Singer Cleveland Watkiss and vibraphonist Orphy Robinson are set to perform at Freedom: The Art of Improvisation Festival, which will take place on 27-28 June at the Vortex, Dalston. The pair will perform with their project ‘Duke Joint’, while Robinson will perform with his band Black Top and Watkiss will run a vocal workshop. There will be further performances from saxophonist Toni Kofi’s Sphinx Trio paying homage to Ornette Coleman, and Rowland Sutherland’s Quartet, including percussionist Anusman Biswas and multi-instrumentalist Steve Beresford.

Other performances include The Xenecibis Ensemble formed of young musicians, Freeform Strings’ improvised cello and violin and a performance from trumpeter Byron Warren alongside poet HBK Finn combining spoken word with improvised music. The festival will, as it’s name suggests, feature a jam session on each day. In addition to the performances there will be three workshops, where alongside Watkiss’ workshop on vocals, there will be one from Steve Beresford on improvisation and another with South African saxophonist Ray Carless and flugelhorn player Claude Deppa. DJ sets will take place over the weekend including Kevin Le Gendre on the decks.
– Freddie Hoareau

For more information visit: freedom-festival.co.uk

With the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, presented by Jazz FM, now established as the biggest summer jazz festival in the UK opens its gates from 3-5 July, with organisers reporting a big increase in ticket sales for its third year in the bucolic South Downs setting of Glyne Place, east Sussex. A last minute change to the programme sees UK soul-jazz singer Omar replace Vintage Trouble on the 4 July Main Stage at 2.15pm. In addition to the full festival programme listed below, including the Bandstand Stage for local artists, there will be a Jazz Lounge, hosted by Blue Note, Concord, Impulse! and Verve labels featuring Q&A sessions, album playbacks and film screenings of Robert Glasper’s Covered: Live at Capitol Studios album session and Snarky Puppy with Metroploe Orkest’s Sylva album recording. Jazz FM will be broadcasting live from the festival site throughout the weekend and the market trading areas will a myriad of international cuisine and bars while the camping areas include the posh alternative, Glamping for those with slightly deeper pockets.

Show times are:

Friday 3 July: The Arena
Sumo Chief; Resolution 88; Brass
Funkies; Son Guarachando; Funky Sensation.


Saturday: Main Stage
Rag’n Bone Man; Omar; Neneh Cherry; Rebecca Ferguson; Larry Graham & Graham Central Station; Chaka Khan Big Top The Bad Plus Joshua Redman; Andrea Motis; Partisans; Bill Laurence Project; Ambrose Akinmusire; Dianne Reeves; Jason Moran The Arena Yamaha Replay Project; Young Pilgrims; Elliot Galvin Trio; Blue Eyed Hawk; Gabby Young & Other Animals; Get The Blessing; Go Go Penguin; Submotion Orchestra; White Mink Bandstand Salsa Class; Kudu Blue; Peter Hill’s Poll Winners; COTAM; Eddie Myer Quintet; GG Trumpet Summit and Nerlya

Sunday: Main Stage Hackney Colliery Band; Jarrod Lawson; Hiatus Kaiyote; Candi Station; Lisa Stanfield; Van Morrison. Big Top Christine Tobin; Joe Stigloe; Theo Croker; Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion; Terence Blanchard E-Collective; Hugh Masekela The Arena Claire Martin & Lewes School Choir; The Vampires; Shiver; David Lyttle; Taylor McFerrin; Dylan Howe; Kneebody; Ibibo Sound Machine; Jazz Rooms DJ set Bandstand Salsa Class; Straight No Chaser; John Cervantes; Jason Henson; Vels Trio; Otty Warman; and Cloggz

Jazzwise is media partner for the Love Supreme Jazz Festival For more information and last minute tickets visit www.lovesupremefestival.com


– Jon Newey

Avant garde jazz is all well and good – I enjoy something brain-scramblingly off the wall as much as the next man – but there are times when only swing will do, and when only swing will do what you really want is Christian McBride, a man who’s built a career out of it. Appearing with his prodigious young trio of pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens Jr for the inaugural performance of his yearlong Wigmore Hall jazz series, the great bassist’s set certainly swung, but it had plenty more to offer besides.

From the opening bars of ‘Day By Day’ to the final phrase of ‘Down By The Riverside’, a bluesy romp of an encore, the three men played with next-level polish. ‘East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)’, featuring a whisper-soft drum solo full of theatrical leans and cymbal catches; ‘Good Morning Heartache’, with McBride’s richly bowed bass on the melody; and a tender rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘The Lady in My Life’ that hovered between jazz and R&B, displayed uncanny dynamic control. Monk’s ‘Raise Four’, in which all three men traded solos and quirky takes on the theme, was an interactive masterclass and ‘Caravan’ was elusive and intangible – a mirage of shifting cross rhythms that brought Owens Jr’s wonderfully subtle musicality to the fore.  

ChristianMcbride MG 4140

But it was the virtuosity with which they played that really stood out. Signet ring glinting, his fingers quick-stepping over the strings, McBride’s phrases were both technically astonishing and effortlessly melodic, punctuated by bluesy bass grooves and low end tugs that brought you down to earth with a bump. Sands, who combines the fire of Oscar Peterson with an elegance and lightness of touch that recalls Bill Evans, was just as impressive and it’s easy to see why even Wynton Marsalis is billing him as the next big thing. On ‘Sand Dunes’, a ballad of his own composition and one of a number of tracks to feature on the trio’s upcoming album, Live At The Village Vanguard, his lines unfurled like ribbons of silk and tied the keyboard in knots.

The only thing that was amiss was the pacing. There’s a limit to how much virtuosity you can take before it loses its impact and mid-way through a storming rendition of J.J. Johnson’s ‘Interlude’, with both Sands and McBride unleashing blizzards of semi-quavers, I could feel my attention beginning to wander. If they can keep a little more in reserve rather than giving everything in the first few numbers they’ll be even more swingin’.

– Thomas Rees @ThomasNRees
– Photos by Roger Thomas

Jazzwise #27 to accompany the June 2015 edition of the multi-award winning publication. Hosted by magazine editor Jon Newey and Jazz FM's Chris Philips each month it's an informed and passionate look at what's featured in the pages.

This month cover star Steve Coleman features along with discussion on Keith Jarrett's two new releases for ECM, Britain's own Beats N' Pieces Big Band, new Kurt Elling and some tremendous personal selections from vinyl hound Jon Newey's collector-quest. After all is said and done there's over an hour dedicated to the spiritual vibrations of classic John Coltrane live in Seattle.

Jazzwise #27 by Chris Philips on Mixcloud

kitd-trio

Kit Downes is here tonight playing the first of five shows with his ‘very new, but very exciting band’ for which he’s written a brand new set of music. He’s retained frequent collaborator James Maddren on drums, but added bassist/writer/producer Petter Eldh to the mix. The results are explosive right from the start; after a brief introduction they launch into ‘Djinn’, an angular, through-composed piece that develops through a disorienting stream of off-beats into torrents of improvisation that showcase Downes’ extraordinarily rapid right hand. There’s a fiercely structured logic at work here, though at times the beat and key centre are so hard to pin down the results are akin to Cecil Taylor’s forbidding virtuosity.

kitd-brighton

‘Politics’ follows “an angry response to the current situation,” though as Downes wryly remarks “we’re in the Green heartland here tonight.” It’s hard to tell where the written passages blend into the improvisation, until Eldh takes a bass solo which demonstrates his formidable technique and distinctive rhythmic and melodic concept that’s a perfect fit. The music is full of sudden twists and unexpected silences; Maddren’s supernaturally subtle, complex drumming deliberately elides the pulse, so that the trio performs a kind of musical balancing act.

The second set features ‘Race The Sun’, a piece of breathtaking complexity inspired by Downes’ love of computer games. He leads the band with strangulated yelps, occasionally exchanging a grin with Petter; then the two of them start head-banging, caught up in the thunderous arrangement that does in fact recall the abstractions of prog metal as well as the more obvious comparisons to Phronesis or The Bad Plus. It’s next-level stuff. The lack of easily identifiable melody, tonal centre or groove make the emotional intention of this music sometimes difficult to assess; Petter’s contribution of a more meditative piece eventually builds into a fugue that’s as complex as the rest.

jamesmaddren

‘Children With Torches’ features Maddren’s seemingly impossible polyrhythms. The intensity and abstraction could make this an intimidatingly unapproachable experience, but the intimate, informal atmosphere of The Verdict means that by the second set, the band have relaxed sufficiently for Downes to be bantering with the audience, who respond by cheering him on. Tonight’s offering may be deliberately positioned at the cutting edge of European improvised music, but it’s also three young guys at the top of their game having fun.

Eddie Myer

– Photos by Rachel Zhang

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