Jazz em Agosto proposes a program that mirrors the multiples identities of contemporary jazz at the Open Air Amphitheatre of the Gulbenkian Foundation.
John Coltrane had recently passed away while Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman were shaping the jazz of the future when, in 1968, Peter Brötzmann led a troupe of improvisers in the sessions that gave us the iconic album Machine Gun. The explosive music generated around the German saxophonist would open a new and fundamental chapter in the genealogy of jazz, particularly developments in the Europe continent, fuelled by strong influences from contemporary classical music.
It is to this vital energy that Brötzmann now proposes to return, alongside Han Bennink (who also appeared on Machine Gun) and Alexander von Schlippenbach, in the opening concert of the 37th Jazz em Agosto. But what we will be hearing will be far from an exercise in nostalgia – even after five decades the music created by these indefatigable musicians continues to sound the dizzying, zestful notes that only the present can echo.
It is this continuous invention of the present that we owe to Brötzmann, Bennink and Schlippenbach, and that permeates the whole of this year’s Jazz em Agosto (whose graphic design is also signed by Peter Brötzmann). Through Mats Gustafsson’s projects (Fire! and The End), through the electronic-permeable drum solos provided by Gabriel Ferrandini and Katharina Ernst or Luís Vicente’s trumpet, but also through the frequent concerts that will navigate the shared waters of far-sighted jazz and the most varied expressions of the rock language, there is no lack of examples of how the freedom ushered in by Machine Gun was taken up as a fundamental value for all music to follow on the European continent.
In a year in which we are still seeking a return to our normal lives, Jazz em Agosto is committed to reinforcing the presence of Portuguese projects, with the satisfaction of seeing them stand alongside the most inventive groups operating in Europe today. Jazz em Agosto is therefore resuming its natural vocation of taking the pulse of the jazz of today, the jazz that doesn’t just settle for reworking the past. Here, we want to continue to see History unfold.
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