In 2023, K8 Institut für strategische Ästhetik gGmbH founded the new jazz festival fill in – International Jazz Festival Saar with initiator and artistic director Oliver Strauch. In recent years, a lively jazz scene has developed in the Greater Region. Young people in particular are discovering jazz for themselves. At the same time, the Saarbrücken and St. Ingbert jazz festivals, two venues for national jazz, disappeared and the “Hüttenjazz” at the Völk- linger Hütte also came to an end.

Jazz drummer and HfM-SAAR professor Oliver Strauch came up with a concept for a major jazz festival for Saarland during the Covid-19 pandemic, presenting contemporary jazz by world stars and up-and-coming talents. A special concern: fill in is 100 percent jazz! The festival exclusively presents jazz music. An important focus is on the neighboring country of France. And jazz musicians from the Greater Region also get attention on the “big stage”.

In July 2023, the first edition kicked off with a brilliant evening with more than ten bands at St. Johanner Markt in Saarbrücken. On the following days, six concerts were played in the Südmulde in the German-French Garden (DFG), featuring legends such as John Scofield and Kenny Garrett, but also up-and-coming stars such as Anne Paceo and Léon Phal. In total, around 4,000 people attended the fill in concerts in 2023.

The festival kicks off on June 27, 2024 with fill in BARS & CLUBS from 5 p.m. with a roaring party on and around the St. Johanner Markt in Saarbrücken. Young bands from the greater region will make the living room of the city of Saarbrücken resound.

The highlight is the weekend from June 28 to 30, 2024, which kicks off on Friday evening with Roni Kaspi, who is considered one of the biggest talents in indie pop jazz. Afterwards, the legendary New York all-star formation “The Cookers” will play.

British vocalist Zara McFarlane opens the second evening with songs by jazz icon Sarah Vaughan, who celebrates her 100th birthday this year. birthday. Afterwards, Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and his band will play a mixture of Afro-Cuban jazz and Latin American rhythms.

The final evening will feature Saarland musician Martin Weinert and his band paying homage to the renowned jazz guitarist Susan Weinert, who died far too young. The festival in the Franco-German Garden will end with another highlight: the Brussels Jazz Orchestra has invited French singer Camille Bertault to perform chansons by Serge Gainsbourg. The powerful sound of the big band meets the fantastic voice of Bertault. A treat in a class of its own!

The new festival was awarded the title of “Cultural Lighthouse” for this year by the Saarland Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digital and Energy. The funds made available within this framework enable a number of top-class additional events. From August 9 to 11, 2024, fill in BRIDGE will be a guest on the Vauban Island in cooperation with the district town of Saarlouis and offer a weekend-long jazz walk across the island and the adjacent area. Live music is played at several stations. Several bands will be performing this weekend, including Thomas Siffling, one of the leading jazz trumpeters, and the Marcel Loeffler Quartet with French Manouche jazz. The event ends on Sunday with a jazz breakfast and the band Gramophoniacs. Together with the “Lindy Hop Saarbrücken” team, you have the opportunity to dance to swing music in the style of the 1920s.

On October 18, 2024, fill will represent the Saarland in Berlin at “Jazz in den Ministergärten” and will be responsible for the program of the Saarland State Representation.

On November 9, 2024, the festival series will end with fill in HALL and a special musical experience: in cooperation with the city of St. Ingbert, the festival will once again bring top-class jazz to the Stadthalle St. Ingbert with Jan Garbarek. The Norwegian saxophonist is one of the most important representatives of European jazz and will be making a guest appearance at fill in Saarland a few days before his much-anticipated performance at the Elbphilharmonie.

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