Jazz optimists Berlin - Jazz Optimisten Berlin

Jazz Optimisten Berlin was one of the first Dixieland bands in the GDR . The amateur band played a decisive role in the spread of Dixieland and, with their success, founded the Dixieland revival in the GDR that began later.

Band history

The band was founded in 1958 as Blue Music Brothers and renamed Jazz Optimisten Berlin at the end of 1959. The founding members included the trumpeters Meinhard Lüning, Hartmut Behrsing , Konrad Körner , Walter Bartel, Hans Schätzke and Hans Lemke as the musical director of the band .

In February 1960 they played at the carnival event of the Fachschule für angewandte Kunst Berlin , with the Jena Oldtimers , the Gerd Walter Combo and the Trio Arcona taking part .

The Jazz Optimists opened the Summer Film Festival in Berlin with Manfred Krug in 1964 on the Grünau open-air stage

In October 1960 the program Negerlyrik und Negermusik with Armin Mueller-Stahl , Harry Hindemith and Gerry Wolff premiered at the Volksbühne Berlin . The jazz optimists took over the musical accompaniment. The band later remained loyal to the theater and provided musical accompaniment for the production Der Frieden by Benno Besson at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. In November 1961 there was the first joint appearance with Ruth Hohmann . This led to a solid collaboration that lasted until she was banned from performing in 1966. Also with the soloistManfred Krug worked the band together regularly. 1962 published DDR label Amiga on the sampler Traditional Jazz Studio No.1 with Jamboree Blues of Schaetzke the first own title Jazz optimists. Further original compositions by Walter Bartel ( Fluidum , Optimisten Jubilee ) followed. The Jamboree Blues can also be heard on a single produced in the same year. In 1962 two more singles appeared on Amiga with Indiana / Hindustan and Summertime / On the Sun Side (sung by Manfred Krug).

In 1963 Lemke and Bartel left the band. Reinhard Schwartz became the new drummer and from now on Bernd Wefelmeyer sat on the piano . From 1963 Hermann Anders (tuba, trombone) was also one of the jazz optimists. With this line-up, the band recorded another single. In the same year Werner Josh Sellhorn initiated the event Jazz und Lyrik , from 1965 Lyrik - Jazz - Prosa , on behalf of the Volk und Welt publishing house . The jazz optimists, with their typically swinging Dixie sound, had well over a hundred performances at this event and their music generated a great response from the audience. 1995 appeared with Amiga with the titleLyrik - Jazz - Prosa a comprehensive CD for this series of events. As part of this, the jazz optimists and Manfred Krug also performed the ballad composed by Wolf Biermann in memory of the American civil rights activist William L. Moore, who was murdered in 1963 . [1]

In 1964 Behrsing and Schätzke also left the band, founded the Dixieland All Stars Berlin , in which Reinhard Lakomy and Wolfgang “Zicke” Schneider also played, and in 1972 the Jazz-Collegium Berlin .

Other members of the band, which was dissolved in the 1970s, were Siegmar Schlage (trombone), Joachim Teschner (saxophone, clarinet), Reinhard Riedel (drums), Volker Kaufmann (piano) and Michael Fritzen (clarinet).



  • 1964: Rosetta , Manfred Krug & Jazz Optimists (Amiga)

Publication on samplers

  • 1962: Negro Lyric Negro Music (ETERNA)
  • 1962: Traditional Jazz-Studio Nr. 1 (Amiga)
  • 1963: Orchester Parade (Amiga)
  • 1964: Jazz (Friend)
  • 1965: Jazz and lyric (Amiga)
  • 1968: Jazz - Lyrik - Prose (Amiga)



See also



Individual evidence

  1. The Jazz Optimists Berlin play Wolf Biermann's ballad by the postman William L. Moore from Baltimore