Blue Note and More adds “Schwing” to the JazzFest Berlin ’09

10 November 2009

JazzFest Berlin ’09 culminated in a triumphant finish Sunday evening with John Scofield’s Piety Street Band and Booker T. in a fully sold-out hall. Other closing night highlights were the duo performance by jazz singer Sheila Jordan and Steve Kuhn at ‘Haus der Berliner Festspiele’ and Paolo Fresu (Blue Note Italy) late-night at club Quasimodo. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the legendary Blue Note jazz label, JazzFest director Nils Landgren had invited Blue Note artists from the USA, Europe, and Japan, thus paying homage to the label founders Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, both Jewish emigrants who left their native Berlin for the USA. More than 10.000 jeering jazz fans attended the 24 concerts of JazzFest Berlin ’09 and visited the exhibition “It must schwing,” featuring Blue Note photographs by Francis Wolff and Jimmy Katz at Jewish Museum Berlin. “70 years of Blue Note was not only celebrated enthusiastically by jazz fans,” commented Joachim Sartorius, artistic director of the Berliner Festspiele. “Bruce Lundvall and Michael Cuscuna, managing directors of the celebrated label, came to Berlin as well and attended many JazzFest concerts. Blue Note artists including legends such as Hank Jones and Curtis Fuller were guests in Berlin, performing for sell-out crowds. But young Blue Note label artists such as guitarist Lionel Loueke and pianist Aaron Parks also brought “schwing” to the festival and made a bit of Blue Note history at JazzFest Berlin. Moreover and besides these marvelous Blue Note acts, the artistic director Nils Landgren has succeeded again in presenting a great variety of jazz projects. What a captivating and intoxicating festival! I am all the more delighted that with the extension of my contract until 2011, Nils Landgren will remain in charge of the JazzFest for an additional year – we are looking forward to the next two years!” Other festival highlights included concerts with Terence Blanchard and his quintet, accompanied by Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg in lavishly orchestrated performances of “A Tale of God’s Will” and “A Blue Note Tribute to Horace Silver” with pianist Jacky Terrasson and the big band of NDR radio. Impressive throughout the festival were performances by this year’s pianists. Jason Moran with an outstanding performance in Dave Holland’s Overtone Quartet; Martin Tingvall from Sweden enchanted listeners with his trio at the A-Trane; Gwilym Simcock with Tim Garland’s Lighthouse Trio and Vijay Iyer with his trio at the Quasimodo made unforgettable appearances. Audiences responded with enthusiasm to newly added venues – Georg-Neumann-Hall at Jazz-Institute Berlin, and the Glass Courtyard of Jewish Museum Berlin. “The variegated character of this year's program, plus the Blue Note focus, will enrich ARD programming during the coming months,” said Arne Schumacher, spokesperson of the ARD Board. “We are delighted that Nils Landgren has extended his commitment as artistic director. We look forward to a productive continuation with him for the next enthralling years and vibrant festival programs.” Two entire festival evenings were broadcast live by the affiliated radio stations of the ARD, Deutschlandradio Kultur and the cultural program Ö1 of the Österreichischer Rundfunk. The festival as a whole – 24 concerts, including more than 40 hours of music – was recorded and will be broadcast during the coming months. Press office, November 9, 2009 Contact Patricia Hofmann Presse/ Press Office Berliner Festspiele Schaperstraße 24 10719 Berlin Tel +49 (0)30 254 89-223 Fax-155