Last Week at the Jazzinstitut
(New) books we read
Among the books on our desk the last couple of weeks were "Artistic Research in Jazz. Positions, Theories, Methods", edited by Michael Kahr; "Kansas City Jazz. A Little Evil Will Do You Good", by Con Chapman; "Schöner fremder Klang. Wie exotische Musik nach Deutschland kam", a three-volume book series by Claus Schreiner; as well as "Sight Readings. Photographers and American Jazz, 1900-1960", by Alan John Ainsworth (see the Jazzinstitut's book review page).
JazzTalk with Hank Roberts
Last Friday we continued our 25-year-old concert series JazzTalk with the trio of cellist Hank Roberts, pianist Aruan Ortiz, and drummer Matt Wilson. The concert in our sold-out concert space left everybody, musicians and audience, thrilled and happy. As customary for that series, a short conversation followed the first set. Hank Roberts talked about the idea behind this trio, about how the concept of his compositions change and what impact the musicians he plays with have on those changes, about his own road into jazz and how he came to choose the cello in the first place, about New York's Knitting Factory scene of the 1980s compared to today's scene in the Big Apple, as well as about his instrument itself, the cello, and what it does and does not allow him to play. Then the trio performed a second set, and two encores, one of them, as a matter of fact, given by the audience, singing Happy Birthday to Hank Roberts who had turned 69 that day.
Destination Unknown: The Future of Jazz
In our last JazzNews we unveiled the preliminary program of the first day of our fall conference. The morning conference session of the second day at Hoffart Theater is titled ANCIENT TO THE FUTURE, and will start with two lectures dedicated to Afrofuturism. Richard Herzog explains the importance of the idea of tradition for the music of African-American musicians like Matana Roberts and Moor Mother. Magdalena Fürnkranz takes a look at Afrofuturism as both a historical construct and a driving force for current music, drawing a connection between Sun Ra and Janelle Monáe. Bettina Bohle will open a more general discussion asking to what extent "jazz" at times gets in its own way, especially in Germany where the term is understood quite differently according to the context it is used in.
The afternoon session asks WHAT IF? And becomes a bit more specific. In 2022 the German Youth Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzO) had organized a composition competition under the headline "Zukunftsmusik" (Music of the Future). Saxophonist Niels Klein was artistic director for the competition, and flutist Jorik Bergmann one of the winners, will reflect about what such musical future might mean for them and their respective music, both artistically and for their respective life plans. Saxophonist Frank Gratkowski asks from his personal perspective what jazz is, what it could be and what it could become.
The second panel of our conference is titled "Macht Platz!" (Make room!). In it we ask where the future of music can be shaped, creativity, after all, needing spaces, both literally and metaphorically. Moderated by Sophie Emile Beha we will get to know Ella O'Brien-Coker, herself a musician and head of NICA artist development at the European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music at the Stadtgarten in Cologne; Camille Buscot, project manager at the Deutsche Jazzunion (German Jazz Union) and co-managing director of IG Jazz Berlin, whose insight includes regional as well as national structural discourses; and vocalist and cultural manager Lisa Tuyala, who initiated the women's music network Women* of Music (W*oM).
Friday will conclude with a double concert featuring Jorik Bergmann's Julius Eastman Project, as well as bassist Athina Kontou's band Mother. The concert in Darmstadt's Centralstation will be recorded for later broadcast by hr2 radio.
The next JazzNews will let you know about the third day of our fall conference. Eventually you will find the whole program including titles, biographies and more detailed abstracts, on our website. You may want to already mark the conference date: 27/28-30 September 2023. And keep revisiting our website (Destination Unknown) together with a corresponding blog that outlines some of our own thoughts on the subject. By the way: the main conference language will be German.
Hartmut Geerken Sun Ra Archive
We told you about the Sun Ra Archive that we took over from collector, musician, polymath Hartmut Geerken two years ago. By now we have digitized more than half of it; it is already being actively used, for instance for research for an upcoming documentary by US filmmaker Stanley Nelson. In the latest edition of JAZZpects we have opened a couple of folders and boxes to give you a glimpse of what the collection contains – this is a chapter clearly to be continued.
32nd Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions 2023
Each summer since 1992 we organized a week-long workshop together with our partner, the cultural center Bessunger Knabenschule. The Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions invite teachers who have developed their own specific approach to music, and attract students of all ages, mainly from the region. The workshop lasts from 24 to 29 July 2023, every evening there will be concerts and sessions all over town. This year's teachers are: Matthew Bookert (sousaphon), Daniel Guggenheim (saxophone), Johannes Lauer (trombone), Laura Robles (cajon), Taiko Saito (mallets), as well as Uli Partheil (piano). Partheil is also the artistic director after the workshop founder Jürgen Wuchner's death in 2020.
More info: Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions.
Online registration opens 2 April 2023.
Current opening hours of the Jazzinstitut
The Jazzinstitut is open to the public by appointment. We also offer research help by phone, e-mail or video-call. If you would like to schedule a video call, please send an e-mail to make an appointment and give us an idea what you want to talk about. We will then reply with a link for a Webex video session for your meeting.