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Pump up the jam!


The third week of April sees the annual Jazzahead! trade fair take over the city of Bremen. In addition to hanging out at the Messehall, the famous Town Musicians may be spotted playing alongside some cool Finnish cats at the Friday night afterparty jam.  

Last year’s wild (and some might say seemingly neverending) jam session by Tampere Jazz Happening at the Magazinkeller was a great success, and this year the torch is passed to Music Finland and Jazz Finland. As they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So there it is, another jam session by the Finns, in the same place, at the same time – maybe even with some familiar faces on the stage. But why another jam party? 

 ”Because interaction, exchanging experiences and sharing the music is essential to jazz culture!”, says musician, producer, composer, label manager, promoter, culture politician… an all-around Renaissance man Jussi Fredriksson, who is hosting the Finnish Friday jam with his own trio. Indeed, it’s obvious that if thousands of jazz musicians from all over the world are cramped in one German city, the only language that they might have in common is jazz. 

 ”In Europe, the jam culture is not so present in jazz, as it is in the States. I think it’s due to not having as deep knowledge of the roots of jazz, the traditional repertoire, and therefor the younger musicians are actually lacking the common language”, Fredriksson contemplates. “Sometimes the spontaneous communication might be challenging when you don’t have the jazz standards to back you up, at least in the beginning. Of course you can jam and play free jazz right from the get-go, but that takes a whole lot more musical capacity to make it actually flow.”  

He sees that the jam culture is already taking steps forward in his home country Finland, but there’s room for progress also: “In Turku, where I come from, we have had a thing called Monday Jazz Happening for over ten years now. There the students get to meet and share the stage with more seasoned musicians. Also in Helsinki we have two clubs, Koko Jazz Club and G Livelab, providing space for open jam sessions. These events play a huge role in both, the artistic and career development of a young musician, and through social and musical interaction, in the development of the local jazz scene itself. Jams are, at their best, like recruitment events where musicians join new bands and new talents get to show off to the veterans, while learning from them. Jam culture is such an essential part of this field of art, that it should be governmentally recognized and funded, even”, voices Fredriksson.     

Jussi Fredriksson Trio, featuring Jussi Fredriksson on Rhodes, Jori Huhtala on double bass and Mika Kallio on drums, host the Finnish Friday afterparty and jam session at Jazzahead! fair at Culture Center Schlachthof’s basement bar Magazinkeller. The venue provides the sound system and a light backline of Rhodes, bass and drum kit, so the musicians are asked to bring their own instruments. DJ Matti Nives warms up the party at midnight and the jam session begins at 1.00am. 


Jussi Fredriksson’s TOP 3 jam sessions:

  1. Korpo Sea Jazz Festival, 2014. The instruments and the songs were picked by the audience. At one point I found myself on stage, playing guitar and singing Eye Of The Tiger. 
  2. Pori Jazz Festival, 2012. My trio was the resident band at the jam sessions for five nights in a row. All events were amazing, with so many great Finnish and international jazz stars on stage.
  3. Smalls, New York, 2013. I stayed in New York for a few weeks, and I ended up almots every night to this legendary club in Greenwich Village. It was mindblowing and really inspiring to get to play with all of these young and hungry jazz lions, and to run into some iconic heavyweights of jazz. The latter seems to be possible only in New York – and maybe in Bremen this year?


Finnish Friday Jamahead!

After party & Jam session
Houseband: Jussi Fredriksson Trio
DJ Matti Nives
20. - 21.04.2018, 00.00 ->
Schlachthof, Magazinkeller