Berlin has a high level of great music! There's so much more to explore. I guess I'll have to make another trip at some point.
I was staying in a friend's gallery in Mitte. Its the new part of East Berlin. I. got the feeling it is akin to the East Village. It is hard to compare Berlin to anywhere else, though. My mind kept wanting to compare, but there's too many differences.
I ended up with a partner in crime, a girl from South Africa. She was also staying in the gallery, visiting the same friends. I think I opened her up to seeing more live music and she talked about putting together some gigs in Johannisburg. Cool.
I got in late afternoon and we went to get some food. I immediately started the hunt for the ways to find the listings. There's only so much you can do online when you don't know the city and don't speak the language. I did put a feeler out on the AAJ message board and got a good jumping off point.
It didn't take long to find out it would be worthwhile to purchase Tip Berlin. Its like Time Out NY. It didn't have EVERYTHING, but neither does TONY or AAJ. It had a lot though. Enough to get me to some phenomenal shows.
I had my nap and then we all went out to dinner at a famous Berlin spot, Clarchens Ballhaus. This place was established in 1913 and is a hot trendy spot for dancing. The band was doing a soundcheck when we got there, and I knew the music would be mediocre. I was expecting the same of the food, but it was pretty good. This was also my Berlin friends' first time there, and they said its well known that they've continued to have good chefs. It was nice to watch the dancing for a bit and see the trendy in crowd start showing up all decked out.
I knew I need to get to A-Trane ASAP, so that was on my agenda for my first evening out in Berlin.
We took a couple of trains to get to the french cafe area, Savignyplatz. I think it is in the Charlottenburg area of town. We asked someone where the club was and found it pretty easily. Its awesome. I love the vibe and the way its set up. Its kind of like the Vanguard, but a nicer vibe and not as tight. I was able to get a dancing spot off to the side with some room.
The band was Fredrik Lundin Overdrive, an awesome 10 piece. Fredrik plays tenor, soprano and flute. There's a guitar/dobro, 4 trombones, a trumpet/flugelhorn, and 2 drummers. That's right, 2 drummers! That's what drew me to this gig. One trombone also played a euphonium. As I write this I realize I got quite a few trombones this trip. I was pretty impressed with this instrumentation and even more impressed with the music. They did a planned encore and then we wanted more, so they did a short version of the first song. We got there right when they were starting the 2nd set, so we got quite a bit of the wonderful show. It was a good first night.
FREDRIK LUNDIN OVERDRIVE modern jazz
fredrik lundin (sax/fl) krister jonsson (g) henrik gunde (p/rhodes) jens kristian uhrenholdt (b) emil dewaal (dr) jonas johanssen (dr) maj berit guassora (tp) mads hyhne (tb) ola nordqvist (tb) klaus löhrer (tb)