15. März 2016
Von Christoph Huber

A Multiplex for Jazz?

Contemporary music needs a contemporary ambience. Opening a Jazzclub in Austria and manage it some- how effectively might be a rather easy task You think ‚ maybe not: Actually there are quite some obstacles for a Jazz entrepreneur, especially in this country, so letís take a closer look.

Polititians, critics, organizers, people in the industry and theirlike tend to compare Film to Jazz, to support their argumentation about the most significant cultural land- marks of the 20th century. A paradigm ?! Jazz and Film as an example for a US-American global cultural industry. Everybody knows the song on the A-side and whistles along. Listen to the B-side and youíll find a different tune about Jazz & Film. The one that talks about two main relics of 20th century culture. Multiplex stands for movies nowadays, like damp cellars or drafty beer tents stand for Jazz. Quantity versa quality ‚ musicians and audience do not connect in a musical disneyland. Different to film, there is truely no serious understanding, (among Jazz artists as well as audience or organizers and industry people), for the need of a modern and adequate presentation of contemporary musical forms, neither in the US ‚ motherland of Jazz ‚ nor around here. Worldwide there are maybe a dozen spaces, where contem- porary Jazz and furthermore the big variety of corresponding musical styles are somehow accordingly represented. Weíre talking about festivals with windy and rainy beer tent atmosphere. With stages too far away to see whatís going on. Or life threatening, musty and smoky basements. Or world- renowned classical concerthalls, that are not musically adap- ted nor adjusted for Jazz. Once You, my dear music lover, purchase one of the costly tickets, You become a lawful legitimate partner; meaning You have the right, just like musicians, to hear, see and sit well etc. and get all the possible comfort & service before, during and after the show. More selfconfidence dear audience, dear musicians and good coordinaters!

Talking about selfconfidence. We have to give credit to Porgy & Bess , that helped to set actions and contributed to ask for suitable, modern structures for this music. Various positive and also negative experiences during the 5 years at the tiny Fledermaus bar in Spiegelgasse and 2.5 years "on exile"(Radiokulturhaus, Konzerthaus, Messepalast a.o.) bear their fruits.


Now the big moment has come and the new home in Riemergasse is ready: During construction we always remained faithful to our maxim: Contemporary music needs a contempary ambience. ‚ We see the project "Porgy &Bess im Rondell" as a type of work in progress. It doesnít mean the architecture or construction is unfin- ished, on the contrary; it just points out, that the multifunctional nature of the place stays variable in all its creative aspects, vitality and for omnifarious musical forms. ("Jazz is improvisation").


- a central meeting point for the contemporary Austrian scene with all its different styles - a place for musical and intellectual rendezvous and confrontation between artists and audience - a representative forum of cooperations between national & international musicians Thatís why a modern space, sound and light concept mattered most to us.


Porgy & Bess is a all in one cultural service company. In the lobby we provide the visitor with a CD-shop and internet cafÈ. Lounging, listening and reading about whatís going on in & around the Porgy and the musical world. A gallery on the opposite side of the stairway, plus the lower level and the hallway give plenty of space for visual art. A restaurant & 3 bars (two in the souterrain and one on the balcony) cater to the wellbeing of all customers. The balcony level adds a different perspective for the audience. Below the stage there is also a rehearsal room and a sound studio, which allows professional recording for on- or off-stage productions.


We like to present ourselves as an impulsive provider and platform for the art scene ‚ offering logistics, knowhow, the right infrastructure and a space to experiment as well.


Jazz, the African American art form, an international artform, has also gained some European accent throughout the past three or four decades.


We try to promote and encourage ‚ also longterm and boundless ‚ cooperations between national & international musicians.

Bringing together two "domains", personalities from the motherland of Jazz and European and Austrian old masters, innovators and newcomers of that genre, has great significance for us. The fertile "marriage" of two worlds and the close cooperation with international partner clubs and important Austrian cultural and music institutions is an important ingredient of our philosophy.


When you move into a new place, Youíve the chance to get rid of some unwanted weight, but still like to keep the things that you care about. For example elements, that have created an image and prooved as being attractive, interesting and innovative, like our various program themes. They will continue and will be integrated in our structures.


To name a few:

The three day portrait: (an inter-/national artist presents a multi- farious program; we had already e.g. Bobby Previte, Kenny Wheeler, Django Bates, Eliott Sharp and Martin Siewert) or diverse country and city portraits (so far for instance "Good News from Russia", "Paris" or "London Meets Vienna") or the saisonal "stage bands". "Fast Forward ‚ 20:21","Boundless Affairs" and "Charhizma" (series that are dedicated to electronic or new music) and weekly events like the "Wednesday Jam Session" and "Nightline"(trios).


A club and company that has space for musical novelties, offers an adaptable infrastructure, reacts fast to new situations, with flexible musicians and audience too. Well who still thinks about íMultiplexí, should rather go to a movie theater.


Klaus Peham