Jazz & Nature - Between Romantic Art Song and Soundtrack to the Apocalypse

The experience of animate and inanimate human environment - what we interpret and refer to as "nature" - has always been relevant for human self-perception. Whether romantically transfigured, at the center of fantasies of omnipotence, or as threatening scenarios: Nature motifs have had and continue to have an impact in many ways on human self-definition and artistic creation.

In addition to our festival in the fall - the Leipziger Jazztage - we present with our small festival format MusikZeit since 1991 in the spring (this year exceptionally in summer and winter) musicians who stand out through a special way of expression, provoke artistic developments and contribute to making contemporary jazz connectable to the society of our time. 2021 under the theme "Jazz & Nature". 

The relationship between man and nature currently holds great potential to evoke a global generational conflict. While younger people, increasingly gripped by existential fears, are urgently calling for action, pandemic conditions and extreme weather phenomena are making apocalyptic future scenarios frighteningly tangible even in Central Europe. Thoughts of irreversible destruction are almost omnipresent and make us experience the environment in a new quality. Globally, it is not only age that creates a difference between different social groups. The historically far-reaching exploitation of the global South, as well as the prosperity of the global North based on it, raises the question of how we want to shape the distribution of resources and access to quality of life today and in the future. 

These dynamics, which are moving society as a whole, are also reflected in the young jazz scene. With increasing seriousness, musicians are trying to take a stance on the world and to critically reflect on relevant aspects of inequality, justice and emancipation and to relate them to their own actions. 

While we spend the first evening of the festival at UT Connewitz with the project "Schumann disrupted" , conceived especially for MusikZeit 2021 and featuring the young pianist Johanna Summer, among others, and conclude the evening there with a concert by the new duo Who Manatee of trombonist Shannon Barnett, the next day we already feel the urge to go outside and explore the east of the city and wooded areas with musicians from the Leipzig scene. Carl Christian Wittig's Songs of Silver Gray thematizes the romantic turn to the life of the forest, whose luxuriant growth, however, has long been confronted with many threats. Lancei & Uli - Mandeng x BAM takes up another aspect of making music outdoors: saxophonist Uli Huebner welcomes low-threshold access to the concert in front of the Ostwache in Gregor-Fuchs-Strasse. "The world becomes a club" he says and is also looking forward to the first musical encounter with Djembéola Lancei Diouba. The Saturday evening will be concluded with a DJ set by esclé from the context of Sphere Radio Leipzig. Our events on the forecourt of the Ostwache are also the kick-off of the long-term project "Leipzig Contains...?" initiated by the local radio station. The entire musical program of the evening will not only be experienced live on site, but also on the station's channels. In addition, the radio show pre-produced as part of our cooperation with Sphere, which focuses especially on the project Lancei & Uli - Mandeng x BAM, will not only be available online, but also at the venue before the concert begins. 

It will be cheerful and instructive for children from 5 years on Sunday on the open-air stage of the KAOS Kulturwerkstatt with the premiere of Jolli sieht Grün. Together with her band, singer Jorinde Jelen tells of the animals of the forest, but also of climate change and the dangers that come with it. Its provisional conclusion finds the MusikZeit 2021 likewise on the open air stage there with the program SOLASTALGIA. With his band Blossom, trumpeter Max Diller also addresses the question of how we humans react to the ecological and sociological changes of our time in his compositions.

Complementing the three-day festival, the GROUP 50:50 project will take place in the winter with the participation of Swiss musician Elia Rediger. Forward-looking musical thought-provoking pieces address failure, death and the global economy. 

We would like to invite you to an intergenerational exchange about how we can hopefully shape the future together and look forward to all the exciting projects of these musicians and to your visit.

Your team from Jazzclub Leipzig