It was surprising enough that Saalfelden, a city of 16,000 in the Austrian alps outside of Salzburg, should hold one of the world's most ambitious music festivals dedicated to high-octane avant-garde jazz. http://www.jazzsaalfelden.com/ For more than three decades Saalfelden has hosted legends of the music (Ornette Coleman) and the newest cutting-edge artists (David S. Ware, Matthew Shipp, Nels Cline). Even more startling was to walk through the old narrow winding streets and see poster portraits of African-American giants of improvisation, in this case pianist Cecil Taylor (top) and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, in the windows of trendy clothing and eyewear shops. This town is hip!
We were there for the music--avant-garde jazz at one of the world's most daring festivals, held every August. And of course there was the food, including fresh river fish grilled right outside the concert hall. And I think they must have resurrected J.M.W.Turner or Thomas Cole to paint the sunset we viewed from the deck of the concert hall, looking west over the town and into the alps.