In the ranks of European jazz festivals, the JazzFest Berlin has long been somewhat off the radar, by nature and by instinct. Not only is does it take place on a long weekend around early November, missing out (semi-thankfully) on the circuit of acts filtering through the summer festival scene, but this festival prides itself on taking roads less traveled. It may be more accurate to say that Berlin’s festival has calibrated its own private sense of radar.
That in-house taste for adventure and avoiding the obvious has been especially strong in the past five years, under the watch of artistic director Peter Schulze, who wrapped up his five-year tenure with the 2007 festival. In 2007, the big marquee names were scarcely to be found, although the crowds were large, and the musical enticements were ample.