Nils Landgren is doubtlessly one of Europe’s most successful jazz musicians. Fans and observers of the 61-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 the successful “Classic meets Jazz” projects at Young Euro Classic for three years running, Nils Landgren returns in 2017 for its fourth edition.
Originally from Tbilisi (Georgia), the pianist Giorgi Mikadze first performed in public at the age of twelve. While still in school, he discovered his love for jazz; during his student days at the Tbilisi State Conservatory he founded his first quartet. After graduating in 2010, he received a scholarship to Berklee College in the USA; he has performed at the jazz festival there, in Montreux and at the Black Sea Jazz Festival in his homeland. He has performed with renowned colleagues such as Roy Hargrove, Dave Liebman, Lee Ritenour, Chris Potter, Matt Garrison, Tia Fuller and Patti Austin. Only recently, Mikadze released an album with Jack DeJohnette, the drummer of the Keith Jarrett Trio. During the spring of 2017 the jazz musician was a fellow at the progressive 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. As a composer, he attempts to translate the micro-tonality of Georgian folk music into jazz in an innovative manner.
Lizi Ramishvili, still only 20 years of age, began taking cello lessons as a child in her native city, the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. In the meantime, she has become a student of the Kronberg Academy in the Taunus, Germany, where she studies with Frans Helmerson, and since 2017 at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland. Lizi Ramishvili already looks back on numerous performances, including a solo recital at New York’s Carnegie Hall, a concert with pianist Khatia Buniatishvili and her appearance in a Prokofiev Concerto at the Rostropovich Festival in Moscow. Invitations also took the cellist, who has held a Rostropovich Scholarship for several years, to the Augsburg Mozart Festival, the festival Energy for Life in Vienna, to Beirut and Sochi in Russia.
Sergo Urushadze, Paata Tsetskhladze, Zurab Tskrialashvili
The Ensemble Basiani was founded in 2000 under the patronage of the Catholic Patriarch of Georgia. In 2013 it was given the status of a State Ensemble of Georgian Vocal Folk Music. Its name refers to the city of Basiani in the former southwest of Georgia (part of modern Turkey), where an important battle in 1203 AD strengthened Georgian dominance in the region. The Ensemble Basiani draws upon the rich experience of its members, most of whom grew up with vocal music since their earliest childhood. The (male) singers have made it their mission to revive the heritage of traditional Georgian polyphony. They have been invited to renowned festivals in St. Petersburg, Aldeburgh and Kilkenny, to Amsterdam, Lisbon and to New York’s Lincoln Center. The Ensemble Basiani Trio, which appears in Berlin, consists of the upper-voice singer, Sergo Urushadze, the middle voice of Paata Tsetskhladze, and the bass Zurab Tskrialashvili – all of them members of the ensemble for many years.
Bassist Ellen Andrea Wang (b. 1986) has distinguished herself as an inventive artist, blending genres in new and unprecedented ways. Her music tastefully blends jazz and pop elements, balancing the lyrical with the rough, the acoustic with the electric, and creating an urban unique sound with a traditional configuration of bass, vocals, drums and piano. Wang is also the founder of the critically acclaimed indie jazz band Pixel. She has toured with Manu Katché’s band and Marilyn Mazur and performed with Sting in 2016. She received the Kongsberg Jazz Festival’s Great Musician Award in 2015, awarded to a musician with a leading position on the Norwegian jazz scene. The Ellen Andrea Wang Trio, founded in 2013, includes some of Norway’s most talented musicians. “A commanding presence in any ensemble she plays in, her soft tone and vocal precision are always counterbalanced with heavy and assertive grooves from her double-bass, interlocking with drummers, jazz, pop and groove alike.” (The Guardian, 2016)
Eva Klesse has been hailed as a “shooting star of the European Jazz scene”; one reviewer called her debut album Xenon “the dream debut of a dream band”. The musician from Werl, Germany, trained as a jazz percussionist in Leipzig, Weimar and Paris and subsequently for two years at the New York University. Although she is officially still a student at the Leipzig Academy, the 31-year-old has long formed part of various formations. Apart from the Eva Klesse Quartet, for which she composes herself, these include the Jorinde Jelen Band, the Julia Hülsmann Octet, the Quartett Trillmann and the Trio No Kissing. Her debut album Xenon quickly won the 2015 Echo Jazz in the category “Newcomer of the Year”. Her second album, Obenland, followed in 2016 to equal acclaim.
When Björn Atle Anfinsen was 6 years old, he heard Maynard Ferguson on CD. It made him start playing the trumpet. With parents who are classical musicians and great interest in other music such as hard rock, funk, jazz, he got a wide music taste at a young age. In 2014 Björn Atle Anfinsen received the youth scholarship of Gävle Jazzclub and was named Best Soloist at the Swedish Jazz Final in Stockholm; two years later he and his band won the Best Band Award. In 2016 he began studying with Patrik Skogh at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. During the past year, he has had the opportunity to play with some of Sweden’s best jazz musicians, such as Magnus Lindgren, Robert Ikiz, Nils Landgren, Svante Thuresson, Lill Lindfors, Peter Asplund, and others. In spring 2017, Björn Atle Anfinsen released his first single, Långdans Från Sollerön, and the autumn will see his debut EP on Stockholm Jazz Records, with drummer Robert Ikiz. As a composer, he strives for a mix of modern jazz and the Middle East, with a touch of electronic music.
This year, jazz legend Nils Landgren – aka “Mr. Redhorn” – invites musicians and singers from Georgia to join him. For the fourth time, he brings young jazz musicians to Berlin, grooving with them on the Konzerthaus stage. Let yourself be surprised by the intriguing rhythms of this mix of jazz, traditional Georgian music and classical pieces! Sitting still – almost out of the question…
PROGRAMME: “Georgian Overtones”
Inspiration from other cultures: jazz, classical and traditional sounds! And all that in a unique combination. From Northern to Southern Europe, Nils Landgren has already invited young, versatile musicians to the last three editions of Young Euro Classic. This year, the journey continues – all the way to Eurasia. Georgian music traditions reaching back millennia merge with groovy rhythms and improvisation. An entirely unusual evening awaits you, as Igor Stravinsky would agree: “What the Georgians sing is more important than all new discoveries of modern music. It is incomparable and simple. I have never heard anything better!”