Johannes von Ballestrem is a pianist and and currently on high demand in the jazz scene out and about in Berlin. He received funding from Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe to study piano styles in New Orleans, Louisiana last fall. Being there, he talked about his experience in the city, the musicians that he met, and how the music he studied will influence his future musical endeavors.
Julie Sassoon is a pianist working in the field of jazz and improvised music. For the opening of the Maerz Musik Festival in Berlin, she played three works of Julius Eastman (1940 –1990), of which two were German premieres. Sassoon’s piano colleagues for the concert were Christoph Grund, Ernst Surberg and Małgorzata Walentynowicz.
In the interview Sassoon explains why playing Eastman feels like running a marathon, she talks about warm and cold minimal music and denominates why she always had a strong connection with black culture.
So you can’t name a handful female bass players from Germany – are you kidding? Or you can’t name female piano players from over 15 different countries – seriously?
Here’s a list of over 500 women in jazz and improvised music who are performing currently.
In 2015 I published a list with over 200 albums by women in jazz. This was a reaction to a radio broadcast that alleged that their music selection was solely based on artistic quality, distinction and how up to date the bands are.
Charles Taylor is Big Chief of the White Cloud Hunters, a Mardi Gras Indian tribe in New Orleans. I’ve had the great honor to meet him in April 2016. He’ll be out on Mardi Gras Day, wearing his new costume. Charles Taylor is 62 years old and lives in the Musicians’ Village. He talks about the Mardi Gras Indian culture as it is today and how it used to be when he started masking Indian. He also tells what he’s been through since Hurricane Katrina and discusses the current daily struggles of living in New Orleans. The interview is only slightly edited, the written form is equivalent to the spoken language. You can also hear Charles Taylor and the White Cloud Hunters, recorded in the 1980s by Michael P. Smith.
The Glass Ceiling: How open, equal and diverse is jazz in reality today? Watch the discussion at:
Co-author of the proposal for Berlin’s Senate Department of Culture, which led to the launch of the funding program for women artists in jazz:
Read the result of the 1st funding period at:
For the pocket brass band Magnetic Ear from New Orleans, Berlin.
Member of the preselection jury for Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis, IG Jazz Rhein-Neckar:
A concert weekend for kids and teenagers from music schools in Berlin
2009 – 2015