Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival
The Old Market, Hove
Friday 11th – Saturday 12th September, 2015
The first Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival began with a performance by Woven Entity, percussionists Lascelle Gordon, Patrick Dawes and Paul May with bassist Peter Marsh and saxophonist Julia Kjaer. The ensemble immediately established hypnotic grooves accompanied by recorded voices and intense, melodic saxophone lines.
Sarah Gail Brand provided plenty of humour whilst the bringing together of Nat Birchall and Franklin Kiermyer was a masterstroke of programming, though the youngsters Nimrod Speaks and Davis Whitfield were sometimes drowned out in the mix.
The second day of the festival saw local band West Hill Blast Quartet featuring festival director Daniel Spicer playing an array of instruments. Danish saxophonist Mette Rasmussen provided what amounted to a masterclass in extended techniques with drummer Steve Noble whilst vibraphonist Corey Mwamba and saxophonist Rachel Mussen gave virtuosic performances that were melodic, interactive and intense.
The Old Market as a venue was the perfect location but my one criticism would be that the sound was often too loud and sometimes on the edge of feeding back. Whilst mainstream jazz fans may have found some of the free improvised music challenging, the virtuosity and musicianship of the varied acts was both impressive and inspiring.
Festival Director Daniel Spicer has said:
“The festival was a huge success. Every single performance was amazing. The venue was sold out, proving there is an audience for more left-field jazz. There was an amazing vibe and the audience were enthusiastic. Moreover, all the musicians had a great time too. The general feedback received from the artists was that the UK jazz scene NEEDS a festival like this. I'm very happy to have provided it.”