The “JazzBaltica All Star Band”, a purely female ensemble with a changing but reliably strong German-Scandinavian line-up, has opened the festival since 2016. A different artist takes over the direction every year, and in 2019 it was Julia Hülsmann.
“You see me in an unfamiliar role today, normally I hide behind the piano,” she confessed then. For Jazz Baltica she rearranged tracks written by herself that deal with the topic of colors, and she conducted with a feather-light stroke. In addition to “Yellow”, “Red” and the sinister “Dunkel”, the 20-person ensemble played poems by James Joyce and Emily Dickinson.
“The jazz women get straight to the point and that is modern big band jazz at the highest level. (…) A tightly woven big band sound blows through the Hall (…), which becomes quieter in the middle part in order to prepare the floor for the trombone and tenor sax solos. Then the wind instruments with the interlaced movements fall into the arms of the soloists again, thus ending the solos and the theme. (…)
The many colored voices of the instruments are the musical threads that condense the sound of the body. This is how it is until the final climax, when these threads accumulate in a dramatic increase: Dramatissimo! Julia Hülsmann’s Venus Orchestra is all of this and more. One of the highlights, if not the highlight of the JazzBaltica Festival! “
Julia Hülsmann has also written programmes for the Swiss Jazz Orchestra, the NDR Bigband, Fette Hupe and the BuJazzO).