Nils Landgren is doubtlessly one of Europe’s most successful jazz musicians. Fans and observers of the 58-year-old Swede are already wondering whether his days might have more than 24 hours. Critics have nominated him as the hardest working man in show business. When “Mr. Redhorn,” the man with the red trombone, is not touring with his legendary band Funk Unit or other projects bearing his name, he works as a producer and talent scout or is found passing his know-how on to his students. In the German capital, he has made a name for himself as the artistic director of the JazzFest Berlin. It is not least his versatility which is admired in this musician, who began playing drums at the age of six and discovered the trombone for himself at 13: apart from hardcore jazz, he is devoted to Swedish folk music – or he might record romantic and idiosyncratic Christmas songs, as he did on his album Christmas With My Friends. In cooperation with Doctors without Borders, Nils Landgren’s Funk Unit supports a music education project for children and teenagers in one of the largest slums of Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. After leading last year’s successful “Young Euro Classic meets Jazz” project, Nils Landgren returns in 2015 for a sequel.
“30 Musicians. No Conductor”: that is the c/o chamber orchestra’s motto. Indeed, equal rights and responsibility of all members are the basis of this chamber orchestra founded in 2014. The “c/o” in its name, playing on the postal indication describing mail being delivered to the recipient via a third party, is programmatic here: the musicians see themselves as musical mediators, offering the audience “the most compelling, truthful and direct interpretation”. The c/o chamber orchestra is the idea of some former members of the Baltic Youth Philharmonic, the brilliant youth orchestra of the Baltic Sea States. They were joined by musicians from Spain and Italy, Korea and the USA – no less than 15 nations. They work as professional freelance musicians, but also hold orchestra positions in Tallinn, Riga, Malmö, Kristiansand and even Brandenburg. The Berliner Zeitung attested that c/o had its “own style” at its Berlin debut last year: “The stormy enthusiasm of the youth orchestra is prolonged in a stylistically domesticated fashion, and the fact that they alone are responsible for the artistic result and cannot hide behind a conductor means that all the musicians exhibit additional alertness.”
The percussionist Malin and the saxophone player Karolina Almgren, two sisters from Gothenburg, have been performing together as “Sisters of Invention” since 2013. This combination brings out their qualities as musicians and arrangers. 2014 saw the release of their second album, Navigating, following Om & Om Igen. Not even in their mid-twenties, the two Swedish sisters have written arrangements for the Arctic Youth Jazz Orchestra and performed at the Fife Jazz Festival in Scotland. Today, they also work for the Bohuslän Big Band, with whom they will be touring in the autumn of 2015 as well.
Pianist Fanny Gunnarsson is from Malmö, where she also graduated with a diploma from the local music academy in 2014. She discovered jazz while still a student. In the meantime, she has long made a name for herself as a pianist and singer and founder of the Fanny Gunnarsson Quartet. As a songwriter, Fanny Gunnarsson combines contemporary jazz with pop music; her debut album Same Eyes As You led to invitations for her quartet to the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival and the famous jazz club “Fasching” in Stockholm.
This past year, Lisa Wulff, born in Hamburg in 1990, completed her studies in music education in jazz and jazz-related music in Bremen, during which she majored in E-bass and acoustic double bass. Since then, she has been studying for a performance degree in Hamburg. Lisa Wulff takes to the stage not only as a bass player, but also as a singer. Furthermore, she composes and founded the Lisa Wulff Quartet, following her experiences with her own bands such as Kalís, Greenroom and takadoon. Concerts beyond the German borders have taken her all over Europe and to China.
Experience a programme which focuses on the 1920s, when classical composers in Europe “discovered” jazz and used it in their own works – works like Le boeuf sur le toit by Darius Milhaud and Kurt Weill’s Kleine Dreigroschenmusik, which will be flanked by jazz songs of the time by Cole Porter or Duke Ellington, which were enormously influential at the time and have become standards today. The jazz trombonist and vocalist Nils Landgren also travels to his own roots in Swedish folk music. Thus, this concert program is about influence, consequence and identity – but mainly it is an evening that sings, dances and sends the audience home with the energy and the vitality of a time past – a time which is not really past at all.