Peter Materna and his team can be proud of what they've achieved in such a short amount of time. Jazzfest Bonn was held for the first time in 2010, and since then has continued to grow.
This year's shows are nearly all sold out, and that in a town with little jazz tradition compared to established international jazz venues. Peter Materna, a successful German jazz saxophonist has become the full time artistic director of the Jazzfest meaning he's had to put his concert career on hold.
Slow and steady gains
"It always bothered me that the people of Bonn had to travel so far to see good jazz concerts," said Peter Materna, "given that the Bonn community is a very engaged musical audience. For example, there is a lot offered in the classical music sector." Ten years ago, Materna came to Bonn with the jazz concert concept, but put his plans on hold for a few years. It was only when three large companies based in Bonn were willing to financially support the event, that the musician could really put his plan into action. Jazz is now recognized as an indispensible culture, but still it is not given much public funding.
Popular and inspiring
Raphael Gualazzi was the surprise contender at last year's Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf. With an Italian swing number, Gualazzi came second among the field of European artists. Together with the WDR Big Band, the Cologne ensemble said to be the best big band in the world, Raphael Gualazzi appears at the opening concert of the jazz festival. His performance aims to close the gap between jazz and the ESC. That evening the audience will also be able to hear the improvisation of Dombert's Urban Jazz group as they combine groove with new computer sounds.
German jazz is world class
German artists are the focus of the jazz festival. Over seven nights, from May 11 to 19, every concert will feature a German performer.
Ranging from the whimsical poetry of pianist Olivia Trummer, to the warm soul-jazz of Cologne artist Kathrin Scheer and the Hubert Nuss piano-trio, to international star Joachim Kühn, there is something for everyone. Peter Manterna emphasized the festival is not about having big name acts coming to perform, but more importantly showing the audience what German and European acts have to offer. But of course well-known international performers like trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and singer Norma Winstone will be making an appearance in Bonn as well.
Author: Matthias Klaus / jw
Editor: Gregg Benzow