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Artist Profiles

Julie Sassoon: Dancing in the Shadows

By Published: November 5, 2013
The move to Berlin has clearly been significant on so many levels but how does she find the jazz and improvisation scene in the city, as opposed to London?

"My experience has been very positive in Berlin. Ulli Blobel, obviously, has taken an interest in my work and has fully supported it ever since, as has RBB Kulturradio over here. They've broadcast several of my concerts. The main thing I notice about Berlin—as opposed to London—is the possibility to experiment and work on different concepts of improvisation or music in general with exceptionally good, like-minded musicians. At the moment, I play every week with a group of musicians, Kalle Mews on drums, Klaus Kuervers on bass with Lothar on reeds. Together we are improvising and exploring new ways of making music and discovering new sound worlds, which I find very exciting and interesting.

In fact, since living in Berlin I've worked in several musical collaborations—as well as doing my solo performances. I have played duo with Israeli singer Efrat Alony—we attempted to explore the 'Jewish essence' in our music and I'm also in a free improvising duo with the great saxophonist, Frank Paul Schubert
Frank Paul Schubert
Frank Paul Schubert
. Sometimes, we're joined by Austrian drummer, Rudi Fischerlehner. I also recently played the Peitz Jazz Festival with a quartet that included Lothar on clarinets, Swiss drummer Samuel Rohrer and Tom Arthurs on trumpet, which worked great musically. It took my compositions somewhere else. But the next musical project I want to concentrate on is a new duo with a wonderful Berlin-based percussionist, Nora Thiele. This felt instantly very natural for me, as her playing really enhances the percussive elements in my music—of which there are a lot—and I enjoy it very much."

London audiences will get to hear how Sassoon's music has developed firsthand in November when she plays the London Jazz Festival in November, supporting Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi
Enrico Pieranunzi
Enrico Pieranunzi
at the Bishopgate Institute. Fans will hear how the move to Berlin has clearly benefited her a great deal, in all respects. Her engagement with the Berlin scene promises much for the future. Her work has always had its own sense of the profound, a feeling of wonder perhaps. But now with Land of Shadows, it has a capacity to speak beyond the personal to a wider world of concern.

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