How jazz found a home in Neuburg? Photos, Video

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30 years ago, the Birdland moved into the cellar vault under the court pharmacy.

A memorable day is coming to an end for jazz in the region, for Neuburg and for the operators of the Birdland Jazz Club. The first concert in the cellar under the former court pharmacy in Neuburg’s old town has just ended. Dusko Goykovich (trumpet, flugelhorn), Roman Schwaller (tenor saxophone), Joe Kienemann (piano), Karsten Gnettner (bass) and Wolfgang Haffner (drums) leave the stage. You have just written a piece of jazz history. Which, of course, back then, exactly 30 years ago, nobody could foresee. In the next few years the address Am Karlsplatz A 52, D-86633 Neuburg an der Donau, will become more and more important in jazz circles. The Birdland Jazz Club itself is twice as old. Only in the first half of its existence it had no permanent domicile. The club had already brought national and international jazz stars to the Danube in casual succession, and they played in the “Cafe Huber”, the “Rennbahn”, the “Neuhof”, the “Aussicht” and the “Cocodrillo”. “But these were always only emergency solutions,” says Birdland boss Manfred Rehm. “At that time we were looking for a permanent venue and one day I got the tip from the journalist Winfried Rein that it was planned to renovate the building, which had served as the court pharmacy from 1713, and that the cellar vault would be for us It really was. The then and still current owner of the property, an Ingolstadt investor, actually planned to open a wine tavern there, but immediately threw this plan overboard when I presented him with the idea of ​​a jazz cellar. and was thrilled. ” After the rubble and rubbish stored there had been removed, he had the cellar rebuilt according to Rehm’s ideas. The 17 centimeter thick natural stones of the floor were preserved, of course modern underfloor heating was installed underneath. The ventilation system, which is now so valuable in Corona times because it replaces all the room air with fresh air from outside within 11 minutes, was also installed back then. “That happened because of the cigarette smoke,” said Rehm. “Back then you were still allowed to smoke. With jazz that was almost a part of it. You can no longer imagine what is going on when two thirds of the audience are constantly smoking Gauloises, Gitanes and Salem No. 6. The beauty The thing about the system is: You can also let it run through during the concerts because it works almost silently. “

Late in the evening of February 1, 1991, the last question was also answered. Would the vault also prove suitable from an acoustic point of view? After the successful “trial run” with the Dusko Goykovich quintet, she didn’t even turn up, because not only the listeners are enthusiastic because of the excellent spatial sound, but also the musicians are really keen to play in Birdland. That was 30 years ago, 30 years in which almost everyone who is famous in jazz performed in this cellar. Under their own name, or rather inconspicuously, as sidemen, so to speak. With an average of 70 concerts a year, the number is considerable. If you look at the photo gallery on the walls of the club, you can get an idea of ​​it. It’s a who’s who of jazz. Musicians who are on site for the first time regularly marvel in disbelief and almost reverently when they register who has stood in front of them on this small, just 14 square meter stage. After all these years there are of course a lot of anecdotes. The one from the appearance of the pianist Cecil Taylor, for example. In November 2011 he gave one of only two European concerts in Birdland. When the Bavarian Radio heard about it, they didn’t want to believe it at first, but recorded the performance. That was the starting signal for the Birdland Radio Jazz Festival, which was taking place for the 10th time in 2020.

Stelldichein der Stars: Ron Carter (links), Wolfgang Haffner und Susan Weinert traten schon im Kellergewölbe unter der Neuburger Hofapotheke auf. Seit Februar 1991 hat das Birdland dort ein festes Zuhause.

Or the one about the concert with the band around trumpeter Clark Terry in May 2000. “We had dinner together before the concert and Clark had a lot of amusement about the name ‘Waiter!’. During the performance he spontaneously composed on stage a piece called it ‘Herr Ober!’ and had the audience sing along. Later a CD was released with the concert recording, also called ‘Herr Ober!’. Terry even got into the Billboard charts with it. ” And finally, Tommy Flanagan. The pianist gave a solo concert in October 1994, which he, who always saw himself as a team player, didn’t like at all. The concert was sensational, it was recorded, but the publication did not take place because Flanagan hesitated and hesitated. Exactly this concert has finally been released on Enja Records under the title “In His Own Sweet Time” and is widely celebrated as a sensation. The grand piano from Bösendorfer is also connected to a story. “We actually wanted to buy a Steinway when it opened 30 years ago,” says Manfred Rehm. “Then my attention was drawn to the Bösendorfer company in Vienna. So I contacted ten pianists and asked them which instrument they would prefer. Eight said a Steinway would be great, but a Bösendorfer would be a dream. So we drove to Vienna Oscar Peterson was just in town, tried out the 20 available models for us and made the preselection for us. Since then, a Bösendorfer M 200 has been here in our club. “With a project like the Birdland, a lot happens in the background , which the concert-goer does not even notice at first. There is the club’s own “Birdland” record label, on which 18 CDs have now been released. There’s the first floor, high above the vaulted cellar. This is where the office and archive are located, from where the Bayerischer Rundfunk broadcasts the four-hour Jazz Nights every year, and the collection of instruments, each with two electric pianos, double basses and drum sets, a vibraphone, amplifiers and microphones.

From there, Rehm maintains contact with agencies and musicians all over the world, from there he designs the regular concert program, the “Art Of Piano” and “Jazz regional” series, the Birdland Radio Jazz Festival and a series for young bands, the It is financed through the prize money from the federal government’s theater award. There remains one question that he has been asked repeatedly for 30 years. How can one actually afford these world stars of jazz, who otherwise often play in halls of 1000? How is it possible to let bands play at the Birdland Radio Jazz Festival to the exclusion of the audience in Corona times and pay them the full fee? “Birdland is financed from several pots,” says Rehm. “Entrance fees, membership fees and donations from private sources are one thing, there are also funding from the city of Neuburg and the district of Neuburg-Schrobenhausen, then the money from the venue award and finally the sponsors, namely Audi AG and the vP Foundation.” 30 years of Birdland in the cellar under the former farm pharmacy. Congratulations! But how do you celebrate the anniversary in times when concerts are banned? Even Rehm has no answer to this question. “Of course I have a plan for the time after the lockdown. We are definitely ready to get started immediately if it is allowed. Only now, nobody can tell me when that will be exactly.

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