Marcus Miller in the Erlwein Capitol

Jazz from around the world to brighten up November

M any of the great names on the national and international jazz scene will be performing at venues around Dresden during the period 2nd - 26th November. With its focus on crossover, the jazz festival bridges the gap between different styles and further enhances Dresden’s reputation as a cultural hub.

It was the turn of the millennium when the classical-crossover band Klazz Brothers made their debut at the 650th anniversary celebrations in the outlying Dresden district of Unkersdorf. The ensemble had been founded only shortly beforehand, and no one would have guessed then that an international jazz festival would evolve from the concert held in the small church of this quiet suburb. But despite all the sceptics, the first Unkersdorfer Jazztage in 2001 was a huge success. The number of visitors doubled annually to the point where Kilian Forster, mastermind behind the festival and bass player with the Klazz Brothers (who have since won several accolades including the Echo Klassik and the Jazz Award), was forced to announce that it would be moving to the city. Jazztage Dresden has meanwhile become established as one of the major international festivals and a platform for first-class jazz in its entire variety and range. With a programme that fills a whole month and features around 70 concerts at almost twenty venues spread over the entire urban area, the name Jazztage (literally ‘Jazz Days’) almost seems like an understatement. The commitment made by Kilian Forster and his team of organisers to quality and diversity is no empty promise. International stars such as Chick Corea, Al Di Meola and Marcus Miller are among the guest performers. Famous names such as Ute Lemper, Rebekka Bakken and Barbara Dennerlein share the billing with talented newcomers as well as the likes of old masters The Big Chris Barber Band. Events such as Blues Night, Swing Band Ball and Classic & Tango Meets Cuba demonstrate the breadth of the genre, and there is even scope for the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mozart Group to make their contribution. When the Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra bridge cultures and Drum the World express their devotion to the rhythms of the world, the audience will find it hard to stay seated – an outburst of joie de vivre in the grey November clime. The Dresden Jazz Days come to a rousing finale with the closing concert hosted by the Dresden Schauspielhaus theatre and starring Klaus Doldinger, a truly iconic figure of German jazz.