Category Archives: Jazz in Darmstadt

Roots_Heimat:
Wie offen ist der Jazz?

The 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum which will take place from September 30 through October 2, 2021, asks about the sometimes unclear relationship between “roots” and “Heimat”, the loaded German word signifying “home”,  “home country”, “home culture” and much more. Roots stands for the African-American origin of jazz that resonates even in the most advanced experiments of contemporary improvisation. Heimat stands for the fact that jazz in particular always demands a cultural and aesthetic self-localization. For some, jazz is a creative practice used globally, but always pointing back to its African-American origins. For others, jazz is something they grew up with, something that allows them to express their own concerns and individual point of view better than most other genres. For many, jazz is both, containing the African-American tradition just as much as the productive freedom to apply this practice outside of its original community connecedness.

All of that is what we want to talk about. We plan to continue discussions prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement about the idea of “Europe” which had a lasting influence on aesthetics and ethics, the presentation and the reception of jazz. We ask how a possibly Eurocentric perspective has changed and continues to shape our perception of what jazz stands for, how it connects both to the music’s African American origins and to our own individual cultural environment. Our discussions may start with the name “jazz”, we may look at historical examples of Eurocentric tendencies, and we may take into account the current discourse about the relevance of jazz in non-African American communities. We will talk about racism in jazz, reflect on how exclusion and different forms of othering are present in today’s jazz scene, and look at alternate readings of how the example of African American culture has changed and enriched the understanding of music all over the world. We won’t limit the discussion to jazz but also look at similar debates about Eurocentrism or African-Americanism in contemporary composed music or pop culture.

The Darmstadt Jazzforum is an international conference aimed at a more general than just the scholarly community. We expect papers that spur on discussions beyond the limits of jazz research, and we expect an audience of musicians, journalists, dedicated jazz fans as much as students and scholars from different fields.

A more detailed program of the event will be posted here by approximately mid-May.

Please send any further questions to jazz@jazzinstitut.de


Some further thoughts on the topic of the 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum

12 August 2020:

As if he read our call for papers, Ethan Iverson has devoted one of his latest blog entries to a discussion of Eurocentric perspectives in music and has linked to some of his own earlier posts relevant to the subject (Do the Math). Iverson gives one aspect of what we are interested in to discuss at our conference in the fall of 2021. Norman Lebrecht highlights another aspect, explaining details of a current debate regarding the music theorist Heinrich Schenker and music theory “historically rooted in white supremacy” (Slipped Disc). Jacqueline Warwick discusses how music education in the USA is dominated by a focus on Western European art music, summarizes the Schenker discussion, and asks for music programs that are relevant to actual musicians wanting a higher education (The Conversation). Finally, we read Howard Reich’s tribute to Charlie Parker’s upcoming centennial in which the author uses a number of cliches, first comparing Bird’s impact on music to Mozart, Chopin and Gershwin, then referring to him (and the others named) as “revolutionaries” (Chicago Tribune).

At our conference, we might ask whether such cliches informed by a “genius” aesthetic the roots of which can be found in 19th century Europe do the music any justice. These, though, are just some of the topics we might talk about at the Darmstadt Jazzforum next year, and in the next editions of JazzNews we will provide further examples of where Eurocentric perspectives shape our view of jazz. In all of this, we are interested in a leveled discussion about the subject, not in a demonization of the European perspective. We are looking to discuss the reality, then, in which power structures, both within the industry and the aesthetic discourse, have favored a specific worldview, and how artists, scholars, critics and fans have developed different levels of awareness for this reality. We have issued a Call for Papers (deadline: 31 December 2020) and are looking forward to diverse approaches, perspectives and proposals.


26 August 2020:

“Eurocentrism in Jazz”? … some more thoughts

At the Jazzinstitut, we continue to discuss the topic of our next Darmstadt Jazzforum conference, while the first proposals for papers, panels and artistic interventions are already arriving. One of the subjects about “Eurocentism” we discuss, for instance, is how the Goethe-Institut has been using jazz as an example of German musical discourse since the early 1960s, and how that official seal of approval has changed the self-image of many musicians who partook in Goethe tours over the years. We like to speak of jazz as (Afro-)America’s biggest gift to the world, precisely because it is so inclusive, asking musicians from everywhere to add their own personal influences to the mix. Yet, what if the acception of this invitation is overdone to the extent that the African American origins of the music are being neglected? Do we, then, need a constant reminder of the roots of jazz? Isn’t it enough that jazz as a musical language to this day inspires so many young musicians in their creativity? Might this be a question of respect vs freedom of the arts, freedom from the need to refer to traditions, that is. Or, to get back to the Goethe example: If there is a form of jazz that is being sold as a German art form, do we meet our responsibility of respecting the musical idiom as an originally African American art form? Are we at all aware of the appropriation process that happened during the global spread of jazz?

While we invite historical papers for our Jazzforum conference that look at how jazz has earned the status it holds today, we also hope for panel discussions and musical interventions offering artists’ perspectives on the subject. Let us know what you think. We are happy for any suggestions! The deadline for all proposals is: 30 November 2020.


9 September 2020

“Eurocentrism in Jazz?”(!)

It’s a bit like when you buy a new car and suddenly see the same model or color everywhere even though you never noticed it before. Since we started announcing the subject of next year’s Darmstadt Jazzforum conference, “Eurocentrism in Jazz”, we realize the many different perspectives this topic involves. One recent reminder was an exhibition shown at Frankfurt’s Museum for Applied Arts, called “German Museum for Black Entertainment and Black Music”. Kurt Cordsen talks to Anta Helena Recke, one of the curators, about the idea behind the exhibition which focuses on stereotypes about black people in the German entertainment industry and the narrative they informed (BR, DMfSUuBM).

Giovanni Russonello’s New York Times essay about jazz as protest music, on the other hand, is an example of how political jazz (music? the arts?) may have become once more in the current political climate in the United States. However, after reading Russonello’s piece, Michael Rüsenberg points out that there are other perspectives on what jazz stands for. We summarized all of this in our entry on “protest music” above (6 September).

Like the (short-lived, so far) German Museum for Black Entertainment and Black Music, the focus on jazz as a political tool has implications that are both based in the music’s history as an African American art form and a European understanding of art pointing to something beyond what can be seen, heard, read, an ulterior purpose, motive, or goal. The differences are deep, and they are far from just being cultural. “Community building”, for instance, has far more importance in a country that depends on market and self-responsibility when it comes to the wellbeing of its citizens than is the case in a social welfare system. Art reflects reality: thus, let us analyze, not judge (!) what influence the manifold Eurocentric perspectives have had on the reception and the development of jazz both in its understanding as an African-American and a creative world music.

If you’ve followed our short introductions to what the Darmstadt Jazzforum might be about, you already recognize the diversity of possible topics. But it’s up to you, as well:

— Call for papers —

We invite you to send us proposals for papers, panels, artistic interventions that look at any of these (or other) topics from your perspective. We also ask you to share our Call for Papers with others interested, colleagues, artists, journalists, activists. We will (within limits) be able to help with travel expenses. The deadline for all proposals is: 30 November 2020.


23 September 2020

“From the New World”?

Ever heard of George Bridgetower? Chances are you haven’t. Well, he was a virtuoso violinist whom Ludwig van Beethoven originally dedicated one of his most famous pieces to which later became known as the Kreutzer Sonate. Patricia Morrisroe tells the story of Bridgetower, born in Poland to a father of African descent and a German-Polish mother, who lived in Mainz with his parents for a while, and soon, managed by his father and billed as a “young Negro of the Colonies” performed a violin concerto in Paris in 1789. In 1803 he met Beethoven in Vienna who then dedicated his “Mulatto sonata composed for the mulatto Bridgetower, great lunatic and mulatto composer”, a decication he took back after Bridgetower purportedly made a rude commend about a woman the composer admired. Beethoven later dedicated the piece to the French violinist Rudolphe Kreutzer who, though, never played it. You can read Morrisroe’s fascinating story here (New York Times).

So what does this have to do with jazz? Well, it is an early example of a different kind of Eurocentrism which we will be discussing at the 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum conference in October 2021. While Eurocentrism can easily be seen as a term describing a racist worldview, one might more easily understand it as a worldview of “I explain the world by what I see and know”. Beethoven’s decision to change the dedication of his sonata probably had nothing to do with Eurocentrism or racism. But the fact that George Bridgetower was completely forgotten, even though he had admirers in the highest circles of the classical world,has to do with a view on history that tends to write the story of the male hero, bot not his female, Black, gay, lesbian or in whatever other way “different” colleague.

Oh, and while we’re at classical music, Zachary Woolfe and Joshua Barone asked conductors, musicians and arts managers about the problems of blind auditions and talk about how difficult it is to guarantee diversity in American orchestras (New York Times). It’s a discussion also about cultural access, about extramusical meanings of music, about the need to claim quotas, but also for a diversification of the repertoire. How about a diversification of approaches, though, one might ask. The sound, the hierarchic structure, the whole concept of the classical orchestra is one deeply connected to a European concept. There are ensembles meanwhile that have tried to change those structures, string quartets playing without music in front of them, wind ensembles performing standing instead of sitting, ensembles which shift the responsibility for a conductor from a real one (in front of the orchestra) to ensemble members and much more. We are, remember, still talking about classical music. We are, though, also talking about performance practices much more connected to jazz and improvised music. Changing performance approaches might support efforts to get away from those Eurocentric conventions. Whether the result is great music… depends on the musicians. However, why not challenge traditions for a more diverse future?

— Call for papers —
We invite you to send us proposals for papers, panels, artistic interventions that look at any of these (or other) topics from your perspective. We also ask you to share our Call for Papers with others interested, colleagues, artists, journalists, activists. We will (within limits) be able to help with travel expenses. The deadline for all proposals is: 30 November 2020.

7 October 2020

“Eurocentrism”: a problematic term…

If jazz was a gift to the world, as is often said, and if the music literally demands of anybody playing it to “play themselves”, i.e. to add their own cultural influences to the idiom, how does such a mix of information, attitudes and approaches influence the discourse about the music? If jazz still functions as a tool for identification within the African American (arts) community, how do we deal with the fact that the music has become part of a global music industry, less controlled by community than commercial ideals, or with the fact that jazz has been adopted by many national or regional scenes around the world as a valid idiom for the local artists’ expressive needs? “Eurocentrism” is a loaded term, often linked to cultural dominance and a colonialist past. Is it possible to talk about it more neutrally, as an account of reality, of an artistic discourse that jazz has been part of since the early 20th century, not as a moral but a descriptive instance?

— Call for papers —

Those are questions we will ask at the 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum conference, to be held 30 September – 2 October 2021. We invite you to send us proposals for papers, panels, artistic interventions that look at any of these (or other) topics from your perspective. We also ask you to share our Call for Papers with others interested, colleagues, artists, journalists, activists. We will (within limits) be able to help with travel expenses. The deadline for all proposals is: 30 November 2020


21 October 2020:

Musical Gentrification

Kai Bartol writes about “musical gentrification” in The Michigan Daily, asking how jazz became popular with a white audience in the US while at the same time the musical innovators were never granted a proper place in their society. He talks to cultural historian Ed Sarath about differences in the reception of Black music depending on whether one is part of the African American community or not. “The Eurocentric framework”, says Sarath, “that governs how music is taught in schools works to whitewash Black music and separates it from its Black roots.”

Food for thought, and another aspect of the topic of the 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum conference, to be held 30 September – 2 October 2021. (More aspects from quite different perspectives were mentioned in our last newsletters, and you can find them all on the Jazzforum’s webpage linked to below.) We invite you to send us proposals for papers, panels, artistic interventions that look at any of these (or other) topics from your perspective. We also ask you to share our Call for Papers with others interested, colleagues, artists, journalists, activists. We will (within limits) be able to help with travel expenses. The deadline for all proposals is: 30 November 2020.


4 November 2020:

“Decolonization”

Due to Covid-19 the 2020 Summer Courses for Contemporary Music (Ferienkurse für Neue Musik) in Darmstadt had to be canceled (postponed until next year), but our colleagues have started a podcast series of dialogues between artists about a variety of subjects. The latest of them has the Chinese-born composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and performer Du Yun converse with the composer Raven Chacon about their joined opera production “Sweet Land”, but also about current discussions on “decolonizing” contemporary music a term Chacon calls “overused” in conferences or concert series because the topic is much more complex. He argues that “an indigenous artist or a minoritized artist does not want to be the text book to a group of people about their own history. What would be interesting or what could be appealing is, if one gets asked: Well, tell us your thoughts on time, tell us your thoughts on spacialization of  sound, or tell us your thoughts on audible sounds, or tell us your thoughts on … whatever: frequency, light, universe” [from 49:08], to which Du Yun replies that many of these factors are still being looked upon from a Eurocentric perspective, but they who come from other traditions might not see it that way (Ferienkurse Darmstadt). All of which is a call for respect to other views of the world, a respect that should be reflected in the words we use as well, or at least in an awareness for how we use words and how they are or could be understood.

Food for thought, and another aspect of the topic of the 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum conference, to be held 30 September – 2 October 2021. (More aspects from quite different perspectives were mentioned in our last newsletters, and you can find them all on the Jazzforum’s webpage linked to below.) We invite you to send us proposals for papers, panels, artistic interventions that look at any of these (or other) topics from your perspective. We also ask you to share our Call for Papers with others interested, colleagues, artists, journalists, activists. We will (within limits) be able to help with travel expenses. The deadline for all proposals is: 30 November 2020.


18. November 2020:

“Afro Modernism in Contemporary Music”

The Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern organized a symposium about “Afro-Modernism in Contemporary Music” which focused on contemporary composition. However, as that field is currently being redefined itself (as are other genres, including jazz), the conference made a lot of points that might be relevant for the Darmstadt Jazzforum as well, planned for October 2021.

The participants, among them the symposium’s initiator George E. Lewis in conversation with Harald Kisiedu, talked about the fact that just because a certain repertoire of music is not being heard, programmed, or curated doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Another aspect discussed was the labeling of music which usually tends to be exclusive, or as one of the commentators in the live-chat summarized:  “The obsession with definition is an attempt to control and erase.” And yet, George Lewis explains that he continues to use a label such as “contemporary classical music”, however he will not accept that this term is only applied to a pan-European music idea. Realizing faults at programming, he suggests, can be a chance, an opportunity to get to know other music, composers or musicians, other perspectives. The Frankfurt symposium can be re-viewed online (Ensemble Modern).

During the summer, George E. Lewis also took part in a panel about “Decolonizing the Curating Discourse in Europe”, and in his opening statement he summarizes possible steps for opening up the concert and festival repertoire, emphasizing that the mental envelop of what he calls creolization might “allow contemporary music to move beyond its Eurocentric conception of musical identities towards becoming a true world music, and by Eurocentric I don’t mean ‘Eurological’ [a term coined by Lewis himself and juxtaposed to ‘afrological’] (…) The Eurocological could become a part of decolonization; Eurocentric: never. Simplistic, hegemonic, closed, and ethnically essentialist” (21:05-20:40). (Academy of Arts, complete statement from 5:30 to 23:30).

Again, watching these panels, we realize how many of such aspects might be discussed at the 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum conference as well, to be held 30 September – 2 October 2021. (Other aspects from quite different perspectives were mentioned in our last newsletters, and you can find them all on the Jazzforum’s webpage linked to below.) We invite you to send us proposals for papers, panels, artistic interventions that look at any of these (or other) topics from your perspective. We also ask you to share our Call for Papers with others interested, colleagues, artists, journalists, activists. We will (within limits) be able to help with travel expenses. The current deadline for all proposals is: 30 November 2020; there may be an extension to the deadline until the end of the year; we will report about that in our next newsletter.


2. December 2020
What about cultural appropriation?

In a recent article the German journalist Georg Spindler argues that “music does not belong to anybody, it is free” (Mannheimer Morgen). Cultural appropriation, he writes, can also be understood as progress, for which argument he cites examples from classical music to jazz. He then focuses on debates in the USA about “whites” having taken “everything but the burden” from the Black community (quoting a book title by writer Greg Tate). Using music from other cultures as a starting point for the creative process is not plagiarism, though, says Spindler, but a usual cultural practice. One aspect Spindler neglects in his argument is that any material “borrowed” from other cultures should always be used with respect to their origin, and that once we use material from other cultures, it will automatically mix with our own aesthetic approach, thus, we should be aware that our growing familiarity with such material might make us transfer our own aesthetic values back to the source material and its culture.

… which is another aspect of what might be discussed at the 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum conference, to be held 30 September – 2 October 2021. (Further aspects from quite different perspectives were mentioned in our last newsletters, and you can find them all on the Jazzforum’s webpage linked to below.) We invite you to send us proposals for papers, panels, artistic interventions that look at any of these (or other) topics from your perspective. We also ask you to share our Call for Papers with others interested, colleagues, artists, journalists, activists. We will (within limits) be able to help with travel expenses. We just extended the deadline for proposals until: 31 December 2020.

Calender of jazz events in Darmstadt

Every other month we publish a compilation of upcoming concerts in Darmstadt. Main venues for jazz music in Darmstadt are formost the Centralstation, the cultural center Bessunger Knabenschule, the Jazzclub Darmstadt (Achteckiges Haus) and the cellar underneath the Jazzinstitut. Eventually, The Darmstädter Jazzkalender can be taken away for free at over 100 distribution points all over the city. But, due to the current COVID-19-pandemic, which causes less live-concert activities, the programme can only be dowloaded as a pdf-file.

Download Darmstadt jazz program for September and ongoing

 

R.I.P. Jürgen Wuchner

Jürgen Wuchner (Foto: Wilfried Heckmann)
Jürgen Wuchner (Foto: Wilfried Heckmann)

We mourn the passing of a major German musician, the center of the Darmstadt jazz scene, the initiator and artistic director of our annual workshop since 29 years, a close friend, colleague and corrective to our daily work. Jürgen Wuchner, whose name seems synonymous with jazz in or from Darmstadt, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday, 1 May 2020, at the age of 72.

Wuchner who had studied double bass at our local Akademie für Tonkunst, has been an active part of the Rhein-Main jazz scene since the 1960s. He collaborated with Hans Koller, Heinz Sauer, Herbert Joos, Günter Klatt, the Vienna Art Ensemble and numerous other artists, but also led his own projects from bass-focused ensembles like The Bassic Trio and several quartets through the larger United Colors of Bessungen ensemble bringing together his friends and colleagues from the region.

Wuchner’s bass playing used bluesy undertones inspired by Charles Mingus, but also experimental sounds informed by extended techniques which he regularly studied during concerts at the Darmstadt Summer Courses for Contemporary Music. His compositions were catchy; his inspirations, especially classical music, Ellington, Mingus and his years spent in Dakar, Senegal, always received a specific Wuchnerian treatment. Jürgen had been one of the most inspiring teachers we have ever encountered, encouraging literally everybody to take up, use, and play their instrument, no matter how much experience they had. He was convinced that one of the qualifications of jazzmen or women is to use the voices of musicians in a workshop ensemble, no matter how professional they sound, and create enthralling music with them. The final concert of the participants of our annual Jazz Conceptions workshop proved him right every year: Those moments when musicians of all levels of musicianship surpassed themselves were marveled at not only by the audience but also by the workshop’s teachers.

For Jürgen jazz and improvised music offered qualities of respect and understanding which went far beyond the musical. His own music, his own teachings, his general stance on the arts and on society set an example. Jürgen Wuchner was a unifying figure, not just of the Darmstadt jazz scene but far beyond. He was an artist respected by everybody in our city, beloved by his fans but also by many who probably had little idea what his music was all about. When you met him you knew that he loved people. He was authentic with every word he said, with every note he played.

We are devastated.

POSITIONEN! Jazz und Politik

Jazz was often seen as a music of resistance, however with its increasing institutionalization some of this political awareness seems to have vanished. It feels as if musicians are more interested in tackling the technical and aesthetic sides of the music while the audience sits back and compares what it hears with what it knows instead of focusing on the unknown, unexpected and perhaps a bit more complex gaze ahead.

Thus, while in the United States, the birthplace of Jazz, many current projects, be it by Vijay Iyer or Kamasi Washington, sport a political note, musicians in Europe seem to be content with jazz being appreciated as art music. However, at a time when all over Europe the social and political achievements of the past decades are being pushed back by new populist movements, all forms of art must face questions of social responsibility again, whether it’s a more conscious position towards climate change, poverty, education, and a global understanding of humanity, whether it’s advocating human dignity on all levels, or taking a clear stance against sexism, racism and any other kind of exclusion: “Diversity”, says Kamasi Washington, “should not be tolerated, it should be celebrated.”

Where, then, do we find such celebration of diversity within contemporary European jazz? How strong is the awareness of musicians for their own political and social responsibility? And why is it that in jazz, the genre with the deepest history of resistance, singing of political justice seems to be looked down upon?

At the 16th Darmstadt Jazzforum we want to ask such questions, in papers, panels, concert lectures, a workshop, an exhibition as well as an ensuing book documentation. We do not think that jazz needs to be converted. Not everything has to be political first. However, as everything will have a political aspect in 2019 as well, we want to talk to musicians, experts, scholars and others about why jazz with its ever-present history of resistance, with improvisation’s seismographic ability to capture present-time discourses, should take a first seat within the canon of contemporary music.

The conference part of the Darmstadt Jazzforum will take place from 3-6 October 2019 at Literaturhaus Darmstadt. It will be flanked by concerts, an exhibition and workshops at other venues and thus involve the whole city in our discourse about the political in jazz.

[to be continued soon]

The 16th Darmstadt Jazzforum is funded by the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts and the City of Darmstadt – City of Science and Culture

[The rest of this page is in German as that will also be the language of the conference.]

— — —

Programm (Stand: 29. Juli 2019)
“POSITIONEN! Jazz und Politik”

Donnerstag, 3. Oktober 2019

AUSSTELLUNG (ab 3. Oktober)

Vortragssaal im Literaturhaus + Galerie im Jazzinstitut Darmstadt

Alles wird gut gegangen sein werden – die Ausstellung

Im Künstlerkollektiv BRIGADE FUTUR III haben sich Benjamin Weidekamp, Elia Rediger, Jérôme Bugnon und Michael Haves zusammengetan, um zu Fragen und Herausforderungen unserer Zeit künstlerisch Stellung zu beziehen. Dabei reflektieren sie nichts Geringeres als den Zustand der Welt, die Auswüchse des Kapitalismus und vor allem auch die Möglichkeiten jedes einzelnen, sich in den Diskurs einzubringen.

Als Musiker transportieren sie ihr politisches Statement im Sinne von Brecht und Weill in vielen Konzerten und Bühnenprojekten, oft zusammen mit anderen Musikern und Künstlern wie der Spielvereinigung Sued aus Leipzig.

Auf Einladung des Jazzinstituts Darmstadt hat sich die BRIGADE FUTUR III der Aufgabe gestellt, ihre Ideen im Rahmen dieser Ausstellung für das 16. Darmstädter Jazzforum “Jazz und Politik” umzusetzen.

Alles wird gut gegangen sein werden… aber wie nur? Wie kann man für ein positives Zukunftsbild einstehen, dessen Voraussetzungen in der Zukunft erst “geschaffen zu sein werden haben?” Die Idee des fiktionalen Futur III war geboren, mit dem die Künstler einen kategorischen Handlungsimperativ verbinden, um ein positives gesellschaftliches Narrativ zu entwerfen, für das es sich zu leben lohnt.

Auf der Basis ihres “Kampfalphabets”, in dem Schrecken unseres gesellschaftlichen Systems mit Alternativen kontrastiert werden, verfolgen sie ihren konzeptionellen Kunstansatz mit Sendungsbewusstsein.

“Die verheerenden Auswirkungen des Raubtierkapitalismus auf die Welt werden immer deutlicher und es ist klar, dass es so nicht mehr weiter gehen kann.” BRIGADE FUTUR III

(wegen der Konferenz im Jazzinstitut Darmstadt öffentlich erst ab 7.10. zu sehen) 


KONFERENZ (Literaturhaus)

14:00 Uhr
Eröffnung

14:15 Uhr
Stephan Braese, Aachen
Stammheim war nie Attica. Zur politischen Widerständigkeit des Jazz in Deutschland seit 1945

Ungeachtet des eminenten Einflusses, den die US-amerikanischen Entwicklungen stets hatten, standen die Entfaltung, aber auch die politischen Wirkungschancen des Jazz in Deutschland stets unter spezifischen Bedingungen. Ausgehend von der (Wieder-)Einführung des Jazz 1945, skizziert der Vortrag einige dieser Bedingungen, zu denen die ethnische Homogenität der deutschen Bevölkerung, der Kampf um die Legitimität des Jazz, ein spezifisch europäischer Kunstbegriff, die (west-)deutsche Interpretation der antiautoritären Bewegung 1966 ff. u.a. gehören. Die Ausführungen stellen die Frage danach, ob und inwieweit diese in den Gründungsjahrzehnten des deutschen Jazz angelegten Dispositive auch im heutigen Verhältnis zwischen Jazz und Politik noch zu erkennen und wirksam sind.

Stephan Braese (geb. 1961) studierte Germanistik, Geschichte und Erziehungswissenschaft in Hamburg. Seit 2009 ist er Ludwig Strauss-Professor für europäisch-jüdische Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte an der RWTH Aachen University. Einschlägige Veröffentlichungen u.a.: “Identifying the Impulse: Alfred Lion Founds the Blue Note Jazz Label”, in Eckart Goebel and Sigrid Weigel (ed.): “Escape to Life” – German Intellectuals in New York: A Compendium of Exile after 1933 (Berlin/ Boston: de Gruyter, 2013): 270-287; “‘kenny clarke im club st-germain-des-prés’ – Zu einem Satz von Alfred Andersch”, in Corina Caduff, Anne-Kathrin-Reulecke, Ulrike Vedder (ed.): Passionen – Objekte/ Schauplätze/ Denkstile (München: Wilhelm Fink 2010): 309-316.

15:15 Uhr

Henning Vetter, Osnabrück
Jazz als politische Musik? Über die Selbstbestimmung des Künstlers über die Rezeption und Deutungshoheit seines Werkes

Spricht man über Politik in Verbindung mit Jazz, so impliziert diese Zusammenführung eine Positionierung des Künstlers und des Publikums gleichermaßen. Doch wie kann eine an sich abstrakte Musik Haltung zeigen, Aussagen treffen? Und: welche Aussagen kann sie überhaupt treffen? Der Vortrag nähert sich diesen Fragestellungen von einer praktischen Seite am Beispiel des Kollektivs “The Dorf”. Dabei geht es auch darum, wer bestimmt, wie die Musik aufgenommen wird und ob die Intention des Künstlers bezüglich der Bedeutung seines eigenen Werkes nicht sogar überflüssig sein kann.

Henning Vetter studierte Musikwissenschaft und Medienkulturwissenschaft an der Universität zu Köln. Seine Abschlussarbeit widmete er dem Bassisten Charles Mingus im Hinblick auf die politische Wirkung dessen musikalischen Werkes. Von 2017 bis 2019 studierte Henning Vetter am Institut für Musik der Hochschule Osnabrück Saxophon und gründete vor drei Jahren gemeinsam mit Freunden in Köln das PAO-Kollektiv für experimentelle und improvisierte Musik.

16:15 Uhr
Nina Polaschegg, Wien
Sind frei Improvisierende die besseren Demokraten?

Gerne werden Jazz und frei improvisierte Musik als demokratisches Gesellschaftsmodell einem hierarchisch aufgebauten Orchesterapparat gegenüber gestellt. Und ein Streichquartett, wo stünde dann dieses? Ob und wieweit solche Modelle tragfähig sind und inwieweit hier Wunsch und Wirklichkeit auseinander klaffen ist eine der Fragen, denen in diesem Vortrag nachgegangen wird. Um in einem Zeitraffer und knappen Rückblick in die Anfänge des Free Jazz politisch motivierte freie Musik im Hier & Jetzt zu beleuchten und dabei auch einen Blick in die Welt der komponierten zeitgenössischen Musik zu werfen. 

Nina Polaschegg studierte Musikwissenschaften, Soziologie und Philosophie in Giessen und Hamburg wo sie auch promovierte. Ihre Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen im Bereich der zeitgenössischen komponierten, improvisierten und elektronischen Musik sowie im zeitgenössischen Jazz und Musiksoziologie. Sie lebt als Musikwissenschaftlerin, Musikpublizistin, Moderatorin und Kontrabassistin in Wien, arbeitet für diverse öffentlich-rechtliche Rundfunkanstalten in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz und schreibt für verschiedene Fachzeitschriften. Hatte Lehraufträge an den Musikhochschulen bzw. Universitäten Hamburg und Klagenfurt. Als Kontrabassistin spielte sie historisch informiert in  Barockorchestern und widmet sich v.a. der (freien) Improvisation.

17:15 (bis 17:45) Uhr
Benjamin Weidekamp + Michael Haves, Berlin
Alles wird gut gegangen sein werden – Der Talk

Benjamin Weidekamp und Michael Alves sind Mitglieder der  Brigade Futur III, die beim Darmstädter Jazzforum nicht nur musikalisch aktiv werden (zusammen mit der Spielvereinigung Sued am Samstagabend), sondern auch eine Ausstellung in den Räumen des Jazzinstituts und des Literaturhauses Darmstadt zeigen, in der sie den künstlerischen Prozess ihrer kreativen (und immer auch politischen / gesellschaftlichen) Arbeit beleuchten. Darum geht es auch bei ihrem gemeinsamen Vortrag im Konferenzteil des Jazzforums, in dem sie über die Diskussionen um ihre Darmstädter Beiträge berichten werden.

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Freitag, 4. Oktober 2019

AUSSTELLUNG (ab 3. Oktober)

Vortragssaal im Literaturhaus + Galerie im Jazzinstitut Darmstadt
Alles wird gut gegangen sein werden – die Ausstellung
(wegen der Konferenz im Jazzinstitut Darmstadt öffentlich erst ab 7.10. zu sehen)

KONFERENZ (Literaturhaus)

9:30 Uhr
Wolfram Knauer, Darmstadt
Jazz und Politik – politischer Jazz? Eine bundesdeutsche Perspektive

Wer in diesen Zeiten nicht politisch denkt und handelt, hat ein Problem: Die Krisen, von denen wir von allen Seiten bedrängt werden, fordern doch nachgerade Position zu beziehen. Anhand konkreter Beispiele diskutiert Wolfram Knauer die durchaus unterschiedlichen Erwartungshaltungen an die gesellschaftliche Relevanz von Musik. So fragt er beispielsweise, inwieweit wir uns nicht selbst belügen, wenn wir der Musik außermusikalische Kompetenz zusprechen und sie nach dieser bemessen. Zugleich hinterfragt er aber auch, inwieweit Musik unpolitisch sein kann oder sollte. Tun wir Musik nicht unrecht, wenn wir in ihr die Utopie suchen, die uns in unserem eigenen Handeln fehlt?

Wolfram Knauer ist Musikwissenschaftler und seit seiner Gründung Direktor des Jazzinstituts Darmstadt. Er lehrte an mehreren Universitäten und war als erster Nichtamerikaner Louis Armstrong Professor of Jazz Studies an der Columbia University. Er ist Herausgeber der Darmstädter Beiträge zur Jazzforschung und Autor zahlreicher wissenschaftlicher Beiträge in Büchern und Fachzeitschriften. Bei Reclam erschienen seine Bücher Louis Armstrong (2010), Charlie Parker (2014) und Duke Ellington (2017) sowie jüngst “Play yourself, man!” Die Geschichte des Jazz in Deutschland (2019).

Mario Dunkel, Oldenburg
Afrodiasporische Musik und Populismus in Europa

Dass populäre Musik und Jazz der Verhandlung von Identitätskonzepten dienen, ist keine neue Erkenntnis. Kategorien wie Nation, race, Ethnizität, Gender und Klasse sind seit den Anfängen des Jazz wichtige Diskursfelder, in denen die Musik verortet und verstanden wird. Die Beziehung zwischen Gruppenidentität und Musik ist insbesondere in der Interaktion zwischen aktueller populärer Musik und zeitgenössischen politischen Bewegungen signifikant. So greift die Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) auf Demonstrationen beispielsweise nicht nur auf deutschsprachige Volksmusik und Richard Wagners Walkürenritt zurück, sondern sie setzt auch populäre Musik mit eindeutigen afrodiasporischen Bezügen ein, wenn etwa Xavier Naidoos “Raus aus dem Reichstag” eine Demonstration gegen den Bau einer Moschee in Rostock musikalisch begleitet. Dieser Beitrag geht solchen Aneignungsstrategien von afrodiasporischen Musiken in gegenwärtigen politischen Bewegungen nach. Welche Funktion hat die Verwendung afrodiasporischer Musiken in diesen politischen Bewegungen in Europa? Warum wird die Verwendung afrodiasporischer Musiken in diesen Zusammenhängen nicht als widersprüchlich empfunden, wo sie doch die Forderung nach kultureller Homogenität zu karikieren scheint? Inwiefern kann die Aneignung afrodiasporischer Musiken als Bestandteil aktueller Identitätspolitiken in Europa verstanden werden?

Mario Dunkel studierte in Dortmund, Atlanta und New York Musik, Englisch und Amerikanistik. 2014 promovierte er mit einer Dissertation zu Darstellungen von Jazzgeschichte an der TU Dortmund. Er ist zurzeit Juniorprofessor für Musikpädagogik am Institut für Musik der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg. Zu seinen Forschungsschwerpunkten zählen Konstruktionen und Darstellungen von Jazzgeschichte, Musik und Politik sowie transkulturelle Musikpädagogik. Zurzeit leitet er das internationale Forschungsprojekt „Popular Music and the Rise of Populism in Europe“ (2019-2022).

11:30 Uhr
Martin Pfleiderer, Weimar
“… an outstanding artistic model of democratic cooperation”? Zur Interaktion im Jazz

Glaubt man der Resolution des US-Kongresses aus dem Jahre 1987, so ist Jazz ein herausragendes künstlerisches Modell demokratischer Kooperation. Denn im Jazz, so die verbreitete Vorstellung, halten sich Gruppeninteraktion und individueller Ausdruck die Waage, und in seinen klanglichen Strukturen lassen sich die Prozesse gleichberechtigter Interaktion und Kooperation auch für Außenstehende nachvollziehen. Diese Vorstellungen sollen im Vortrag kritisch hinterfragt werden. Wie geht der interaktive Schaffensprozess im Jazz tatsächlich vonstatten? Welchen Stellenwert haben dabei einerseits körperliche Synchronisierungsprozesse zwischen den MusikerInnen, andererseits explizite Signale und Absprachen? Wird eine gleichberechtigte Interaktion nur inszeniert und auf der Bühne dargestellt, oder ist sie real und hat reale Konsequenzen? Welche Rolle spielen hierarchische Strukturen, Führerschaft und Autorität innerhalb von Jazzbands? Kann schon allein im Prozess des interaktiv-improvisatorischen Musikmachens ein politischer oder sogar utopischer Gehalt aufscheinen oder sind dafür zusätzlich bestimmte Symbole oder Musiker-Statements erforderlich? Neben musiksoziologischen und musikanalytischen Zugängen sollen zur Klärung dieser Fragen auch neuere Ansätze der ›embodied music interaction‹ und der Diskussion um musikalische ›agency‹ herangezogen werden.

Martin Pfleiderer (Jg. 1967) studierte Musikwissenschaft, Philosophie und Soziologie in Gießen und war 1999-2005 wissenschaftlicher Assistent für Systematische Musikwissenschaft an der Uni Hamburg. Seit 2009 ist er Professor für Geschichte des Jazz und der populären Musik am Institut für Musikwissenschaft Weimar-Jena. Er hat zahlreiche Aufsätze zum Jazz veröffentlicht und ist darüber hinaus leidenschaftlicher Jazzsaxophonist.

14:00 Uhr
Panel mit Nadin Deventer, Berlin | Tina Heine, Salzburg | Lena Jeckel, Gütersloh | Ulrich Stock, Hamburg
Veranstalter/innen: die Influencer des Jazz?

In diesem Panel wollen wir über die Strukturzwänge sprechen, in denen insbesondere große Jazzevents organisiert und wahrgenommen werden. Welche Aufgabe haben Kurator/innen über das reine Programmieren hinaus? Wie können Festivals oder Konzertreihen nachhaltig wirken, eine regionale Szene einbinden und zugleich im internationalen Diskurs des Jazz wahrgenommen werden? Welche Auswirkungen haben programmatische Entscheidungen auf die Diskussion innerhalb der gesamten bundesdeutschen Szene? Oder, und damit deutlicher auf unser Konferenzthema bezogen: Wie gehen Programmverantwortliche auf gesellschafts- und kulturpolitische Diskurse ein? Wollen sie das überhaupt oder müssen sie gegebenenfalls auf gesamtgesellschaftlich diskutierte Themen reagieren? Wie schließlich spiegeln sich ihre Programmentscheidungen in der öffentlichen Wahrnehmung wieder? Mit Tina Heine, Lena Jeckel und Nadin Deventer haben wir drei Programmverantwortliche auf dem Podium, die aus eigener Erfahrung über das Machbare genauso wie über das Wünschenswerte berichten können. Mit Ulrich Stock ist zudem ein Journalist dabei, der immer wieder über die Reaktion der Jazzszene auf aktuelle Fragen berichtet und die verschiedenen Orte erkundet, an denen diese gesellschaftlich-musikalische Auseinandersetzung zu erleben ist.

15:30 Uhr
Nikolaus Neuser + Florian Juncker, Berlin
“Occupied Reading”: Musikalische Intervention

Wie verändert die Lektüre politischer, ästhetischer oder sonstiger Texte die Wahrnehmung von Musik? Wie verändert Musik die Lektüre politischer, ästhetischer oder anderer Texte? Nikolaus Neuser und Florian Juncker machen die Probe aufs Exempel, und wir erfahren: Musik verändert das Denken, aber das Denken verändert auch die musikalische Wahrnehmung. Welchen Diskurs lassen solche intermedialen Erfahrungen entstehen? Und was lehren sie uns letzten Endes über den tatsächlichen Einfluss von Musik (oder Kunst im Allgemeinen) auf unser gesellschaftliches Denken und Handeln?

16:00 Uhr
Hans Lüdemann
“Beyond the underdog”. Gesellschaftliche und politische Positionierung eines deutschen Jazzmusikers heute (Vortrag live am Klavier / Lecture-Performance)

Hans Lüdemann erzählt, warum die politische Einstellung für ihn eine der wichtigen Motivationen war, überhaupt Jazzmusiker zu werden. Er fragt, welche Bedeutung eine politische Haltung in Bezug auf den Jazz heute hat, wie und worin sie sich ausdrücken kann. Am Klavier erklingen politisch gefärbte und gedeutete Musikstücke und es wird den Widersprüchen nachgespürt, die sich zwischen politischer Haltung und Botschaft einerseits und der abstrakten Welt der Töne andererseits auftun können. Aber auch die Positionierung und Behauptung des Musikers in der gesellschaftlichen Realität zwischen Kunst, Kommerz, Kulturförderung und Kapitalismus wird dabei mit ins Bild gerückt.

Hans Lüdemann ist Jazzpianist und Komponist. Er hat mit deutschen und internationalen Größen zusammengearbeitet wie Eberhard Weber, Heinz Sauer, Manfred Schoof, Angelika Niescier, Jan Garbarek und Paul Bley. Im Zentrum seiner Arbeit stehen jedoch eigene Projekte: er spielt Solokonzerte, zuletzt 2018 in China, im Trio ROOMS, arbeitet seit 20 Jahren mit dem afrikanischen Balaphon-Meister Aly Keita im TRIO IVOIRE zusammen und leitet das deutsch-französische Oktett „TransEuropeExpress“. Er erweitert das Klavier mit Samples in mikrotonale Bereiche, was in dem neuen Quartett mikroPULS mit Gebhard Ullmann, Oliver Potratz und Eric Schaefer besonders zur Geltung kommt. Hans Lüdemann hat über 30 Alben bei renommierten Labels veröffentlicht. Seine bisher umfangreichste Produktion, die CD – Box„die kunst des trios“, wurde 2013 mit dem „Echo Jazz“ ausgezeichnet. Lüdemann war von 1993 – 2008 Dozent für Jazz-Klavier und – Ensemble an der Musikhochschule Köln, 2009/2010 und 2015/16 Cornell Visiting Professor am Swarthmore College in Philadelphia/USA.

KONZERT (Centralstation Darmstadt)
20:00 Uhr

Anarchist Republic of Bzzz (FR/NL/TR/USA)

Seb El Zin, in Paris lebender Sänger der Ethno-Punk-Band ITHAK, gründete diese etwas andere Supergroup – musikalisch zwischen Impro-Avantgarde, Worldmusic und Slampoetry. Mehr Informationen zum Konzert

Das Konzert wird präsentiert von

Collage: Kiki Picasso©

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Samstag, 5. Oktober 2019

AUSSTELLUNG (ab 3. Oktober)

Vortragssaal im Literaturhaus + Galerie im Jazzinstitut Darmstadt
Alles wird gut gegangen sein werden – die Ausstellung
(wegen der Konferenz im Jazzinstitut Darmstadt öffentlich erst ab 7.10. zu sehen)

KONFERENZ (Literaturhaus)

9:30 Uhr
Nikolaus Neuser, Berlin
Jazz und improvisierte Musik als soziales Rollenmodell?

Wir sind heute täglich in immer komplexere Zusammenhänge eingebunden, auf die wir in immer schnelleren Rückkopplungen reagieren müssen. Durch die Digitalisierung befinden wir uns sowohl technologisch als auch in unserer Kommunikation und Diskursfähigkeit in erheblichen Umbrüchen. Welche Kompetenzen und Modelle zukünftigen Miteinanders liefert uns die Kulturtechnik der Improvisation vor diesem Hintergrund? Nikolaus Neuser beleuchtet diese Fragestellung auch aus der konkreten Perspektive seiner kulturpolitischen Arbeit.

Nikolaus Neuser studierte an der Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen Trompete bei Uli Beckerhoff. Aktuell interpretiert er mit dem Trio I Am Three unkonventionell  besetzt die Musik von Charles Mingus. 2016 legte das Trio das international vielbeachtete Album Mingus Mingus Mingus (Leo Records) vor (Jahresbestenliste Downbeat Magazin, All about Jazz, NYC Jazz Records uva.). Er arbeitet außerdem im Trio mit Richard Scott und Alexander Frangenheim an elekroakkustischer improvisierter Musik und ist u.a. Mitglied der Ensembles Potsa Lotsa, Andreas Willers´ 7 of 8, des Hannes Zerbe Jazz Orchesters und des Berlin Improvisers Orchestra. Nikolaus Neuser hat mit Matthew Herbert, Matana Roberts, Tyshawn Sorey, Nate Wooley, Maggie Nicols, Peter Fox, Seeed sowie dem London Improvisers Orchestra u.v.a gearbeitet und ist auf über 50 CDs zu hören. Konzertreisen u.a. auf Einladung des Goethe Instituts führten ihn durch Europa, Asien, Nordafrika, die USA, in den Libanon, Jordanien, Saudi-Arabien sowie nach Kolumbien, wo er als Gastprofessor an der Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá lehrte.

10:30 Uhr
Michael Rüsenberg, Köln
“Jazz ist stets politisch.” Stimmt diese Aussage von Mark Turner? Und, hört man sie in seiner Musik?

Im November 2016 (Donald Trump ist gerade gewählt), vermutet der amerikanische Saxophonist Mark Turner im Gespräch mit der NZZ, “dass es wieder zu einer Politisierung der Kunst kommen wird.” Das ist eine Überzeugung, die wie unter einem Brennglas den zentralen Inhalt des Politikverständisses weiter Teile der Jazzszene wiedergibt (s. Titel). “Allein schon der Entscheid, als Jazzmusiker zu leben, ist ein politisches Statement. Denn man entscheidet sich damit für Freiheit, für Emanzipation und gegen den Primat des materiellen Erfolgs” (Turner). Michael Rüsenberg unterzieht diese Position einer grundsätzlichen Kritik.

Michael Rüsenberg, geb 1948, Journalist, Buchautor, Gastgeber der philosophischen Gesprächsreihe “Gedankensprünge” in Bann. Adolf-Grimme-Preis 1989, WDR Jazzpreis 2015. Buchprojekt “Improvisation – ein Prinzip des Lebens” (in Vorbereitung)

11:30 Uhr
Thomas Krüger, Berlin

Der Beitrag von Kunst und Kultur, insbesondere des Jazz, für aktuelle gesellschaftspolitische Diskurse

In meinem Beitrag würde ich zunächst auf die Debatte um die Kulturalisierung des Politischen eingehen und aktuelle Tendenzen politischer Verschiebungen aufzeigen. Ich werde die kreative wie auch die rezeptive Seite von kulturellen Artefakten beleuchten und nach dem Politischen in der Ästhetik fragen. Und danach, was der Jazz, insbesondere der frei improvisierende Jazz in diesem Zusammenhang für ein Potential hat.

Thomas Krüger ist seit 2000 Präsident der Bundeszentrale für politischen Bildung. Seit 1995 ist er Präsident des Deutschen Kinderhilfswerkes. Außerdem ist er zweiter stellvertretender Vorsitzender der Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz und Mitglied des Kuratoriums für den Geschichtswettbewerb des Bundespräsidenten. 1991 bis 1994 war er Senator für Jugend und Familie in Berlin, 1994 bis 1998 Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages.

14:00 Uhr
Angelika Niescier + Tim Isfort + Victoriah Szirmai + Korhan Erel
… im Ohr des Betrachters
(Lecture-Performance)

Der Ton: ein physikalisches Ereignis, ohne ästhetische noch politische Intention.
In der Wahrnehmung der Rezipienten wird „der Ton“ aber sofort kontextualisiert – eine essentielle Projektionsfläche für tatsächliche und irreale Intentionen, Botschaften und Diskursangebote. In dieser Lecture Performance mit Musiker*innen, Kurator*innen und Jornalist*innen werden unterschiedliche  Perspektiven des Themenclusters untersucht, um Überschneidungen, Unterschiede und mögliche Kontroversen zu verdeutlichen und um sich in der Diskussion dem Intendierten, Verstandenen und Missverstandenen und dem Phänomen des “Politischen” in der Musik zu nähern.

16:30 Uhr (programmkinorex Darmstadt)
Atef Ben Bouzid, Berlin

Cairo Jazzman – The Groove of a Megacity

“Jazz is more than just a style of music”, sagt Amr Salah. “It’s about freedom.” Salah, ägyptischer Pianist und Komponist, kämpft seit 2009 jedes Jahr darum, das Cairo Jazz Festival zu realisieren. Jazz ist zu seinem Lebensinhalt geworden, weil diese Musik in seinen Augen völkerverbindend ist und speziell der Jugend ein Sprachrohr gibt. Für Amr Salah handelt es sich um einen vielfältigen Musikstil, der damit auch für Liberalität und Offenheit einer Gesellschaft steht, für die es sich zu kämpfen lohnt. Atif Ben Bouzids Film über das Cairo Jazz Festival gibt ungewohnte und vielschichtige Einblicke in das Leben der Zivilgesellschaft in der Megacity Kairo, eingebettet im Jazz als einer universellen, völkerverbindenden und horizonterweiternden Sprache.
Mehr Informationen zum Film

Nach der Filmvorführung gibt es ein Filmgespräch mit dem Regisseur über Jazz und zivilgesellschaftlicher Aktivismus in der arabischen Welt.

Atef Ben Bouzid ist ein deutscher Journalist, Regisseur und Produzent aus Berlin mit dem Fokus auf Sport, Musik und Gesellschaft. “Cairo Jazzman” ist sein Regiedebüt. “Cairo Jazzman” feierte die Weltpremiere beim International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017.

KONZERT (Kulturzentrum Bessunger Knabenschule)
20:00 Uhr

Brigade Futur III + Spielvereinigung Sued
Alles wird gut gegangen sein werden – Das Konzert

Nicht nur grammatikalische Formen lassen sich fiktiv erweitern, sondern auch fiktionale politische Programmatiken in musikalische Spielformen transferieren. Das zumindest beweist die Berliner Brigade Futur 3. Mehr Informationen zum Konzert

Das Konzert wird präsentiert von

Foto: Ebasi Rediger©

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ab Montag, 7. Oktober 2019

AUSSTELLUNG (ab 3. Oktober)

Vortragssaal im Literaturhaus + Galerie im Jazzinstitut Darmstadt
Alles wird gut gegangen sein werden – die Ausstellung
(wegen der Konferenz im Jazzinstitut Darmstadt öffentlich erst ab 7.10. zu sehen)

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Das 16. Darmstädter Jazzforum wird gefördert vom Hessischen Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, den Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain und der Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt. Wir danken für die freundliche Unterstützung durch die Sparkasse 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

2:00pm
Opening remarks

2:30pm
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).

3:30pm
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.

4:30pm
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

9:30am
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 http://www.mu-on.org for more information.

10:30am

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)

11:30am
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 (www.rhythmchanges.net), where he led a consortium of 13 researchers working across 7 Universities in 5 countries.

2:30pm

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.

3:30pm
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.

4:30pm
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

9:30am

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.

10:30am
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.

11:30am
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.

2:30pm
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.

3:30pm
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.

4:30pm
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.