November Round-up: London Jazz Festival and a bit of Bristol

November has been an epic month. Looking back it’s a wonder how ordinary life like going to work or shopping for essentials fitted in. I’ve written about the beginning and end of the month on this blog: I started with Orphic at the Bebop Club in Bristol and ended with Bridges at London’s legendary Vortex Club . In between there was a veritable feast, much of it centred on the epic London jazz Festival.

Before heading to London however, I caught South African singer Sisanda Myataza at the Bristol Fringe. Happily Jon Turney captured the magic of that gig here , and as ever captures the essence of what was head turning about that performance and line-up. Sisanda is an electric presence on stage with a pure toned voice that’s unfailingly emotional and evocative. The contemporary South African fare was joyous. There were moments with her own material that really took us to another place with the freedom with which the music flowed and the power of the vocal. It left us wanting more and vowing to ‘keep an eye’ out for more from her. Three cheers to the Fringe for giving another new venture the space to try things out.

London Jazz Festival becomes ever more a phenomenon. Even just hanging out near one of the free-stages would provide a feast of music, rich enough for any palette. This collection of micro-reviews of 30-plus gigs London Jazz News collated gives a brilliant taste of the variety. That’s alongside the roughly 40 full reviews of other stuff, five of which were mine. This was my path through a couple of weekend immersions in the festival – links are to the reviews

My London Jazz News Reviews for the London Jazz Festival.

Ingrid and Christine Jensen with the Whirlwind Recording Orchestra

Danilo Perez and The Global Messangers

Jan Garbarek Group

Marcin Wasilewsky Trio

Hakan Başar Trio

It was a slightly quirky mix, and mainly centred around South Bank concert halls which gave a particular flavour (the sublime Marcin W was at Cadogan Hall in Sloane Square and there was a diversion to Pizza Express for Hakan Basar). The first weekend was an opportunity for full ECM immersion with a clutch of gigs, and take-over of the South Bank on the Sunday in celebration of the 50th anniversary, culminating with Jan Garbarek. That day deserves a separate post (coming soon), but the one thought to leave here is that I left that day up-lifted and with a feeling of being inspired. And it’s quite hard not to feel that way about the whole festival. The much maligned BBC Sounds is sporting quite a few recordings and sessions. Check out J to Z for instance here with an amazing Sunday Afternoon; join the party!

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