The emphasis in the session is on getting to know eachother, make new friends, mingle and maybe form bands. It's more of a social gathering, not a showcase of musical ability
At the Jazz Picnic we don't use professional session players. We all play and take turns. The goal is to get everybody to have a good time playing, even when they are just starting out in jazz. Mistakes are part of learning.
The Jazz Picnic Berlin jazz jam session started out in 2015 as a small project in Volkspark Hasenheide in Kreuzberg Berlin. There musicians would meet every week outside, during the summer, to play jazz. We didn't have any technical equipment back then, not even drums and often not a bass. But we managed.
In the fall of 2015 we moved our session to a bar called Melitta Sundström, also in Kreuzberg, on the Mehringdamm. There we had a piano, some amps and a drumkit. It was all pretty lofi but we were still growing. More and more people started showing up.
At the start of the summer of 2016, we moved out again to Volkspark Viktoria in Kreuzberg and continued with our outdoor sessions. It was a bad summer but we had a good time. We used more tech this time, some battery driven amplifiers, mixing panel, a microphone, a snare drum and an electric piano.
After a break, we settled in Barkett, a cozy modern bar in Schöneberg near Kleistpark. There we could use a fully equipped stage and finally start to really grow our session into maturity. We also became part of the Jazzy Berlin Community in Berlin.
Giving the anonymous players a face has always been part of the core of Jazz Picnic Berlin. Everybody deserves a bit of attention in an age where it is hard to get noticed with the overdose of information that is out there on the net. Founder and session leader Filip Mertens has been taking thousands of photos for years, some good, some bad.
My name is Filip Mertens, born in Belgium and longtime resident in Amsterdam. I moved to Berlin in 2015 to get together with jazz musicians. That is why I founded this session. These have been the best years of my life.
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