Festival Report: Love Supreme Festival Day 3

Photo Credit: John L Walters

Love Supreme Festival Day 3
(Glynde Place, Near Brighton. 7th July. Report by John L Walters)

The glorious weather carried on into the third and final day of JazzFM’s Love Supreme festival; the tickets kept on selling; and the relief on the faces of everyone involved in the gamble was tangible, and plenty of familiar London jazz faces came down to join in the fun. ‘There are people here I’ve never seen in sunlight before … they look totally different,’ said Jazz FM DJ Helen Mayhew.

The promoters claimed 15,000 visitors, of whom around 20 per cent stayed in the campsite. A good-natured crowd of listeners of all ages strolled from Big Top to Main Stage to Arena to catch nicely judged sets from artists as different as Terence Blanchard

Terence Blanchard at Love Supreme Festival 2013
Photo Credit: John L Walters

the hard-working Neil Cowley

Neil Cowley Trio at Love Supreme Festival 2013
Photo Credit: John L Walters

Rex Horan at Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2013
Photo Credit: John L Walters

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding at Love Supreme Festival 2013
Photo credit: John L Walters

Branford Marsalis and Kitten and the Hip

Kitten and the Hip with Ashley Slater at Love Supreme Festival 2013
Photo Credit: John L Walters
featuring former Loose Tubes / Freak Power trombonist Ashley Slater.

Some of the strollers got a second chance to witness Scots wind quartet Brass Jaw – three saxes and trumpet – who started blowing in front of the flying swings and quickly drew an appreciative crowd for spirited, key-rattling arrangements of standards such as Señor Blues.

Brass Jaw at Love Supreme Festival 2013
Photo Credit: John L Walters

The only thing that could top that was a Brit winning at Wimbledon. For a while the shady ‘VIP Area’ was dominated by a TV screen showing the Murray-Djokovic tennis final. As soon as Murray grasped the prize, the tenacious Brass Jaw popped up again to celebrate their fellow Scotsman’s victory with more tunes.

However the Sunday afternoon jazz champion was vocalist Gregory Porter.

Gregory Porter at Love Supreme Festival 2013
Photo Credit: John L Walters

Decked out in white shirt, red bow tie and his familiar headgear, the singer was on magnificent form. There hasn’t been a jazz vocalist of Porter’s calibre for a long time – he treads that slippery path between credibility and popular appeal with grace and assurance. He writes good, memorable songs with meaningful lyrics – from the positive sentimentality of ‘Be Good’ to the controlled anger of ‘1960 What?’ And he can make a well worn standard like ‘Work Song‘ (by Oscar Brown, Jr. and Nat Adderley) fresh and personal. Scheduled in a blazing mid-afternoon slot on the Main Stage, Porter’s band seized the moment with a festival-defining set, incorporating joyful, soulful alto sax solos by Yosuke Sato and some mighty, two-fisted piano work from Chip Crawford.

The star of the evening was Melody Gardot

Melody Gardot at Love Supreme Festival 2013
Photo Credit: John L Walters

a singer with a repertoire that’s more World / Cabaret than jazz, including ‘Sodade’, the song made famous by Cesária Évora. Gardot’s light-as-a-feather songs were interpreted by a subtle, acoustic band, staged and lit dramatically for the final set in Love Supreme’s Big Top. Saxophonist / flutist Irwin Hall was the perfect foil to his boss’s slightly disengaged style. At times, Hall conjured a breathy, subtone from his tenor that recalled Jimmy Guiffre. With happy sounds drifting over from the other venues as we left, Gardot’s set was an appropriately cool end to a magical few days of music and sunshine.

The festival did have sound problems caused by the proximity of the three stages – a sort of Charles Ives effect – that will surely be corrected next year. (Some more intelligent mixing for the main stage might help fix that issue, too.) But on the plus side, it was a pleasure to attend a well organised festival, attended by 15,000 good-natured, positive people determined to have a good time. It augurs well for future versions of this new, jazz-flavoured addition to the UK festival calendar.

© John L. Walters, 2013

Twitter: @JohnLW

Categories: miscellaneous

2 replies »

  1. What a great festival. Very unique in Europe, as most jazz festivals are usually just a couple of evening concerts over a few days. Here, being able to wander between different stages has been wonderful.
    I hope there will be a 2014 edition, and that they solve their sound problem (the big top was a disaster).

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