Countdown to the 43rd Jazzfestival Saalfelden

Picture International Jazzfestival Saalfelden
Jazz Festival Saalfelden (c) Michael Geißler

To anyone in Austria with even a passing interest in jazz, Jazzfestival Saalfelden is a familiar name. This year‘s edition of the annual jazz extravanganza will take place from August 17-20, 2023 and will feature around 60 concerts in the mountain village and the picture-book Alpine countryside surrounding it.

We’re not going to name any names, but a lot of high-profile jazz festivals these days suffer from at least one of two problems: their programming has little or nothing to do with jazz and/or they try to lure audiences with big international names while ignoring the fertile scenes in their own backyards. Happily, the Jazzfestival Saalfelden can’t be accused of either sin. For over four decades, the festival has been an anchor of the Austrian jazz scene, consistently offering varied and cosmopolitan programming that strikes a balance between international names and home-grown heroes. This year‘s festival will be no exception.

Lukas König (c) Eckhart Derschmidt
Lukas König (c) Eckhart Derschmidt

Austrian Artists at saalfelden 2023

On the heels of Lukas König’s critically acclaimed album 1 Above Minus Underground, he has the honor of opening the main stage at this year‘s festival. The 18-piece Ralph Mothwurf Orchestra will be performing its cliché-free interpretation of modern large-ensemble jazz. The dynamic Mona Matbou Riahi will be making an appearance with the band Melting Pot, and Saalfelden wouldn‘t quite be Saalfelden without a jazz hike with Lukas Kranzelbinder. Additionally, a couple of jazz-adjacent names that might ring a bell with pop fans: UCHE YARA, DIVES, Takeshi’s Cashew, and Leftovers are all on the roster as well. And that’s not all…keep an eye on these pages for a complete listing of Austrian artists at this year’s festival!

picture of Mona Matbou Riahi
Mona Matbou Riahi / Kick Jazz 2021 (c) Severin Koller

International Highlights

As always, there‘s a long list of illustrious international guests this year. The highlights include two contrasting piano trios – that of Argentinian pianist Leo Genovese and the Australian trio Brekky Boy – as well as the Swedish musician Anna Högberg with her band Attack, Myra Melford and Alison Miller’s Lux Quartet, Dave Douglas‘s American-Polish New Quintet, Ruth Goller & Training from Germany, American trumpeter Rob Mazurek…the list goes on and on: in total, 176 artists from 14 countries on 5 continents will be performing. For complete listings, see Saalfelden’s Lineup 2023.

Video: Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2022 – Documentary

If all that isn’t enough to convince you, consider that – as usual -over half the concerts are free of charge. In short, the news is all good: Jazzfestival Saalfelden is alive and well and continuing its good work.