Wurzburg, Germany based Stefan Hetzel is an art music composer, jazz piano player, cultural commentary blogger, and the creative force behind a short documentary about the Jazzwerkstatt Petiz Jazz Festival.
We’ve written about the Peitz festival in pieces and Martin Schray reviewed a box set in 2013 in which he gave a quick history of the festival:
The “Jazzwerkstatt“ (jazz workshop) in the Eastern German small town Peitz was a legend in the former German Democratic Republic. From 1973 to 1982 Uli Blobel and Peter "Jimi" Metag organized concerts and workshops there and via word of mouth the events became something like a Woodstock for fans of free improvised music (it was adventurous to get there if you lived somewhere in the country but sometimes around 3000 people got together to listen to the various concerts). It is fascinating how committed (and naïve) the organizers were and what they achieved – Peitz became a Mekka for musicians from East and West, the line-ups were almost a Who is Who of improvised music. But in 1983 the GDR authorities refused to grant their approval for Jazzwerkstatt Nr. 48. In 2011 Blobel organized a re-launch of the event which now takes place every year in June.
In 2014, Hetzel visited the festival, took some great video footage of the town (which, in the intervening years has received a bit of a make-over) and sat down with some legends of improvisational music: Hamid Drake, Friedhelm Schönfeld, Wayne Horvitz and Gebhard Ullmann and asked them about what makes good for improvised music. It's an illuminating short film, so be sure to check it out: