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morceau du jour: Music Cities Network x Jazz Residency

In times of instantly spreading information, prompt judgements, and quick, binary decisions needing to be made, it’s refreshing to see people actually taking the time, and sitting down to think it through and just let go and let it be nuanced. Enter Music Cities Network’s Jazz Residency at this year’s Elbjazz in Hamburg. The global collective of musically inclined cities recruited 5 rising musicians from Iceland, Denmark and Germany, and decided to put them in the prestigious Clouds Hill Recordings studio for a week and see what happens, giving them nothing but food and beverages, and the prospect to fill an hour at the festival this Saturday, playing aboard the MS Stubnitz.

Like the Avengers joining forces, the five of them each bring their own powers to the table. With Falko Harriehausen from Hamburg on bass guitar, Aarhus’ Frederik Bülow on drums, Reykjavik’s Ingi Bjarni Skulason on keys and composition, MIMRA aka Maria Magnusdottir also from Reykjavik on vocals and composition, and finally Hamburg’s Tilman Oberbeck on double bass.

The five of them plucking it out, improvising their way through days and nights for a week, creates a unique energy and sense of direction. Jazz, then, naturally, describes less of a music genre, and rather a way of life, a way to think about things. They may enter as strangers and individuals, but emerge as a group, a coherent team, being greater than the sum of its parts. The gift of collaboration, a natural force like compound interest.

And it does feel like an ultimately democratic process, too, with everybody having a voice, everybody doing his part, having his moment, getting his solo.

The five of them are scheduled to perform and play their newly written tunes on Saturday, June 1st at 17h00 in the mighty cargo holds of MS Stubnitz.

For a taste of it all, try the pure tropically loaded grooves by drummer Frederik Bulows’ band Bangin’ Bülows Nice Jazz Quartet attached below. The track Sugardating is off their third studio album Let’s Get Weird that was recorded in New York and came out in May last year.


Music Cities Network are Aarhus, Bergen, Berlin, Groningen, Hamburg, Nantes, Reykjavik and Sydney. The Jazz project is part of the network’s Residency program, designed to connect national and international artists in order to create new ideas and excite transdisciplinary cooperations between cities, economies and artistic productions.

This year’s project is a cooperation of Clouds Hill, Elbjazz, Jazzbüro Hamburg, Promus, Aarhus, Reykjavík Music City and Julia Hülsmann as mentor of the residency, co-financed by the Musikstadtfonds of the Cultural Department of the City of Hamburg. Music Cities Network was initiated in 2016 by global consultancy Sound Diplomacy and Hamburg Music Business Association (IHM).