Jazzdor Berlin 2019

Henning Bolte By

Sign in to view read count

Roundtable discussion: Réalités et perspectives d'un espace artistique commun en Europe

On Thursday, 6 June, the third festival day, a round table discussion, with about 30 professionals, took place. It was organized by the region Grand-Est/Greater East. Grand-Est is the European region at the upper Rhine river where 3 countries, France, Germany and Switzerland share common borders and where the Germanic and Romance language areas touch each other. Accordingly, the organizers supplied an excellent simultaneous translation of the discussion! The discussion dealt with involvements with, experiences in, and perspectives of cross-border artistic collaborations, collaborations with a European perspective. Three hours were spent on an inventory to carve out some realistic perspectives and realizable proposals.

The discussion contained exchange about practices of interregional collaborations, about workable formats and intercultural bureaucratic obstacles, about audience partnerships/'complicité' etc., which offered a lot of inspiring information about feasible, 'machbare' realities (the "yes, we can" credo). In addition to that, the survival question for clubs required attention in a down to earth way.

The discussion went on in the context of some general themes, initially focusing on the tensions of a contradictory situation the music called 'jazz' is confronted with. On one side there is a huge decline with a decay of the (great figures, mavericks and visionaries) jazz narrative, the jazz (media) discourse and the community/active subculture anchoring. On the other side music under the header 'jazz' wildly flourishes, thrives like fennel, is challenging as well as going bananas. This tensed situation is further stirred up by the dynamics of gender balance and regional

Within these affecting and conflicting forces musicians, promoters, presenters, journalists and national/regional institutions have to operate wisely in order to find their places and routes for creating continuity in collaboration. This led to the topic of exchange politics and right into the hot issue of the underlying mindset and habitual practices of (national) export policy, and conflicts between economical and artistic orientations. One of the big prospective challenges will be the North-South incongruence/imbalance in Europe as well as the Center-Periphery dynamics.

It turned out that (a) interregional collaborations might be a fruitful way out of the heavy rain or provide a productive shelter to develop things and (b) that approaches with stronger audience/neighborhood/community concepts involvement could provide a promising perspective to work on—both termed in the discussion as productive interspaces (Zwischenräume/des espaces intermédiares). It seems that the still prevalent national card needs to be played inter-regionally and locally anchored to come to close enriching exchange and long term change of orientation.

This paragraph is an attempt of a short account, a highly abbreviated resume of a complex and useful discussion, which, by necessity, will be continued. A more detailed treatise, especially about the North-South-imbalance, will be given in a separate article.


Jazzdor Berlin 2019 presented a dense and coherent ('stimmig') diversity of collaborative and creative music of a high artistic level, a well-dosed mixture of highly developed and work-in-progress acts, all as a result of musicians' engagements and the (botanical=organic) craftsmanship of curator Philippe Ochem. More could be stated, but readers can better form their own conclusions. Allow me to make another personal remark: I am happy to have experienced all this and contribute to it during four hot Berlin summer days and nights, including the gorgeous retreat of the Zarenhof backyard oasis annex wonderful nosh-up ('Schmaus') round the corner at Les Valseuses. However, the ritual of self-introduction and notes of thanks from musicians at the concerts often could use a bit more originality and spice. Some groups had an appealing display format, others sh/could work on it a bit more.

Discography (latest albums)

En Corps—Generation. Dark Tree
Benoit Delbecq/Jorrit Dijkstra/John Hollenbeck—Linger. Driff Rec.
Benoit Delbecq—Spots On Stripes. Clean Feed
Mandhira de Saram/Benoit Delbecq—Spinneret. Confront Rec.
Jean-Marc Foltz—Nowaten (Celui Qui Ecoute). Vision Fugitive
House of Echo—Echoïde. Jazz&People
Naïssam Jalal—Quest of The Invisible. Les Couleurs Du Son
No Tongues—Les Voies du Monde. Orma Records
Orchestre National de Jazz— Europa Oslo. ONJazz Rec.
Miles Perkins Quartet—The Point In Question. Clean Feed
Edward Perraud/Bruno Chevillon/Paul Lay—Espaces. Label Bleu
Eve Risser/Kaja Draksler—To Pianos. Clean Feed
Marcelo dos Reis/Eve Risser— Timel;ess. JACC Rec.
Claudia Solal/Benjamin Moussay— Butter In My Brain. Abalone
Claudia Solal/Tomeka Reid/Katherine Young/Benoit Delbecq— Antichamber Music. The Bridge Session


Jazz Near Berlin
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles