Opus Jazz Club 3 × j(A)zz! – Austrian jazz festival to round off the year

3 × j(A)zz! – Austrian jazz festival to round off the year
14–16 December 2023
Opus Jazz Club

Musicians from the Austrian jazz scene, renowned for their wit and creative power, have been regularly playing at the Opus Jazz Club for many years, thanks to the cooperation between the BMC and the Österreichisches Kulturforum in Budapest. The j(A)zz! series will be celebrated again this year with a three-day festival from 14 to 16 December.

Simsa Fünf was founded by Sebastian Simsa in 2017. The quintet has its roots in jazz and improvised music, with major influences ranging from classical chamber music and film music to folk music. A crucial feature of the ensemble’s sound is the original and highly thrilling orchestration along with Simsa’s compelling style of composition, which he refers to as “instrumental storytelling”. The band's debut album, The Time We Need was nominated for the German Record Critics’ Award and received rave reviews in Austria and Germany. Perpetuum mobile, the band’s second release – which they present in Budapest on 14 December –, has again been comprised of tunes telling stories, which Simsa experienced over the past few years. His songs are portrayed anecdotes of childhood memories, journeys, neighborhood, impressive encounters and small electronic troublemakers. Real experiences immingle imperceptibly with unconsciously invented memories. 

Wanting Machine, taking to stage on 15 December, is the first solo program, album and live show of Peter Rom, guitar player, composer and co-founder of JazzWerkstatt Wien, one of Opus Jazz Club's most revered returning artists. In this case, “solo” stands for working with three wonderful musicians. Peter Rom followed his dream to compose for his favourite musicians regardless of pragmatic assumptions. Sometimes while listening to Wanting Machine you might not know which instrument is responsible for a certain sound. Utilizing different playing techniques and sonic manipulation, instruments take on different characters, sounds become blurred, reveal themselves, disappear and reappear somewhat transformed. Peter Rom’s compositions take numerous turns, change – sometimes all of a sudden, sometimes gradually – their state of matter, fluidify, shift, dissolve and freeze.

Edwin Pouncey captured the magic of FuzzNoir, closing 3 × j(A)zz! on 16 December, on Jazzwise: “This Austrian quartet have a keen sense of sound and vision, their furious rock fusion attack is constantly causing flurries of abstract pattern to emerge from behind the music which, on the first hearing, seemingly veers in the direction of Hot Rats-era Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. As the various instrumental patterns lock into place, however, a more complex set of sound pictures gradually takes shape. The flurries of what initially sounded like straight ahead jazz figurations become more fragmented as the players become bolder and more confident, solos are punched out, and the bare musical bones of FuzzNoir eventually flash out to reveal a band with real muscle. Super cool one minute and avant garde fusion the next…”

On 20 January, the BMC and the Österreichisches Kulturforum will crown their cooperation with the 100th concert in the j(A)zz! series, welcoming the returning guest of Opus Jazz Club, David Helbock, this time leading the Austrian Syndicate, an ensemble that is emblematic of Austrian jazz both in its membership and its musical approach.

Programme and tickets

14/12/2023 Simsa Fünf

15/12/2023 Peter Rom's Wanting Machine

16/12/2023 FuzzNoir

j(A)zz! Logo