|Manchester Jazz Festival's Salon Perdu Spiegeltent|
Artistic director Steve Mead and his award-winning Manchester Jazz Festival (mjf) team have announced a strong and typically adventurous programme for the 22nd year of this successful, summertime city extravaganza – and booking is now open. Adrian Pallant picks out just a few of the many highlights. He writes:
Over ten days, from 28 July to 6 August, Manchester will once again greet a profusion of international and local jazz musicians, as well as premiering newly-commissioned music and including Jazz North’s Northern Line showcase of 11 free gigs in 11 hours. Centred around the festival’s Albert Square hub – this year, an intriguing, circular, 1920s Salon Perdu Spiegeltent – but with performances across 11 city-centre venues in total, this conspicuous hubbub of exciting gigs and open-air events continues to attract music fans from far and wide, as well as inviting in inquisitive passers-by.
• SATURDAY 29 JULY, including Dave Maric, Phronesis and Engines Orchestra
The first full day of the festival includes a one-off quintet assembled by celebrated pianist Nikki Iles (with saxophonist Josh Arcoleo and Laura Jurd) as well as pianist Rebecca Nash’s Atlas quartet. There’s also a welcome return for vibrant young septet Nerija, whose BBC Introducing showcase, two years ago here, brought the house down.
One of two evening gigs brings together Phronesis and Phil Meadows’ Engines Orchestra in Dave Maric’s new work, Decade Zero, which celebrates the trio’s high-energy music, fusing it with contemporary classical music, loops, rhythms and textures.
• SUNDAY 30 JULY, including Shri – Just a Vibration
The sunshiny feel-good of saxophonist Camilla George's quartet comes to Manchester, presenting a rich, swinging fusion of African and Western grooves from debut album Isang; and trumpeter Andre Canniere’s powerful sextet project The Darkening Blue (with original music based on the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and Charles Bukowski) boasts a great line-up with the voice of Brigitte Beraha, tenor saxophonist Tori Freestone, pianist Ivo Neame, bassist Michael Janisch and drummer Andrew Bain.
Bassist, flautist and vocalist Shri Sriram will present a fascinating, cross-cultural fusion in evening session Just a Vibration, including Bombay street music, Indian classical, dub-step, jazz and Mariachi brass. Joining him on stage will be mesmeric sitar player Jasdeep Singh Degun, acclaimed drummer/percussionist Asaf Sirkis and members of the Hammonds Saltaire Brass Band.
• TUESDAY 1 AUGUST, including Andy Scott & Group S
Local musicians Johnny Hunter (drums), Adam Fairhall (piano) and Seth Bennett (double bass) will meld improvisation with pre-composed Fragments (the title of their project); and at the beautiful, welcoming venue of St Ann’s Church, unpredictable and adventurous vocalist Leila Martial performs music ‘from a scream to a whisper’ with her French compatriot, cellist Valentin Ceccaldi.
In the evening, Manchester-based saxophonist and educator Andy Scott’s grooving 14-piece saxophone ensemble, Group S – including Rob Buckland, John Helliwell, Rob Cope, Gwilym Simcock and Laurence Cottle – look set to dazzle the Salon Perdu audience with music from recent release Ruby & All Things Purple.
• THURSDAY 3 AUGUST, including MJF commission Cottonopolis
A free performance from young saxophonist Alexander Bone and friends kicks off Thursday’s eclectic fare. St Ann’s Church hosts what promises to be a magical duo set from vocalist Lauren Kinsella and pianist Kit Downes, and brilliantly expressive guitarist Maciek Pysz joins with David Amar (sax, voice, keys and effects) and Davy Sur (drums, percussion) in One Million Faces Inwardness – original music evoking the open spaces of Morocco.
Two evening performances offer the options of respected saxophonist Denys Baptiste and his quartet, with music from their soon-to-release album The Late Trane; and this year’s festival commission – Cottonopolis by Andy Stamatakis-Brown – creatively explores Manchester’s industrial heritage and the dance music scene of ‘Madchester’ through a 12-piece ensemble, from a location only to be revealed to ticket-buyers the day before the performance.
• FRIDAY 4 AUGUST, including the Joshua Redman Quartet
Contrasting experiences to commence the final weekend include the haunting, Nordic atmospheres of Medbøe Eriksen Halle, with music from their guitar, trumpet and piano release The Space Between; trio Sawa, featuring the voice of Alya Al-Sultani, interpret Arabic and Iraqi folksong with jazz; and nu-jazz quintet Kinkajous (with clarinettist Adrien Cau and keyboard player Maria Chiara Argirò) are set to offer an immersive and original sound world.
Joshua Redman’s only (debut) UK performance will bring the world-renowned saxophonist’s new quartet, Still Dreaming, to the RNCM Theatre – Ron Miles (trumpet), Scott Colley (double bass) and Brian Blade (drums) – in a programme which reinterprets Old and New Dreams, the '70s/'80s band of Ornette Coleman alumni which included his father, Dewey Redman.
• SATURDAY 5 AUGUST / SUNDAY 6 AUGUST, including the Secret Salon
Some of contemporary jazz’s finest emerging talent is featured across the concluding two days, with trumpeter Laura Jurd’s trailblazing Dinosaur quartet, the crackling, anarchic Elliot Galvin Trio; and Sunday’s chill-out concludes the festival with vocalist Fini Bearman and her quintet, following the release of their imaginative album Burn the Boat.
In typically exuberant fashion, mjf’s Saturday night finalé is billed as a Secret Salon – a 90-minute Spiegeltent spectacular whose line-up will only be revealed on the night.
Full details at Manchester Jazz Festival’s website – manchesterjazz.com
Adrian Pallant is a proofreader, musician and jazz writer who also writes at his own site ap-reviews.com