The wider jazz programme for this year’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs from 5 to 7 July at Glynde Place, East Sussex, has been announced and includes a strong selection of UK and US artists. Leading the pack from these shores are hard-driving piano trio GoGo Penguin, while there are equally danceable sounds from spiritual jazzers Maisha, flautist Tenderlonius, grime-jazz tuba titan Theon Cross, the groove-heavy Steam Down Collective and fast-rising SEED Ensemble. Brit-jazz vibist Orphy Robinson is also confirmed and will bring his acclaimed take on Van Morrison’s seminal Astral Weeks album to Glynde.

From the US come fiery New Orleans five-piece Tank and the Bangas, Grammy-nominated pianist Christian Sands, and cutting-edge Chicagoan drummer and producer Makaya McCraven, while trumpeter Marquis Hill’s Blacktet (pictured top left) will also perform. Experimental jazz sounds come via the Jazz in the Round stage, alongside further performances on the Bands & Voices cabaret and spoken word stage. These names join those already announced in Jazzwise (who are festival media partners) and include Jamie Cullum, Snarky Puppy, Chick Corea, Ms Lauryn Hill, Louie Vega and the Elements of Life and Kamaal Williams.

Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.lovesupremefestival.com

 BranfordMarsalisQrt MG 3430

Bookended by a short opening solo piano set from Nikki Yeoh and an encore where the band was joined by UK pianist Julian Joseph, this concert was, as John Cumming from Serious suggested in his opening remarks, a chance to hear what is possibly the leading acoustic jazz quartet in the world today. From the aggressive angularity of the opening ‘Dance of the Evil Toys’ to an excursion into the tradition for a ravishing version of Jimmy McHugh’s ‘Sunny Side of the Street’, and from the moments of freedom in Branford Marsalis’s own ‘Life Filtering from the Water Flowers’ to the sensuous new ballad ‘Cianna’ by pianist Joey Calderazzo, the breadth and depth of the band’s playing bore out the claim.

Whether on tenor or soprano, Marsalis has the knack of making a melodic ballad improvisation sound like a considered part of the composed song, yet he can also launch into ferocious displays of technical mastery, a latterday ‘sheets of sound’ combined with the precise placement of every note. This was especially apparent where the rhythm section dropped back, or when Calderazzo took a breather, and left bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner to pace the saxophonist.

Calderazzo played at a dazzlingly high level, nowhere better than on Andrew Hill’s ‘Snakehips Waltz’ where the stops and punctuations of the jagged theme gave way to a hard-swinging solo. But the band held the best back till last. Keith Jarrett’s ‘The Wind-up’ had the audience on the edge of its seats, the joyous theme thrown in the air and caught – often unexpectedly – by the next soloist, and a long solo passage for Faulkner of trance-like intensity. We had great fun, but not it seems, as much as the band – if the grins, glances and comments passing between them were anything to go by.

Alyn Shipton
– Photo by Roger Thomas

Grammy-winning powerhouse group Snarky Puppy are gearing up for a world tour in support of their high-energy new album Immigrance, which is released on 15 March on the Ground Up label. Kicking off their live shows in Japan in April, the band the band will make their debut at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall on 14 November as part of their run of autumn dates in the UK. Ahead of this the band also headline Love Supreme Jazz Festival on 6 July at Glynde Place, East Sussex.

The new album’s 11 songs return to the hard-driving grooves of earlier records such as Tell Your Friends and We Like It Here, and explore a wide range of sounds and influences. Commenting on the tour, bassist and bandleader Michael League said: “The band is so excited about bringing the songs to the UK on our upcoming tour. Of course we'll be mixing them in with material from previous albums (including some very old songs we haven't played in years), but it will be really special sharing the new ones with the audience who first welcomed us to Europe in 2012.”

UK dates are: O2 Academy, Bournemouth (6 Nov); Rock City, Nottingham (7 Nov); O2 Academy, Bristol (8 Nov); O2 Academy, Oxford (9 Nov); Royal Albert Hall, London (14 Nov); O2 Apollo, Manchester (15 Nov); Barrowlands, Glasgow (16 Nov) and Ulster Hall, Belfast (11 Nov).

For more info visit www.snarkypuppy.com

Mike Flynn

Watch the new video for the single ‘Bad Kids at the Back’ here:

 Literature

Along with Allison & Busby and New Beacon, Bogle L’Ouverture is a pioneering presence in black British literature. Founded in 1969 by the late Jessica Huntley and her husband Eric, the publisher brought to the UK seminal texts by West Indian writers such as Walter Rodney, Andrew Salkey and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

The annual conference in honour of the Huntleys is thus an important event, even more so this year, as it is the 50th anniversary of the press they courageously founded. The all-day session at the London Metropolitan Archives has numerous panel sessions with a socio-political focus, but the performance element is also noteworthy. Flautist and composer Keith Waithe brings his band Macusi Players to the podium in the afternoon to debut new material that flows from his constant research of the rich folklore of his native Guyana, as well as other territories he has visited.

Waithe, erstwhile collaborator with the likes of Courtney Pine and Nitin Sawhney, is a virtuoso whose superlative command of the concert flute is matched by a highly imaginative use of his voice that enables him to create a wide range of nature-inspired percussive effects, some of which are executed at daringly high tempo. Backed by bass guitar and congas, Waithe is on good form, and the minimalist set-up serves to highlight his clarity of articulation and precision of timekeeping. Pieces such as ‘The Lightning Bolt’, with its swaying Caribbean pulse, go down well, as does the ambling swing of ‘Jazz In The Sea Of Life’. Joining the players is the spoken word artist-storyteller Sandra Agard, who brings a commanding presence to the stage to underline the deeply rooted alliance of black music and oral culture that Bogle L’Ouverture celebrated with the publication of Johnson’s visionary dub poetry back in the 1980s.

On the downside, the relatively poor sound engineering largely muffles the low register of the music, and there are times when the definition of some of the more intricate arrangements is swallowed up. But Waithe’s musicality and the immediate responsiveness of the audience ensure that this shortcoming doesn’t dent an uplifting event that gives due praise to those who had the long view, and the strength to match.

Kevin Le Gendre
– Photo by Francisco Castanon (London Metropolitan Archives, City of London. 2019)

The inaugural Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Festival – a new multidisciplinary music and arts festival – starts in London next month and is set to shine a light on Anatolian jazz and roots culture emanating from Turkey and its surrounding regions.

Running from 13 to 30 March at various venues around the capital, the festival features a busy programme of jazz gigs, film screenings, jazz documentaries, talks on Anatolian jazz as well as a Turkish tango dance event, a jazz-funk DJ event and a pop up dining experience.

A major highlight of the programme will be an appearance by renowned guitarist Erkan Oğur and his group the Anatolian Blues Project, who appear at Rich Mix, Shoreditch on 18 March. Oğur is known for creating his own fretless acoustic guitar which he uses to dazzling effect to explore blues, jazz and traditional Turkish music.

Key jazz gigs include the Dave Brubeck-inspired Funkbook a La Turc (named after the pianist’s 1959 classic ‘Blue Rondo à la Turk’) who are led by guitarist Önder Focan and saxophonist Şallıel Brothers. Appearing at the 606 Club, Chelsea on 27 March, the band perform music from their 2018 album Standard and 'Swing' A la Turc, which features their funky take on Turkish folk songs, jazz and urban music styles.

Also performing are pianist Can Çankaya and bassist Kağan Yıldız, in their acclaimed duo project, Timeless. Appearing on 20 March at Phoenix Arts Club, Soho, they play classic jazz standards and original compositions.

The Turkish jazz underground is also featured when six-piece band The Origins, rock up to Cafe OTO, Dalston on 26 March for a night of esoteric music making. Featuring bandleader/bassist Cem Tuncer, guest trumpeter Baris Demirel (pictured above) and organist Tolga Zafer Ozdemirc the group explore a wide range of wild instruments, including the Anatolian Kamancheh, the Kopuz (lute), kanun, clarinet, kaval, duduk, bendir and oud.

– Mike Flynn

For more information on the whole programme visit www.turquazz.org

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