Reset Festival image2

For some there is a Holy Grail in jazz: to introduce new audiences and different generations to the music. This was much in the mind of leading jazz vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher when he launched the RESET Jazz Festival last year in his native Luxembourg City. As a percussionist and composer working with classical orchestras, jazz musicians and electronic producers his artistic energy is diverse and has informed the second edition of this festival. It returns from 17 to 19 January with a punch: with British-Bahraini trumpeter Yazz Ahmed and Danish bassist Jasper Høiby alongside Belgian pianist Jef Neve; harpist Julie Campiche (CH), viola player Séverine Morfin (FR), sound designer Sven Helbig (DE), drummer Alfred Vogel (AT) and singer Claire Parsons (LU).

How this compelling line up-gels will be decided this week as they collaborate and improvise in neimënster, the cultural centre of Neumünster Abbey, before performing in three very different encounters. The first night on 17 January is literally a 'jazz crawl', with the artists jamming in four venues around the city, one after the other. Each event is free to encourage newcomers to jazz. On 18 January there’s a performance in the main concert hall of the Robert Krieps Room of Neumünster Abbey, while on 19 January, local artists are invited to improvise with the musicians at the Abbey's Brasserie Wenzel.

Two day passes are available as well as tickets for each night from neimënster. The free jazz crawl running order is: Julie Campiche with Sven Helbig (Abbey Cloister, 7.30) Yaz Ahmed with Jasper Høiby (Vins Fins Restaurant, 8.30pm); Séverine Morfin with Claire Parsons (Mesa Verde Restaurant, 9.30pm) and Jef Neve with Alfred Vogel (Café des artistes, 10.30pm).

Debra Richards

For more info visit www.neimenster.lu tickets are available here

Composer, conductor and sampling-supremo Matthew Herbert is set to release his Brexit-inspired album, The State Between Us, on 29 March, the day Britain is scheduled to leave the EU. Herbert began the project two years ago on the day Article 50 was triggered, writing and developing music for his catchily-named United Kingdom and Gibraltar European Union Membership Referendum Big Band, motivated by the ideals and ideas of what represents Britishness as well as subjects such as ‘immigration’ and ‘home’.

This potentially colossal shift in British-European history is also reflected in the size of the project, which includes over 1,000 musicians and singers from across the EU. The album features leading jazz soloists such as trumpeters Enrio Rava, Sheila Maurice-Grey and Byron Wallen, trombonist Nathanial Cross, as well as singers Arto Lindsay, Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne, Merz and Patrick Clark who give voice to words by poets Percy Shelly and John Donne, revered British playwright Caryl Churchill and “various abusive members of the public and the secretary general of UKIP”.

The album also features a dizzying array of samples from such apposite sources as a Ford Fiesta being dissembled; a deep fried trumpet; a lonely cross-Channel swimmer; a factory being demolished and a cyclist riding around Chequers. See video below for more.

The band will perform at the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg on 16 February and two shows at the Royal Court Theatre, London on 29 March.

For more info visit www.matthewherbert.com

Mike Flynn

Watch The State Between Us trailer below:

 

 Joseph Jarman 996x515 996x515

The recitation of 'Non-Cognitive Aspects Of The City' by Dante Micheaux at last month’s stellar performance by Elaine Mitchener and Jason Yarde at Cafe OTO in London was as poignant as it was prescient. A few days later Joseph Jarman, the author of that poem that evoked profound urban alienation and the "hell of where we are", passed away in New Jersey at the age of 81. As he was about to meet his death the coming to life of his words on the other side of the Atlantic symbolised his ability to affect audiences beyond his homeland and lifetime.

Jarman actually read the piece himself on his 1967 solo debut, Song For, but he was really known as a highly-gifted multi-reed player who was proficient on numerous instruments that included the bassoon and recorder, as well as alto and soprano saxophones. Like his peers Anthon Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, he was wholly dedicated to the principle of fully exploring sound to induce new sensations amid daring, involving narratives that drew on a wide range of subjects.

Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Jarman moved to Chicago as a child in the 1940s, played drums in high school, then saxophone in the army. One of the earliest members of the Association For The Advancement Of Creative Music (AACM) Jarman, who also studied drama, joined the Art Ensemble Of Chicago (AEC), and was largely responsible for bringing many striking elements of theatre into the group’s aesthetic. He left AEC in the early 1990s, and became more involved in spiritual practise, eventually becoming a Buddhist priest. Jarman’s excellent work, both as a collaborator and bandleader, have earned him a rightful place in the pantheon of artists whose great strength of imagination boldly collapsed the boundaries between sound, text, movement and ritual.

Kevin Le Gendre

Bass-led progressive jazz group Wandering Monster are set to release their eponymous debut album on Ubuntu Music on 25 January 2019. Firmly established on the northern music scene, the band features Sam Quintana on double bass (above centre), Ben Powling on tenor saxophone, Calvin Travers on guitar, Tom Higham on drums and Aleks Podraza on piano and keyboards.

Exploring evocative moods, heavy-grooves and hook-laden melodies the band launch their album with an accompanying video for the Quintana-composed 'Samsara' – see the video below – and catch them on the following live dates: Zeffirelli’s, Ambleside (12 Jan);  Sofar Sounds, Newcastle (15 Jan); The Butterfly and Pig, Glasgow (16 Jan); The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh (17 Jan); Small Seeds, Huddersfield (18 Jan); Sela Bar, Leeds (album launch, 20 Jan); The Whiskey Jar, Manchester (21 Jan): The Spotted Dog, Birmingham (22 Jan);  Servant Jazz Quarters, London (24 Jan); The Be-Bop Club, Bristol (25 Jan); Kenilworth Jazz Club (4 Feb); The Gallimaufry, Bristol (6 Feb); Café Jazz, Cardiff (7 Feb) and Refu-jazz festival, Leeds (9 Feb). 

Mike Flynn

More info at www.samquintana.co.uk/wandering-monster

Watch the video for 'Samsara' here:

 

The unfeasibly warm November weather was matched by the heat generated by this small but perfectly formed festival 30km from Serbia’s capital Belgrade.

The opening night featured a blistering set from Gianluca Petrella joined for the first time by Italian compatriots Michelle Rabia (percussion, electronics) and the brilliant vibes player Pasquale Mirra. I saw Petrella and Mirra as a duo in the summer, which was great, but here with the added colouring and time keeping of Rabia, the set was on another level. Petrella is an ebullient player commanding the stage and coaxing the best from his band. However, Mirra almost steals the show: his solos are intoxicating, either playing unbelievably fast runs – his hands and mallets a blur over the vibraphone – or he can be subtle and soulful as he bends the notes around Petrella’s plaintiff trombone.

TD Rudresh Mahanthappa 35

Rudresh Mahanthappa also put in a huge shift. His current band the Indo-Pak coalition (above) featuring Rez Abbasi (guitar) and Dan Weiss (tabla) played songs from his Agrima album. For all the sweat and effort this trio seems to lack the fire and sheer power of his Bird Calls band and ultimately I left feeling a little disappointed, not in their individual playing but in the total musicality of the set.

The double bill of Ralph Towner (below) followed by the Oded Tzur Quartet left one in no doubt that jazz can still surprise and delight in spades. Towner, playing solo, is still the master of his instrument. At 78 his memory may not quite be what it was (he alluded to this in a pre-concert talk) but his ability to play and draw the audience into his quiet, delicate soundworld is undeniable. ‘Dolomiti Dance’ and ‘If’ were touching and ‘I Fall in Love Too Easily’ was just sublime. With the audience attentive and spellbound this was a beautiful concert.

TD Ralph Towner 17

The following performance was a real ‘wow’ moment. I knew nothing of the Israeli saxophonist Oded Tzur (below) but seeing that Nitai Hershkovits (former Avisahi Cohen sideman) was on piano one suspected it would be something special. Tzur has an incredibly different way of playing his sax – apparently stemming from his love and study of Indian music – he uses slow gentle blowing to generate a thin and ethereal sound which he can slide between notes – similar to a fretless bass glissando. Obviously a whole concert based on this one trick would be a little boring but Tzur is a master at bringing it in just at the right moment. The first song – slow and mournful introduces this sound – which Hershkovits took over on to the piano and the cross cultural marriage is made. Tzur can blow too, as can the rest of the band – Colin Stranahan on drums and Petros Klampanis on bass solid behind the two soloists up front. ‘Single Mother’ and ‘Whale Song’ are both beautiful and descriptive pieces - an ideal entry point for this fascinating music.

TD Oded Tzur 02

The last night of the festival brought together the Clayton-Hamilton Big Band and Cécile McLorin Salvant (picture top) as special guest. At the pre-concert talk John Clayton elaborated on how much work goes in shaping the music to fit the style of the singer and allowing room for them to ‘make the song personal’.

The first half of the concert gave the orchestra the chance to shine on their own but it was the latter part of the second half when Salvant took the stage that the evening really lit up. She’s a brilliant interpreter of the classics and with this excellent band behind her its not hard to see why she is probably the top female vocalist in the world today. Her choice of material is wide and refreshingly different - The Beatles ‘And I love him’, ‘Where Is Love’, from the musical Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton’s ‘I hate a man like you’, Ruth Brown’s ‘I Don’t know’ and Judy Garland’s ‘The Trolley Song’ – this was a great set beautifully delivered.

For a small city just a stones throw from Belgrade this is a gem of a festival – the venue is compact and intimate and the tickets a few euros each. The festival consistently books top quality artists and never fails to entertain the sell out audiences. The Pančevo Jazz Festival is always the first weekend in November.

Story and photos Tim Dickeson

 

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