Usually, this festival is held in London but, with the rise in temperature, moved within paddling distance of the sea. The audience included families with kids of varying ages (all wearing protective headphones) and, for the small price of £7.50, the one day festival proved how accessible jazz music can be. One ‘Tiger Mother’ could be seen holding aloft a baby towards the stage in the hope that it would absorb some of this fresh talent.
This amazing festival, curated by music/arts organisation Jazz Re:freshed, showcased some of the best new talent, headlining energetic drummer Yussef Dayes who improvised spontaneously with guitarist Mansur Brown with mind-blowing effect. Although the vigorous drum beats are today associated with dance music, they are rooted in the influence of jazz drummer, Tony Williams. The guitar was both percussive and melodic using new and creative techniques to interact with the drums. Audience members who had access to this level of musicianship for the first time audibly gasped.
The ten-piece, Seed Ensemble, who have an album out with Jazz re:freshed in November had outstanding London-based poet, Xana, to perform during ‘Driftglass’. Ruby Rushton, named after multi-instrumentalist Ed Cawthorne’s grandmother, were an energetic ensemble including superfast solos on flute, horn and soprano sax and picking up cow bells and other percussive instruments in between.
Blue Lab Beats utilised electronic instruments including samples, drum machine, synths and electric guitar to improvise on some up-tempo songs like ‘Pineapple’ and ‘Runaway’. Lack of technical knowledge had me wondering where, out of the two of them, certain sounds like the trumpet were coming from. The duo, producer NK-OK and Mr DM were also joined on talk box by Daniel Taylor.
Award winning bassist Dan Casimir was joined by vocalist Tess Hirst who delivered some great London-scape urban lyrics such as ‘Oh lord, don’t let them shoot us, no more swastikas’ and ‘time travelling, mind unravelling’ which were then interpreted by Dan on the bass. You could almost determine, through his playing, what part of London she had depicted.
Others on the outstanding bill were Brighton-based synth-led trio, Vels Trio and Leeds-based four-piece Noya Rao who both gave a performance apt for a Sunday afternoon. The bands were definitely built up in the right way on the bill leaving the most invigorating until last. Kamilah McInnis, BBC reported a resurgence of jazz fans among the young. This was shown during this festival with musicians and audience alike and makes this an exciting time for jazz once more.