If John Fordham can do a ‘month in jazz’ round up, then why not me. I notice its literally a month since I last posted here, but that’s not because ears have been sealed. Far from it. Aside from total immersion in the Jazz and Blues fest of which more in a moment, I’ve had the pleasure of listening to a few new recordings having started reviewing a few for LondonJazz News. This month its been relatively young emerging talent I’ve listened to in the shape of Norwegian tenor saxophonist Hans Paulsberg, British pianist Peter Edwards and Brit but based now in Amsterdam pianist (and grew up in Wiltshire) Dominic Marshall; reviews here, here and here respectively. Dominic Marshall in particular is one to watch. The main event of course was last weekend’s Jazz and Blues festival (although top notch gigs have been coming thick and fast either side. Jon Turney somehow seems to manage to alert us to most of them). I’ve reviewed the festival headline programme for a certain indispensible jazz publication, I think it will be the May issue (out towards the end of April!) in which that appears, so won’t say too much about that. But like everyone else whose posted, tweeted, facebooked and generally emoted, all I can say is wow! There’s just the sneaking feeling that for anyone who went, it was the foyer wot stole the show.
If your entire weekend was spent soaking up the non-stop roster of bands on the free-stage and nodding to the sounds seamlessly inserted in breaks by local legend DJ Tony Clark, maybe hanging on until the regular bands morphed into the jam sessions later in the evening, then chances are you’d have had a natter with just about everyone you know on the local scene, seen some extraordinary music and got a good impression of the what people thought of the gigs in the two halls as the crowds ebbed and flowed. If you’d wondered why there was so much dancing going on, maybe it was because Friday night’s swing dance with the Bruce/Ilett Big Band seemed to set the tone and give everyone license to appreciate the music in whatever way they felt like. Another really special occasion and definitely the highlight of my month.