Joachim-Ernst Berendt

Joachim-Ernst Berendt
Born(1922-07-20)July 20, 1922
DiedFebruary 4, 2000(2000-02-04) (aged 77)
OccupationAuthor, music journalist
  • Ernst Berendt (father)

Joachim-Ernst Berendt (20 July 1922 in Berlin – 4 February 2000 in Hamburg) was a German music journalist, book author and producer specialized on jazz.


Berendt's father Ernst Berendt was a Protestant pastor belonging to the Confessing Church and was imprisoned and died in the Dachau concentration camp. J.-E. Berendt started studying Physics, but was interrupted by his enlistment to the Wehrmacht. Already during the Nazi Germany years Berendt took an interest in jazz, which then had retreated to the underground.

After World War II he helped founding the Südwestfunk (SWF) radio network in the then French occupation zone of Germany. From 1950 till his retirement in 1987 he was in charge of the jazz department of the SWF.

In 1952 the first German edition of Berendt's Jazz Book was published. It became a definitive book on jazz translated into many languages and is still being updated and reprinted. For almost 40 years Berendt produced the jazz program of the Baden-Baden station of the German public radio and TV network ARD. His weekly TV show Jazztime Baden-Baden and his daily radio shows were pioneer work in advancing and popularizing jazz in post-war Germany. Berendt later focused on world music and was one of its early promoters.

Berendt initiated and organized many jazz festivals (American Folk Blues Festival, Berliner Jazztage, World Expo Osaka). He was the producer of many records, mainly for MPS Records, and supported the Jazz & Lyrik project, combining jazz performances with readings of poetry (not jazz poetry).

Berendt was awarded, amongst others, the critic's award of German television, the culture award of Poland, and twice the Bundesfilmpreis.

Berendt died on 4 February 2000 at the age of 77 after a traffic accident which he was involved in as a pedestrian. The accident happened in Hamburg, Berendt was on his way to a book promotion for his book Es gibt keinen Weg nur Gehen (There Is No Way, Only Going).

Berendt's huge collection of records, books, magazines, photos and more is in the archive of the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt.