Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Gateshead International Jazz Festival, 2012...

Fully recovered now from a busy weekend at The Sage, where once again I was lucky enough to be covering the annual GIJF for Jazz Journal. A copy of my impressions can be found at the JJ website (here).

I won't say too much about the music, because you can read about that over at Jazz Journal, but I've got to mention Marius Neset and Jasper Høiby, who I managed to interview after the thrilling set by Golden Xplosion on Sunday afternoon. The interview should find its way to the magazine in due course. 

Marius is one of those talents who will divide listeners. In him I heard the perfect fusion of ridiculously advanced post-Brecker chops and the incendiary fire of the best free-jazz. The precision with which he plays up and down the horn is stunning, and not even his impressive UK debut on Edition Records could have prepared me for being there and witnessing it live. Others I spoke to found the music cold and alienating, but I suspect that Marius is well ahead of the game and that it'll take some time to appreciate just how significant his playing seems set to become in the future. 

At the moment he's a young and raw talent, albeit with the most awe-inspiring technique imaginable. He's full of ideas that he's keen to present to the world, very much like Ken Vandermark was back in the late '90s. Many in the past have crashed and burned, but few have had such potential at this stage in their careers. You could hardly even say that he's being over-hyped, as he's still not really reached the mainstream. All in all I think he's just the kind of figure that our music needs to reinvigorate and extend its popularity.

Hopefully I'll get back to honouring that pledge to keep this blog alive very soon, posting more thoughts along with some older reviews, even if just to keep friends up to date on what I'm doing. Time for a few days of well deserved nothingness - just so damn busy...

Fred Grand