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Extract from the VN of 11 August 2020

Musical quality has no height limit

Philip Waldhart established the Jazzbühne Lech out of a passion for good music.

LECH "Once infected, you can't get away from it," says Philip Waldhart. The entrepreneur who works in the Arlberg community of Lech does not play an instrument, has never played one, but has been not only a passionate jazz lover for decades, but has long been a connoisseur of the genre and the industry, and thus speaks of a virus that is completely harmless. The dreaded one, namely Corona, has caused him quite a bit of trouble in his second profession as a concert organiser, but a new venue has now been found in Lech's adapted sports park for the jazz stage founded five years ago, where there is enough space to avoid aerosols and still enjoy very good music. "The booking situation is as usual," is how he describes the interest of the public, which does not diminish even in times of pandemic; the situation is difficult to the point of threatening the existence of the artists, whose performances had to be cancelled for months since March this year. Concerts are now possible again, subject to many conditions, and Waldhart therefore asks jazz lovers, some of whom have to travel long distances, to get their tickets online, if possible, because queuing at the box office must be avoided.

"Am overjoyed"

The five festival evenings begin with the Masaa ensemble. "I always wanted to engage Masaa. It never worked out, now not only I am overjoyed, but also the musicians who get to step in front of the audience again." Masaa, who have won several international awards in recent years, offer ethno-jazz in a special way. The music stands for the festival, so to speak, where there is no limit to the quality of the music played at 1400 metres above sea level. The beauty of jazz is that something new always emerges, also through improvisation, but not only because of this aspect. Philip Waldhart also wants to emphasise that you cannot draw a line between jazz music and new music per se.

He sees the connection between jazz and classical music, which is particularly expressed on the second evening with Anja Lechner & Francois Couturier, as a motto of the jazz stage, as well as the fact that the piano is one of the central instruments for him. But the bandoneon is also welcome to take one of the front places. Daniele Di Bonaventura, for example, is bringing it on stage this year. Yonathan Avishai is probably a household name, and the festival comes to an end with jazz pianist Shai Maestro.

"Jazz always creates something new. That's the beauty of it."

Philip Waldhart, Organiser Jazzbühne Lech

The municipality of Lech provides the hall, otherwise the top-class jazz stage is privately financed, that is, with the income, by an association with volunteers and sponsors.