Tony Dudley-Evans* chooses his favourite live jazz experiences of the year
I have deliberately not gone back to a list of gigs presented or attended so that I focus on those that have stayed in my memory. I have therefore almost certainly forgotten a major concert, but …
10 LANGSTON PROJECT at mac Birmingham and La Dynamo. Pantin France, a joint Jazzlines/Banlieues Bleues Project: It was wonderful to be running this Anglo-French Jazz Shuttle project, and to see it develop over five days of rehearsal/writing. Guitarist Hasse Poulsen, bass guitarist Luc Ex, drummer Mark Sanders and vocalist Elaine Mitchener really brought Langston Hughes poetry to musical life.
9 YOUNG PILGRIMS at Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul Festival presented by Jazzlines: A great project developed by my colleague Mary Wakelam Sloan featuring trombonist Richard Foote and his writing for a marching jazz band.
8 JULIEN DESPREZ SOLO GUITAR Jazz a Luz Festival Pyrenees France: I was privileged to be invited to various French jazz festivals and on arrival we were taken round various beautiful settings for some very left field jazz. Julien Desprey played in a lovely garden in the sun and made some wonderfully crazy music.
7 SUN RA ARKESTRA Café Oto London: Café Oto in Dalston has developed a very strong and cohesive programme of contemporary music with residencies for leading American free players. To hear the Arkestra at close quarters and on top form was a great experience.
6 DJANGO BATES’ BELOVED and the NORBOTTEN BIG BAND Royal Albert Hall as part of The Proms: It was wonderful to hear Django as part of The Proms and to hear his arrangements of Charlie Parker tunes developed by the Swedish big band.
5 TROYKESTRA Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham Jazz Festival: Another concert that took small group arrangements and converted them into a very exciting big band session. Troyka are probably the most interesting of the various rock influenced young UK bands and this took their music to another amazing level.
4 MIKE FLETCHER JAZZ ORCHESTRA with Andrew D’Angelo and Dan Weiss Jazzlines at CBSO Centre: This was the first concert of the year and involved the playing of D’Angelo’s big band charts plus some of Mike Fletcher’s. This was a great success musically and the Jazz Orchestra really rose to the occasion in memorable fashion.
3 WADADA LEO SMITH TEN FREEDOM SUMMERS Café Oto, London as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival: To hear a live performance of one of the CDs of the decade was an amazing and unforgettable experience.
2 JASON ADASIEWICZ’S SUN ROOMS Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham Jazz Festival: Having heard Jason Adasiewicz on CD and then live in Chicago, I was determined to have him as part of Cheltenham 2013. He was the surprise gig of the festival and impressed everyone there.
1 PAUL DUNMALL SEXTET Jazzlines at mac: This was a great celebration of Paul Dunmall’s 60th Birthday with some great writing from Paul that really brought out the talents of a young Birmingham sextet with Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Mike Fletcher on alto sax, flute and bagpipes, Paul on saxes and bagpipes, Mike Hurley on piano, Chris Mapp on bass and Mark Sanders on drums.
* Tony Dudley-Evans is Jazz Adviser to Jazzlines at Town Hall Symphony Hall and Programme Adviser to Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
Categories: Live review