The corona virus has turned our society upside down. The Youth Jazz Orchestra of Saxony is also affected in its planning, and can hardly wait to play in front of an audience again. In times of crisis, we often orientate ourselves towards traditions and habits, because that’s where we can recharge our batteries before plunging headlong into the future. The Dresden pianist and composer Mathis Nicolaus has taken the crisis as an opportunity to write a program that feels at home in the jazz tradition, but constantly dares to break out into the modern. Sounds that are more reminiscent of disturbing horror movies meet sentimental swing. The brass riffs and drum grooves common in a big band are tirelessly pushed to the extreme and reveal their dark core to the attentive listener. The result is a music that sometimes makes you shiver and sometimes dream, sometimes makes you think about the future and sometimes makes you feel nostalgic.
The title track “Let’s get out of here” is also symbolic of the creative potential accumulated during the crisis, which can finally be released during the work phase and the concerts. In August 2020, the JJO Sachsen will work on music by and with Mathis Nicolaus, the youngest artistic director to date for a project of the JJO Sachsen, and then enchant the audience in three concerts in Saxony with the imaginative power of his music and present his individual writing style.
Mathis Nicolaus found his way to jazz through his parents’ AMIGA record collection, which included a copy of “Jazz-Portrait: Oscar Peterson”. From 2012 to 2016 he studied piano jazz/rock/pop at the “Carl Maria von Weber” College of Music in Dresden with Prof. Matthias Bätzel and Michael Fuchs. In 2016 he followed a master’s degree in composition with Prof. Thomas Zoller. His music can be found in his band projects, for which he also composes himself: The Mathis Nicolaus Bigband, Das bessere Leben, Richard Ebert Quartet and Organ Transplant.
The JUGEND-JAZZORCHESTER SACHSEN is a big band at its best. The ensemble, which has no more than 20 musicians on stage, has existed in ever-changing line-ups since 1993. Since its founding, it has enthused both regional audiences and jazz lovers in Canada, Greece, India, Hungary, Israel and wherever the numerous concert tours have taken it. The artistic direction is also constantly changing in order to give the young musicians between 16 and 26 years of age the most diverse impulses possible. Jazz greats such as Ed Partyka (Switzerland/USA), Malte Schiller, Jan Schreiner, Janis Steprans (Canada), Milan Svoboda (Czech Republic), Jürgen Friedrich, Carla Bley (USA), Joe Sullivan (Canada), Rolf von Nordenskjöld, Marko Lackner, Al Porcino, Thomas Zoller and Ansgar Striepens have conducted the band. The overall motto is always “Think Jazz! Feel Jazz! Be Jazz!”