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 Thursday, 02 October 2014
Jazz In Berlin PDF Print
Written by Don Berryman   
Saturday, 28 February 2009

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Statue in Sanssouci Park Don Berryman

Of the great European cities, the once divided Berlin is now one of the safest, most affordable and livable. Combined with Berlin's rich history, architecture, and recent unification, it is among the many things that make it a magnet for the arts - including jazz. On a recent visit to Berlin we took the opportunity to hear an orchestra performing Mozart on period instruments and in period costume at Charlottenburg palace, and also had the pleasure of visiting some of Berlin’s great jazz clubs to hear modern jazz.

 

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A-Trane Jazz Club Don Berryman
A-Train is a newer, up-scale club with posh décor and ambitious, all-jazz booking. We caught alto-saxophonist Miguel Zenón's performance with his quartet and the sound and sight-lines were great. At 17 Euros, the ticket price was very reasonable for this world class band led by a MacArthur 'Genius' Grant recipient. On Saturday nights they have a late night jam session starting at 1:00 am with no cover charge, a great place to drop in after a show. Visit their website for more information: www.a-trane.de.

Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq at Badenscher Hof Don Berryman
We saw L.A. saxophonist Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq playing with a European rhythm section at Badenscher Hof. Badenscher Hof is a bar and restaurant with a small room that serves as a performance space. The music was swinging with post-bop blowing over soul-jazz rhythm. The performance room is small, seating barely 30 people, but there is a view into that room from the bar where many patrons watch the performance. In the performance room you can also order food, but you will be packed in pretty tightly. We arrived early, planning to eat before the performance, and we got a good table, later a gentleman and another couple was seated with us. The small table didn't really have room for plates and drinks, but we made it work and had a nice chat before the band started. There is a larger separate dining room as well and the music can also be heard in there. The food is good and the beer/wine selection is good and reasonably priced. They impose no cover charge for the music, but they will pass a bucket for tips. Badenscher Hof is located at Badenscher Straße 29 - 10715 Berlin. Visit their website for more information: www.badenscher-hof.de.

B-Flat jazz club in Berlin Don Berryman
B-Flat is a large store-front room with the stage at the windows in the front and a long bar along one side to the back.  With a modest cover charge of 8-10 Euros, this place gets packed with music fans that go to hear modern jazz and acoustic world music. This place is all about the music with little attention given to décor or comfort. We arrived a little late and only found seats in the back at the bar, but we were lucky to be able to move up and share a table for the next set. Almost everyone stayed for both sets- this is something we noticed at all the venues we visited, folks tend to arrive on time and then stay for the duration. Booking predominantly European musicians, this is a great place to hear a kind of music you can't find at home. Visit their website for more information: www.b-flat-berlin.de.

Quasimodo's is Berlin's oldest and best known jazz club. However, there are many nights when rock and R&B music is featured. Quasimodo's is located underground beneath the Quasimodo Café and the Delphi Film Palace.  It has been operating since 1975 and some of the biggest names in the international jazz-scene have performed here. The room is large enough to accommodate an audience of up to 350 people. Cover charges run from 10-20 Euros but with bigger names expect super sized cover charges. James Carter was performing there when we were in town, and tickets were 35 Euros. Visit their website for more information: www.quasimodo.de.



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