February 26, 2015
“Jazz is about being in the moment” – Herbie Hancock
Thinking about music festivals usually conjures up images of sunshine, short sleeves and much, much warmer weather – and just thinking about these things right about now brings a deep longing for those far-off sweltering days of summer! Click here for how many days until summer.
Although currently most of the Northern Hemisphere sits deep in the icy grip of winter’s frigid grasp, the Danes have managed to provide a much needed break from the winter madness each February – if only to warm the hearts of music-lovers.
This month, from February 6th-22nd, Denmark hosted the 15th VinterJazz festival and this year vinterjazz was record-setting. This annual countrywide midwinter music
congregation attracts jazz-lovers from all over the world. They participate in, and attend, more than 450 concerts in over 100 venues over a span of 17 days all across the country.
Vinterjazz has taken place since 2001 and, aside from multi-venue concerts, also features Danish award-winning projects and concert themes such as Jazz for Kids, Future Sound of Jazz / Something Else, Jazz Remixed, Impressions of … and Jazz’n ‘Poetry.
According to the VinterJazz website, what sets this music festival apart is that “it is a national potluck between venues and organizers, musicians and audience, the big cities and the countryside of Denmark – a national initiative created and takes place locally.”
Jazz music originated in New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 20th century, with heavy roots in the blues, early songs of the slaves, and even farther back in the musical traditions of Africa and Europe. In the 1920s jazz made its way to Denmark, but it wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that Copenhagen became known as the European Jazz capitol. In 1979 the Copenhagen Jazz Festival was founded. Today it is regarded as one of the most prestigious music festivals in Europe with thousands of the most prolific jazz musicians playing it over the past 35 years.
Obviously, Chicago has strong ties to music as well, and more specifically, the blues. In the 1940s famous bluesmen like Muddy Waters first electrified this genre and put Chicago ‘on the map’ as a music city. Much like Copenhagen, Chicagoans also love their many music fests, and there is a plethora to choose from throughout the year. Although Denmark takes the cake for winter fests, music is just another connection that unifies America and Denmark! Take a peek at our Pinterest board Musik for more!
“Life is a lot like jazz…it’s best when you improvise” – George Gershwin
In Other Scandinavian News…
The traveling Vikings exhibit opens at Chicago’s Field Museum from February 27th through October 4th. Do you think if them as ruthless warriors and merciless invaders, or prosperous farmers, enterprising merchants, and caring families? Explore the truth behind Scandinavia’s ancient—and infamous—seafaring raiders!