The location is exposed and the local public is perhaps not as selective in matters of art as it is in other areas, such as culinary matters. However, entrepreneur Philip Waldhart took on the challenge of meeting high standards when he conceived a festival. With the Jazzbühne Lech, the noble and now increasingly relaxed Walser village proves that enormous things have been achieved through its own initiatives. The long-established Philosophicum is also based on an idea that was put into practice by a small group of people (including the writer Michael Koehlmeier) who wanted to turn the ski resort of Lech into a place of thought. Not that there are too few concerts in Vorarlberg, but giving music of different genres more space even at 1444 meters above sea level makes sense. With the Lech Classic Festival having just faded away, Waldhart now invites you to meet artists who are generally to be found in designated centres or legendary festival venues.
The renovated Postgarage proved to be a space that once again underlined its suitability, although Waldhart, as the spontaneous applause during his opening speech showed, is also one of those Lechers who long for the construction of a concert hall, which has been announced time and again and is now within reach.
As an introductory gesture, the Polish jazz pianist Marcin Wasilewski completed Wednesday's noontime opener in the New Church, where the call to concentrate, to listen closely, as confirmed by observers, was all the more evident. Wasilewski is meanwhile one of the leading representatives of his genre. Incidentally, the festival is also to end in a sacred space, with Pastor Jodok Mueller expressing his affinity for jazz by inviting Bugge Wesseltoft.
Nice for the people of Lech and their holiday guests, who could already notice on the first evening that numerous jazz friends from the Unterland did not shy away from the journey over the Flexenpass in order to participate in the special listening pleasure. The series began as powerfully as it did excitingly and colourfully: Emile Parisien and Vincent Peirani had come specially from France to the Arlberg region to take the listeners on a journey that touched on the Maghreb as well as traditional jazz or even the French waltz or the great composers of the early 20th century. This becomes palpable like a breeze when Peirani plays the button accordion, when he, together with the saxophonist Parisien, demonstrates a virtuosity that inspires above all because there is no question that the sound and the music itself, despite all the skill, are at the centre. The Omeshorn almost bowed along with the enthusiastic applause.
The bandwidth that the Jazzbuehne Lech offers is underlined by the British Poppy Ackroyd. Also expected are the Italians Giovanni Guidi & Daniele di Bonaventura, who will bring with them not only bandoneon sounds but also, among other things, Mediterranean folklore. The fact that the Vorarlbergers David Helbock, Johannes Bär and Andreas Broger are among the international jazz stars will also be taken into account.