The Jazztett Forum Graz was founded at the end of 1993 by Berndt Luef as an ensemble variable in instrumentation, which is to develop its musical identity not only by working out special compositions and improvisations, but also through discussions and exchange of opinions among the musicians.
The Jazztett Forum Graz project is a kind of musical antithesis to the process of separation that has also found its way into the work of composers and instrumentalists in jazz. The music of the group is supposed to guarantee a communication that is created by the willingness and the will of the musicians to develop the different opinions and ideas into common listening images, into a same wavelength. In the music of the Jazztett Forum Graz more should be made audible than interesting sounds and technically refined cabinet pieces. It should contribute to the understanding of the musicians among themselves and with the audience.
Berndt Luef deliberately wanted to work with a large ensemble, knowing full well how difficult it is to organize concerts for such groups, even with an independent program. Due to the often precarious financial situation of the musicians (and also of the organizers), there are a lot of trios and quartets in jazz, on the other hand there are the big bands which are often supported by municipalities, but which usually play a very catchy program.
In the late capitalist society, the music has become more than ever a commodity always available due to the technical development, which has been extremely commercialized by the concentration of the industry and the media. The powerful recording companies with their profit orientation and the audiovisual media (but also the radio stations) with their quota mentality flood the audience with a concentrated load of sprinkling and distraction music, coupled with an increasingly grotesque star cult.
For Berndt Luef and his fellow musicians, this means always being aware of the danger of being sucked in and not following the prevailing fashion and originality models in their work. They try to live and organize counter-concepts and to take a stand on current political events. Hence their examination of the war in the former Yugoslavia in "Bosnian Tragedy" and the reappraisal of Austrian history during the Nazi dictatorship in "Epitaph".
And therefore also the collaboration with "non-jazz people" such as the large brass band St. Ulrich and the local culture house. Or the collaboration with the painter Viktoria Dusleag, who designed the cover picture of all CDs since the production "Deviation" from the 2000s. Berndt Luef's compositions are also often musical narratives, as in the instrumental fairy tale "Snowman's tales," his musical travelogues, and the humorous confrontations with the Graz public transport system and the ÖBB.
Berndt Luef wanted to study piano after graduating from high school, but lost the little finger and the ring finger of his left hand in an accident at work in 1970, the middle finger remained stiff. Nevertheless, he was determined to become a musician, so he learned to play the drums and a year later began studying classical music and jazz at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. After finishing his classical studies in 1979, he concentrated on the vibraphone and graduated with an artistic diploma on this instrument in 1983. Since then he lives as a freelance artist in Graz. Between 1988 and 2006 he was the honorary head of the music department at FORUM STADTPARK. Since 2007 Berndt Luef organizes the music festival "Herbstzeitlose" at WIST in Moserhofgasse in Graz.
Already during his studies Berndt Luef wrote compositions for his various ensembles, in which he played drums, which also led to his engagement with the rock group MIRROR in 1979, which he then continued as leader between 1984 and 1990. In 1982 he founded the BERNDT LUEF TRIO with vibraphone, bass and drums and in 1993 the musician collective JAZZTETT FORUM GRAZ - the repertoire of these two ensembles was almost entirely written by Berndt Luef. Berndt Luef also regularly writes compositions for the programs of the cabaret group DIE BLAUEN ENGEL.
Socialized in the late 60s, Luef has always dealt with political events in his compositional work. With MIRROR he played the music for some theater productions and history workshops. However, most of the compositions were created after the foundation of JAZZTETT FORUM GRAZ and in the project series "Work Stations" (1996 - 1999), "Deviations" (2000 - 2002), "Trialogue" (2003 - 2005), "Correlations" (2006 - 2008), "Voyage out" (2009 - 2011) and "Reflections" (from 2012).
In 2001 he won the first prize at one of the few composition competitions for jazz music with the jazz ballad "Eyelash" (CD "Deviation"). Due to his involvement with the civil war in former Yugoslavia and the membership of musicians from this area in his ensembles, he has played numerous concerts in Bosnia and Serbia.
As a guest musician, Berndt Luef plays with STUDIO PERCUSSION graz and the Parkorchester, among others, and currently in Axel Mayer's project "Moments & Colours". In May 2012 Luef was one of the "artists in residence" at the KOMM:ST festival and in 2017 he was a member of Michael Eisl's project "Arepo".