Jazz in the palm garden

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Jazz im Palmengarten is a series of musical events with jazz music that has been held since 1959 in the Palmengarten of Frankfurt am Main . Today it is considered to be the oldest open-air jazz festival in the world that is held continuously. The series "helped to consolidate the city's reputation as an open-minded cultural metropolis at home and abroad."


Jazz in the Palmengarten : Wilson de Oliveira and the Frankfurt Jazz Big Band in the Konzertmuschel (2009)

The history of the Jazz im Palmengarten series of events began after the end of the Second World War . Like other properties in the Westend district of Frankfurt , the Palmengarten, which had existed since 1868, belonged to a restricted military area from 1945 onwards , which the US armed forces in Europe claimed for themselves. During the occupation, between 1945 and 1948, the US occupation troops broadcast jazz concerts on Saturdays, which took place in the Palmengarten, on the AFN soldiers' channel; musicians like Eugen Henkel played here . As of 1953, the palm garden again belonged to the responsibility of the city of Frankfurt.

In 1959, the then director of the palm garden, Fritz Encke , wanted to attract mainly young people to the botanical complex. When he turned to the Frankfurt jazz musician Albert Mangelsdorff with the idea of ​​holding a jazz concert in the park's concert shell, he referred to Werner Wunderlich from the German Jazz Federation . He was interested in introducing jazz to the predominantly older visitors to the Palmengarten. The first concert took place on July 3, 1959; the hr jazz ensemble played . Because of the great popularity of the audience and critics, Wunderlich was commissioned in 1960 to organize two more concerts. Over the years, the series grew to up to ten concerts, which were held every two weeks between May and September. While in the 1970s the concerts in bad weather substitute took place in the ballroom of the palm grove, the concerts were even in the rain later due to tighter budgets Open Air festival held at Bandshell.

Until 2002, Wunderlich ran the series on a voluntary basis. Thanks to his good contacts and because it was a non-profit event, he was also able to persuade highly paid musicians to perform for significantly lower fees than their usual fees. Pat Metheny , Chick Corea , Gary Burton , Lee Konitz , John Scofield , Abdullah Ibrahim , Woody Shaw , John Carter , James Newton and Charles Lloyd played for example . In addition, European musicians such as Eje Thelin , Zbigniew Seifert and John Tchicai performed . Every year there was a concert in which Albert Mangelsdorff appeared in different constellations (for example with Elvin Jones or Joachim Kühn ); Other local musicians also introduced themselves and their band projects, Christof Lauer as well as Günter Lenz . Initially, the price of the tickets for the concerts corresponded to the regular entry price to the park. Nevertheless, the income from ticket sales "at attractive concerts significantly exceeded the expenses."

In 2003, the artistic direction was taken over by the Frankfurt Jazz Initiative, which has been responsible for the series with six concerts per season to this day. The entry price for the event is now twice as high as that of a regular ticket to the park. As became known during the deliberations on the municipal budget in 2014, the municipal subsidy for the concert series is to be canceled. In fact, this would mean the end of the festival. However, the concert series is initially financed from the budget of the Palmengarten. On the occasion of the opening of the 2014 season on June 19, the director of the Palmengarten, Matthias Jenny, declared that the financing had been secured and wished Jazz in the Palmengarten 55 more successful years.


Web links

Commons : Jazz im Palmengarten (Frankfurt am Main)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. J. Schwab Der Frankfurt Sound , p. 148
  2. ^ A b Sonja Thelen: Green Frankfurt. A guide to more than 70 parks and facilities in the city area, p. 67. B3 Verlag, Frankfurt 2007. ISBN 978-3-938783-19-1
  3. Peter Feldmann , Music in the Palmengarten (PDF; 896 kB)
  4. J. Schwab Der Frankfurt Sound , p. 149
  5. Claus-Jürgen Göpfert Jazz im Palmengarten threatens to end Frankfurter Rundschau , July 17, 2013