New beat-jazz generation gets biggest Love Supreme Jazz Festival moving

"Clearly, this festival is all about love," Gregory Porter says near the end. Under South Downs skies which by Sunday were pure blue, Love Supreme's fifth year certainly lived up to its name more than ever. If its 2013 prototype was jazz fans' Woodstock moment, 2017 was a wider coming out party. Among a sell-out, 28,000 crowd, jazz and popular music were reacquainted after a long and painful separation, and tribalism and hate in the world beyond Glynde was repeatedly rejected. This was Love Supreme's finest weekend so far because the new jazz frontier it has nurtured is now so undeniably strong.

Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings' three Saturday gigs deliberately crown him as British jazz's new king. His marathon begins around lunchtime with his South African group, Shabaka & the Ancestors. The crowd sway to a polyrhythmic simmer, while Siyabonga Mthembu mixes gospel chants with raw, raging denouncements of imperialism and racism, confronting more than communicating. The knots of young dancers at the front are the band's real message, anyway. By the evening, as shirtless young ravers lose it to a tuba solo by Sons of Kemet's Theon Cross, it's clear that this new audience has no preconceptions about jazz, roaring on solos and sweating on the dancefloor in a way hardly seen since the 1980s. This continues for the triple-bill's climax, The Comet Is Coming, with its explosions into wide open, Afro-futurist uplands. The soft-spoken, fiercely purposeful Hutchings leaves as a generation's underground icon.

Love Supreme's careful alchemy between its mostly soul and funk main stage and jazz's fringe then sparks with Michael Wollny's outrageous talent, to atomic effect. As soul survivor Lee Fields finishes under sun-kissed skies, curious hundreds fill the Big Top. They find Michael Wollny's Trio zigzagging from early 20th century composer Alban Berg's 'Nacht' to the rave crescendo of 'God Is A DJ', musical norms splintering under his eager assault. But it's when his hyper-agile technique and his band's A-train urgency drop away, leaving him in a clearing of limpid solo beauty, that the crowd hush, and are his.

Herbie LWormsley 1

Herbie Hancock (above) arrives to the thunderous reception this ever-questing great deserves, but there's no sense of the 77-year-old resting on his laurels. Much as I love where Miles went in the 1970s, there's much in the fusion sound which often follows tonight which leaves me personally cold, the vocoder and electric piano sometimes seeming clunky, even ugly, compared to the newly-sharpened visions elsewhere. That's my problem, though, as Hancock explores the possible byways of 'Cantaloupe Island', here interspersed with a tune by guitarist Lionel Loueke, and returning to the soul-jazz head only after far-flung, curious adventures. Hancock wields his keytar for 'Chameleon' with the eagerness of a teenage axe hero, and gets a hero's farewell, too. Another veteran, George Benson (below), will play just enough guitar later, in between 1980s nostalgia.

Benson LWormsley

In the smaller Arena, Mammal Hands represent a similar UK school to their former labelmates GoGo Penguin, tending towards cyclical modes, till Jordan Smart's sax is lifted by another receptive crowd into freer, Coltranesque flights. Earlier, J-Sonics satisfy a big Friday night crowd with roiling Latin and Afrobeat rhythms.
New Orleans' current favourite son Christian Scott struggles for focus, till he talks about his upbringing as the grandson of an Afro-Indian tribal chief, and the social conscience this forged in a world of soul-wounding neglect. 'The Last Chieftain' leaves him hunched over, his trumpet's imploring wail repeating, unsatisfied. At the same moment, Kamasi Washington is bathing a large, main stage crowd idling in deckchairs with spiritual jazz. "Don't worry what happened before me. I'm here," Patrice Quinn comforts in 'The Rhythm Changes', like a loving God, or some other shoulder to rest on. Similar healing is at work with Miles Mosley's (pictured top) branch of Washington's West Coast Get Down. His new soul protest album Uprising leaves more room live for his Hendrixesque, distorted double-bass solos, alongside rousing melodies and humane sympathy. He seems certain to return a star.

OldJellyRollers LWormsley

Gregory Porter knows all about that. His great success can leave him taken for granted. Porter respects his talent and audience too much to do the same. "Mr. Policeman - God bless him," he improvises, finding unironic mercy for a uniformed killer in the riot for which '1960 What?' becomes a gospel prayer. His momentary assumption of elderly, thick-tongued huskiness helps keep the song alive. In front of the sound-desk, meanwhile, a row of young people are dancing like loons to Porter's band. Something's happening here.

– Nick Hasted
– Photos by Lisa Wormsley

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Rainforest Reveries: Crawford and Simcock In Arboreal Praise For Powys As Birdsongs Take Flight At Hampstead Arts Fest

Rainforest Reveries: Crawford and Simcoc…

Released last month on Basho Records, Birdsong/Cân yr Adar fuses...

Read More.....
Claire Martin, The Printmakers and Jamie Cullum line-up for 606 Club 30 years at Lots Road Festival

Claire Martin, The Printmakers and Jamie…

Chelsea's salubrious jazz den, the 606 Club, is to mark...

Read More.....
Collective X line-up for Love & Protest at Stratford Circus

Collective X line-up for Love & Prot…

Genre-defying London-based group Collective X, led by singer Alya Al...

Read More.....
Love Supreme summit at London's Roundhouse

Love Supreme summit at London's Roundhou…

A blazing afternoon sun, beer-drinking crowds, and smooth electronic beats...

Read More.....
The Lage Lund Trio, Julia Hülsmann and Christopher Dell inspire at Jazzfest Bonn

The Lage Lund Trio, Julia Hülsmann and C…

During its unlikely spell as the post-war capital of West...

Read More.....
Stanley Clarke, Dave Douglas and Avishai Cohen heat up EFG London Jazz Festival

Stanley Clarke, Dave Douglas and Avishai…

The line-up for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival, which...

Read More.....
Breakin' Convention raise roof with jazz-indebted dance riot at Sadler's Wells

Breakin' Convention raise roof with jazz…

  Founded in 2004 by 'choreopoet' Jonzi D and still curated...

Read More.....
Bärtsch's Mobile Go Minimal Amid Homegrown Diamonds At Estonian Summit

Bärtsch's Mobile Go Minimal Amid Homegro…

  Every music festival has its logistical problems – from gremlins...

Read More.....
Courtney, Kamasi, Frisell and Sheppard thrill the flock as VEIN hits rich seam at Cheltenham

Courtney, Kamasi, Frisell and Sheppard t…

It's a small town, Cheltenham, and the jazz festival is...

Read More.....
WorldService Project's propulsive politics mix punk and Python for satirical japes at Jazz In The Round

WorldService Project's propulsive politi…

"Five disillusioned anti-Brexit punk soldiers...", is how Dave Morecroft, commander-in-chief...

Read More.....
EST Symphony and Akinmusire energise and engage at Espoo's April Jazz

EST Symphony and Akinmusire energise and…

It's 10 years since Esbjörn Svensson's death on 14 June...

Read More.....
Ray Blue Rings True With Pan-Atlantic Quartet At Pizza

Ray Blue Rings True With Pan-Atlantic Qu…

  What better way to celebrate International Jazz Day than with...

Read More.....
Tom Ibarra, Stoney Lane Records store and Family shows complete Cheltenham Jazz Fest line-up

Tom Ibarra, Stoney Lane Records store an…

The doors are almost open for this year's edition of...

Read More.....
Esperanza and Nubya energises while Dame Cleo mesmerises at Jazz FM Awards

Esperanza and Nubya energises while Dame…

  Last year's Jazz FM awards was a memorable occasion, with...

Read More.....
Pat Metheny, Ezra Collective, Esperanza and Nubya Garcia among winners at fifth Jazz FM Awards

Pat Metheny, Ezra Collective, Esperanza …

The winners of this year's Jazz FM Awards were announced...

Read More.....
OFFBEAT Jazz and Cinema Fest goes French

OFFBEAT Jazz and Cinema Fest goes French

A new weekend-long jazz on film event, the OFFBEAT Jazz...

Read More.....
Avishai Cohen Quartet deliver testaments to truth and beauty at Ronnie's

Avishai Cohen Quartet deliver testaments…

The first of two sold-out gigs by the Avishai Cohen...

Read More.....
Black Spirituals Let Axe Fall For Swansong

Black Spirituals Let Axe Fall For Swanso…

Admirers of the scorched earth strategies of Last Exit, Fushitsusha...

Read More.....
WorldService Project power-up with album and tour dates

WorldService Project power-up with album…

Thespian punk-jazz troupe WorldService Project once more don the guise...

Read More.....
Brit-jazz stars, Metropole Orkest, Puppy, Porter, Metheny and more for North Sea Jazz Fest

Brit-jazz stars, Metropole Orkest, Puppy…

This year's North Sea Jazz Festival, the world's largest indoor...

Read More.....
Pat Metheny to be honoured with PRS for Music Gold Award and Esperanza Spalding to appear at Jazz FM Awards

Pat Metheny to be honoured with PRS for …

Revered US guitarist Pat Metheny (pictured) has been confirmed as...

Read More.....
Schneider Supreme Among Savannah Fest's Legacy-Leaning Showcases

Schneider Supreme Among Savannah Fest's …

The middle period of the Savannah Music Festival featured most of...

Read More.....
Dr Lonnie Remedies Ronnie's With Waves Of His Magic Wand

Dr Lonnie Remedies Ronnie's With Waves O…

Improvising musicians have been at the forefront of technology for...

Read More.....
Lucia Cadotsch and Kyle Eastwood among the corking capers at Cully Jazz

Lucia Cadotsch and Kyle Eastwood among t…

  "There will never be peace until God is seated at...

Read More.....
Shake Stew release video ahead of new album Rise And Rise Again featuring Shabaka Hutchings

Shake Stew release video ahead of new al…

Seven-piece Austrian newcomers Shake Stew are set to release their...

Read More.....
Rising star trumpeter Keyon Harrold powerful and political at The Jazz Café

Rising star trumpeter Keyon Harrold powe…

It seems like every time I pick up a great...

Read More.....
Jean Toussaint gets arty with Blakey

Jean Toussaint gets arty with Blakey

Renowned expat US saxophonist Jean Toussaint makes an emphatic return...

Read More.....
Beast Is Back: Return Of The Sloth Racket

Beast Is Back: Return Of The Sloth Racke…

  UK improvising quintet Sloth Racket – led by baritone saxophonist...

Read More.....
Dame Cleo Laine and George Benson to receive special honours at Jazz FM Awards

Dame Cleo Laine and George Benson to rec…

With this year's edition of the Jazz FM Awards set...

Read More.....
Kamasi Washington gets epic again with Heaven & Earth double album and world tour

Kamasi Washington gets epic again with H…

Los Angeles sax star Kamasi Washington is set to return...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia, Ivo Neame Quartet and Ariwo head to Jazz Stroud Festival

Nubya Garcia, Ivo Neame Quartet and Ariw…

The third edition of the Jazz Stroud Festival takes place...

Read More.....
Cecil Taylor 1929 - 2018

Cecil Taylor 1929 - 2018

With the passing of Cecil Taylor it could be argued...

Read More.....
Pharoah Sanders, Chris Dave’s Drumhedz and Lalah Hathaway added to Love Supreme

Pharoah Sanders, Chris Dave’s Drumhedz a…

The heavyweight jazz quotient at this year's Love Supreme Jazz...

Read More.....
Drummer Andrew Bain takes Embodied Hope on tour

Drummer Andrew Bain takes Embodied Hope …

Emerging Scottish drum talent Andrew Bain hits the road with...

Read More.....
Timeless New York Tribute As All-Star Line-Up Gathers In Celebration Of John Abercrombie

Timeless New York Tribute As All-Star Li…

  ECM Records chose experimental arts venue Roulette, in Brooklyn, to host...

Read More.....
Darius Brubeck for Studio Jazz Thursdays at the Other Palace

Darius Brubeck for Studio Jazz Thursdays…

The new monthly concert series, Studio Jazz Thursdays, continues its...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Rempis/Piet/Daisy fooling fruit into peppy abstraction with Throw Tomatoes @astspiritsrec #saladdaze https://t.co/BnLspwXh50
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@_Phil_Julian @hundredyearsgal see you in June
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA