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JAZZFEST BERLIN 2022 will have an Auftakt next Sunday, October 30, by connecting to Berlin’s excellent Pierre Boulez Saal series that will present at the Saal exceptional musician ALEXANDER HAWKINS from Oxford, England.


In this festival prelude he will perform in the duo MUSHO with vocalist extraordinaire SOFIA JERNBERG plus in a larger unit with cellist TOMEKA READ, flautist NICOLE MITCHELL, drummer GERRY HEMINGWAY and MATTHEW WRIGHT (electr, sound design).


Tomeka Reid just received the MacArthur “Genius Grant” (of $800,000). She will also play in two other concerts of the festival: in THE HEMPHILL STRINGTET and in a new, eagerly awaited quartet of pianist CRAIG TABORN with MAT MANERI (viola), NICK DUNSTON (b) and SOFIA BORGES (percussion) on the main stage on November 3. The stringtet is named after Julius Hemphill (1938-1995), of course, a.o. member of World Saxophon Quartet and still quite influential through works as „Dogon A.D.“ and others.


Nicole Mitchell is a musician and University teacher with a long prominent career. She was the first female president of Chicago’s legendary Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)


Gerry Hemingway is a well-known US-American musician with a long strong bound to European groups and now teaching in Switzerland.


About MUSHO I wrote earlier this:

“British pianist Alexander Hawkins is leaving a strong trace through today’s jazz landscape. It seems everything he touches, turns into gold. Even if you already know this, every new combination turns out as surprising, beyond expectation. The duo with Swedish vocalist emerged from the October Meeting in 2015 at Amsterdam Bimhuis where it performed for the first time under the name ‚Musho.‘ Their duo performance appeared to be a broadly agreed highlight of the meeting. The Ljubljana concert surpassed that by far. In Amsterdam they performed several pieces based on Ethiopian traditional music in carefully balanced and well-timed transcendence into present day musical areas. In Ljubljana they performed in one fabulous continuing stream of consciousness with strong references to Ethiopian music. Seamlessly fading in and out of musical areas they interconnected different musical spheres and domains in unprecedented, subtle and credible ways. Both drew from rich sources and in real time composed a fabulous, naturally flowing stream of captivating music, a rare and almost unbelievable thing. Jernberg is an amazing performer, who can do almost everything vocally with great inner concentration in a non-agitated, mildly smiling way. It was an outstanding, memorable performance.

I saw Hawkins earlier, in January of this year (at the festival in Münster, Germany), doing a thrilling concert with his trio and fabulous British vocalist Elaine Mitchener. Although Mitchener is a musician of a different temperament and approach, the performance had the same general qualities and brilliance. This brilliant duo of Hawkins/Jernberg has played at Nasjonal Jazzscene venue in Oslo recently and is in urgent need of further circulation.”

(Henning Bolte, All About Jazz 2017)




Honour Your Error As a Hidden Intention“. A kind advice of Brian Eno in his Oblique Strategies. Or did he write that note in „old English“? My first error was the wrong speaking („Aussprache“) of Sebastian Rochford’s band „Polar Bear“ (like it would be „beer“ from the Arctic circle.) My next small mistake was the one concerning Joachim Kühn’s lost masterpiece „This Way Out“ (from 1973) – Daniel Humair contributed to the music, but Jenny-Clark was not yet part of the production – instead Peter Warren and Gerd Dudek were playing with fire. This slightly uncorrect memory led (on the day after) to a very special phone call, and ended up with an invitation to Ibiza. More about this at the end of this week, for all the good reasons!

I mean: Ibiza! Leonard Cohen had been there a long time ago, charging up his batteries and spending time with his former girlfriend Marianne (and, to risk another mistake: wasn’t the photo on „Songs From A Room“ shot in his house on the island?). Or  was it on Hydra? Anyway, there are still some great spirits living their quiet lifes on that Balearic island.

By the way, and for everyone not so familiar with German language: I was a bit sarcastic when speaking about the new work of Brad Mehldau –  his „groovy record“. A missed opportunity in many ways, for sure, and a highly overrated album! But the fun is: I never would have thought that, within the thematic frames of the JazzFacts magazine from the Deutschlandfunk – and in the context of my „thumbs down“ review of Mehldau’s wrong-footed attempts of „Taming The Tiger“ (the title of his work) – the names of the wild Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh and „Easy Rider“ Dennis Hopper would ever come out of my mouth.

Besides, I want to thank Bert Noglik for his closer view on Joachim Kühn‘ forthcoming „Birthday Edition“, and Sven Töniges‘ special encounter with that „house-keeper“ from Baku (I could really imagine the big hall in which he was hitting the „drums“ of his piano. Ask Mr Hawkins: on the liner notes of his brilliant solo album „Song Singular“ he refers to the 88 „drums“ of his piano creating a kind of „orchestral approach“.)

So drink a glass of your favourite red wine – or ice cold beer from Reykjavik – and enjoy these 55 minutes that may, in the best sense, satisfy your appetite for time travelling including a short trip to the age of „space jazz“! Good night, and good luck! (m.e.)

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