Nattjazz, the Bergen jazz festival had a special opening act this year. Wednesday this week the nocturnal music fest in (Nattjazz means night jazz or jazz in the night) kicked off with a show that drew many dedicated spectators: Brian ferry, the gentleman of designer rock gave a rare appearance as part of his short European tour.
"11 nights of jazz" is the festival’s slogan, and there will indeed be a lot of fine jazz happening during these bright nights of late May, when it almost does not get dark. But the big ticket seller this year was of course Brian Ferry, who might pass for jazz, but obviously drew a lot of people from other camps as well. This will probably also be the case with other of this year's acts such as the celebrated Tinariwen from Mali and their renowned desert blues.
Still Nattjazz is definitely a jazz festival and the list of names, from home and abroad, is quite impressive: among the international names we can mention Mike Stern, Jon Hassell, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Scott Henderson, Sabar Ring, Ray Anderson, David Binney. As for Norwegians we have: Petter Wettre, Balke-Strønen-Johansen, Maria Kannegaard, Susanna, Hilde Louise, Sissy Wish, Elephant9, Eple Trio and Beady Belle
With a 35 year history Nattjazz is an institution strongly embedded in the city of Bergen and with a very strong position within the Norwegian jazz scene. And over the past ten years the festival has risen to be acknowledged also internationally as one of the leading showrooms for contemporary jazz in Europe.
More than a hundred journalists are expected this year, including representatives from many major European newspapers and not least leading jazz magazines.
Nattjazz coincides with the Bergen International festival, which means that for a couple of weeks Norway’s western capital is probably one of the most culturally exiting places to be in the whole world. It is almost a wonder that the city can accommodate all this music and culture, and all these people at the same time. But it does, brilliantly, and that is one chief reason that both festivals are getting more and more international renown. In late may Bergen is simply the place to be.