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Germany: Countless Contemporary Jazz Masters to Hit Festival Stages

Because of Corona, loads of concerts in Germany were cancelled or postponed in the past 26 months. That is why quite a few Jazz heroes will be performing at the country’s best Jazz festivals this year. By the way: A true legend is about to be awarded the German Jazz Trophy.

Berlin, April 21st, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — When Arturo Sandoval played his first solo at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City in 1979, the author of these lines was 14 years old and part of the audience. He could not believe his ears or eyes. Sandoval was on stage of the Cuban group Irakere. With his band colleague Jorge Varona, he engaged in a trumpet solo battle. Both of them reached the ‘high C’ in a simply stunning performance.

For Love or Country

Years later, Arturo Sandoval, one of the most brilliant trumpet players of all time, fled to the United States of America. It took a while, but he got the U.S. citizenship. ‘For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story’ is the title of a movie that tells his story. Andy Garcia got to play Arturo Sandoval. When the master hits the stage and blows into that horn, anyone will notice he is the best. Apparently, even the Germans just did.

At the Jazz Open Stuttgart, one of Germany’s best Jazz festivals, Arturo Sandoval was supposed to be awarded the German Jazz Trophy for his lifetime achievement in 2020. The only person who disagreed was Mr. Coronavirus. So, the whole thing was postponed twice. But the man himself, Arturo Sandoval, el maestro, will receive the award on July 7th, 2022, at the Spardawelt Eventcenter in Stuttgart. Will he perform as well? You bet. ¡Bienvenido, Arturo!

Simultaneous Gigs

Arturo Sandoval is only one of the world’s greatest Contemporary Jazz pioneers who are scheduled to hit German stages this year. At the Jazz Open Stuttgart, there even seem to be too many artists. Why else would they have two concerts by two Jazz heroes take place at the same time? While Arturo plays “Claudia” or “Caprichosos de la Habana” at one venue in the city, his colleague Herbie Hancock will be performing at another one.

The pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader Herbie Hancock obviously is one of the best there is. Counting the decades he has been on stage and in the studio is getting difficult. The man is 82 years old by now, but looks like 52. He has delivered it all, including Straight Ahead Jazz, Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Jazz-Funk, Soul as well as electronic music, and even movie scores. Welcome, Herbie!

Former Child Prodigy

Who else will be at the Jazz Open? Too many to list. Yes, we remember Joe Jackson. The legendary Fusion act Spyro Gyra will hit the stage there. So will the German trumpet hero Till Brönner, el Quinteto Astor Piazzola y Melingo, Gretchen Parlato, Stanley Clarke, one of the most brilliant bass players in the solar system, Jamie Cullum, the former child prodigy Joey Alexander, John Legend and Sting. This is what we call a festival! The Jazz Open Stuttgart will take place from July 7th to 17th, 2022.

If the German city of Gronau was located only 2 miles further west, it would be part of the Netherlands. The Jazzfest Gronau is one of the premier Jazz festivals in the Federal Republic as well. This one commences in a few days from now, on April 30th, 2022. Jamie Cullum, Jan Garbarek and Hiromi will be there. So will the Funk-Rock act Mother’s Finest, the Dutch saxophone heroine Candy Dulfer and others. You can’t wait for July? Go to Jazzfest Gronau.

Real Music in Leverkusen

Oh yes, there are even more stunning festivals of this kind in Germany. Let’s mention one more, namely the Leverkusener Jazztage. They are supposed to begin on from November 4th, 2022, if the pandemic lets them. Everyone will be there, including Spyro Gyra, Jamie Cullum and Candy Dulfer, but also the Funk band Tower of Power, the stunning vocalist Gregory Porter, the Jazz singer Melody Gardot and the British Funk and Pop group Level 42. Is there more? Yes.

None other than slap bass master Marcus Miller is scheduled to raise the roof in Leverkusen. So is Lee Ritenour, one of the world’s greatest Fusion and Contemporary Jazz guitarists. Do we know his albums by heart, including “Captain Fingers”, “Wes Bound”, “The Captain’s Journey” and all of it? Absolutely. For those who fancy a “Moon Dance”, Van Morrison will be there too.

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