ROUND-UP REPORT/ PHOTOS: Opening Weekend of the 2016 Stockholm Jazz Festival

Fatoumata Diawara
Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski

Ralf Dombrowski attended the opening weekend of the 2016 Stockholm Jazz Festival (7th to 16th ctober). He writes:

The Stockholm Jazz Festival has been in existence for over thirty years, For its opening concert the Stockholm Art Orchestra - led by saxophonist Nils Berg - had invited the singer Fatoumata Diawara to perform with the band, with the aim of combining his own chamber music instincts with her Malian musical impulses. As their set developed, the rhetoric became more concentrated. The most lasting impressions that were left with the listener were of seriousness and charm - and of Diawara's mesmerising vocal presence.

Another experiment was the combination of the saxophonist Magnus Lindgren with opera singer Malena Ernman.


Malena Ernman
Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski

This  was right for the relatively old audience who saw them intertwine effectively, Lindgren's cultured quartet providing a cosy backdrop. Artistically it was all good-humoured, but they certainly weren't heading off in any stylistically risky directions.

Roscoe Mitchell and Kikanju Baku
Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski

The saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and the percussionist Kikanju Baku were a very different matter. This was free improvisation, at a consistently high energy level, recalling the golden age of the avant-garde.

Sons Of Kemet with Michel Godard on tuba
Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski

Looking more into the future, Sons Of Kemet included Michel Godard as guest on tuba. Their urban, rhythmically orientated style was irresistible, and completely captivated a younger audience.

Last but not least, the musicians from the region also put down their mark in different ways

- The drummer Jari Haapalainen and his trio made sweet thunder in a dry but emphatic manner somewhere on borders of jazz and punk.

Bobo Stenson
Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski


- The LSD trio around saxophonist Fredrik Lindborg countered by capturing the essence of Sonny Rollins,

- The pianist Naoko Sakata revelled in chamber jazz abstraction

- Piano master Bobo Stenson delivered one of the most intense experiences for a long time in his solo concert.

The festival will be continuing with similarly diverse acts until the coming weekend, at which point Festival Director Magnus Palmquist Lunay will be starting his next search for suitable projects for the 2017 edition. This festival has a tradition of inventive and excitng programming. Bring it on.

This report is an abridged version of Ralf Dombrowski's original in German, which is appearing in Jazzzeitung

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