dennison examines the language used in discussions of homosexuality in jazz, focusing on the problematic stereotype that is deeply ingrained in jazz culture.

Christopher Dennison has an MA in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University-Newark. His research interests include language and discussions of jazz. His undergraduate thesis deals with elements of jazz in James Joyce’s Ulysses, and his 2015 master’s thesis focuses on the role of oral history in the construction of the bebop story, specifically through Ira Gitler’s Swing to Bop. Christopher currently works on the NPR program Jazz Night in America.

5:00 pm

Jenna Bailey, Lethbridge, Canada / Sussex, UK:
‘Play Like A Man and Look Like a Woman”: Exploring the Role of Gender in Ivy Benson’s All Girl Band

Jenna Bailey looks at the British bandleader Ivy Benson who managed to keep an all-girl band working from 1940 into the 1980s, a band which would be the starting point for well-known British female instrumentalists such as Barbara Thompson, Deidre Cartwright and Annie Whitehead. Drawing upon interviews with Benson band members, Bailey explores the ways in which gender assumptions influenced the working lives of these women and how, despite being an advocate for female musicians, Ivy herself reinforced long held negative gender stereotypes about women and music by insisting her musicians “play like men” and “look like women”.

Jenna Bailey is an historian and a writer. She has her PhD in Contemporary History from the University of Sussex and is currently an Executive Member of the Centre for Oral History and Tradition (COHT) at the University of Lethbridge, Canada and the Visiting Research Fellow for the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research (CLHLWR) at the University of Sussex, England. Jenna is the author of the best-selling book Can Any Mother Help Me? (Faber) and is currently working on her next book about Ivy Benson’s All Girl Band.

20:30 Uhr
Conzert and session at the Jazzinstitut

Jürgen Wuchner Quartet

Thomas Bachmann (ts) – Uli Partheil (p) – Jürgen Wuchner (b) – Ulli Schiffelholz (d)

[The concert originally planned for Friday, featuring Lynne Arriale, Cécile Verny and Grace Kelly, has been canceled.]

Insetad we invited the Jürgen Wuchner Quartett to play at the Jazzinstitut’s concert space. After the first set the stage will be open to sit in at a jam session at which we expect a number of conference speakers to join the band. Bring your instrument/s!

This concert / session is free and open to the public.


SATURDAY, 3 October 2015
Literaturhaus, Kasinostrasse 3
free and open to the public

9:00 am

Ilka Siedenburg, Münster/Bremen, Germany:
Bigbandklassen: Ein Weg zur musikalischen Identität jenseits von Geschlechterstereotypen?

Ilka Siedenburg looks into the increasing formation of big bands in school education, a typically male-connoted activity (playing jazz) in a typically female-connoted field of action (music class), and the effect of this development on the gender self-image of participating boys and girls. She reports about a pilot study on “doing and undoing gender” in big band classes which tries to identify the gender perception of children and adolescents through their musical preferences and perspectives. [This presentation will be held in German]

Ilka Siedenburg is a professor of music education at the university of Muenster, Germany. After her studies in music education at the University of Oldenburg and the Conservatory of Frankfurt, she worked as a musician and as a teacher in different fields of music education and was a professor of didactics of popular music at the University of Applied Sciences in Osnabrueck. She received a PhD from the university of Oldenburg.

10:00 am

Mane Stelzer, Frankfurt, Germany:
“Für uns war es fremde Musik” – wie junge Instrumentalistinnen zum Jazz finden (oder auch nicht)

Mane Stelzer explores the decision-making process of girls when it comes to taking up instruments, as well as the obstacles they meet trying to collect their first experiences either in pop or jazz bands. Based on interviews with young female musicians, Stelzer explores the divergent musical biographies of young female instrumentalists ad asks how some of them succeed in making a profession out of their passion and others don’t. She also asks which aspects of their musical biography qualifies these young women to be accepted at jazz and pop departments of German Musikhochschulen (conservatories). [This presentation will be held in German]

Mane Stelzer is an ethnologist and a freelance editor for the online journal MELODICA issued by Frauen Musik Büro in Frankfurt, Germany, an organization representing, supporting and connecting female musicians. Her focus are interviews with female musicians about their living and working conditions, about the compatibility of family and work or study etc. In 2014 she in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences, a website by and for young female musicians. She teaches at songwriting workshops for girls and performs as a singer/songwriter (

11:00 am

Nicole Johänntgen, Zurich, Switzerland:
Get the flow and go! Music & Business

Nicole Johänntgen reports about two initiatives she is involved in, SOFIA (Support Of Female Improvising Artists) and HELVETIA ROCKT, both of which try to help female musicians in an environment which is mostly dominated by male decision-makers. Johänntgen explains the need for such initiatives and the outlook for regional, national and international networking and self-marketing, by all of which she and her colleagues aim to change the existing social stereotypes as well as the lack of female role models in the field of jazz and rock. [This presentation will be held in German]

Nicole Johänntgen is a German saxophonist / composer, currently living in Zürich, Switzerland. In 2013 she founded the project SOFIA – Support Of Female Improvising Artists. The pioniering project helps female improvising musicians in today’s difficult music business.

12:00 – 2:00 pm:
lunch break

2:00 pm

Sherrie Tucker, Lawrence, KS, USA:
A Conundrum is Woman-in-Jazz: Continual Improvisations on the Categorical Exclusions of Being Included

Sherrie Tucker reflects about the longevity of the “women in jazz” category (analytic, tactical, programmatic, marketing, reception, gatekeeping, advocating, etc.) as a shifting set of gendered and sexed parameters that appear to span the gamut of jazz history. She looks at different approaches towards this and related subjects (Gender in Jazz, LGBTQ in Jazz, Sexuality in Jazz etc.), highlights some of the creative ways in which improvising artists and scholars have worked with and against the conundrum “women in jazz”, and asks what it might take to compose more innovative parameters for gender and sex difference in jazz practice and study than inclusion/exclusion, in/out, omission/addition, invisibility/recognition.

Sherrie Tucker (Professor, American Studies, University of Kansas) is the author of Dance Floor Democracy: the Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen (Duke, 2014), Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s (Duke, 2000) and co-editor, with Nichole T. Rustin, of Big Ears:  Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies (Duke, 2008). She is a member of two major collaborative research initiatives: International Institute of Critical Improvisation Studies and Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (for which she served as facilitator for the Improvisation, Gender, and the Body research area) both funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is a founding member of the Melba Liston Research Collective, a member of the AUMI (Adaptive Use Musical Instrument) research team of the Deep Listening Institute, and founding member of AUMI-KU InterArts, one of six member institutions of the AUMI Research Consortium. She was the Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor at the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University in 2004-2005, where she was a member of the Columbia Jazz Study Group. With Randal M. Jelks, she co-edits the journal American Studies. She is one of three Series Editors, along with Deborah Wong and Jeremy Wallach, of the Music/Culture Series at Wesleyan University Press.

3:00 pm

John Murph, Washington, D.C., USA:
Exploring the Queer Overtones of Sun Ra’s Outer Space Ways

John Murph discusses examples in which the charismatic pianist, composer and bandleader Sun Ra incorporated homoeroticism and other gay overtones through his expansive multi-disciplinary, idiosyncratic artistic realm, which incorporated music, theatre, film, poetry, dance and street fashion. In a comparative analysis he touches upon iconic gay culture touchstones as drag-queen balls, disco, pageantry, self-invention and self-mythologies as well as some of Sun Ra’s lyrics, philosophies, the art of challenging traditional gender, the concept of otherness, and the visual representations through concert and films.

John Murph is a Washington, DC-based music journalist, whose written have been published by JazzTimes, Down Beat, The Washington Post, JazzWise, NPR, The Root and AARP. He was written several articles related to the arts and gay culture, mostly notably JazzTimes’ 2010 article, “Rhapsody in Rainbow: Jazz and the Queer Aesthetic.” He was also a panelist at Philadelphia’s first annual OutBeat Jazz Festival in 2014.

4:00 pm

Christian Broecking, Berlin, Germany:
Authentic lesbian as I am…” Aspects of Gender, Marginalisation and Political Protests in the Life and Work of Irène Schweizer

Christian Broecking looks at the career of the Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer, an important source of inspiration on the European free music scene since the late 1960s, early 1970s. Drawing upon his ongoing biography project about Schweizer, Broecking reflects about the pianist’s commitment to feminist issues and its impact on her art, and he discusses aspects of gender coming up in interviews with fellow musicians, family and friends.

Dr. Christian Broecking, sociologist and musicologist, curated the international conferences “Transatlantic Dialogue on the Societal Relevance of Music” (Heidelberg Center for American Studies, 2012 and 2013). He is the author of several books on African American culture (“Der Marsalis-Komplex”) and writes for newspapers as well as for music journals, he also produces radio features. Christian Broecking was the founding program director of Jazz Radio Berlin (1994–1998) and program director of Klassik Radio in Frankfurt (2000-2003). Broecking is a juror at the “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik” and NPR (National Public Radio). He has lectured at the universities of Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Basel, Luzern, Osnabrück and Berlin as well as at the Winterthurer Institut für aktuelle Musik (WIAM). Currently he is a Senior Research Associate at Hochschule Luzern. In 2004 he founded the Berlin based Broecking Publishing House. Among his recent book publicatons: “Gregory Porter: Jazz, Gospel & Soul” (2015).

5:00 pm

Nicolas Pillai, Birmingham, UK:
Watching Men Play: the Erotics of the Hollywood Jazz Film

Nicolas Pillai argues that while Hollywood cinema was structured around a “male gaze” assuming a heterosexual male point-of-view which objectified the female body, Hollywood jazz films like “Young Man With a Horn”, “The Benny Goodman Story”, “Bird” or “Whiplash” problematized this conception, making the male performing body the object of scrutiny and desire. Pillai suggests that the homosocial scenes of male musical interaction constructs a network of gazes – some mutual, some yearning, some unacknowledged, some hidden – which dramatize musical achievement. It is only in this erotic context, Pillai argues, that musical pleasure can be understood in these films, as texts designed to be consumed by non-jazz listeners.

Dr Nicolas Pillai is a researcher in the Jazz Research Centre at Birmingham City University. His first book Jazz as Visual Culture: film, television and the dissonant image will be published by I. B. Tauris in 2016. Nicolas is a frequent speaker at the National Jazz Archive (London) and in 2014 he organised the New Jazz Conceptions: History, Theory, Practice conference (University of Warwick) and curated the Jazzprojector film season at The Vortex Jazz Club (London). Nicolas currently teaches at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music.

8:00 pm
Konzert, Bessunger Knabenschule

Tenors of Kalma

with Jimi Tenor (sax), Kalle Kalima (g), Joonas Riippa (dr)

TenorsOfKalma rae photo by Maarit KytöharjuTenors of Kalma combines jazz with electronic pop music in a new way. Sun Ra meets Kraftwerk here.

Jimi Tenor and Kalle Kalima have made music together for ten years and now they are breaking ground in a new trio with Joonas Riippa on drums. Jimi Tenor has never settled for the traditional role of a pop artist. He is known as a musician whose work lies beyond current trends although he has also written hits like “Take me Baby”. He is at home in front of the crowd gone wild, wearing a glittering self-­designed costume and a flowing cape, holding a self made noise-producing device. Kalle Kalima is a Berlin-based Finnish jazz guitarist who mixes elements of jazz and rock in a unique way. He has played a.o. with Jazzanova, Jason Moran, Jim Black, Greg Cohen, Anthony Braxton, Tony Allen, Leo Wadada Smith, Michael Wertmüller and Marc Ducret. Kalima is also known of his bands Klima Kalima and K-18. Joonas Riippa is one of the most important drummers in Finland today working with renowned musicians like Mikko Innanen, Verneri Pohjola, Teemu Viinikainen, Seppo Kantonen and Joonatan Rautio.

Tickets:     Logo_BKS_orange     MES_logo_engl

MONDAY, 5 Oktober 2015, 8:30 pm
Closing-concert at the Romanfabrik Frankfurt/Main


with Stephanie Wagner (fl), Esther Bächlin (p,voc), Gina Schwarz (b), Lars Binder (dr)


Please find the Darmstadt Jazzforum on Facebook    GENDER_IDENTITY

„GENDER_IDENTITY“ is hosted by the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, a cultural institution of the City of Science Darmstadt.

Logo_JazzDa_4c          A5_Darmstadt-Logo_rgb-3c

The 14. Darmstädter Jazzforum is fonded by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt Rhein-Main, the  Hessischen Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst and the jubilee-foundation of the Sparkasse Darmstadt.

KFFRM_logo_blau        hessisches_min_wiku     JUBI LOGO

hr2 Kultur, JAZZTHETIK and MELODIVA are media partners of the 14. Darmstädter Jazzforums        JT_box_purple       LogoMelo_orange

We are co-operating for the 14. Darmstädter Jazzforums with the „Frauen machen Musik e.V.“, the Kulturzentrum Bessunger Knabenschule, WAGGONG Frankfurt e.V., the Centralstation Darmstadt and the Romanfabrik in Frankfurt/Main

Logo_BKS_orange     waggong      CS_Entega_pos_2014      romanfabrik