For a few years now Berlin’s diversified festival landscape got another highly recommendable event which managed to establish itself as an important tip for music lovers all over the city. XJAZZ takes place between May 5 and 8 and centers on giving a contemporary take to jazz music. They fill their stages with classical and electronic acts alike, and even dip into rap and hip-hop, but all acts maintain a jazz element in some regard. Musicians often put together collaborative projects- solo jazz musicians become full orchestras and vocalists gain the accompaniment of a few horns. And, with a focus on local artists- about 70% coming from Berlin and the surrounding area- the shows give visitors a view on what’s coming out of the city these days. Here are seven acts that we recommend checking out. And if you read carefully you might win tickets for a few of them.
XJAZZ Tip #1: Cymande
British group CYMANDE adds a needed dose of funk to the lineup. They combine African rhythms with funk, soul and rock and give a unique sound with their nine-man roster. The band was on a hiatus from 1974 until they reunited in 2012 with nearly their original lineup. Now they’re back for a series of shows to celebrate their work over the years.
XJAZZ Tip #2: Me And My Drummer
Okay, we know, NBHAP has covered ME AND MY DRUMMER one too many times, but why stop now, right? The pair that is Charlotte Brandi and Matze Proellochs makes indie-pop music out of Berlin, and they conveniently just released their second album a few months ago. Their music centers around Brandi’s vocals but is enhanced with synths and keyboard. Better yet, the duo will be playing in Emmauskirche. Since we’ve covered most of their new releases lately, here’s another for you.
XJAZZ Tip #3: Chefket
CHEFKET is where the festival throws some rap in the ring. He’s a native of Berlin as well and has released a handful of EPs and albums over the years. Expect strings and horns to be accompanying his vocals for his set.
XJAZZ Tip #4: Nightmares on Wax
NIGHTMARES ON WAX, the moniker for music composer George Evelyn, is one of the few artists who is coming in from outside of Germany. He’s been producing since the 90s and consistently changes his style, so we will see what comes out of his at XJAZZ.
XJAZZ Tip #5: Ibrahim Keivo: Refugee Welcome Jam
IBRAHIM KEIVO is a native of Syria and will be filling the Lido with traditional songs from his country. He will be joined by renowned jazz musicians from across Germany, creating an act that visibly melds the two cultures being driven together today. The combination of traditional Syrian instruments with jazz accompaniment are bound to make uniquely beautiful arrangements. As another added plus, the concert benefits XJAZZ’s partners: Give Something Back To Berlin, CreAid Network Berlin und Plus1.
XJAZZ Tip #6: Ilhan Ershain – Istanbul Sessions
aaand … XJAZZ Tip #7: Shobaleader One/Squarepusher
And, ladies and gentlemen, these are the sets we are offering you and a lucky guest tickets to. ISTANBUL SESSION and SHOBALEADER ONE are on opposite sides of the music spectrum as far as this festival goes. The former holds up the more traditional jazz end, playing only live instrumental music. SHOBALEADER ONE, on the other hand, fills his tracks with synths and electronic beats.
If you want a shot at winning tickets, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘XJAZZ’, the concert of your choice (Tip 6 or 7) and your full name. We’ll announce the winner early next week.
Find the entire line-up of XJAZZ 2016 right here.