JasperH DSC5408

There were three dominant artist groupings during the Brussels Jazz Festival. Naturally, there's a considerable indigenous Belgian contingent, plus a strong showing by US artists, but there was also a powerful wave of featured British players. These acts were mostly gathered into a marathon UK Night, but were also spread out across days other than this Saturday spectacular.

The 10-day festival (January 11-20) is held at Flagey, an arts complex in Ixelles, which lies south-east of the city centre. It's an eye-catching Art Deco building from the late 1930s, a former radio studio that has the look of a steamship, illuminated from inside with mood lighting glowing through its windows, in different hues for different portholes. With much of its wooden interior intact, Flagey's converted, acoustically-welcoming studios provide mixed-size venues for performances.

Archie Shepp DSC5267

It's always advisable to have a stellar artist booked for opening night, so the 80-year-old saxophonist Archie Shepp made a relatively rare appearance, with his quartet. It's been decades since he produced the free jazz extremity of his early years, but this Stateside tenorman has successfully rehabilitated himself into being a mainline blower. His set featured several standards, though some of these were less obvious selections. There were also a few of his original compositions. Shepp's overall demeanour was threaded with a quiet power, making him seem like a younger player, and on stronger form than when your scribe last witnessed him, around seven years back.

His longtime team of Daryl Hall (bass) and Steve McCraven (drums) were on hand, with the more recent inductee, pianist Carl-Henri Morisset. There were tunes by Elmo Hope and Duke Ellington, the latter's 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore' operating on the cusp of free-ness, loaded with fingered decorations. Shepp has an unusual way of playing, his mouthpiece inserted slackly, with great vibrato visibly resulting from his horn-quaking technique. When singing Duke, his voice also had a similar shook-all-over property, easy-going and with sliding, near-gargled phrases. He found a good balance between cabaret foot-tapping and free-inspired abstraction. Billy Strayhorn's 'Isfahan' was another popular choice, giving Morisset the chance to provide a luminous solo. Shepp's weathered voice had a dignified, churchy tone during 'Come Sunday', continuing the Ducal run. His own 'Revolution' saw a shift to electric piano, with firmly thrummed bass and roiling drums, Shepp choosing soprano, trilling out the tune's labyrinthine theme. All of this cut away sharply, for another vocal, spiritually inclined, and in the mode of original old-school beatnik rapping. The band were only just about willing to give up the storm, swooping down to rest, before closing with a bluesy dedication to Bessie Smith.

As a taster for the actual UK Night, on the following evening, Phronesis bassman Jasper Høiby's Fellow Creatures have a London line-up that includes the frontline of Laura Jurd (trumpet) and Mark Lockheart (tenor saxophone). Initially reined in, the leader's finely composed pieces heated up their temperament as the set progressed, 'Tangible' making space for Høiby's own involved solo, but his percussive bass snap was almost too much, distracting from the whole. The horns have a combined buoyancy, weaving along the same trail. Jurd soloed with a flamenco sting, and Lockheart stood under the spotlight, issuing a contained scream, breaking out of his accustomed understated fluidity.

Soweto Kinch DSC6025

The UK Night itself opened with alto saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch's trio, in the smaller Studio 1, where the Birmingham instant poet delivered one of his best-ever freestyle raps, just when we might have been starting to tire of this accustomed section of his set. As the crowd shouted out, he grabbed their proffered words: banana, rain, ukulele, sunshine, shithole, energy and love, shaping multiple rap-lines on the hoof. For his wiry, serpentine alto, he employed footpedals, laptop and a harmonising build-up, straight outta the Brecker boys in the late-1970s, or perhaps like a one-man electro World Saxophone Quartet. This was followed by the linear pulsations of Portico Quartet in the concert-hall-scale of Studio 4, managing to imbue stasis, repetition and surface simplicity with a continuing compulsiveness. Perversely, the night's most powerful set happened in the smaller foyer/café area on the ground floor, with Binker & Moses, the tenor saxophone and drums pair who are now spreading their popularity across the Atlantic. 'Unleashed' is the best word for their state, as Binker Golding piled up the hard-bitten reed seizures, and Moses Boyd trapped and tinkered, like a more direct Tony Williams. The set was akin to a ritual, draining out the topical pus, sizzled up by the duo's amazing empathy and musical commitment.

– Martin Longley
– Photos by Olivier Lestoquoit

FIRE

Check out Martin Malm’s psychotropic Brakhage-influenced flicks for ‘The Hands’, the boisterously cranky title-track from the forthcoming incendiary Fire! long-player, which drops tomorrow on the formidable Rune Grammofon imprint.

You can catch the trio, featuring riotous saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werliin, play an unmissable gig at London's Cafe OTO on Wednesday 21 February

‘The Hands’ – by Fire!

 

– Spencer Grady

The organisers of this year's sixth edition of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs from 29 June to 1 July, have confirmed the first big name appearing will be jazz-funk-soul supergroup Earth, Wind and Fire who will headline the closing night. Featuring original EWF vocalist Philip Bailey, bassist Verdine White and drummer/percussionist Ralph Johnson, the group will appear as a 10-piece, and will doubtless perform many of their huge hits such as 'September', 'Boogie Wonderland', 'Let's Groove', 'Shining Star', 'After The Love Has Gone' among others.

Festival Director Ciro Romano commented on the booking: "We've been coveting Earth, Wind & Fire since the festival's inception. They're a phenomenal live act with an incredible back catalogue of songs and we know they'll be a massive hit with the Love Supreme audience. Having sold over 100 million records across the course of their career they are also the biggest act we've booked for the festival to date and will provide a fitting finale to this year's event."

The festival enjoyed its most successful year to date in 2017 with 40,000 music fans in attendance across the weekend, the programme featured a winning combination of big soul/funk headliners alongside high calibre jazz names such as Herbie Hancock, Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper and the new wave of UK-based talent. More names will be announced next month in Jazzwise who are media partners for the event.

Mike Flynn

For more information and tickets visit www.lovesupremefestival.com

FELL-Simon--Christophe-Pean-2010-1-2000x1333

The image that graces the souvenir booklet of Kings Place's Time Unwrapped season is worth a moment or two's attention. A grandfather clock leans into a musician, whose head is obscured by the object, yet his bowing right hand and cradling left are enough to suggest the timepiece is a double-bass. Nothing could be more appropriate for tonight's concert, which sees Simon H Fell, a skilled practitioner of said instrument, present an ambitious suite of compositions called 'The Ragging Of Time'.

As we soon discover, the title is as much telescopic as panoramic, a modus operandi for Fell's quintet – clarinetist Alex Ward, trumpeter Percy Pursglove, trombonist Robert Jarvis and drummer Paul Hession – to navigate around the century-old history of improvised music, underlining the core principles of syncopation and all things raggedy while catapulting into entirely contemporary territory. Certainly, the spirit of the recently departed Roswell Rudd seems to float through the air at times, especially during the first set where the Dixieland-avant-garde continuum of which he was a part resonates through the sheer potency of music which both dances and detours on a strong, often two-beat pulse. Now resident in France, Fell, with his impressive history as a composer, as documented by his work on Emanem as well as wide range of playing experience that reaches right back to gigs with Derek Bailey, leads the band through material that is often characterised by melodic dot-dash that always demands similarly combustible improvisatory statements from his collaborators. One thrilling moment sees a Pursglove solo build on one consistently staccato eighth note, while precise, pithy phrases spin off that centre, implying a marching band reduced to a single piece of brass. That effectively sets the tone for the evening as the blend of concision and expansion frames much of the composing as well as improvising, and a major part of the appeal of Fell's scores is precisely his ability to create music with considerable forward momentum, sometimes through hard swing, sometimes through serialist rigour, that dissolves into eerie, spectral contemporary chamber music.

As the evening progresses the three horns become increasingly foregrounded. The richness of Jarvis' swells of bass and Pursglove's range of distortions, culminating in a solo in which his tone acquires the grave, gravelly slur of a Stratocaster, serves the music well. But the sound manipulations are spread right across the stage, as Fell's use of finger cymbals and sundry objects as plectrums opens up another avenue of timbres that again reinforces the general feeling of almost charmingly scratchy austerity in the scores. Having said that, a Ward solo consolidates and possibly exceeds that remit. Pushing the clarinet right over the head of the microphone, virtually swallowing it whole, he produces a shower of stark, braying trills that picks up on the stinging wah-wah sub-text of Pursglove's previous statement. It is a truly mesmeric episode for the way an acoustic device is imbued with electric and electrifying energy, the daring compounded by sparkling new timbres caused by the removal of the mouthpiece and continued fleet fingering of the now guitar-ish horn.

Artists such as Steve Lacy were particularly effective at being simultaneously in and out of numerous traditions and Fell is a welcome supplement to that lineage. He has an idiosyncratic way as a composer and arranger that places fraught suspense and plaintive appeal within technically challenging but also physically rousing pieces. Raggedy and rhapsodic, Fell's pirouettes are an enticing way in to Time Unwrapped.

– Kevin Le Gendre
– Photo by Christophe Pean

Following the announcement that multi-award winning saxophonist and composer Courtney Pine will lead the Inner City Ensemble touring project in February 2018 as part of the ongoing Jazz Directors series – the line-up for the band will now include many rising stars of the UK scene. These include Sons of Kemet tuba player Theon Cross (above centre), Birmingham-based composer/keyboardist David Austin Grey and Maisha/Nérija guitarist Shirley Tetteh (above left).

The band will also include newcomers such as trombonist Nathan Cross, NYJO affiliated Chelsea Carmichael on baritone saxophone/clarinet,
Tomorrows Warriors Female Collective drummer Romarna Campbell (above right) and bassist Alex Davis, who was the first winner of the Richard Turner Jazz Fund Award at the Royal Academy of Music. The newly assembled ensemble will play material written by Pine and will include tuba, trombone, clarinet, piano, drums, trumpet, guitar, double bass, and saxophones.

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

Page 5 of 222

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

Peter Lemer Quintet revive Local Colour at Pizza Express

Peter Lemer Quintet revive Local Colour …

When composer and pianist Peter Lemer recorded Local Colour in...

Read More.....
Dave Holland and Evan Parker line-up for Vortex Fundraiser ahead of new album

Dave Holland and Evan Parker line-up for…

Two of British jazz's biggest names – former Miles Davis...

Read More.....
Get The Blessing’s ‘Bristopolis’, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Pee Wee Ellis for Bristol Jazz & Blues Fest

Get The Blessing’s ‘Bristopolis’, Dame E…

The programme for the sixth edition of the Bristol Jazz...

Read More.....
Courtney Pine, Zara McFarlane and Evan Parker added to full Cheltenham Jazz Fest line-up

Courtney Pine, Zara McFarlane and Evan P…

The full programme has been revealed for this year's edition...

Read More.....
Daring Dutch drummers Han Bennink and Joost Lijbaart for UK dates

Daring Dutch drummers Han Bennink and Jo…

Heavyweight Dutch jazz bands Quartet NL and Under the Surface...

Read More.....
GoGo Penguin bring the beats to the Roundhouse

GoGo Penguin bring the beats to the Roun…

GoGo Penguin, the Blue Note-signed Manchester piano trio whose fusion...

Read More.....
Sugimoto Activity Surge: Studio News and UK Dates

Sugimoto Activity Surge: Studio News and…

Phantasm of fragmentary restraint, Japanese guitarist Taku Sugimoto, jostles with...

Read More.....
Vula Viel electrify Elgar Room

Vula Viel electrify Elgar Room

What do Swaledale in North Yorkshire and Western Ghana have...

Read More.....
Courtney Pine heads-up Jazz For Labour in Leatherhead

Courtney Pine heads-up Jazz For Labour i…

Having blown up a storm at the inaugural 2015 Jazz...

Read More.....
Andrew McCormack's Graviton Hit The Ground Running At Ronnie's

Andrew McCormack's Graviton Hit The Grou…

  The acoustic at Soho's iconic venue changes quite considerably according...

Read More.....
Jaimie Branch, Moor Mother and Jeff Parker Among the Acts at Austin's Sonic Transmissions Fest

Jaimie Branch, Moor Mother and Jeff Park…

  Texan Templars of outlier audio releases, Astral Spirits, have combined...

Read More.....
Zakir Hussain Crosscurrents, Parliament-Funkadelic, Tony Allen, Moses Boyd and Nubya Garcia announced for Love Supreme

Zakir Hussain Crosscurrents, Parliament-…

The first tranche of names to appear across the Love...

Read More.....
Saxophonist Roberts Braves The Outlands

Saxophonist Roberts Braves The Outlands

US saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts, arguably best known for...

Read More.....
Helena Kay leads Women In Jazz celebration at 100 Club

Helena Kay leads Women In Jazz celebrati…

Ella, Nina, Billie, Dee Dee – figures so distinguished that...

Read More.....
Alex Hitchcock/Tom Barford Quartet's Twin Tenor Frontline Fires At The Verdict

Alex Hitchcock/Tom Barford Quartet's Twi…

The twin tenors tradition has a long history, stretching back...

Read More.....
Award-winning bassist Gary Crosby OBE recovering following a stroke

Award-winning bassist Gary Crosby OBE re…

Jazzwise received this statement from Trudy Lister of Tomorrow's Warriors...

Read More.....
Clark Tracey and Brotherhood of Breath - The Music Of Chris McGregor Among The Manifold Delights At South Coast Jazz Fest

Clark Tracey and Brotherhood of Breath -…

Last week saw the highly successful South Coast Jazz Festival...

Read More.....
Caine Sprouts Chamber Music Chomps At Ambitious Brussels Fest

Caine Sprouts Chamber Music Chomps At Am…

  One of the Brussels Jazz Festival's best gigs came three days...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia, Maisha and Triforce surf new wave of UK jazz at We Out Here album launch

Nubya Garcia, Maisha and Triforce surf n…

Like all the best creative scenes, London's emergent and youthful...

Read More.....
Høiby And Kinch Lead Brits Charge At Brussels Jazz Fest

Høiby And Kinch Lead Brits Charge At Bru…

There were three dominant artist groupings during the Brussels Jazz Festival...

Read More.....
Video Premiere: Fire! Take Hold With 'The Hands'

Video Premiere: Fire! Take Hold With 'Th…

Check out Martin Malm’s psychotropic Brakhage-influenced flicks for ‘The Hands’...

Read More.....
Earth, Wind & Fire confirmed for Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2018

Earth, Wind & Fire confirmed for Lov…

The organisers of this year's sixth edition of the Love...

Read More.....
Simon H Fell: Raggedy And Rhapsodic At Kings Place

Simon H Fell: Raggedy And Rhapsodic At K…

The image that graces the souvenir booklet of Kings Place's...

Read More.....
Theon Cross and Shirley Tetteh join Courtney Pine for Inner City Ensemble

Theon Cross and Shirley Tetteh join Cour…

Following the announcement that multi-award winning saxophonist and composer Courtney...

Read More.....
Paul Towndrow presents Charlie Parker with Strings for Glasgow concert series

Paul Towndrow presents Charlie Parker wi…

Fresh interpretations of the landmark Charlie Parker with Strings recordings...

Read More.....
Hugh Masekela (04/04/1939 – 23/01/2018)

Hugh Masekela (04/04/1939 – 23/01/2018)

As South Africa continues its development in the post-apartheid era...

Read More.....
South Coast Jazz Festival Crests The Big Wave

South Coast Jazz Festival Crests The Big…

  Now in its fourth year, the South Coast Jazz Festival...

Read More.....
Julian Lage brings Appalachian jazz apocalypse to Pizza Express

Julian Lage brings Appalachian jazz apoc…

Perhaps it's a canny coincidence that's there's a tune on...

Read More.....
Marlene Verplanck 1933-2018

Marlene Verplanck 1933-2018

  On stage, Marlene Verplanck stood quite still, diminutive and always...

Read More.....
Sons of Kemet burn at New York’s Winter Jazzfest

Sons of Kemet burn at New York’s Winter …

Winter Jazzfest is a big deal in New York City...

Read More.....
Alexander Hawkins/Elaine Mitchener Quartet captivate at Kings Place

Alexander Hawkins/Elaine Mitchener Quart…

The conventions of a jazz performance are so well established...

Read More.....
Baptiste Curates Capital Coltrane Day

Baptiste Curates Capital Coltrane Day

Award-winning saxophonist and Jazzwise 2017 end-of-year-chart podium-maker Denys Baptiste curates...

Read More.....
Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan, Andy Sheppard, Nigel Kennedy and Roller Trio added to Cheltenham Jazz Festival line-up

Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan, Andy Sheppar…

Things are hotting up for this year's 22nd edition of...

Read More.....
Cloudmakers Five make it rain with new album and tour

Cloudmakers Five make it rain with new a…

Vibrant vibes-led group Cloudmakers – the long-running trio featuring vibes...

Read More.....
Scottish saxophonist Helena Kay wins Peter Whittingham Award

Scottish saxophonist Helena Kay wins Pet…

Emerging Scottish saxophonist/bandleader Helena Kay (pictured) has been announced as...

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

Office listening: Michael Gregory Jackson's resplendent Spirit Signal Strata https://t.co/OotkmW3rUP @MGJMUSIC… https://t.co/qCJad5M0Rg
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@mysterylesson great last album
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