Eastbourne Splash Point Jazz Festival
The Fishermen’s Club, Christ Church and Leaf Hall, Eastbourne
Sunday 30th September, 2018
Splash Point Jazz’s inaugural jazz festival in Eastbourne saw 12 different bands performing across 3 separate venues. The largest venue of the festival, Christ Church, hosted Festival Director Neal Richardson’s Band who performed a number of well-known standards and featured two special guests. Vibraphonist Roger Beaujolais was on top form and, combined with the impressive Italian saxophonist Tommaso Starace, the pair excelled, particularly on bebop classics such as Moose the Mooche. Bassist Nigel Thomas and drummer Paul Cavaciuti were responsive and hard-swinging accompanists; Cavaciuti did a memorable solo on Work Song.
Terry Seabrook’s latin band Quinto gave a lively performance at the Fishermen’s Club, with bassist Davide Mantovani and drummer Tristan Banks driving the rhythm forward over solos by Seabrook and trumpeter Raul D’Oliveira. The stand-out tunes were their Afro-Cuban treatments of Horace Silver’s Song For My Father and Jobim’s Corcovado.
Sue Richardson’s latest tribute show, Jazz Immortal, was at Christ Church and saw her perform the music of Clifford Brown, including classics such as Sandu and Joy Spring, with a top class band that included Neal Richardson, Andy Cleyndert and Rod Youngs. Interspersed with biographical details about Brownie, it included some pieces by Quincy Jones and Benny Golson’s tribute I Remember Clifford. There were some memorable solos from Sue Richardson and tenor saxophonist Roberto Manzin.
Smaller groups performed at Leaf Hall, including the vibrant Sara Oschlag Quartet who brought an intimate jazz club atmosphere to the neo-gothic Victorian hall, and did a mixture of standards, including tunes by Thelonious Monk, assisted by Dan Sheppard and Jason Henson, with Chris Coull on flugelhorn.
Downstairs in Leaf Hall, photographer Brian O’Connor’s exhibition included photos of a number of jazz legends, including one of bassist Peter Ind.
One of the most interesting ensembles of the festival, Hexagonal, showcased tunes by Bheki Mseleku and McCoy Tyner, from their excellent new album. Their two sets featured some tight horn arrangements and impressive soloing from saxophonists Greg Heath and Jason Yarde.
The festival organisers clearly put in a lot of hard work, with a team of volunteers at each venue and both festival director Neal Richardson and Splash Point’s Annette Keen doing a lot to make it a success.
With a lot of excellent bands on at the same time it was a shame to have missed so many other acts due to the distances between venues. Whilst stroller tickets enabled people to go to all three venues, the Fisherman’s Club was that little bit too far from Leaf Hall and Christ Church. Despite this shortcoming, the festival featured a great selection of jazz acts and is a welcome addition to a thriving jazz festival scene in Sussex.
(Photo of Neal Richardson's Band at Christ Church, Eastbourne by Lisa Wormsley)