The first day at what has become the worlds largest jazz conference leaves a mass of impressions. It’s a huge event. Here they are as an A to Z
A is for All Present. Everyone, or nearly everyone from European jazz whom you might expect to see at a bash like this is here. From record labels to major festivals, it is now a major draw. Apart from the broadcasters, perhaps – it clashes with EBU. People aren’t necessarily buying exhibitor packages – some major players just rock up as visitors and buy themselves day-tickets. Just to be here.
A is also for ACT Music and its boss Siggi Loch, who gave a moving speech presenting the 2011 Skoda Jazzpreis to Claude Nobs of Montreux Jazz Festival.
B is for Bremen. I’m hoping to get to know the city by the Weser rather than just its Congress Centre..
C is for Creative Scotland. The Scottish presence here is impressive.
D is for Duc des Lombards. I met the people from the Paris club which recently gave rise to a row on the internet. With a capacity of just 70 people, and putting on jazz 285 nights a year without subsidy, they are doing this for a purpose other than financial return.
D is also for determination. I met delegates today who had, variously, taken an overnight sleeper from Austria and got up in the Thames Valley at 2am. Nothing 9 to 5 about this lot.
E is for Ertegun. The influence of the Ertegun brothers Nesuhi (1917-1989) and Ahmet (1923-2006) were mentioned by both Siggi Loch as he presented the Skoda prize, and by Claude Nobs as he received it – there is also a strong connection with Turkey in this year’s conference. (See also T)
F is for fourteen forty-five. (See P)
F is also for Fran Hardcastle our regular contributor and highly capable guest editor doesn’t have to try that hard to be popular, but with a few pre-release copies of the Impossible Gentlemen’s new CD to give to selected people, her stall had an orderly queue for much of the day.
F is also for Forty. Which is how old the ENJA label is this year. Many happy returns. But they are not folk to spend money on friperies. Their banner still modestly claims “thirty-five.”
G is for Growing. Delegates this year are well over 2000, there are 357 exhibitors from 30 countries, roughly 30% up year-on-year.
H is for Hamburg. The ElbJazz people are here – we’ll be featuring Colin Towns next week. In his role as composer in residence of the NDR Big Band, he has written the festival’s main new commission, a composition portraying the history of Hamburg harbour
I is for Inntoene. I heard about a rural weekend festival in Upper Austria – I’m tempted to go there.
J is for jazzahead! and its co-organizers Peter Schulze and Ulli Beckerhoff, whose team have done a good job.
K is for das Kapital, one of the most talked about young German bands.
L is for Dave Liebman. I ‘m hearing that he’s just recorded an amazing Miles Sketches of Spain for radio with a top pro band in Graz. Now that I’d like to hear.
N is for the Nokia theme. I thought we’d heard that infuriating Gran Vals by Francisco Tárrega, until it came in, mezzforte, right on cue, as Jef Neve and Pascal Schumacher did a particularly subtle and quiet ending. (See also V)
N is also for next year. jazzahead! 2012 dates: April 19th – 22nd. (See also S)
O is for Out to Lunch, what a great name for a promoter (from Australia). I didn’t want to tempt fate and check if anyone was actually manning their stand. I did check out one Italian Festival to be told that although they had a sign up, they weren’t actually coming. Can Italian lunches last three days?
P is for Partisans. (See also F) 14.45 was the mid-afternoon time allocated to Partisans for their showcase slot. But it would appear that the clock isn’t an obstacle: Phil Robson and Julian Siegel can resume their high-energy games of pursuit at any time of day or night and bring themselves and an audience to life.
Q is for Thierry Quenum from France, one of the few foreign journalists here, and someone with open ears for music across our continent. He’s be a natural for …..(see X)
R is for Ryanair. They got me here safely, but I’ve heard the story of a musician returning today on whome they used their baggage restrictions as a blatant money-spinner. Gotta be careful.
S is for Spain. Announced officially today as 2012 partner country for jazzahead!
S is also for Star Trek and Star Wars. I learnt today that allaboutjazz.com was seed-funded by the profits of an entrepreneeur who had caught the brief vogue for Star Wars and Sar Trek screensavers.
T is for 2011 jazzahead! partner country with a strong presence here – Turkey
U is for Ulli Beckerhoff. As the man who (refuses to take any credit for having) instigated Jazzahead, he clearly has a success on his hands.
V is for Slo-VENIA. They joined forces with the Swiss and the Austrians to pour Welschriesling. (See also Z)
V is also for vibraphone. That duo from the linguistic fault-lines of Europe, Pascal Schumacher from Luxembourg and Jef Neve from Geel in the east of Belgium played a lively set full of delicate and happy interplay. Until they were interrupted by (see N)
W is for Wedding. The Germans kept telling me there was a weeding going on in London today. What were they on about?
X is for Jazz-x. I like what is at the heart of this project to make local coverage global by getting high-quality web-based content about specific European jazz scenes translated. It is flawed, but it should happen in some form or other.
Y is for Jason Yarde. Dave Stapleton who is here has just announced that MY Duo with Yarde and Andrew McCormack will record their next CD for Edition.
Z is for Ozma. I missed the showcase by French cellist Adrien Dennefeld’s band – it was the Austrians and they made me drink. I should have spotted this sign pointing to the jazz and the wine.