The 33rd edition of the South Tyrol Jazz Festival has come to an end. The 10-day musical voyage ended on Sunday with a series of concerts in the mountains and valleys of the region. Klaus Widmann, President of the Jazz Festival, reported he was satisfied with the over 80 musical appointments and over 20,000 visitors of this year’s edition. He’s already looking forward to the 2016 Festival.
Who were the main protagonists of the 2015 South Tyrol Jazz Festival? Young and innovative musicians from around the world, with a particularly strong contingent from the London scene, reflecting this year’s motto: ‘UK Sounds’.
“We always want to hear and experience something new, discover new trends, create new projects which are born from the encounters between musicians. In this vein, the Festival was a success this year, too” says Widmann.
The opening concert itself was a perfect example of a project that could only have come about during the South Tyrol Jazz Festival.
Swiss vocalist Andreas Schaerer, who recently won an Echo Award, invited a number of musicians on stage who he had partially met during previous editions of the Jazz Festival and turned the evening into a ‘Fanfare Fatale’.
The musician said, “The South Tyrol Jazz Festival is the bravest festival I know about. Other organisers book fixed bands and develop an unchangeable programme. You know what you’re getting. In South Tyrol ‚experimentation‘ is key, creating the ideal conditions for new combinations“.
The result never changes: the festival is a journey across innovative music playing out in unique locations. This year’s programme included 80 events scattered across a dozen locations all over South Tyrol, with over 150 musicians from all over the world.
They played on streets and squares, in the mountains and valleys, during excursions and even on actual stages.
Widmann adds, “We also had pretty good weather, which contributed to the great turnout of our outdoor concerts.” Case in point: over 1,000 people came to the concert at the Comici Hut, at the bottom of the Sassolungo. Matthias Schriefl, an exceptionally talented musician from the Allgäu region, presented new compositions with the appearance of international musicians, including rapper and saxophonist Soweto Kinch, and the singers of the Bressanone Men’s Choir, the MVG Brixen.
South Tyrolean musicians were also present during numerous concerts: bassist Ruth Goller has been living and working for many years in London, but she’s originally from Bressanone. It was thanks to her that the South Tyrol Jazz Festival established so many contacts with the London jazz scene. The extraordinary ‘London Underground’ project in the gravel plant ‘Beton Eisack’ last Saturday in Varna was another such example. Countless London artists produced incredible sounds across four different futuristic stages. The night ended with a DJ session run by musicians who replaced their instruments for turntables.
Electro music, at a jazz festival? Widmann says, “The debate on what jazz should and shouldn’t be has been going on for years. There will never be a definite answer to this issue. The essence of jazz is freedom. In jazz there are virtually no limits and a lot can happen. This curiosity and joy of experimenting found in young artists from all over the world is precisely what we want to show during the Festival.”
Widmann suggests that people shouldn’t get bogged down in debates on the style of jazz, but focus on its quality. “I was impressed yet again by the extreme high quality of both the musicians and music played during this edition.”
Around 22,000 people attended the concerts of the 2015 Festival, says Widmann. The date for 2016 is already set: it will run between Friday 24 June and Sunday 3 July 2016.