May 20, 2024

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Krass in the province: A free jazz festival in Saarbrücken leans against the mainstream: Video

Goodness, what kind of music is this: Peter Brötzmann, Stefan Winkler after an idea by Hans Husel. There are things that do not exist, and then there is them: The ambitious free jazz festival is one of the local enthusiasts held in Saarbrücken next week.

In 40 years, the underpass has become one of the leading jazz clubs in Europe. The festival program underlines the good reputation.

By Oliver Hochkeppel

Anyone who thinks of jazz in Munich inevitably has the underpass in their heads. For 40 years, the club is the second living room of the local scene. Which is not quite true. This was only gradually revealed during the first era of the old underpass on the Haidenauplatz, which lasted from 1978 to 1998. It was a small circle of wild freejazers who, with Fritz Otto, Herbert Straub and Mike Uitz at the top, had taken over an ornate former railway station – along with a billiard table on stage and the name that does not sound very elegant in the ears of English-speaking people.

A spice-herb-like niche life unfolded in a then still colorful jazz club landscape with the internationally renowned Domicile at the top, the Allotria as a haven of traditionalists and various shops from night café to small rondel for the different tastes.

Jazzclub "Unterfahrt" in München, 2017

Of course, even then Munich housing shortage and price level live stages made life difficult. Also in the underpass quickly collided creative desire and economic constraints on each other. In order to apply for funding, in 1980, two years after the club, the associated association was founded: the “Förderkreis Jazz und Malerei e.V.”, which created a stable structure and became a catalyst for professionalization.

Initially under the aegis of Sepp Dachsel, then with landlady Lisl Geipel and the more than 20 years acting tandem Christiane Böhnke-Geisse and Michael Stückl, the underpass was not only a professional jazz club, but one of the most important international addresses of the jazz world. This was definitively sealed in 1998 with the move to one of the basement rooms of the former Union brewery on Einsteinstrasse. Now they had adequate space, and thanks to various donations and their own organizational skills gradually a good wing and a – recently brought to the state of the art – solid and full-time supervised by Robert Huber technical equipment.

Since Herbert Mandl and Walter Prijak accepted, even gastronomy works. An appropriate framework in every respect, to present stars from all over the world. And they all came and come, the Americans as well as the Scandinavians, the greats of the enormously developing local and German-speaking scene as well as the Eastern and Southern Europeans. The well-known old and the young savages, established ones (including stars, which you can not normally experience in clubs) and yet to be discovered. From a few streets away from the other end of the world.

A top dog in the scene

Because even before the move, the underpass had become the top dog, which – apart from the jazz bar Vogler and the nightclub in the Bavarian court – was the only surviving the great club dying. What’s more, thanks to the team’s expertise, idealism and self-exploitation, the underpass has become one of Europe’s leading jazz clubs. Even Downbeat, the legendary American jazz magazine, soon put the fortress under the “100 Great Jazz Clubs of the World” soon after the turn of the millennium and still ranks it among its “150 Leading Places”.

Even in his homeland, the prophet is becoming increasingly important: from the Music Prize of the City of Munich to the Echo Jazz, the club received the highest honors, while the Department of Culture and other institutions now support it vigorously. You know what you have on the underpass: not just the living room of jazz, but an indispensable institution that increases the reputation of the music city of Munich internationally.

Free-Jazz-Festival: Meine Güte, was ist das für eine Musik: Peter Brötzmann

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