Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige Reviewed

Europe’s steepest jazz festival, and one of the boldest

Jazzrausch (Olga Dudkova, Moritz Stahl, Raphael Huber, Marco Dufner, Sebastian Wolfgruber, Angela Avetisyan and Jutta Keess) performs at the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige
Random Control (David Helbock, Johannes Bär and Andreas Broger) performs at the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige
Kompost 3 (Benny Omerzell, Martin Eberle, Manu Mayr and Lukas König) performs at the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige
Edi Nulz (Siegmar Brecher, Valentin Schuster and Julian Adam Pajzs) performs at the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige
Giovanni Falzone Mosche Elettriche (Valerio Scrignoli, Giovanni Falzone and Riccardo Tosi) performs at the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige
Dan Kinzelman of Hobby Horse performs at the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige
Hobby Horse and Edi Nulz perform at the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige
Francesco Diodati performs at Jazz Labs, part of the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige
The Max Andrzejewski ensemble performs at the 2016 Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige

The best jazz festivals embed themselves in a place, draw upon its distinctive qualities, and come to represent it. The Umbria festival is synonymous with the cobblestone piazzas of Perugia. Newport means a seaside venue with free views from the water for boaters. But no jazz festival is more intimate or adventurous with its landscape than Südtirol Alto Adige.

Now in its 34th year, it is based in Bolzano, Italy, at the foot of the Dolomite mountains. From June 24 to July 3, the festival spread itself up those mountains and all over the Alto Adige region (just south of Austria), to 23 communities and 60 different sites. Some venues were very unusual. For example, one festival day began with a spectacular funicular ride, 4,000 feet up to Soprabolzano, over a brilliant green, sometimes nearly vertical terrain. Below the cable car, chalets somehow clung to the mountainside. From the high plateau of Soprabolzano, a train traveled to the famous glacial formations called lahntürme, or earth pyramids. A marching jazz band from Munich, Jazzrausch, got on board the train along with the festival crowd and kept right on riffing.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published