on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2019 17 Feb

Big Ears Festival 2019

von: Brian Whistler Filed under: Blog | TB | 13 Comments



This has to be one of the most exciting and most cutting edge music festivals I have ever come across in the US. It’s a staggering lineup this year, including a significant group of ECM musicicians in celebration of the label’s 50th anniversary. I would definitely have made this show, but we’re all set up to go to the Kongshaug Festivalen in Oslo, our Big Trip for the year. It will torture my significant other with Arild Andreson’s latest trio and other more “out” groups, as well as delight her with Mathias Eick’s Quintet. I will also be a reporting Manafonista on this diverse festival that goes beyond ECM artists exclusively.

But back to the Big Ears Festival this year – a formidable and diverse event worthy of Manafonistas. And of all places, it’s in Knoxville Tennessee. Check out the lineup


This entry was posted on Sonntag, 17. Februar 2019 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Lajla:

    Woooooow, what a bunch of best of the bests.
    Brian, welcome to Europe.

  2. Brian Whistler:

    Wish I could split in two and be present at both festivals. Anyone else going to Oslo?

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    No, not me. Funny enough I had only been once in Oslo, one of the most expensive citys of the world. It was round 1998 interviewing Jan Erik Kongshaug in the Rainbow Studio (that looked depressive like studios in waiting mode often do), about the ECM sound. And the history of the studios Eicher and Kongshaug have used over the years.

    During those three days I met the late Misha Alperin, too, having a long conversation with him, a very personal one. It was the time before Christmas, and I remember paying a fortune for fucking fresh fish, and becoming slightly melancholic. I thought my situation would improve when finding a lover, but I found no one but lonesome me. I never get such moods in London.

  4. Brian Whistler:

    Well, that does sound depressing. Maybe that’s why so much mournful music comes out of Norway – it’s all that cold, eternal night and expensive fresh fish! Perhaps we’re in for an interesting trip … well, melancholy is my default state so I should fit right in.

  5. Brian Whistler:

    And isn’t there anything good about Oslo in winter? The 5 hours of daylight? Good alcohol perhaps? I’m beginning to think I might find myself saying as was once said by Withnail, “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake.”

  6. Michael Engelbrecht:

    In the big streets of Oslo there‘s the old money. The oil country. Too much right wing politics. But you can go to the Munch Museum and cry, or meet many great musicians on the streets.

  7. Lajla:

    Brian, you will enjoy Oslo.
    Go to the „Theatercafeen“, it s a great place to have coffee and cake,
    Visit the very interesting „Kontiki Museum“.
    Go to „Herr Nilsen“ in the evening. A great little musicbar, where I met some good musicians. Take the tram or bus to „Holmenkollen“, nice famous place for skifans.

  8. Lajla:

    And I could recommend the book „The Immortals“ from the pianist Ketil Bjørnstad, who is also a very good writer. He lives in Oslo and will appear at the Oslo Jazzfestival this summer.

  9. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Don‘t know how many hours I spent in different Oslo recording studios – virtually – since 1972, but whenit comes to real topography, Lajla is by far the better travel guide for that town, Brian.

    I didn‘t warm up with the city.

  10. Brian Whistler:

    Thanks Lajla, I’ll defintely be checking out some of your recommendations, We’re,definitely going to the Munch museum. Incidentally, Ketil Bjornstadt will be performing a solo piano set at the Kongshaug Festivalen. Looking forwards to that.

    As for food, we will be staying at an Air bnb, so we will have a kitchen, which should save us $$. But any other moderately priced restaurant recommendations will be gratefully received. It looks more expensive than California, which is saying a lot.

  11. Michael Engelbrecht:

    The Art of Museums

  12. Lajla Nizinski:

    Brian, I hope you find this, I found some more Tipps for you: Restaurants in Oslo,which are really good and not too expensive …


  13. Brian Whistler:

    Hey Lajla, thanks for the tips regarding good, reasonably priced restaurants in Oslo. I will definitely check some of them out.

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