Think 'Jazz' >> Think Again...

The live music producing gang over at Serious HQ have announced the first round of shows for the 2015 EFG London Jazz Festival. The festival trail blazes pretty well all of London's key arts spaces during its 10 day tenure and draws deeply from an international wealth of musicians and artists.

Think 'Jazz' >> Think Again...genius Fast Show parodies don't get a look in

With the timely convergence of accessible HQ recording technology and a fresh, fierce posse of music makers pushing sonics whilst respectfully embracing their forefathers' founding syncopation, 'jazz' has never been so progressive, so varied and so challenging. We, the listeners, have never had it so good. And I'm privileged to bear witness and document many of these artists at the top of their game. Here follows 8 highlights from the 35 gigs, workshops, and backstage moments that I captured during 2014's EFG London Jazz Festival.

You want new thinking? 2014's EFGLJF saw France's Chassol command the Queen Elizabeth Hall with a richly detailed and sublime multi media observation of Indian culture - namely his INDIAMORE project. Experimental, wholly immersive yet accessible.   

Chassol syncing his audio + visual + keyboard madness.

Chassol syncing his audio + visual + keyboard madness.

You want new thinking? 2014's EFGLJF saw fellow Texans Robert Glasper & Jason Moran play opposite each other to celebrate 75 years of Blue Note at the Royal Festival Hall. Their dual musicianship and melodic intimacy was scarily agile. Lucid, intoxicating stuff. 

Blue Note's heritage shone down on Robert & Jason's soundcheck.

Blue Note's heritage shone down on Robert & Jason's soundcheck.

You want new thinking? 2014's EFGLJF saw Zara Mcfarlane turn the Rich Mix into a nightclub sweatbox of groove and soul. And I swear Peter Edwards nearly set himself on fire > such was his fluid authority on keys.    

No room left in Rich Mix, so I shot standing ontop of the venue's rammed bar (Ta very much Oliver!)

No room left in Rich Mix, so I shot standing ontop of the venue's rammed bar (Ta very much Oliver!)

You want new thinking? 2014's EFGLJF saw prophetic teaching from prolific composer Keith Tippet in the Southbank Centre. Each year there are numerous free workshops and seminars scattered all over the festival's schedule hosted by supreme, experienced musicians. The results are raw, honest and always rewarding for the participants. 

Keith successfully channelling music's mighty spirit.

Keith successfully channelling music's mighty spirit.

You want new thinking? 2014's EFGLJF saw the Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning's (Im) Possibilities Band team up with composer & uber clarinetist Arun Gosh (Arun, do you ever get a break mate?). A partnership formed through Serious's Learning & Participation programme, the evening roared at Rich Mix. And man, did they raise the roof and melt genres left right and centre > a rare treat. Something you won't experience via MP3.

Arun Gosh testing Tower Hamlets Council's sound limiters. I can report borderline legal :-)

Arun Gosh testing Tower Hamlets Council's sound limiters. I can report borderline legal :-)

You want new thinking? 2014's EFGLJF saw Guy Barker pull off yet another extraordinary evening of specially arranged music for his orchestra and a hand picked eclectic roster of amazing vocalists to perform in Jazz Voice at the Barbican. The motley lineup below features (Left to Right) Jumoké Fashola, Ian Shaw, Emma Smith, Guy Barker, Vula MalingaJacob Banks, Natalie WilliamsJacqui DankworthGeorgie FameSachal and Dee Dee Bridgewater getting comfy on Kurt Elling's knee. 

Shot within 1 minute after everyone had just left the stage after the final bow. Intense, like herding cats... :-)

Shot within 1 minute after everyone had just left the stage after the final bow. Intense, like herding cats... :-)

You want new thinking? 2014's EFGLJF saw Brooklyn's finest, Snarky Puppy, light up a ram-jammed packed Roundhouse. Any reference to the Fast Show, smoke filled jazz bars and polo necked beatniks was simply crushed under the weight of Sony advert inspired lighting tech and flux of glorious rhythmic fusion. Band hype unequivocally justified. 

I sought this sweet position during soundcheck. Then waited for fans to fill in and fired a 8 second exposure.

I sought this sweet position during soundcheck. Then waited for fans to fill in and fired a 8 second exposure.

So what new thinking will 2015's EFGLJF bring to London's live scene? Find out by checking in on Twitter, Facebook and news updates. Book early and seek out an artist or venue you've never experienced. Yeah, go on, do that. You won't be disappointed. 

The Bad Plus demolished Village Underground > FACT. 

The Bad Plus demolished Village Underground > FACT. 

Gilles Peterson regularly champions Chassol's output and INDIAMORE made his Worldwide Awards shortlist for album of the year at the beginning of 2015. Chassol also performed as part of James Lavelle's Meltdown in 2014. You have a chance to see / hear him soon too > Serious Space Shoreditch at the Rich Mix on May 20th. 

Snarky Puppy also start an 8 day UK tour this September > check out their site for details.

If you want to see highlights of the last 8 years of the London Jazz Festival, please look through my comprehensive gallery here. You can also see formal portraits of Jazz titans such as Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Ornette Coleman in Portrait Singles (click any photo throughout my site to view large).