The second edition of the Mondriaan Jazz Festival takes place this weekend on Saturday 13 October, and features stellar line-up of cutting edge jazz from artists from the UK, US and Europe. Programmed by The Good Music company's Mike Bindraban and Henk Koolen, the packed programme runs across four stages as well as foyer and lounge spaces at the Paard van Troje music venue in The Hague, Holland.

The line-up boasts a strong contingent from Chicago's resurgent jazz scene with a super-group led by hotly-tipped drummer Makaya McCraven who headlines the main stage with his Universal Beings band, which features violinist (and Thundercat collaborator) Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, harpist Brandee Younger, influential guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise), MOBO award winning UK saxophonist Soweto Kinch, bassist Junius Paul and cornetist Ben Lamar Gay.

Further headliners include Indo-jazz drummer Sameer Gupta's mesmerising large ensemble, Brooklyn Raga Massive; while in-demand drummer Marcus Gilmore leads his electronica-inspired Silhouwav band, with a guest appearance be fiery saxophonist Casey Benjamin alongside acclaimed keyboadist David Virells and Japanese classical/electronics prodigy BigYuki. Other names on the bill to look out for include fast emerging UK singer Yazmin Lacey; Vulfpeck funk-fusion guitarist Cory Wong; Blue Note-signed trumpet star Ambrose Akinmusire; LA-based virtuoso fusion band Spirit Fingers; leading Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen's strings-led group Time Is A Blind Guide plus a closing set from revered Australian improve trio, The Necks.

The line-up also includes DJ sets taking place in the venue foyer, with additional discussions with Jeff Parker and Makaya McCraven on the Chicago scene plus an interview with acclaimed jazz writer Ashley Kahn.

– Mike Flynn

For full programme details and tickets visit www.mondriaanjazz.nl

This exciting initiative taken by London-based vocalist Filomena Campus is the best possible advert for cross-cultural exchange at a time of internal strife in Europe. Billed as 'Alghero incontra Londra' the meeting of musicians from the enchantingly beautiful Sardinian city of Alghero and the dizzying metropolis that is London produces a pleasing contrast of styles as well as proof of the value of spontaneous collaboration. Staged at Poco Loco, a well-appointed restaurant with a spacious stage and good acoustics the double bill presents local players, bassist Salvatore Maltana and guitarist Marcello Peghin as well as British visitors, Black Top, aka pianist Pat Thomas and vibraphonist Orphy Robinson. The two duos are ably representative of their respective heartlands. Each has its own take on a wide range of traditions.

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Maltana and Peghin (above) are players upholding a long lineage of European musicians who embrace improvisation while referencing a folk heritage that is rich to say the least. Having said that both the jazz and western pop culture of these musicians is anything but superficial and Peghin's affinity to the work of Wayne Shorter and Neil Young makes him an artist with a substantial stylistic well from which to draw. His touch is assured and his alternation of bulbous, resonant chords, enhanced by a broad necked 10-string guitar, and fleet, serpentine single note lines brings a fair amount of detail to the table. Maltana's upright bass is perhaps a touch underpowered at first but soon settles info fruitful dialogue with Peghin in which melodies are clearly articulated and solos bring out the woody timbres of the two acoustic instruments.

Much anticipation greets Black Top primarily because it is a largely unknown quantity in Sardinia, and Thomas and Robinson's setup – synthesizers and iPads as well as piano and vibraphone make it clear that the musicians will be delving into electronics and quotidian sound as well as lending themselves to on-the-spot creativity. There are a few stares of bemusement at the first part of the performance as Robinson triggers myriad spoken word samples and effects and the music takes shape slowly from a series of atmospheric soundscapes that snap and crackle away, conjuring up the sense of a radio show in which voices spark into life at unpredictable junctures. Organically, arrangements dip and swerve but when Robinson takes a ferocious fizzing vibes solo there is a release of tension from the audience as it finally recognizes something that might be called jazz, or the virtuosity synonymous with it.

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As abstract as the music is a great amount of groove drops in and out of earshot, pushing the music into the African-Caribbean rhythmic waters beholden to the identity of the group, and making it clear that the avant-garde with which Thomas and Robinson are largely associated has always engaged with populism since the days of Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk's sprightly forays into calypso. The audience warms further to the theme but there are still a few raised eyebrows over the fact that Black Top pumps up the volume in a way that may be alien to most patrons in a seated venue. It's a fascinating spectacle to see some heads, acclimatising to the extra decibels, starting to nod as the raucous riffing of which both the players are more than capable, takes a hold. If there were any resistance to some of the harder edges of Black Top's sound then, as Campus (above with Robinson) herself stated, that was no bad thing, given that challenging as well as engaging audiences is an essential part of her remit. When all four musicians come together to play a short set at the end of the evening there is also a degree of wrestling with ideas as they search for common ground, with the digital beats eliciting a tougher modal attack from Maltana and strident rhythm work from Peghin. The novel quartet finds a vamp and then twists it into more staggered time before dissolving into a shower of haunting sounds. The encounter is a bracing one, and the presence of several local musicians and dignitaries such as mayor Mario Bruno reflects the importance of the project.

Luckily for British audiences the circle will be complete when the Sardinians come to London in November for two nights at Soho's Pizza Express Jazz Club where they will be joined by Black Top and several other notable guests such as Cleveland Watkiss, Rod Youngs, Steve Lodder and Marta Capponi.

– Kevin Le Gendre

– Photos by Carl Hyde

Filomena Campus' Theatralia Jazz Festival takes place on 13-14 November at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean street, Soho, London, W1D 3RW - for more info visit www.pizzaexpresslive.com

JeanToussaint LWorms 3

Jazz In The Round promoters Chris Phillips and Jez Nelson must have scoured the South in their search for suitably-shaped venues to accommodate their expanding vision; St Mary's In The Rock, a semi-circular Regency church hollowed out of the Hastings cliffs, fits the bill perfectly as a setting for this festival celebrating emerging UK jazz. There's a respectful and attentive crowd of native Hastings bohos and down-from-London types, a live artist capturing the event in acrylic and canvas, and the customary earnestly pedagogical introduction from Phillips and Nelson, as the Arthur O'Hara Trio kick off proceedings. Their stripped-back sound is energetic and angular, but with a firm grip on melody – edging close to post-rock thanks to O'Hara's retro sounding Precision bass, forceful melodic riffing, and an overall sense of what one might call exultant melancholy common to the genre. Chelsea Carmichael's tenor sax is full-voiced and accurate, and her control of dynamics sets the pace. The tunes are spacious and deceptively simple, but the bare bones reveal a carefully assembled framework on which the trio hang compositions that are ambitious in emotional scope. 'Oasis' lets drummer Ed Harley demonstrate his chops, and builds up a real head of steam.

Tim Doyle, aka Chiminyo, follows with a solo performance combining junglist drumming with triggered electronics to create a one-man rave. His ingeniously programmed, dub-step flavoured compositions also show off his more-than-decent skills as a drummer and draw warm applause and even spontaneous outbreaks of dancing.

Elder statesman Jean Toussaint is here with a band of young proteges, recounting his own experience as a tyro of Art Blakey – "We learned by doing – if you make a mistake, make it loud, and you won't do it again!" he recalls. The acoustic of the room magnifies his already enormous sound, now burnished into a deep, glorious purr, as Daniel Casimir on bass and Ben Brown on drums set up a pulsing ostinato that shifts gear into a magisterial modal workout. Mark Kavuma (pictured above, with Toussaint) on trumpet looks impossibly, cartoonishly hip in his stylish threads, his tone brassy and declamatory enough to match the leader's own. 'Vera Cruz', by Milton Nascimento via Wayne Shorter, features a smouldering solo by Kavuma – if Toussaint's playing contains elements of Shorter's, there are surely echoes of early 1970s Miles in the way Kavuma spits out shreds of sound and long, slashing notes that cut into the silence as Brown brings the drums to a polyrhythmic simmer. Toussaint takes the band up to the mountaintop and gently back down again.

There are features for pianist Albert Palau, with a fast-paced seven-count rendition of 'Beatrice' demonstrating his seamless incorporation of language from the contemporary classical repertoire and awesome lightness of touch, and Casimir has a wonderfully creative solo on ''Round Midnight', before Toussaint leads the band into a joyous closing vamp that causes further outbreaks of dancing. Jazz In The Round are leading the charge of new British jazz; tonight's wonderfully eclectic, uniformly excellent bill outlines their vision; this festival is richly deserving of everyone's support and should surely return next year.

Eddie Myer
– Photo by Lisa Wormsley 

This year's festival was perhaps short on surprises, compared to previous editions, but was high in quality. The energetic mainstream was amply taken care of in a closing double-bill of the Limerick Jazz Quintet with vocalist Aoife Doyle and Jim Doherty's Tenor Madness quintet. The veteran pianist had paired the reliably exciting saxophones of Richie Buckley and Brendan Doyle but, unlike many two-tenor blowouts, his arrangements paid attention to dynamics and endings. On paper, much of the programming was a case of former festival heroes returning in a new guise.

Julian Siegel (below), here for the first time fronting his own quartet, impressed with his vast expertise on tenor, soprano and contrabass-clarinet, matched by the ridiculously inventive Liam Noble on piano. The original material from their recent album Vista was augmented by tricky adaptations of Bud Powell and Cedar Walton, and proved that super-clever doesn't rule out super-communication.

julian-limerick

Listeners in Ireland are speculating that, after next March, British musicians may well need visas to perform in the Republic, so it's gratifying that this year there was a good UK representation. Northern Ireland's Linley Hamilton floated his versatile trumpet on a pad of eight Dublin string players plus a Limerick rhythm-section, directed by arranger-pianist Cian Boylan, with brief contributions by singer Jess Kavanagh.

Cork-based trombonist Paul Dunlea appeared with an Anglo-Scottish sextet including trumpeter Ryan Quigley and drummer Alyn Cosker, doing new music due to be recorded the following day. Dunlea's themes and often unconventional writing (sometimes pairing trombone and electric bass) are compelling but it was the energy of this debut performance that triumphed, thanks also to Paul Booth (tenor), Eoin Walsh (bass) and Steve Hamilton (piano). On the other hand, Renegade Brass (top) from Sheffield had their bass drum miked soooo loud as to render almost inaudible much of the brass and the turntablist, and their rapper. But they certainly got the Saturday night punters dancing to the beat.

– Brian Priestley

– Photos by Salvatore Conte

YusefDayes-9

The bouncer outside is busy checking ID and handing out wristbands to those lucky enough and old enough to buy booze legally; inside the system is playing trap to entertain the packed out crowd. The keys and bass players appear first and, after a short delay occasioned by PA malfunction, start up an ambient drone; then Yussef Dayes stalks onstage like a star. He doesn't acknowledge the crowd – they respond with cheers and whoops as he picks up a vibraslap and disperses some vibes through the overheads; then he smashes straight into one of his trademark chattering beats, had swaying and locks flying; it looks as though some powerful current is forcing itself up through his torso and out through his fluorescent drumsticks, flickering like lightning between snare and hats as they build up to a tense head of kinetic energy that gets released into massive tom fills like explosive thunderclaps. Yohan Kebede's Fender Rhodes is reverbed and delayed into an ambient wash, an upper register of tinkling ripples reminiscent of Lonnie Liston Smith in the blissed-out 1970s – Rocco Palladino on bass is loud and heavy through an octaver, dropping long notes to help shape the sound. The beat breaks down, fades away, then comes back, even more hyped; then it's over. "We're here freestlying," says Dayes, and that's exactly what they proceed to do.

The basic template harks back to the glory days of what used to be called intelligent drum'n'bass – chiming keys sketch out ambiguous chords over stuttering beats and heavy bass bombs, like old school Photek or Roni Size jams; there are hints of familiar riffs, rolling waves of builds and drops and the occasional false start; a flat-footed take on Lenny White's 'Sorcerer' is rescued as Dayes' sheer chutzpah drives the band ever onwards, never looking back. Dropping the beat out to come back harder and heavier is his ace card and he plays it to full effect; his co-musicians steer clear of jazz-funk licks, and the invisible hand of the soundman adds effects in a dub style.

The vibe is like a high-energy warehouse party jam – an impression that the occasional PA drop-outs only heighten, all the more so when a nattily attired special guest, introduced as Rob JR, takes to the mic and sings, screams and hollers like a punk MC. The crowd call them back for an encore that turns into another long-form workout; then everyone piles outside to smoke in the adjoining bus station car park. Dayes is an unpredictable phenomenon, and the music feels like a work in progress, but this crowd are with him every inch of the way.

Eddie Myer

Anya Arnold

Page 5 of 253

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