Geltow – The Potsdam Jazzlab has long stood for cultivating unusual sounds and leaving musical comfort zones. This applies twice to the next edition of the event series: On Friday from 7 p.m. the Jazzlab will take place as an open-air event in Geltow, on the site of the old “Machine and Tractor Station” (MTS). The former industrial area is to become a stage for the artist collective Exit 4, who will exclusively play pieces by the Slovak composer and pianist Marián Varga, who died in 2017.

“Our sound engineer Conradkatzer had the idea because he grew up with Varga’s music,” says Jazzlab director Nicolas Schulze. “It was one of his first musical impressions for him and he felt like paying homage to Varga.” In fact, the Jazzlab has often focused on individual artists, such as the avant-garde musician Moondog or the recently deceased multimedia artist Bob Rutman.

Founder of the first Slovak art rock band

The upcoming event is intended to invite people to rediscover Varga’s work: the Slovakian pianist initially enjoyed classical training as a child, but then joined the rock band Prúdy and founded Collegium Musicum, Slovakia’s first art rock band, in 1969. Like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Varga mixed rock music with classical motifs by Haydn, Bartók or Stravinsky and was able to celebrate great success in his homeland.

Jazzlab director Nicolas Schulze.Photo: Private

After the dissolution of Collegium Musicum in 1979, Varga launched a successful solo career and composed, among other things, a rock musical; especially in the Czech Republic he was very popular. The Jazzlab is dedicated to Varga’s music from the 1960s to his death. The pieces pose certain challenges for Schulze, who is also part of the band: “I will play the Hammond organ, which is actually not my instrument at all.” However, he is looking forward to the evening: “After all, the Jazzlab is always a playground for Try out.”

Scenic readings with video recordings

Between the songs there should be scenic readings with video recordings in which Varga’s biography is retold: “He was a very open person who helped many friends; his apartment was never locked, everyone could come to him,” says Schulze. But it also had its abysses: Varga had started drinking very early and was a heavy alcoholic for a long time. “Unfortunately, that was considered part of the lifestyle in these artistic circles at the time,” says Schulze.

The seven-person collective, Exit 4, consists mostly of lighting and sound technicians from T-Werk Potsdam, some of whom are active in several bands and also organize the “Frei