Here’s a problem: what kind of music do you choose to be played while people are enjoying a drink before or after a jazz concert? They’re going to be talking to each other, of course, so you can’t expect them to be listening intently. But you want the music to be something that might catch their ear from time to time, making them want to find out what it is. It should be something more than background music, but you don’t want it to get in the way.

It would be boring to create a playlist devoted to jazz classics for the Bornemann Bar in the Haus der Festspiele this weekend, although it always fascinates me that some great jazz albums – the obvious examples would be Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue or John Coltrane’s Ballads – manage to work as audio wallpaper in restaurants and even shops without diminishing their colossal artistic value. In a way that constant presence only confirms that they are powerful and resilient enough to survive in any kind of environment.

So I thought that the decision most in keeping with the spirit of the 2015 Jazzfest Berlin might be to choose some recent recordings by younger European groups. There’s so much good new music from around the continent that the selection was made difficult only by the sheer volume of choice.

I was never going to leave out some pieces from the album called Bullhorn by the brilliant Finnish trumpeter Veneri Pohjoloa, or others from Flow, the album by Drifter, a quartet led by another Finn, the pianist Alexi Tuomarila. From Britain come the polyrhythmic adventures of Vula Viel, which is the name of a quintet led by Bex Burch, who plays an African marimba called a gyil, from Ghana. There’s also the sparkling trio of the guitarist Phil Robson, whose Hammond organist, Ross Stanley, will appear with Dylan Howe at the Akademie der Kunst on Sunday. Norway contributes the beautiful tone poems from Slow Snow by the Norwegian saxophonist Tore Brunborg and the lyrical piano trio of Espen Eriksen, whose latest album is called Never Ending January.

But you can’t leave America, or the classics, out altogether. I added a track from Winter Light, a new album by the guitarist Scott DuBois, while a more historic sound is represented by a couple of pieces from a 1965 Blue Note album by Wayne Shorter called Etcetera, and some things from David “Fathead” Newman’s debut album, Fathead, produced by Ray Charles in 1958 – two very different but equally great saxophonists.

Lastly I couldn’t resist the chance to expose people to an album I’ve played constantly since I came across it in Lisbon in 2004. Called Berimbaum, it’s by the Brazilian singer Paula Morelenbaum, who is better than anyone, in my view, at bringing Brazilian music into the 21st century, adding elements of trip-hop and several other flavours to the basic bossa nova template.

Perhaps no one will notice any of this. But if just one person pauses for a moment in their conversation in the Bornemann Bar and thinks, “I wonder who that is?”, I’ll be happy.

Vorschaubild: Richard Williams © Tom Jenkins

The Jazzfest Berlin 2015 takes place from 5 to 8 November 2015. On 16 October 2015, 19:00 the Artistic Director Richard Williams will present the festival programme in a public talk, accompanied by music by Julia Kadel and Alexander Hawkins. Admission is free.