42nd Saalfelden Jazzfestival
The 42nd edition of the Jazzfestival Saalfelden came to an end with the session of Austrian drummer Lukas König last night. Four days, during which 230 musicians from 20 nations turned the small town in the Austrian province of Salzburg and the breathtaking nature of the region into a musical pilgrimage site. Almost 18,000 visits including record ticket sales show once again that the makers of the festival presented a successful and diverse program, which ignored pigeonholing and had something to offer for everyone - for jazz connoisseurs and lovers, but also simply for all music enthusiasts!
The City Tracks opening concerts on Thursday were already well received by the audience and were a foretaste of a programme full of facets for the days to come. While Hammond player Raphael Wressnig and his comrades-in-arms, together with singer Gisele Jackson, transformed the Stadtpark into a party mile, and the quintet Melting Pot took the unusual Fuchs bookbindery and turned it into a musical venue, the Austrian-Serbian formation OstBeatBend looked beyond geographical and cultural borders with Gipsy music and folk melodies from the Balkans.
The first two concerts at the start of the festival already showed that the Short Cuts at the Nexus are no longer an insider tip and that they are a very special attraction for musical truffle hunters, so that both the Austrian band Ventil and the German-British-Turkish quartet Usine with bassist and electronic musician James Banner played in front of a sold-out house. And also the following days, for example with the solo concert of the US-American pianist Jason Moran or the trio Acoustic Unity around drummer Gard Nilssen, are considered by many to be a very special highlight. The latter and drummer Katharina Ernst were Artists in Residence this year, and their immensely diverse projects appeared again and again in the context of the total of 65 concerts.
The industrial charm of the Otto Gruber Hall has now been definitively integrated into the festival's program as a venue, and it is not only visually that it serves as a counterpoint to the greenery of the Stadtpark. Bands such as the French formation Nout or Gard Nilssen’s project Bushman's Revenge created works of sound art in the sober hall, while the Stadtpark with Luca Bassanese & La Piccola Orchestra Popolare once again became, despite the partly uncertain weather situation, a stage of good humor - but which also had room for the ironic-abysmal tones of a Felix Kramer.
After the opening concert at the Mainstage in the Congress Saalfelden by the Austrian musician Fabian Rucker with his commissioned project RUCKER, and the large formation Christoph Cech Jazz Orchestra Project, the stage belonged this year mainly to international formations with Emile Parisien, Paal Nilssen, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Jason Moran, Isaiah Collier, Vincent Courtois and Vijay Iyer.
The mountain tracks and flash mobs, which give the festival its very own touch, are considered a special experience. Concerts in the midst of nature, such as the Kollingwald forest concert to which trumpeter Cuong Vu invited guitarist Even Helte Hermansen and the aforementioned Gard Nilssen, played with the concept of soundscape, while musician Siegmar Brecher set creative accents with like-minded people in possible and impossible places in the city. The fact that the regime-critical political punk group from Moscow, Pussy Riot, was brought to Saalfelden as part of the City Tracks was also a small musical adventure for many.
Everyone involved dealt with the ever-present downpours in a relaxed manner: the second "We Hike Jazz" excursion with regular musician Lukas Kranzelbinder was quickly relocated to the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum, the rehearsal for the sunrise concert "Half a Quartet in a Rowing Boat" was held with rain gear (and a lot of fun), and the short distances from venue to venue were simply covered sometimes with umbrella or turned-up collar.
"What was in the foreground," says Mario Steidl, the artistic director of the Jazzfestival, "was the great atmosphere among the audience, artists and team, the great joy of being able to celebrate together again and have a good time in addition to unique concerts and impressions. The fact that we sold more tickets this year than ever before seems to confirm us in this."
SAVE THE DATE: The 43rd Jazzfestival Saalfelden will take place from August 17 - 20, 2023!
Facts and figures Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2022:
- Over 18,000 concert visits
- 65 concerts (39 of them free of charge)
- 12 venues
- 98% occupancy rate on the Mainstage. Record result!
- The Short Cuts and Jazz Hikes were completely sold out.
- Budget: 780.000 Euro
- 150 journalists and organizers
- 230 artists from 20 nations (Poland, Greece, Belgium, Austria, USA, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, UK, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Haiti, Turkey, Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, Serbia, Russia)