After a kick-off at Pierre Boulez Saal with two ensembles around the pianist Alex Hawkins on Sunday, 30 October, the Jazzfest Berlin 2022 opens on Thursday, 3 November, on the Main Stage at Haus der Berliner Festspiele with projects by Tomeka Reid, Hamid Drake and Craig Taborn.­­­­
­­On the four festival days (3 to 6 November) of the 59th edition, more than 150 musicians from 25 countries will perform at Haus der Berliner Festspiele and on the festival stages at A-Trane, Quasimodo and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church – among them once again numerous representatives of the US and European avant-gardes, but also of contemporary creative music from South Africa, Brazil and the Black Sea region. About half of the 39 acts, 15 of which will celebrate their German, European or world premiere at Jazzfest Berlin, will be led or co-led by women. The programme reflects the complex relationship between tradition and renewal in jazz in a variety of ways: focal points are devoted to creative combinations of progressive jazz aesthetics and folkloric traditions, the current strong interest for historical jazz traditions and their socio-political contexts by young, cosmopolitan musicians from the USA and South Africa, as well as the creative drive for renewal of several generations of improvised music from Europe.

Three of the concert evenings (4 to 6 November) will be broadcast live on the radio and are also available in the Berliner Festspiele Media Library.

The Jazzfest opens on 3 November on the main stage at Haus der Berliner Festspiele with three US improvising musicians: Cellist Tomeka Reid and The Hemphill Stringtet will perform Mingus arrangements and other music by Julius Hemphill – a European premiere. Afterwards, the drummer Hamid Drake, who also comes from the Chicago jazz scene, will present an homage to Alice Coltrane with a top-class line-up. And the New York pianist Craig Taborn will perform a commissioned work with his long-time collaborator Mat Maneri and the Berlin-based musicians Nick Dunston and Sofia Borges. Following the concert on the Main Stage, saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael will meet the Johannesburg collective The Brother Moves On on the side stage. At the same time, in the Kassenhalle, the quartet Lumpeks around the Polish musician Olga Kozieł combines jazz with Eastern European folklore. The undying vitality of European free jazz is demonstratded by saxophonist Mette Rasmussen with the Berlin debut of her new Trio North at A-Trane and Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado with Alexander von SchlippenbachGerry Hemingway and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten at Quasimodo.

Swedish percussionist and experimental artist Sven-Åke Johansson kicks off the evening on 4 November with his rarely performed work “MM schäumend – Overtüre für 15 Handfeuerlöscher”, followed by a set by Estonian pianist Kirke Karja in a trio with drummer Ludwig Wandinger and bassist Etienne Renard, and a concert by saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, drummer Hamid Drake and gimbri master Majid Bekkas from Morocco. Later in the evening, Johansson will be on stage as a drummer and singer with double bassist Joel Grip and saxophonist Bertrand Denzler as well as with the Umlaut Big Band as part of “Playing the Haus”. Also to be experienced at “Playing the Haus”: the audiovisual project “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” by the Ukrainian musicians Anna Antypova and Maryana Golovchenko, a contemporary interpretation of northern Italian protest and work songs by the duo Silvia Tarozzi & Deborah WalkerDie Hochstapler, percussionist Camille Émaille solo and with her trio OTTO, as well as the Trio Ullén / Bergmann / Lund and the formation Synesthetic4. For the grand finale, the Umlaut Big Band invites the audience to celebrate and dance. Meanwhile, at A-Trane, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins brings spiritual post-bop from the US to Berlin.

On Saturday, 5 November, the programme deals with questions of tradition and identity, spirituality, racism and resistance. The South African drummer and composer Asher Gamedze opens the evening programme with his album “Dialectic Soul”. Afterwards, the Jazzfest Berlin commission KOMПOUSSULĂ will bring together European improvising musicians to rediscover folkloric musical traditions from Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region through the lens of improvised music. Finally, in a European premiere, saxophonist Matana Roberts presents the latest chapter of their “Coin Coin” project, a musical exploration of racism and history through their personal family story. Later in the evening, the young Chicago saxophonist Isaiah Collier picks up on the tradition of spiritual jazz. At the same time, the trio Black Sea Songs presents new arrangements of traditional songs from the Black Sea region with Turkish singer Sanem Kalfa. At A-Trane, South Korean Sun-Mi Hong and her quintet will celebrate both, the release of her third album and her Berlin debut, while at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, pianist Lucian Ban, saxophonist John Surman and violist Mat Maneri will explore the folk music tradition of Transylvania. 

Sunday evening, 6 November, features three Berlin debuts: the Borderlands Trio from the US with pianist Kris Davis, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Eric McPherson, a quartet around Chicago cornetist, composer and vocalist Ben LaMar Gay and Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra with the who’s who of cutting-edge Scandinavian jazz today. In the Kassenhalle, American guitarist Jeff Parker, member of Tortoise and the Chicago Underground Quartet, celebrates his Jazzfest Berlin premiere with his solo album “Forfolks”. And Quartabê, the quartet from São Paulo around drummer Mariá Portugal will make its physical Jazzfest Berlin debut after a remote video contribution in 2021 with a set on the side stage. Outside the Festspielhaus, visitors are invited to the Kiezspaziergang in the morning, with intimate concerts in a wine shop, a bookshop and two galleries around the Festspielhaus. In the afternoon, there will be a concert by the Armenian Gurdjieff Ensemble at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, while the annual cooperation project Melting Pot promises an exciting evening at A-Trane: young improvisers from five different cities will meet for the first time as a quintet, including the Greek vibraphonist Evi Filippou, who lives in Berlin. 

All concerts of the Jazzfest Berlin 2022 will be recorded by ARD and Deutschlandradio and partly be broadcast live. Friday evening will be broadcast live on Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Saturday evening on the ARD radio stations followed by the ARD Jazz Night, and Sunday evening by rbb Kultur.
Overview of live broadcasts
The audio live streams are available, also afterwards as on-demand content for a limited time, on the Berliner Festspiele Media Library.