While the venue's refit, which considerably extends the standing area downstairs, is not unwelcome – especially as this gig draws a good crowd – there are changes immediately noticed by musicians who grace the stage. The old Steinway is gone. Its absence is really felt in the second set when Nikki Yeoh's keyboard plays up a bit as the Denys Baptiste Quartet is in full flow. But there is also a sharp whiff of nostalgia for the missing 'STFU' sign, an acronymic rendering of a forthright request for silence, when some punters just would not stop talking for the upset of others.

Anyway, the first set by double bassist Gary Crosby and tenor saxophonist Steve Williamson is a fine opening to proceedings. Two players with a 40-year musical relationship, they display the requisite chemistry to triumph in a high risk setting. Then again their strength of character really shines through. Williamson's stately, solid tone, its lack of vibrato grippingly stark at times, is entrancing, while Crosby's swing and playfulness with time, resulting in more than one catcher's catch can pause, works very well. A brisk walk through Miles' 'Nardis' and a jaunt through Monk's 'Blue Monk', where the bassist holds the tune and the saxophonist twists and tugs at countermelody with gymnastic turns of phrase, are notable. As for the reading of 'Body & Soul' it is a grand moment of drama, as both men wring exactly the right torrent of sentiment, the longing, ecstasy and agony, from a standard that has challenged all comers since Coleman Hawkins claimed ownership in 1938.

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Tenor saxophonist Denys Baptiste, who in the 1990s picked up the baton from Williamson, Crosby and other Jazz Warriors, is enjoying a very good year, having returned to the spotlight with his album The Late Trane, which offers an astute reading of some of the key moments of the closing chapter of John Coltrane's epic journey through sound.

With double bassist Neil Charles, drummer Rod Youngs and the aforesaid keyboardist Yeoh he has an accomplished group at his disposal and it skillfully negotiates the central premise of Baptiste's re-imagining: the beauty of the sometimes simple themes is drawn out and cast against accessible, often danceable rhythmic backdrops that are very British. Young's use of a second snare drum produces all the whiplash thrust of drum & bass throughout the evening while his bouncing kick and hi-hat lines are mildly Latin-calypso, with Charles providing a steady anchor as the energy picks up. From pieces such as 'Ascent' to 'Peace On Earth' the songs are indeed heavenly, and Baptiste's statement of melody and ensuing improvisations, their vaulting course given a misty shadow by his pedal board and octave divider, are highly effective.

The electro-acoustic sound palette is vaguely Joe Henderson circa Power To The People but the cheeky quotes of Miles' 'Jean-Pierre' spread the references further. Having said that, the sparkling streams of single notes produced by Yeoh when she 'unplugs' on 'After The Rain' fully captivate, before Crosby and Williamson return for a rousing finale in which the doubling up of bass and horns brings forth all of the stormy density that marked Coltrane's valedictory musical statements. Baptiste's take is as personal as it is respectful to that spirit.

– Kevin Le Gendre

– Photos by Roger Thomas

This year's Manchester Jazz Festival marks jazz's centenary with a 100 hours of live music. Yet while commemorating 100 years of jazz may seem a decidedly nostalgic step, as Selwyn Harris discovers, those behind the #Jazz100 campaign, such as WorldService Project's Dave Morecroft, are definitely and defiantly looking to the music's future

What is it about jazz and anniversaries? Any excuse for an endless surge of good old media retrospectives, social media postings, extortionately-priced box sets, desperately obscure track releases, not to mention tribute albums and concerts. It might seem that way too with hashtag #Jazz100, a pop-up campaign created to commemorate the centenary of the birth of jazz in 1917. As ambiguous as that date might sound, it's exactly 100 years since the birth of the likes of Ella, Diz and Monk, as well as the first ever jazz-labelled recording release, 'Livery Stable Blues', by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. But instead #Jazz100 has an entirely refreshing outlook on how to celebrate an anniversary. According to them, it's all about the next rather than the previous 100 years. 2017 as year zero. Dave Morecroft (below), the man behind the band WorldService Project and the exciting pan-European tour/festival organizers Match and Fuse, is the mastermind behind #Jazz100, which he emphasises is a 'campaign' rather than a 'project'.

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"Of course, it's fantastic to look at the story so far and how far things have come," he says. "But I think because of the work that I've done ever since I came into this industry I always wanted to look at things very progressively and look to the future and at bringing new audiences to new music, to support new music and creative, innovative musicians from across the UK, Ireland and also Europe. So we had a moment last year when it all just came together and I was thinking, well why don't we talk about the next 100 years of British and Irish jazz? Because the fact of the matter is that the UK and Ireland scene right now is incredibly vibrant and innovative and it's in a really great place. There's a kind of resurgence going on, especially in the last five years or so. What we're trying to do is create a new atmosphere within the industry in this country. So there's an outward-facing side in which we're trying to reclaim or rebrand a word. To most audiences, in fact, there is some jazz that they would like. A lot of the time audiences are going to see jazz, even interacting with jazz groups. Let's talk about Snarky Puppy or The Comet is Coming, Zara McFarlane or Shabaka and the Ancestors, all these very exciting bands right now. They might even be interacting or listening to that music, but just not really aware or labelling it as 'jazz'. And then the inward-facing side is jazz as a sector, as an industry. Jazz has always, at least in this country, been towards the more disparate end of all the cultural sectors. So this is a way to celebrate this new momentum that jazz is finding, but also to look at the narrative of how the next 100 years will unfold."

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The #Jazz100 mission kicked off in April on International Jazz Day at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, followed up by related events at Glasgow and Love Supreme festivals. There's #jazzvirgins, a ticketing scheme for those who haven't, as yet, popped their jazz cherry, various digital and educational initiatives, as well as collaborations with organisations such as Jazz Promotion Network. Besides London Jazz Festival's 'Next Generation Takes Over' strand in November, #Jazz100 reaches a climax at Manchester Jazz Festival this month with "100 gigs in 100 hours". This includes composer Dave Maric's commission piece 'Decade Zero', that's already been performed by Phronesis/Engines Orchestra (pictured top - photo by Tim Dickeson) at Cheltenham, with a rendition at London's Barbican to follow in November.

"It was really exciting for me to see our three festivals investing in one project," says director Steve Mead of the Manchester Jazz Festival that has one of the most forward-looking, youth-orientated programmes in the country. "I really wanted to capitalise on the #Jazz100 campaign and look at how we could lend our own slant to the initiative. I've always known that the 10-day festival structure and spread of gigs throughout the day has equated to roughly 100 hours of music. We usually present 80-85 bands in each festival, but with some additional venue partners this year and some additional hands-on family morning shows in our Salon Perdu Spiegeltent (pictued above), the total coincidentally came to 98 gigs by the time I finished the programme. It was our way of joining in with the #Jazz100 campaign – the main objective is to get people's attention and encourage them to try something new out of curiosity."

For Dave Morecroft though, "it's as much a social mission as a musical one, which I think is very important to all the musicians that you see paving the way in the UK and Ireland right at this moment. It's a collaborative thing, it's about community, and it's become about politics again. It's all these things, it's not just musical genres and tastes. We all have these common goals, but they're very rarely put under one banner and I think there's a tendency in the UK sometimes for people to very much focus and work on their own goals and work in their corner if you like. But I think together we are stronger and that's something we really want to do, unite the sector. That's when you can take the case to the mainstream media, government or the private sector and that's when you can show something is worth investing in. The message is a bit of a cliché but it is very much relevant to the sector."

As someone directly involved in negotiating collaborations between UK and other European bands for his Match and Fuse festivals and tours, Morecroft seems as good a person as any to ask about the effect of the current Brexit plans and arts funding cuts on this kind of work?

"That picture is increasingly blurring and it seems to change week by week, depending who you listening to. But one thing is cultural initiative. Producers and people who work around culture and who are incredibly passionate about it have always found ways to endure. The mechanisms that they are working with, or trying to promote, survive irrespective of political situations, of administrative difficulties or logistical problems. If you see all the work that's being done by UK members of the EJN (European Jazz Network), of course there'll be things that need to be addressed regarding Brexit and challenges that need to be overcome, but I think the commitment of all of those members of the European Jazz Network, just as an example of cultural producers working at very high levels in their field, all of them remain completely committed to transmitting stuff across borders. It will survive and it will continue and I think that's the positive message that we have to believe and transmit because it's too important not to."

For full details of the Manchester Jazz Festival visit www.manchesterjazz.com

Listen to a podcast with Steve Mead from MJF talking to Nigel Slee from Jazz North

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Montreux Jazz Festival has a special place among all jazz festivals. Throughout the 51 years of its existence it's gathered an impressive collection of great names from the history of music. From jazz giants sich as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Count Basie and many more, to rock legends Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Deep Purple and many others – have all played here. This year the three main stages hosted 105 concerts across different genres: Auditorium Stravinsky presented pop, jazz and world music, Montreux Jazz Club focused primarily on Jazz, and Montreux Jazz Lab – on different experiments with electronic music.

For two weeks this small beautiful city on lake Geneva transformed into a firework display of sound, rhythm and musical styles. Music was everywhere: musicians and entertainers performed on the streets, waiters sung and tap danced, the free program presented in the park and in the clubs gathered excited crowds.

The festival comprised not only the concerts in the three main venues, but also various workshops, talks and competitions. One of the workshops is going to have a great impact on all jazz lovers around the world. The main guest of the workshop was Quincy Jones (below) who is connected to the festival since 1991. He and TV producer Reza Ackbaraly announced the first ever subscription video-on-demand platform named Qwest TV. The purpose of this new project that launches this autumn is to introduce jazz to new generations.

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Jazz train gathered music lovers several times during the festival and carried them up to the mountains treating them to the sounds of New Orleans style bands. Jazz boat was another great addition of the festival. It provided the opportunity to see the beautiful city of Montreux from a different point of view.

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There were many great concerts during Montreux Jazz Festival this year but the most unusual and unexpected one for me was the Surprise concert created by Quincy Jones, Jacob Collier and Jonah Nilsson (below). Starting at 1.30am and finisishing at 4am, it was perhaps the latest jazz gig I've ever watched. The excited audience enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of this gig and the way young musicians improvised and easily supported each other, inventing and developing musical themes.

I must confess that at first I was rather surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of pop music at major jazz festival. However, strolling past the statues of legendary musicians of the past lined up neatly on the embankment, it struck me that this is in fact the essence of the sprit of this charming vibrant city. Various musical genres coexist well here, each style of music finds its own audience and together they create one great festival of music!

Although I only had the pleasure of joining for seven out of 16 days, and many fabulous gigs were missed, I hope that my small photo gallery will help you to immerse yourself into the atmosphere of the marvelous Montreux Jazz Festival 2017.

– Tatiana Gorilovsky (story and photos)

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Tuesday night in Istanbul, and Korhan Futaci's lyrics are being roared back at him like this is Casablanca, and they're 'Le Marseillaise'. Though there's no overt political message (I'm told one lyric is about this life's unavoidable tears, and the salve of the afterlife to come – more gospel than rebel rock in sentiment), Futaci's Kara Orchestra play ritual, Near Eastern jazz-rock with an unmistakable underground edge. They fade in and out of focus in a dislocating, mantric haze, Futaci's tenor sax facing off with Bariş Ertürk's baritone, as psychedelia, muscular free jazz and obscure invocations pass through local, ancient filters. What's happening feels committed, rooted and urgent. In nearly a week in Turkey's vast capital, nothing quite matches it.

Istanbul Jazz Festival includes a strong international line-up (Antonio Sanchez, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Donny McCaslin (top), Joshua Redman, Christian McBride and Roberto Fonseca among them). My stay, though, is based around ViTRin, its Turkish new music showcase. In a former shoe factory's gardens on the Bosphorus's banks, MadenÖktemErsönmez further update the legend of Turkey's 1970s underground rock. Playing in front of dark stripes of scaffolding resembling a Tudor house in the moonlight, guitarist Sarp Maden sparks feedback from a fast, bucking solo. The bright laser buzz of his instrument has a vintage science-fiction sheen, amidst a simmer of rattling beats, finger-popping bass funk and spectral atmospherics. Someone approvingly mentions Can. Before them, Miles Mosley & The West Coast Get Down (below) brew up a quiet storm with Hendrix's 'If 6 Was 9'.

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Then there's Junun (below), who on their self-titled album were a collaboration between Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, Israeli singer-guitarist-flautist Shye Ben Tzur and India's Rajasthan Express. Greenwood's back at his day-job, but Ben Tzur is this heavy, highly danceable Qawwali trance and swing's guiding force. With a band drawn from Tel Aviv and a Sufi Muslim saint's shrine, and Ben Tzur's composition of devotional Qawwalis in Hebrew, when he thanks God, he is melting religious divides. Such projects can sound trite, but this music's potent existence moves me to tears. It's the philosophy behind Istanbul's grand Hagia Sophia museum, with its exposed layers of Christian, Muslim and secular history, of Byzantium and Constantinople.

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Crossing the Bosphorus to its Asian side's bohemian Moda neighbourhood for a multi-venue 'Night Out', Gevende are the highlight, influenced by Radiohead, but as individual as their lyrics' polyglot, imaginary language. A bereft trumpet intertwines with rippling guitar on a softly crooned ballad. Finally, jagged wah-wah guitar is displaced by Bootsy Collins rubber-band bass, and Miles electric funk. Turkish indie-rock in theory, Gevende are on their own trip. Though my chosen musical route-march misses them, colleagues also enjoy Kolektif Istanbul's "progressive wedding music", a Balkan-Anatolian blend suiting this crossroads city.

At a concert down amidst the millennia-smoothed Byzantine columns and fearfully inverted Medusa heads of Yerebatan Cistern, Özer Arkun's cello and Fatih Ahiskali's oud duet with a melancholy familiar from here to Europe's old gypsy and Jewish ghettos. At the French Consulate's Palais de France gardens, meanwhile, pianist Can Çankaya and bassist Kağan Yildiz play stately hard bop in the early moonlight, harmonising for a moment with a nearby call to prayer. Unremarkable in style, they feel cleansing tonight. The straight Turkish jazz I hear is often disappointing, trying hybrids which just miss the mark (though I'd like to have heard more of the acoustic, Anatolian Bilal Karaman Trio). A panel of local music business veterans speaks realistically of hard times, greeted by knowing gallows humour from the audience.

Looking out at the Bosphorus one night, I run into a musician who mentions the frustrations of being an artist here, unable to say what he'd like. The situation with President Erdogan is otherwise left implicit, and never volunteered (though a massive, defiant protest march reaches Istanbul from Ankara as I leave). This oppression at the city's edges is something I considered before travelling, but I'm profoundly glad I came. Istanbul makes London look small and young, and offered the nuances of cosmopolitan conversation, human generosity and sometimes subtly brave, enlivening music. People are bigger than their governments.

Nick Hasted
– Photos by Mahmut Ceylan and Faith Kucuk

Umbria Jazz is one of the largest festivals in Italy attracting visitors from all over the world for its 10-day programme. Tens of thousands flock daily to the hilltop town of Perugia for a feast of music that lasts from midday until the wee small hours of the morning. The main event happens in the Arena Santa Giuliana, a large 4,000 capacity stadium and also at the beautiful Teatro Morlacchi in the centre of the old town. The theatre shows are at 5pm and midnight and it is at these that the real magic of Umbria Jazz happens.

Carlo Pagnotta, the founder and artistic director of Umbria Jazz, is a lover of piano jazz – for him the more the better. So this year he programed a wide range of it from leading players in a series of duos such as Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda, Stefano Bollani & Egberto Gismonti, Chucho Valdes & Gonzalo Rubalcaba (below) and a brilliant concert featuring two pianos and five pianists with Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green, Eric Reed and Dado Moroni all playing Monk classics. The pianists played solo or in duos, sometimes swapping over half way through a tune, for a really memorable experience that gave a new slant on familiar material.

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Umbria strives to remain a 'jazz' festival but has always included pop and rock artists (to help pay for some of the free music that fills the streets during festival time), and this year the electronic pioneers Kraftwerk (below) brought their 3D audio-visual show, and Brian Wilson appeared play his classic 'Pet Sounds' repertoire.

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Both were well attended – Kraftwerk were extremely slick although typically a little mechanical – and musically not the most challenging but visually stunning. Brian Wilson (with Al Jardine from the original Beach Boys Band) was a mixed bag – Wilson himself obviously not in his prime, but Jardine still carried off the songs from 50 years ago (and more), with the band, including Jardine's son, fabulous as they ran through a non-stop stream of classic hits.

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The UK was well represented by Jamie Cullum (above, in the arena) and Jacob Collier (below, in the theatre). Cullum's show (one of the better attended in the arena) went down a storm – his boundless energy and enthusiasm keeping the crowd on their feet singing and dancing till way past midnight, he was brought back for encore after encore.

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Jacob Collier (who also played her last year) has grown in stature and stage craft very quickly – his show last year was over-sold leaving fans standing outside the theatre waiting for returns – but this year in the larger theatre everyone got in. The packed auditorium was full to the roof and Collier did not disappoint – his manic style and audience sing-along's left him and the crowd ecstatic but exhausted at around 2am.

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There was also a 12noon series of very interesting concerts in the National Museum of Umbria. Steve Wilson and Lewis Nash played three times – their show billed as a 'Duologue' and that it was – the brilliant understanding and connection between them creating some wonderful moments. Similarly, the duos between Emile Parisien/Vincent Peirani and Gabriele Mirabassi/Roberto Taufic were terrific. But the best was saved for last with the Linda Oh Quartet (above), who played on the last day. Bassist Oh is best known for her role in the Dave Douglas Quintet (and for her stellar work with Pat Metheny's acoustic quartet) is a great composer and her band featuring Ben Wendel (tenor saxophone) Matthew Stevens (guitar) and Rudy Royston (drums) create wonderful soundscapes, with Wendel the stand-out soloist.

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Other highlights from this year's festival were the Tomasz Stańko Quintet with Enrico Rava (above), two masters who play so well together; a great gig from Riccardo Fassi with his Taniko band featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock, playing the music of Frank Zappa. Wayne Shorter played two sets in the arena – one with his quartet (Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade) and then with the Orchestra da Camera di Perugia conducted by Clark Rundell – the first half vintage Shorter but the second rather long and meandering with the orchestra overpowering.

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Ladies night featured Dee Dee Bridgewater (above) doing her Memphis album with an opening set from Ladies! featuring Renee Rosnes (piano), Anat Cohen (clarinet) Melisa Aldana (sax), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Noriko Ueda (bass), Allison Miller (drums) and Cécile McLorin Salvant on vocals (pictured below). It was this band that that stole the night. McLorin Salvant is emerging as one of the best female vocalists around. Her range and tone are superb and she's certainly on course to become one of the jazz greats.

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Umbria is a big festival and Perugia itself a wonderful city to host such a prestigious event, however numbers at the arena shows this year were thin to say the least (especially the pure jazz nights). The main arena now seems to be too big for the size of audience the artists are attracting and an alternative slightly smaller one is going to be difficult to find. It begs the question that without a radical change in the way either the festival is financed (with more input from the sponsors) or in the way that the festival is produced (a dilution of jazz and more pop and rock acts) that the long-term future of this great festival in its present form is unsure.

– Story and Photos by Tim Dickeson

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