Jazz was just the starting point at an eclectic fifth edition of the So What's Next? jazz and beyond festival that took place in Eindhoven, Netherlands in early November.

The Muziekgebouw Eindhoven venue was at the heart of the festival – alongside several other locations in the city centre, where 55 live acts performed over three packed days and nights.

Headline concerts and showcases from established and emerging jazz artists covered hip hop, soul, world, electronics and classical music. Artists appearing included Jacob Collier, Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Zara McFarlane, Ambrose Akinmusire, Donny McCaslin with drummer Zach Danziger – all pictured below - and Kamasi Washington (above).

So What's Next? is organised by Stichting So What's Next? in collaboration with partners Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, North Sea Jazz / Mojo Concerts and Brabant C.

Photos and text by Peter van Breukelen

1-Jacob Collier

2-Avishai Cohen

3-Zara McFarlane

5-Donny McCaslin

6-Zach Danziger

 

Jazz-influenced experimental musician, composer, conceptualist and now political protester Matthew Herbert is among 12 musicians receiving a grant from the UK Department for International Trade (DFID) to help export musical talent overseas. Herbert will receive a £5,000 grant to help his (anti!) Brexit Big Band complete its ambition of releasing an album on the day Britain is expected to leave the EU in March 2019. It's ironic that the DIT is headed by pro-Brexit MP Liam Fox.

Other artists sharing the £181,944 grant money, awarded via the Music Export Growth Scheme, include Mercury-nominated rapper-songwriter Ghostpoet and Public Service Broadcasting. DFID, which aims to promote international trade and will seek free-trade agreements after Brexit, has so far awarded grants totalling £2.4m to support musicians who could "become the next Adele or Ed Sheeran". Contrary to these export plans, the Musicians Union and The Guardian have reported that there are big issues with UK and European musicians continuing to work as freely as they do now. An example of this is the European Union Youth Orchestra leaving its base in London, "in part due to concerns over restricted freedom of movement for working musicians".

Herbert performed with his Brexit Big Band at the Barbican in October, with the concert featuring numerous UK jazz musicians as well as percussive sounds created by copies of the pro-Brexit Daily Mail being torn up on-stage. Herbert stated on his website that: "The message from parts of the Brexit campaign were that as a nation we are better off alone. I refute that idea entirely and wanted to create a project that embodies the idea of collaboration from start to finish." The composer has already set Article 50 to music and will conduct a series of Brexit-related concerts and workshops right up until March 2019. Commenting on the project he said: "I want to create something that's the opposite of Brexit – about collaboration, about creativity, about love rather than hate."

 – Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.matthewherbert.com/brexit-big-band/

See the December/January double-issue of Jazzwise out on 23 November for a further discussion of this issue in the Way It Is – subscribe here to order your copy today.

Multi-award winning saxophonist and composer Courtney Pine has been announced as the fourth high-profile instrumentalist to lead the Inner City Ensemble touring project in February 2018 as part of the ongoing Jazz Directors series. Previous musicians involved have included US stars Terence Blanchard and Chris Potter, while this year saw Pine collaborator and Mercury Prize nominated pianist Zoe Rahman lead a specially convened group of young emerging musicians from the north of England.

The Jazz Directors Series is a two-year residency and touring project which brings together emerging UK professional jazz musicians with an internationally revered Jazz Director. Each edition comprises of a four-day residency produced by Brighter Sound and a corresponding tour of live concerts produced by Band on the Wall in collaboration with local regional promoters. The musicians for the Inner City Ensemble will be announced soon and will play music written by Pine for the project.

Courtney Pine and Inner City Ensemble dates are: Band on the Wall, Manchester (22 Feb); Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (23 Feb); The Grand, Clitheroe (24 Feb) and Grand Theatre, Lancaster (25 Feb).
Mike Flynn

Tickets are now on sale at www.bandonthewall.org

Mark Guiliana is associated with a certain level of jazz-fusion high intensity, but tonight's gig, in support of the new album Jersey is billed as a different turn for his career. As if to emphasise the fact, the first number begins with no sound from the leader's drums at all: a limber, curling unison from saxophone and piano unfolds in the expectant hush, until Guiliana enters, tapping the snare with his fingers over an insistent single-note bassline. The dynamic slowly builds, as the sax peels off into a flurry of spiralling phrases. Guiliana hunches over the kit, completely absorbed in the restless chattering polyrhythms, hands and feet ever busier with the rising tide, leaning into each unexpected, sudden rhythmic bomb. He and bassist Chris Morrissey skirt around the implied pulse as Fabian Almazan's piano builds up from whisper-quiet to cascading intensity and the whole band radiate a fiercely geeky energy.

Mark-Guiliana-Ronnies2

In a surprise move, Guiliana leaves the kit and sits down at the back of the stage, head in hands, leaving Jason Rigby's tenor sax to play a soft, almost pastoral melody over a droning arco bass and rumbling piano. Then he's back on the stool, and they're off into a hip three-four swing that suddenly descends again into near-silence, punctuated by a few carefully positioned bass phrases, before Rigby takes flight again, his awesome fluidity complemented by his soft, clear tone. Both Rigby and pianist Almazan share a similarly remarkable command of language, at once capable of great abstraction and immense tenderness. An extended piano solo goes from mutated blues phrases and hints of expansive Peterson or Shearing chording into dense tonal clusters and shimmering, cimbalom-like textures, all delivered with a sure and subtle touch. Morrissey takes a feature on his bass, playing it as though it's a folk instrument, his strums and simple pentatonics accompanied by Guiliana's taps on the snare and slaps on his thigh.

Mark-Guiliana-Ronnies4

The quartet are superbly balanced: the almost supernatural empathy and the compatibility of their voices allows them to range freely across the open structures of the compositions, using silence as a potent musical force, pushing the dynamic almost to the lowest limit of audibility before rising again, diverging then miraculously coming back together for a short, gnomic phrase or unexpected accent. The second set pays increasing dividends as the band set up a cycle of simple minor chords, like a still pool of water, with Almazan and Guiliana creating ripples of dissonance on the surface and Rigby soaring aloft on butterfly wings. His dazzling flight seems like a clear winner for solo of the evening, until Almazan equals it with another effortlessly sustained flow of ideas, with accents of everything from free-improv to calypso, and bass and drums spin an intricate filigree of rhythm out of which Giuliana finally pulls the astonishing, climatic drum solo that everyone's been waiting for. After this payoff, there's a version of Bowie's 'Where Are We Now' as an elegiac coda for the evening's journey; an outstanding performance of a unique and convincingly realised musical vision, created by four distinctive and wholly compatible players. No wonder the leader looks quietly triumphant.

– Eddie Myer

– Photos by Steve Cropper

It was during the late 1980s that John Surman (above) conceived of the idea of augmenting his regular working trio of Chris Laurence (double bass) and John Marshall (drums) but, wanting to avoid the obvious harmony instruments such as piano or guitar, decided on a brass choir and asked John Warren to arrange for it. Their first album, The Brass Project, was released by ECM in 1992 and 'The Traveller's Tale' received its debut performance at the very first London Jazz Festival in 1993. However, it was only in early 2017 that a near-forgotten recording of The Traveller's Tale from that year came to light, enabling its recent release on CD by Fledg'ling Records. Unsurprisingly, Kings Place's Room 2 was packed for an EFG London Jazz Festival event for which many in the audience had been waiting for almost a quarter century – the second-ever live performance of 'The Traveller's Tale' by Surman's and Warren's Brass Project.

With Surman standing stage left, facing inwards towards Laurence and Marshall and, beyond them, a nine-piece brass choir seated in two rows – five trumpets behind and four trombones in front – Warren directed from centre stage. 'Dawning' began with a few fragmentary notes from Surman's soprano saxophone, which soon evolved into a flow of short phrases, increasing in intensity as Laurence and Marshall joined the fray with restless rhythmic counterpoints. When the brass section finally entered it was to accompanying Surman, introducing fresh statements and to air its own fine trumpet and trombone soloists.

john-surman-john-warren-edit-ljf17-kingsplace-byjohnwatson

Warren, whose inspiration for this eight-part work was the life of travel and sea-faring adventure of his grandfather Jack Warren in the late 19th century, brings a deep basket of textures and voicings to the brass choir, presenting Surman, whether soloing on baritone or soprano saxes or bass clarinet, with so many musical ideas and moods to respond to. But Warren also left space for a breathtaking dialogue between bassist Laurence and drummer Marshall, affording plenty of opportunity for the soloists in the brass section, including trumpeters Tom Gardner and Luke Vice-Coles, as well as trombonists Harry Maund and Nabou Claerhout. The whole brass ensemble, all students at the Royal Academy of Music, had clearly worked hard under the benevolent guidance of their Head of Jazz, Nick Smart, to play with such precision, sensitivity and enthusiasm. Theirs was a major contribution to what was an extremely memorable performance.

– Charles Alexander
– Photos by John Watson

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