The programme begins with the European premiere of a duo featuring the influential drummer Andrew Cyrille with the Barcelona-based American saxophonist Bill McHenry, while French pianist Eve Risser brings her Red Desert Orchestra, an ensemble fueled by the rhythms and textures of West Africa.
This year’s Albert Mangelsdorff Prize award winner, trombonist Conny Bauer revives some long-standing connections between the US-American and German free jazz avant-gardes in a trio with Hamid Drake and William Parker. And for the grand finale of the main stage program, the veteran Brazilian jazz-bossa singer Joyce Moreno presents music spanning her long career in the main stage of Festspielhaus.
17:00 / European premiere
McHenry / Cyrille: “Proximity”
Few living jazz musicians have been involved in as much history-making as Andrew Cyrille, who will celebrate his 84thh birthday five days after tonight’s performance. He is known best for his visionary contributions to free jazz, including a stint as one Cecil Taylor’s most visionary percussionists, but he has steeped in the music’s full history: as a teenager, he hung around folks like Philly Joe Jones and Max Roach, but he also played all kinds of international styles growing up in New York. As a linchpin of the avant-garde, he helped pioneer free percussion groups, including a duo with Milford Graves, and while he led his own groups through the 1970s, he collaborated widely working with the likes of Muhal Richard Abrams, John Carter, Walt Dickerson, Peter Kowald, David Murray, among others. His playing has always displayed an arresting clarity and narrative focus, and in its simplicity he has routinely used his kit as a melodic voice, responding to his collaborators with more than rhythm. Age has hardly slowed him, and he has experienced something of a renaissance with a series of albums for the record label ECM with players like Bill Frisell and David Virelles. For his rare Berlin appearance, he gives the European debut of his duo with tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry, an American now living in Barcelona, who rates as one of the most agile players in post-bop, a big-voiced improviser with a rich tone and a profound feel for the blues. In 2016, they released “Proximity”, a sublime series of mostly spontaneous dialogues that are staggering in their sense of proportion, elegance, and interaction. At Jazzfest Berlin they renew their fecund partnership.
- Bill McHenry – saxophone
- Andrew Cyrille – drums
Eve Risser’s Red Desert Orchestra: “Eurythmia”
(FR, BF, DE, BE, PT)
French pianist Eve Risser astounded Jazzfest Berlin audiences in 2019 with her inventive mastery of prepared piano in a solo performance, where she installed an arsenal of everyday objects inside of the piano, radically altering the timbre of the strings. She transforms the keyboard into a magical noisemaker tamed by meticulously designed, rhythmically-driven experimentsYet Risser also values community and collaboration, and over the last decade she has led several large ensembles where she pivots, to more conventional piano sounds, but there is not much typical about her latest project, Red Desert Orchestra . The ensemble, which makes its Berlin debut, explores fascinating connections between groove-driven jazz and the hypnotic cadences of West African traditions, which often incorporate the raw buzz of certain instruments, shadowing the tones she makes on piano.
Last year the group released “Eurythmia”, a stunning, seamless marriage where sometimes plangent, sometimes raucous horn melodies ride atop infectious polyrhythms shaped by djembes, balafons, and baras, giving the frontline endless propulsion and feedback for improvisational sallies. The horn section includes alto saxophonist Antonin-Tri Hoang – who co-leads the group Novembre, which performs on opening night of this year’s festival – tenor saxophonist Sakina Adbou, and Berlin’s own Mathias Müller on trombone. In an era of endless division, Risser and her cohorts dissolve outdated and chlichéd dichotomies as Europe vs. Africa, creating a music that connects traditions and approaches with joy and respect.
- Eve Risser – composition, piano
- Antonin-Tri Hoang – alto saxophone, analog synthesizer
- Sakina Abdou – tenor saxophone
- Grégoire Tirtiaux – baritone saxophone, qarqabas
- Susana Santos Silva – trumpet
- Mathias Müller – trombone
- Tatiana Paris – electric guitar
- Belli Hié – balafon
- Mélissa Hié – balafon, djembe
- David Merlo – bass
- Oumarou Bambara – djembe, bara
- Emmanuel Scarpa – drums
20:00 / Award winners' concert Albert-Mangelsdorff-Prize for Conny Bauer
Bauer / Parker / Drake
Trombonist Conrad Bauer is one of the great figures of the East German jazz ferment that emerged in the early 1970s, when he became an integral part of numerous working bands including the Exis quintet, the Hans Rempel Octet, and, most importantly, the Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky Quartett, the leader of which sadly passed away in July 2023. In later years they collaborated in the fiery Synopsis (with drummer Günter “Baby” Sommer and pianist Ulrich Gumpert) and later performed in this constellation, including at the Jazzfest Berlin in 1990, the year of reunification, under the name Zentralquartett. As a teenager Bauer sang and played guitar in various dance bands, so he’s always had a built-in ability to entertain, and there’s always been a richly melodic quality to his playing, even in the most experimental contexts. To celebrate his 80th anniversary he reunites with what has arguably been the most powerful rhythm section in improvised music over the last couple of decades, bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake. The trio first met for a 2010 performance at the famed New York venue Roulette, which was released as “Tender Exploration” a few years later. Together they generated a feverish energy, as the rhythm section’s imperturbable grooves and rhythmic hopscotch offered the trombonist a dynamic, surprise-laden landscape in which to explore endless motivic variation, juggling ferocity with lyricism.
- Conny Bauer – trombone
- William Parker – double bass
- Hamid Drake – drums
Joyce Moreno “Natureza”
Joyce Moreno, the veteran Brazilian master of bossa-jazz, gained wider international attention last year with the release of “Natureza”, a previously unissued 1977 session made with producer Claus Ogerman and an all-star cast including Michael Brecker, Joe Farrell, and Buster Williams that seemed poised to turn into an international star. Yet things came different: the tapes were lost and the recording was not released. Luckily, the singer had held onto an unmixed cassette of the music, so the album finally saw the light of day and yet again renewed interest in Joyce’s sublime talents. In Brazil she has always been regarded as one of its most beloved and respected artists, though.
She has never stopped making music, and as last year’s breezy “Brasileiras Canções”—featuring all original material—revealed, her voice remains a force of seamless agility, navigating the thickets of harmony and sophisticated rhythm her work has always clung to. Although she experimented with folk-infused arrangements in her early work where she embraced a decidedly feminist perspective that broke with Brazilian paternalism, towards the end of the 1970s she settled into the jazz-driven bossa sound she has maintained ever since. Her touring band includes her husband and long-time drummer Tutty Moreno, pianist Helio Alves, bassist Rodolfo Stroeter, and percussionist Tom Andrade, all veterans steeped in the twin traditions of Joyce’s art.
- Joyce Moreno – vocals, guitar
- Tutty Moreno – drums
- Rodolfo Stroeter – double bass
- Helio Alves – piano
- Tom Andrade – percussion