Four experimental performances make up the late night programme at Festspielhaus, two of which take place at the Kassenhalle: “matter 100”, a brand new project from Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler with an eclectic group of European improvisers, melds text and abstract sound, while the American free jazz saxophonist and newcomer Zoh Amba shares her instinctive, earthy attack during her Jazzfest Berlin debut in a first-time trio.
22:00 / German premiere
Kaja Draksler: “matter 100”
(NL, UK, PL, SI)
The Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler is no stranger to Jazzfest Berlin, having performed in 2021 with her imaginative, versatile duo with the Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and back in 2018 with the wildly original trio Punkt.Vrt.Plastik, with bassist Petter Eldh and drummer Christian Lillinger. She is one of the most original and creatively restless musicians of our time, forever seeking out new areas of exploration, whether she is creating new settings for the poetry of Robert Frost or contributing to the improvising quartet Hearth with Silva and saxophonists Mette Rasmussen and Ada Rave.
Now she debuts “matter 100”, a brand new project, revealing a fresh vision of which she says, “I am moving towards song and sound; song on the level of form and sound as a navigator and idea generator.” She has enlisted a fascinating band to bring those ideas to fruition, relying on their disparate experiences. The young singer-songwriter Lena Hessels—daughter of Teri Hessels, guitarist in the great Amsterdam post-punk improv band the Ex—will play guitar and sing, toggling between melody and spoken word, while Amsterdam-based pianist Marta Warelis will join the leader on electric keyboards. The band also includes the second idiosyncratic guitarist of the Ex, Andy Moor, the Polish drummer Macio Moretti (a key part of Shofar as well as Mitch & Mitch), and Slovenian instrument builder Samo Kutin, who will play prepared hurdy-gurdy.
- Lena Hessels – vocals, guitar
- Andy Moor – guitar
- Marta Warelis – keyboards
- Kaja Draksler – keyboards, piano
- Samo Kutin – prepared hurdy gurdy
- Macio Moretti – drums
Amba / Cajado / Takara
23-year old saxophonist Zoh Amba was thrust into the improvised music spotlight in the midst of an ongoing creative development, a situation that can inhibit the kind of growth that often takes years in the jazz world. She grew up in rural Tennessee, largely conducting her own research. Two years after she left home to study in San Francisco, Amba dropped out, frustrated by the straitjacket of orthodoxy often imposed by American jazz schools. Since then she’s studied with certain mentors like David Murray, but most of her education now comes on the bandstand and in the recording studio, where she’s worked with some of the most powerful players in the US: drummers Tyshawn Sorey, Joey Baron and Chris Corsano, bassists William Parker, Thomas Morgan, and Luke Stewart, and pianist Micah Taylor among others. Her gospelized playing reveals the profound influence of free sax jazz titans like Albert Ayler, Frank Wright, and David S. Ware, but she is finding a voice of her own that is not limited to mere fire-breathing. In fact, some of her most captivating music thus far has appeared slightly outside of a conventional context, on “The Flower School”, a collaboration with Corsano and guitarist Bill Orcutt, where the emotional intensity of her playing has never sounded more interactive, tender, and instinctive. In her Jazzfest Berlin debut she meets two new partners, both Berlin based Brazilians: bassist Vinicius Calado, a ubiquitous figure with a firm grasp on tradition and innovation, and drummer Mauricio Takara, a previous Jazzfest Berlin performer in 2019 and 2021, who comes out of an experimental rock background but possesses deep roots in all sorts of styles.
- Zoh Amba – saxophone
- Vinicius Cajado – double bass
- Mauricio Takara – drums