German jazz festival

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7th German Jazz Festival 1960 (poster: Hans Michel )

The German Jazz Festival , which has been taking place in Frankfurt am Main since 1953 , is the oldest German jazz festival. At the same time it is the oldest continuous jazz festival in the world.


The festival was initially organized by the German Jazz Federation as a performance show and was supposed to present something of the best that Germany has to offer in jazz once a year (according to Olaf Hudtwalcker at the opening of the first festival on May 3, 1953). In fact, there wasn't a major German musician who didn't play at the Frankfurt Festival. The festival was the republic's annual jazz event in the 1950s; essential impulses for jazz in Germany came from here.

With the emergence of other festivals in the 1960s, the festival took greater account of the international scene on the one hand; the previously included project line was further expanded. In particular, the most important German musicians were given the opportunity to produce productions that were not part of their everyday routine, and to collaborate with prominent jazz greats from Europe and outside of Europe (especially from North America). Here Volker Kriegel met Alan Skidmore (1972), Heinz Sauer met George Adams (1978), Peter Giger met Archie Shepp (1980), Alfred Harth met David Murray (1995) or Eberhard Weber met Pharoah Sanders (1997). Caterina Valente , Theo Jörgensmann , Markus Stockhausen , Lauren Newton , Christof Lauer , Michael Sagmeister , Torsten de Winkel and Christopher Dell started out as “newcomers” from here.

In the course of its existence the central organizational sponsors have changed: The German Jazz Federation is no longer one of the organizers; unlike in the first decades, it is no longer organized by Lippmann + Rau . In 1984 the Hessischer Rundfunk , which had already broadcast the concerts in 1953, became the organizer of the festival; since 1990 he has gained the city of Frankfurt as a permanent partner. The full length of the festival will be broadcast live on the radio.

Tomasz Stańko at the 44th German Jazz Festival (Frankfurt 2013)

While the festival was held every two years from the 1960s to the 1980s, it has been held annually since the early 1990s - as in the first decade of its existence. Peter Kemper , who had been co-responsible for programs since the 1980s, retired from his position as hr editor in 2015, and the station's jazz editor, Guenter Hottmann, also retired from the planning group. As successors to Olaf Stötzler, Claus Gnichwitz and Jürgen Schwab were introduced, regular contributors to the station's jazz program.

Discographic notes


  • Jürgen Schwab: The Frankfurt sound. A city and its jazz history (s). Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 2005, ISBN 3-7973-0888-4 .
  • Bernhard Koßmann, Hessischer Rundfunk (Ed.): Inventory 11 - German Jazz Festival 1953–1992. Frankfurt a. M. 1994. Klaus Doldinger

Web links

Commons : German Jazz Festival  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Two ancestors from the organization of the back German Jazz Festival: Farewell to formative figures. In: Offenbach Post. November 25, 2015