Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014

Over the week-end I was asked if my blog was still an ongoing concern, and I couldn't quite work out how to answer what was a perfectly clear and unambiguous question. It's not officially dead because I haven't deleted it, but posts are fewer and further between and it now seems to be less significant to me than it once was. 

Partly responsible is the fact that most of my writing now goes straight to Jazz Journal and appears either in the magazine or on the web-site. I don't really want to close the blog because it's good to have a permanent archive of posts to look back on from time to time, yet I'll never have the time and energy to do a Peter Bacon, a Lance Liddle or a Sebastian Scotney.

So, for the time being it stays. There will be periodical updates, but probably too periodical for most to ever get into the habit of becoming regular visitors. Let this be the first post in a series which may signal some kind of resuscitation, although I wouldn't bank on it.

This year's GIJF was packed with inspiring moments, and a personal highlight for me was getting the chance to sit down and interview Rudy Royston (drummer with Bill Frisell, JD Allen, Dave Douglas, Ben Allison and many more). I first came across in the '90s when he was a member of Ron Miles's group, appearing on one of my favourite albums of all time (My Cruel Heart, Grammavision). After that I dug out some obscure sessions led by Fred Hess, and have been seeking out his work wherever I find it. He has only just released his first album as leader, 303 (Greenleaf Music), and it's one of my favourite releases in recent times. Hopefully you'll hear more of what he had to say in an upcoming Jazz Journal profile.

Below are the links to the 3 separate reviews of this year's event, and above is a wonderful photograph by John Watson of Rudy in action at the final show of a memorable week-end. 

Oh, and I also interviewed the great Joakim Milder, another player I've admired since the '90s.  Remember the sessions with Lars Danielsson, Palle Danielsson and Tomasz Stanko's Litania?  Here's a photograph of me in rather sedentary action, backstage:

Until next time, goodbye and goodnight.

(Fred Grand)

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