With a slew of festival announcements in recent days we were starting to get a bit worried for Love Supreme. Could it come up with the goods in an increasingly competitive marketplace? Could it at least challenge the quality and depth of last year’s sold out three-dayer?
The answer is an unqualified yes. Following the announcement that disco-funk legends Earth, Wind & Fire are to take on the Saturday headline slot, Love Supreme have just announced a stunning line-up of all that is good and great about jazz and beyond. Although called a jazz festival, from the very beginning Love Supreme has been about high-quality music that has attracted some of the biggest and best names in funk, soul, hip-hop, world, disco, pop and, of course, jazz. It’s the secret of its success; the cleverly programmed mix of styles from the last 50-plus years, that appeals to a broad mix of people. It’s not so much a festival as a music lover’s paradise.
So, that is why an artist such as Elvis Costello is considered for an event such as this. Neither jazz, soul or any of the aforementioned, he’s nevertheless a legend; a new wave, hit making legend who over the years has become one of the songwriting greats, a fearless musical adventurer and champion of music. It’s the same with Steve Winwood, another artist who may not have been an obvious candidate for Love Supreme, but whose musical legacy is outstanding. Meanwhile, funk is represented by one of its greatest and most influential exponents, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. They want to get funked up, and so will you, I suspect. Gospel and protest music is represented by Mavis Staples, who just last year released the brilliant Jeff Tweedy-produced If All I Was Was Black, and afro-beat by Tony Allen, a masterful drummer who Fela Kuti once said of: “Without Tony Allen, there would be no afrobeat”. All three are well into their 70s now, and this may well be the last chance to see them live in the UK.
There’s a healthy representation of the young and rising, too. There’s the nu-soul of Tom Misch and LA-based Moonchild, rising retro-soul start Curtis Harding, and the wondrous Mr Jukes, the alter ego of one Jack Steadman, who released his stunning debut album last year, God First.
Then there’s the tranquil jazz-influenced vibes of Portico Quartet, the transcending Malian blues of Songhoy Blues, soul-pop legend PP Arnold, and soul spiritualist Dwight Trible, who revisits his collaboration with the Gondwana Orchestra. Plus the Brits are coming via a very healthy wave of relatively new artists making their mark. Including the outstanding feel-good funk-jazz-afrobeat sounds of Ezra Collective, the electronica and grime-influenced nu-jazzer Moses Boyd, acclaimed soulstress Zara McFarlane, the futuristic jazz of trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, afro-tinged jazz from saxophonist Nubya Garcia, and the hip-hop-jazz of Alfa Mist.
While, if it’s a purer strain of jazz you crave, Love Supreme always delivers on that front, too. This year we have the Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter Trio, Leo Richardson Quartet and Tal Gamlieli Trio, with many more to be announced. The festival will again host the Verve Jazz Lounge, which will present a range of talks, panel discussions, film screenings and exclusive performances, and late night DJ action in outdoor Blue in Green bar. You’ll also be able to indulge in swing dance lessons, a vintage funfair and early morning family yoga.
There’s still plenty more names to be revealed for Love Supreme, including a Sunday headliner. So keep ‘em peeled, and if you fancy it, best to consider getting your weekend or day ticket in advance as last year’s event sold out.