Austria’s Jazz Competition Saalfelden To Return at Full Drive


The trio ​Acoustic Unity is among the many teams slated to carry out at Jazz Competition Saalfelden in Austria.

(Photograph: Christophe Charpenel)

Jazz Competition Saalfelden, the revered Austrian occasion that happens every summer time within the titular locale nestled inside the Alps, is that uncommon establishment that has managed to keep away from any shutdowns as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Timing was on its facet in 2020, when a warm-weather lower in infections allowed the organizers to current a scaled-down iteration of the competition, dubbed Jazz Saalfelden Weekender. Its forty first version happens Aug. 18–21.

“The keenness of the visitors for our competition and their aid to lastly expertise tradition once more made up for any further effort we have been confronted with,” says competition producer Daniela Neumayer of that shortened model. A extra sturdy version adopted final 12 months, and this 12 months the occasion not solely returns at full drive, however extra musicians shall be featured in 2022 that any earlier iteration, with greater than 250 artists descending on the realm, about an hour from Salzburg.

After all, Corona has hardly disappeared, and the competition asks its attendees to stick to security measures and to keep away from the competition if they’re sick. As if to claim its renewed vitality, this 12 months’s line-up has a uncommon give attention to massive ensembles, with at least 4 worldwide massive bands performing: Portugal’s L.U.M.E.–Lisbon Underground Music Ensemble, Austria’s Christoph Cech Jazz Orchestra Mission and two ensembles from Norway: the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra in a particular collaboration with pianist Jason Moran and Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra.

As with earlier editions, the organizers intentionally incorporate the beautiful vistas and pure wonders of the area as key parts inside the program. “We have now to make use of this pure surroundings and our geographical location to create a novel symbiosis of music and nature for our guests,” Neumayer defined. Over the past couple of years, they’ve introduced intimate concert events inside nature, with attendees mountaineering to catch performances within the mountains or the forest, and this 12 months will function a brand new endeavor with a dawn occasion carried out by trumpeter Lorenz Raab and trombonist Alois Eberl on a ship in the course of Lake Ritzensee. “With its breathtaking mountain panorama, it’s positively one of the vital lovely locations in Saalfelden, a competition location which had been in our minds for fairly a while.”

Clearly, the pandemic isn’t the one disaster the world is dealing with. This 12 months, Saalfelden has programmed the dissident Russian post-punk band Pussy Riot in an act of solidarity with Ukraine. Saalfelden has lengthy ranked as one Europe’s most progressive jazz festivals, and this 12 months’s curation by creative director Mario Steidl lives as much as such a repute; in the long run, the give attention to high-quality music trumps any conceptual or thematic conceits. Jason Moran, who may also play a solo efficiency through the weekend, is the newest in a formidable array of jazz innovators who’ve labored with the perennially forward-looking ensemble Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, together with Chick Corea, Anna Webber, Joshua Redman and Stian Westerhus. For this efficiency, the group’s venerable bassist Ole-Morten Vågan has created new preparations for a guide of Moran’s indelible compositions to navigate collectively. There are extra top-notch American ensembles performing, such because the Vijay Iyer Trio and rising Chicago religious jazz dynamo Isaiah Collier & the Chosen Few, and the duo of trumpeter Cuong Vu and drummer Ted Poor.

The principle thrust of the programming, as typical, provides a glimpse at a few of Europe’s most fun sounds, whether or not the electro-jazz mash-up of Y-Otis, a Berlin quartet fronted by saxophonist Otis Sandsjö and powered by the sui generis Swedish expat bassist and producer Petter Eldh, who himself will seem in a number of constellations, together with drummer Gard Nilssen’s implausible trio Acoustic Unity and his raucous massive band the Supersonic Orchestra, which consists of a digital who’s who of present Scandinavian jazz. Nilssen is one in all two artists-in-residence this 12 months, together with the genre-agnostic Austrian drummer Katharina Ernst. Every will play in a number of disparate contexts. There are many advert hoc groupings and jam classes via the weekend. Neumayer says, “We’ll once more arrange spontaneous concert events, so-called flash mobs, which shall be initiated by bass clarinetist and saxophonist Siegmar Brecher, which is able to solely be introduced by way of our official competition app, simply quarter-hour earlier than the live performance begins.”

“This 12 months looks like an enormous aid,” she explains. “The appreciable loosening of measures this spring has allowed us plan extra freely once more, to understand concepts with higher ease, and to focus extra on inventive particulars.” DB

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