Photos by Sophie Albers Ben Chamo

A letter from not a jazzy kinda girl

''I’ve been watching them since I found out about Jazzy: the people''. 

By Sabrina Hoppmann Photo By Sophie Albers Ben Chamo.

THIS is an ode. An ode to musicians. Not any musicians. This shall be a love song to those, who make Jazzy Berlin what it is: something bright and precious, something unique and without comparison. Just to be clear: I am not a musician, and I don't even have an idea of Jazz. But let’s start from the beginning:

One day in January a friend of mine wanted to show me one of the hippest places to be in Berlin. Some kind of street food market in a club area, she said, "and something with Jazz. I thought you might like it”. 

Once I arrived at the old ramshackle building, I felt like a five year old in a toy store. I didn't know where to look first. I was entering a huge hall, that combined the Berlin charm of not being pretty and perfect with stylish shabby food stalls and straight electro beats. Nothing seemed to fit together, nevertheless everything made sense, which made this place so special. I just wanted to absorb every detail of this room. And then without expecting further surprises, we entered the Jazz room at the very end of the building.

“Something with Jazz. I thought you might like it” - I am a music addict, I confess. My friends know that. I listen to all kinds of music, if I could every hour of the day. To me music is not just a noise to fill the silence. Music makes feelings grow - and shrink. It connects people by emotionally. And because the expression through music is so clear, there is almost no need for the spoken word. Musicians translate emotions in a way, that no language ever could. This is such a special gift, that is rarely appreciated in the same time. 

Nevertheless Jazz somehow has never been so accessible to me before. Since that day I visited the Jazzy Berlin Jam almost every friday. I was asking myself, so do I like Jazz now? Am I a new fan? Or is something else pulling me to this Jazz Life? The answer is yes, it's something else.

First of all there is the person who at some point had the idea to bring the Jazz back to Berlin. He had the vision of making Jazz accessible to everyone, not just sophisticated, upper class people in black turtle necks. Jazzy Berlin - here I quote from an interview - wanted to “bring Jazz back to the streets”. Step by step. And he is determined, open-minded, neither too established nor too focused on his aims without ever losing sight of them. And more than anything else he is modest. These are some of the characteristics, that give Jazzy Berlin its directions.

But with all the respect to the man who made it happen, the musicians where the first step. Only few of them I got to know personally. I just try to breathe in what they are giving me while performing on stage. And that's why I want to thank them: for playing the Jam Session every week, keeping it alive, believing in it and for creating its character by giving a part of themselves. 

“Trust the vibes you get", is a quote I read recently. "Energy doesn’t lie". And this is exactly what you musicians taught me. Few things can fill me up more with love and energy than the vibes I am getting from you, while you are creating this exciting and fascinating atmosphere.

Time had a new meaning, Jazz solos can tell a lot about a musician personality. And what I find very remarkable that impresses me most is the musicians' modesty. I never saw any of them reacting with more than a nod of the head, even if the crowd is freaking out. No one ever tried to get all the attention. Simply humanity and equality. I am stressing on this, because it's almost like an opposite world to our everyday life, where people are greedy and elbowing their way through the crowd, because they long for achieving more and more. These musicians are giving without expecting to get something back, as long as the people are in the music.

I’ve been watching them since I found out about Jazzy: the people. 

And it’s been very fascinating and gripping to see how things have changed while time flies. I've experienced the Jam Session at three different locations till now. The first one ( The Neue Heimat) was a very intimate, almost magic place. The air was crackling with excitement. Even when the room was packed, everyone was here for the Jazz experience. People listened attentively, respectfully to what was going on on the small stage. It seemed the jazzy vibes caught everyone. This atmosphere infected me as well. 

I assume everyone who has ever been to the Jam knows, what I am talking about. The more shocked I was, when it was announced, that the Jam session would come to an end. The last Jam, as sad as it was, was a special one: no electricity, no lights, and just a few musicians and people showing up to honor Jazzy Berlin for the last time. 

Six months later Jazzy Berlin got another chance - a big chance - to go back to the streets again. Over the roof tops of Berlin ( The Klunkerkranich) another style of Jazzy Berlin was born - bigger and much more challenging. I was happy to see a lot of familiar faces, they already felt like kind of a jazzy family. The music made it work - again.

I trust in the power, the energy, and the magic of music. And I trust in the Jazzy family, especially in the musicians. Like Cole Porter says: "You do something to me. Something deep inside." Thank you for giving this experience to so many people.

More about Jazzy:

Berlins Jazz Jam Innovator. Read