Last Week at the Jazzinstitut
(New) books we read
Among the books on our desk the last couple of weeks were "Watching With My Ears. 20 Years Vision Festival New York", by Jorgo Schäfer; "Viersener Köpfe. Bekannte Bürger(innen) unserer Stadt und ihre Geschichte(n)", by Paul Eßer and Torsten Eßer; as well as "Formation. Building a Personal Canon, Part One", by Brad Mehldau (see the Jazzinstitut's book review page).
Destination Unknown: The Future of Jazz
One more week to go and the 18th Darmstadt Jazzforum will start, focusing on nothing less than "The Future of Jazz". We have sent out program booklets to those interested, a PDF file of which you can also download from our website. The complete program including bios and abstracts of papers and panels can also be found online. Here is a brief outline:
Exhibition and pre-opening concert:
We will begin with the exhibition "The All of Everything" at the Jazzinstitut's art gallery asking about the future world that the music we are talking about will re-sound in; and with a pre-opening concert by Karja/Renard/Wandinger, an exciting experimental trio at the Jazzinstitut's intimate concert space on Wednesday, 27 September.
Thursday afternoon (28 September) our Lord Mayor Hanno Benz will open the conference. A first session of papers, entitled "Past and Future", will focus on how jazz somehow has always been about its own future, and with a panel asking about whom this music actually reaches and represents. Friday morning (29 September: "Ancient to the Future") presents papers about Afrofuturism as well as about the meaning of "jazz" in today's cultural landscape. The afternoon ("Was wäre wenn? [What if...?]") has a number of musicians' statements about what this music can and could be, as well as a panel about creative spaces. Saturday morning (30 September: "Am Wandel mitwirken" [Participate in change]) gives examples of how musicians can become activists for change. Saturday afternoon ("Es geht ums Ganze!" [It's all or nothing!]) summarizes aspects discussed at the conference and adds some new thoughts about genre, teaching and studying music, ending with a panel about the privilege of being active in this field and the responsibilities that come with it.
There will be two more concerts: On Friday evening (29 September) at Centralstation you can hear Athina Kontou and Mother, as well as Jorik Bergman's Julius Eastman Project. The Jazzforum will end on Saturday (30 September) at Bessunger Knabenschule with the trio Les Marquises as well as with Frank Gratkowski's quintet featuring Ingrid Laubrock.
Conference attendance / concert tickets:
Attendance of the conference is free, however, you can help us tremendously if you register on our website. Tickets for the concerts are available at the respective venues (check the box office links on our website). There will be a livestream of the conference available both on our website and on our YouTube channel.
More information is available here: Destination Unknown as well as on the corresponding blog that outlines some of our own thoughts on the subject. The conference language will be German.
R.I.P. Jost Gebers
Only three months after Peter Brötzmann, Jost Gebers has left us, first partner, then producer, enabler of free music, eventually owner of the FMP (Free Music Production) label that documented improvised music in the 1970s and 1980s. Gebers was instrumental in lots of important concerts, recordings, possibilities. This newsletter is too short to list all of his contributions to our field of music over the years, plus there have been exhibitions, books, CD collections honoring his work, most recently "Free Music Production. FMP – The Living Music", edited by Markus Müller (Wolke Verlag). When FMP was founded in 1969 its goal had been to keep the decision-making about what was being released in the hands of the musicians. Gebers had been fighting for money to finance all of the Berlin events over the years, the Workshop Freie Musik, the Total Music Meeting, the one-month Cecil Taylor residency in Berlin in 1988 that resulted in a celebrated 11-disc box set. Eventually Gebers moved to Borken, continuing to work with the master tapes of many of the recording sessions he had produced, negotiating with labels all over the world in order to keep the music available.
The Jazzinstitut had acquired his personal record collection in 2004, including all FMP releases, many of the FMP posters as well as albums that he had amassed over the years, personal favorites and releases that musicians had sent him. Jost swung by the Jazzinstitut whenever we had an event that touched upon his field of musical interest. He attended several Jazzforum conferences, he came to a lecture on the 50th anniversary of Brötzmann's "Machine Gun" album in Bremen, and of course, we regularly met him at Jazzfest Berlin.
Jost was a sweet guy. He could come across as gruff at first, but it didn't take long for him to open up and show a nearly romantic enthusiasm for the music. I think that he was proud of his collection having ended up at the Jazzinstitut's archive, and we marveled at the strength with which he continued to fight for the music. Jost Gebers will be missed as a mover and shaker, a serious advocate for improvised music AND – most of all – for the musicians who make the music.
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.