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Under the motto "European-American Encounters," Ulf Herden invites female artists (and a handful of male artists) from 18 countries to the 10th edition of his festival.
The central concerts at the Halle Opera House begin with the blues, soul, swing and jazz-based singer Catherine Russell and her trio from New York. The Grammy Award winner, who has been compared to Billie Holiday, will present her successful album "Bring It Back", which has won several awards. Guitarist Susan Weinert and Norwegian singer Torun Eriksen unfold the Nordic-sensual sound universe of their album "Fjord".
The French winner of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal-Competition 2012 Cyrille Aimée shines with a jazzy style mix of Roma music and South American rhythm. Marialy Pacheco from Cuba is the winner of the piano competition at the Monteux Jazz Festival 2012. In refined, rhythmic and multi-layered playing she lets her native roots be known with trumpeter Joo Kraus among others as guest.
"Hello Bluebird" is the name of Jane Monheit's new program, in which the soulfully interpreting American voice celebrates the music of Judy Garland. Pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs - born in Iceland, emancipated as a jazz musician in the USA - embodies the festival motto in person. With her trio, she combines bubbling New York groove with Scandinavian elegance full of fascinating emotionality.
The festival highlight is probably the Julia Hülsmann Octet on the final evening of the Opera House Concerts. Julia sets to music a project in which the sung word - one of her trademarks - takes center stage with vocalists Maria Roggen (Norway), Aline Frazão (Angola) and Jelena Kuljic (Serbia). What is particularly appealing about this world premiere is that in the all-women band the pianist plays alternately in traditional piano trio formations of both classical music and jazz: with Gerdur Gunnarsdottir on violin and Susanne Paul on cello, or Eva-like with Kruse on double bass and Klesse on drums. The festival will close with the group SOFIA: a septet of young female jazz musicians selected by a jury in workshops in Cologne, Zurich and Paris, who convince with a wild conglomeration of jazz, rock and pop.
Further concerts with Paula Morelenbaum, Anke Helfrich, Vera Hept, Elizabeth King, Susana Sawoff, Greetje Kauffeld, Ines Reiger, Silvia Droste and Christiana Uikiza will take place in Ulrichs- und Georgenkirche, Objekt 5, Kunstmuseum Moritzburg and Goethe-Theater Bad Lauchstädt. There will be an open-air jazz spectacle on Halle's Peißnitz with free admission, and CityJazz in Halle's city center to close the festival. And the festival goes on tour: Catherine Russell makes guest appearances in Erfurt (Alter Oper) and Leipzig (Peterskirche).