REPORT/PHOTOS: 15th European Jazztival at Schloss Elmau

Lars Danielsson, John Parricelli, 2014 European Jazztival at Schloss Elmau

Ralf Dombrowski has curated the European Jazztival Festival, held at Schloss Elmau in Germany, since inception. He reports on this year’s festival, at which he also took these photos:

Last weekend at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria – which is where Angela Merkel will host next year’s G7 summit on June 4th and 5th – the 15th European Jazztival came to an end. It is a small and select gathering, and this year it had mainly Scandinavian performers as guests:

Samuel Rohrer, 2014 European Jazztival at Schloss Elmau

Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset, with live remixer Jan Bang and their Swiss guest Samuel Rohrer on percussion gave us other-worldly sounds, amazing shimmering, unusual sound collages in a performance which was allowed to evolve freely.

Magnus Öström, 2014 European Jazztival at Schloss Elmau

Lars Danielsson was at Elmau with his Libretto Quartet. He’s no longer with Tigran who now wants to work exclusively as a solo artist, so he works with pianist Jonas Östhholm, without any noticeable degradation in the overall sound of the band. Danielsson in any event delivered strongly melodic, virtuosic music, which was energized through and through by Magnus Öström, who was livelier than I have seen him in a very long time.

Solveig Slettahjell, European Jazztival at Schloss Elmau

The set which vocalist Solveig Slettahjell gave with In The Country as her backing band was terrific, with guitarist Knut Reiersrud playing dark Nordic blues. This was music with immense strength, which also made its mark through presenting the listener with contrasts: the uncluttered setting of just a trio, the folk origins of Reiersrud’s playing and the intensity of phrasing in Slettahjell’s singing.

Bobo Stenson, Mike Mainieri, 2014 European Jazztival at Schloss Elmau

Some superb duo-playing was offered by pianist Bobo Stenson, admittedly slightly tired, and his American colleague Mike Mainieri. The vibraphone of the 76-year old – definitely one of the Woodstock generation – produced virtuoso, delicately harmonized excursions in sound, from original compositions, classics like “Islands” to a quite stunning, relaxed account of Come Rain Or Come Shine.

Magnus Lindgren, Dieter Ilg, 2014 European Jazztival at Schloss Elmau

The finale had saxophonist Magnus Lindgren‘s new quintet. It was poppy and ever so slightly funky; great entertainment to end with.

Schloss Elmau Website

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