Love Supreme Festival
Glyne Place, Sussex
Friday 30th June – Sunday 2nd July, 2018
Friday at Love Supreme has usually been relaxed and laid back and this year was no exception. Vocal trio Three Little Birds set the tone with a nice relaxed vibe. This was followed by the equally relaxing and enjoyable Paul Richards Trio who did a memorable version of Brazilian standard Berimbau. Vocalist Abi Flynn performed soulful and uplifting original music composed by her, in collaboration with keys player James Berkeley, and performed by her eight-piece band with horn section and backing singers. Students at Brighton Jazz School gave a spirited performance of James Williams’ Truth, Justice and the Blues, followed by an impressive performance on the bansuri flute by tutor Kate Hogg, whilst saxophonist Alex Hitchcock performed a lively set of modern jazz originals. The Jazz In The Round stage that presents late night live music featured a frenetic Jamie Murray with esoteric saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev, followed by guitarist Rob Luft performing some beautiful pieces from his album Riser.
Saturday saw larger crowds and hotter weather, and began with up-and-coming saxophonist Leo Richardson opening his set with Blues for Joe, from his album The Chase. Bassist Tim Thornton’s soloing stood out and he benefitted from the improved acoustics and better sound engineering than previous years. Sonnymoon for 3, consisting of saxophonist Riley Stone-Lonergan, bassist Eddie Myer and drummer Spike Wells featured some impressive soloing from each member and a memorable latin version of the standard Invitation. Orphy Robinson’s All Stars lived up to their name with a band that included Rowland Sutherland, Tony Kofi, Byron Wallen and Mark Mondesir, with Tim Garland and Alec Dankworth filling in at the last minute. The result was one of the best performances of the festival. Nubya Garcia performed her anthemic Lost Kingdoms, the first few notes of which resulted in cheers from the audience whilst Ezra Collective performed some new, unreleased material. Legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, now 77, came out on stage dancing and performed a set that included chanting, dancing, a few energetic and exciting solos and culminated with his classic The Creator has a Master Plan. Drummer Femi Koleoso did something that has only been done by Shabaka Hutchings at Love Supreme: three gigs in one day. Femi performed with Nubya Garcia, his own Ezra Collective and lastly with the Sarah Tandy Band at Jazz in the Round. Tandy performed some amazing original material, set to be released on her forthcoming album due in the autumn.
On Sunday, Sam Eagles performed a set of original material that included some impressive vibraphone playing from Ralph Wyld. Vocalist Ian Shaw successfully squeezed in the phrase ‘marriage rights in Northern Ireland’ into one of his pieces, during an enjoyable, politically-charged set which showcased some talented young refugees who were part of a small choir. Israeli bassist Tal Gamlieli performed original compositions from his latest album, and for the finale encouraged the audience to sing along to an old Israeli folk song. Trumpeter Yazz Ahmed created a Middle Eastern soundworld for her entire set that featured more of Ralph Wyld’s vibraphone playing. Similarly, master percussionist Zakir Hussain created a hypnotic atmosphere with some breathtaking virtuosity, accompanied by the outstanding Dave Holland and Chris Potter. The Bandstand stage ended with Tomorrow’s Warriors Female Frontline, led by saxophonist Aleksandra Topczewska, with talented guitarist Jelly Cleaver being one to watch for the future.
Love Supreme Festival remains a great opportunity to discover some of the rich diversity in the current jazz scene.
(Photo of Orphy Robinson's All Stars at Love Supreme by Lisa Wormsley)