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Music

From cool to classical: Jazzfest Bonn releases 2017 program

Tickets will go on sale next week for Jazzfest Bonn, an event that draws thousands to the former German capital. The 2017 program features not-to-be-missed highlights from the international and German jazz scenes.

Ellen Andrea Wang (Solveig Selj)

Ellen Andrea Wang will perform at the final concert on May 27

Big-name jazz musicians as well as up-and-coming artists will be on hand for the eighth edition of the Jazzfest Bonn, with 23 concerts scheduled from May 12 to 27.

As usual, the annual festival has organized a series of double concerts, contrasting established musicians with brand new sounds. The concert by the Brad Mehldau Trio, on May 22, is the only exception. The evening's dramatic composition is "enormously important to [Mehldau]," said Jazzfest director Peter Materna, which is why the American trio will be the only artists playing a regular-length solo concert.

Musical highlights

German actress and singer Jasmin Tabatabai will open the 2017 edition of the festival on May 12, accompanied by a superb jazz quartet featuring Swiss saxophonist David Klein. Laid-back and funky is next, with the German band Jazzkantine. 

Materna doesn't want to confront the audience with hardcore jazz, and even when the music does turn a bit more "experimental," he said the skill of the musicians is essential. Jazzkantine, with its cool party mix of jazz, soul and German rap, is a good example, he added.

Rebekka Bakken (Label Emarcy)

Bakken will perform some of her greatest hits on May 14

Another paired concert the audience is bound to enjoy is Rebekka Bakken and Niels Klein, on May 14. The Norwegian singer, famous for her distinctive blues voice and sensuous timbre, will perform her greatest hits along with some new songs.

Before Bakken takes the stage, Cologne clarinetist Niels Klein will present "Tubes & Wires," his most recent project. Klein describes his instrument as an electronic mix of an "organ and a wind instrument." The audience is surely in for an intriguing evening.

Internationally renowned artists John Patitucci and Viktoria Tolstoy are also in the lineup. On May 18, the influential jazz bass player and his Electric Guitar Quartet will take the audience back to 1960s New York, while charismatic Swedish singer Tolstoy has promised to sing songs from her new album.

 Peter Materna (DW/C. Paul)

Materna launched the contemporary jazz festival in 2010

Improvisation and club sound

The Christopher Dell Trio - DRA - Dell on the vibraphone, Christian Ramond on bass and drummer Felix Astor - are bound to surprise on May 19 with their improvisation and musical exploration of rhythm and harmony.

Next up that night is saxophone player Heiner Schmitz and his "Organic Underground" project, with a club sound that's sure to have people on their feet.

Finally, two highlights to close the festival on May 27, starting with Norwegian bassist and singer Ellen Andrea Wang, a classic trio sound with Wang's voice synthesized by a vocoder. Next and last up on stage is the Marius Neset Quartet. Neset's mastery of the saxophone is a "step into a new dimension of the instrument," Germany's "Süddeutsche Zeitung" once wrote.

The festival will include 23 concerts in all, with tickets set to go on sale on December 1. DW is the media partner for the 2017 edition of Jazzfest Bonn.

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