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Berlin is one of the world's jazz capitals, and its jazz scene is as international and cosmopolitan as it gets! Through powerful groove, melodic virtuosity, and dynamic interaction Jazz is a truly multicultural art form that celebrates the spontaneous gatherings of musicians.

These encounters can be experienced intensively in our new series Jazz Encounters, an evening where some of the best Jazz musicians from around the globe meet at the Zig Zag Jazz Club for an exciting evening where we celebrate the magic of JAZZ!Dima Bondarev has long since made a name for himself as one of the most respected up-and-coming young musicians in Germany.


Born in Ukraine, Bondarev began playing trumpet at the age of nine and has lived in Berlin since 2013, where he completed both his bachelor's and master's degrees at the Jazz Institute Berlin (JIB). He has collaborated with many outstanding musicians in the European and American jazz scene, including Joey Baron, NDR Big Band, Jim Black, Nels Cline, Steve Turre, Conrad Herwig and many others. Some of the highlights with his own ensembles are the 2nd prize of the "50th Jazz and Odra Festival' in Wroclaw (Poland, 2014), the 1st prize of the Festival de Jazz à Montauban (France, 2014), JIB Jazz Prize (Germany, 2015), and the 2nd prize of the Umbria Jazz Festival. Furthermore, he is a scholarship holder of the Berlin Senate.

Vladimir Karparov is considered one of the leading artists in Europe when it comes to the fusion of Balkan and jazz music. In 2020 Vladimir Karparov was awarded by the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture as one of the most important representatives of Bulgarian culture in the world. He has performed as a sideman and bandleader at some of the world's most prestigious festivals and concert halls and can be heard on countless recordings. His musical collaborations range from performances with the legendary Ivo Passov and Uwe Kropinski to arrangements and recordings for Shantel as well as for the award-winning Balkan Spirit Ensemble, sponsored by the State of Berlin.

Born and raised in Beirut, Tarek Yamani is a Lebanese-American pianist living in Berlin. Dedicated to exploring the relationship between African-American jazz and classical Arabic music, his exuberant playing and breathtaking virtuosity never get in the way of his abilities as a sensitive accompanist. Tarek, who won the prestigious 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition with his composition "Sama'i Yamani," has been part of three worldwide all-star International Jazz Day concerts, sharing the stage with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Richard Bona, Zakir Hussein, Esperanza Spalding, Antonio Sanchez, Brian Blade and Vinnie Coliauta. He has performed around the world including the David Rubenstein Atrium (Lincoln Center, NY), Boulez Hall (Berlin), Dizzy's Cub Coca Cola (Jazz at Lincoln Center), MuCEM Museum (FR), United Nations Assembly Hall (NY), Gran Teatro de la Habana (Cuba), Blue Whale (Los Angeles) to name a few.

Urs Johnen was born in Tübingen in 1982, grew up in Calw in the Black Forest and now also lives in Berlin and in Andratx, Mallorca. He studied double bass in Stuttgart and in Weimar, received lessons from Horst-Dieter Wenkel, Ulrich Lau, Manfred Bründl, Frank Möbus, Jo Thönes, Klaus Dusek as well as Patrick Bopp and was a scholarship holder of the Thuringian Orchestra Academy as a double bass player with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra. Early experiences in classical ensembles such as the Jeunesse Musicale Franco-Allemande, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie or the Philharmonie der Nationen on the one hand and jazz ensembles such as the Landesjugendjazzorchester Baden-Württemberg on the other hand shaped his self-image as a musical bridge builder and border crosser. He is active in jazz, pop and classical music and has performed with formations ranging from early to contemporary music as well as from singer-songwriter pop to avant-garde jazz in Germany and abroad.

Dimitris Christides was born in Khartoum (Sudan) in 1980. His drumming style blends the percussive elements of Balkan and Middle Eastern rhythms with the subtle and creative sensibility of jazz. Dimitris studied popular music at the London College of Music. During this time he received lessons from Paul Elliot, Pete Zeldman, Spyros Panagiotopoulos and Jojo Mayer. In 2002, Dimitris moved to Berlin and has since been balancing his career as a professional musician and educator. He has toured all over the world and has played and recorded with a number of award winning jazz formations. In 2008 he founded the school Drumschool-Berlin ( and Since March 2015, he is the artistic director of the Zig Zag Jazz Club in Berlin.

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