As I stand alone on the top balcony of The Haunt, listening to trap blasting out of the PA, I look down to a packed-out crowd. I remind myself that everyone here, including myself, has come to see a solo jazz drummer perform live. Yussef Dayes nearly sold-out the gig before dropping his debut release, ‘Love is the Message’, selling out days later with only two tracks to his name.
Jazz Re:freshed can be seen as the glue to London’s incredible jazz scene, having run a weekly jazz residency there for the past 15 years. Beyond that, they’ve hosted jazz stages at festivals, developed an already impressive record label, issued an annual print magazine and are now touching bases internationally as well. They’ve situated themselves at the vanguard of promoting the prolific UK jazz scene abroad by hosting showcases at SXSW, New York, Paris, Brazil, New Orleans and the like. JAZZ RE:FEST is an annual celebration of the cutting edge jazz scene that they champion, which we’re lucky to welcome to Brighton Dome for the first time this year, after having taken place at the Southbank Centre for the past five years.
To paraphrase that Marmite film classic, the streets were alive with the sound of music! Over three long days and nights, Brighton did truly come alive as The Great Escape juggernaut rolled into town for its 13th edition. The festival for new music saw over 500 acts playing in 40-odd venues, representing countries from all around the globe. If you add in the The Alternative Great Escape, and the plethora of events and pop-up performances arranged off the back of TGE and AGE, you’re looking at closer to 1,000 acts in 80-odd venues. Yes, it was mad, but glorious. Helped along by some beautiful mid-May sunshine, somehow within all the chaos, Brightonsfinest were out in force, documenting, commenting, and enjoying what we like to do best. Watch live music.
So, brace yourself. If you were there, hopefully memories will be stirred. If you weren’t, dive into our thoughts about the state of new music, and check out our many recommendations.