The direction in jazz called “avant-garde” came to prominence in the 1960s. By experimenting with the typical characteristics of rhythm, harmony, melody and structure, the genre stepped outside of older boundaries of playing. Works range from the dense, complex notated compositions of the Third Stream to the improvisations of the subgenre known as Free Jazz. John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy are among the most well know proponents of the movement. Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), Manfred Schoof (trumpet), Peter Brötzmann (saxophone), Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano), Gunter Hampel (vibraphone), Silke Eberhard (saxophone), Angelika Niscier (saxophone), Joachim Kühn (piano), Rolf Kühn (clarinet), and Christian Lillinger (drums) were and are the most influential German avant-garde musicians since the 1960s. The Seitwärts Avantgarde Jazz Festival offers the stage to contemporary German as well as international practitioners of this music.
The festival is a membership project of LAG Jazz Niedersachsen e.V.