The juxtapositioning of "German" and "music" normally conjures up images of voluminous orchestras performing expansive multi-layered works by the likes of Beethoven, Bach and Haydn. And if you ask the ordinary music fan on the street what he or she knows about Germany's contribution to the jazz world the response may very well be an apologetic blank stare. The latter should be set to rights in this part of the world over the coming weeks when the Jerusalem branch of the Goethe Institute hosts the German Jazz in the Limelight season between May 19 and the end of June.
German Jazz in the Limelight officially sets up for business on Monday with a performance by the Youth Jazz Orchestra NRW big band, and the opening of an exhibition, simply entitled German Jazz, at the Goethe Institute on Sokolov Street in Jerusalem. The month-plus season, which is also meant to "make a special German contribution to the celebrations marking the State of Israel's 60th birthday", also features a concert by the genre-crossing North Rhine-Westphalia Jazz Orchestra at the Yellow Submarine in Jerusalem on May 20, when it will perform a mixed program of swing, Latin and modern jazz with some rock seasoning.
The showcase German Jazz in the Limelight concert will take place on June 15 when celebrated trombonist Nils Wogram and his Root 70 band - comprising 2 Germans and 2 New Zealanders - take the stage at David's Tower in the Old City as part of the Jerusalem Jazz Festival, which will take place under the auspices of the Israel Festival.
There will also be a number of lectures during the season including a lecture and discussion session by Wolfram Knauer, director of the Darmstadt Jazz Institute, intriguingly entitled "What's So German about German Jazz?", in collaboration with Israeli jazz and ethnic music expert Shlomo Yisraeli.
Naturally, reference will be made to the role played by German Jews in advancing the art form, including a focus on the prestigious Blue Note jazz record label. Blue Note was founded by Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff, two German Jews from Berlin who moved to New York in 1939, and over the last six decades has overseen the output of such jazz titans as Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock and Ornette Coleman.
For more information visit www.goethe.de/ins/il/jer/ver/en3322959v.htm