The Gent Jazz Festival is announcing new names for its 15th year. On Friday 8 July, Pat Metheny & Ron Carter, John Scofield – Brad Mehldau – Mark Guiliana and De Beren Gieren are coming to the Bijloke Site in Ghent. Saturday 9 July sees concerts performed by Max Richter: from Sleep & The Blue Notebook and Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra, with Jill Scott, Lianne La Havas and The James Hunter Six on Sunday 14 July. Closing the festival on Saturday 16th July is dEUS ‘Soft Electric’, among others.
Previously announced were Ibrahim Maalouf “Kalthoum”, Kamasi Washington, Balthazar, St Germain, Flat Earth Society feat. Mauro Pawlowski, Moondog by Roland & Friends and Ibeyi. Gent Jazz Festival is this year up to its 15th edition, which it is marking with a whole raft of Ghent bands on 10 July.
Friday 8 July, the second day of the festival, is all about superior guitar work. Pat Metheny and bass veteran Ron Carter are first to set to work. Metheny is well-known for his versatility and improvisation talent. He was also one of the first to set about modifying his guitar sound with guitar synths and electronica. Carter is a still-living legend from the Blue Note label who, on contrabass, has stood beside the likes of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams. The Main Stage is to be graced by another guitar legend at the end of the day. John Scofield has been playing with big names such as Chet Baker, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis from day one, and has a list of solo projects that would put a great many musicians to shame. He is forming a “power trio” with two other legends at Gent Jazz Festival: Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana. On 8 July, singer Hugh Coltman is performing an ode to Nat King Cole and Ghent's own De Beren Gieren are also joining the party. With Steven Delannoye on the Garden Stage, Gent Jazz Festival is once again drawing in the top Belgian ambassador of saxophone. He is to play three sets in different line-ups. France's Airelle Besson Quartet are closing the Garden Stage that day.
Gent Jazz Festival is completely changing musical tack on Saturday 9 July, with no less than Max Richter making an appearance. Richter is a classically trained musician and composer whose production profusion in no way compromises quality, complexity and certainly not pluck. He understands like no other the art of composing high-quality classical music that captivates a wide audience. He is performing work from two legendary albums at Gent Jazz Festival: ‘Sleep’ and ‘The Blue Notebooks’. Also confirmed for 9 July: Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra. With his open mind and eclectic energy, Halsall is an innovator within the Northern new-music movement, running his own record label and regularly delivering a musical gem of his own creation. With his Gondwana Orchestra, he is still shifting boundaries and throws a hint of the “Far East” into his band's sound.
Gent Jazz Festival is opening its second section, on Thursday 14 July, with a day devoted to soulful R&B. After a few years’ lull, Jill Scott made her comeback last year with the album ‘Woman’. She is thus going back to her roots of Soul, R&B and Blues yet without sounding one bit kitsch, and is also set to prove so at Gent Jazz Festival. Multifacetedness courses through the blood of half Jamaican, half Brit Lianna La Havas. Pigeon-holing the sounds on her latest album ‘Blood’ is a hopeless task, and La Havas is thus praised by all critics for making considerable headway. With The James Hunter Six, the voice of frontman Hunter is given centre stage. Inspired by his grandmother's collection of 78s, he performs the sort of soul deftly perching between sweet revival and the rawness Daptone fans are so enthralled with. For the Garden Stage, Gent Jazz Festival has managed to snare Con Brio, a band also trading better funk and soul.
Saturday 16 July is the festival’s closing day, and with dEUS ‘Soft Electric’ Gent Jazz Festival has already clinched a worthy final act. ‘Soft Electric’ reveals an entirely new side to the dEUS pop/rock phenomenon, with the profundity of Tom Barman's tracks being much better expressed during a seated listening concert, makes this the ideal thing for the invariably attentive audience at Gent Jazz Festival to listen to.
Gent Jazz Festival is also making active efforts to encourage young musicians and to help them grow with Jong Jazztalent Gent, a joint initiative with Duvel Moortgat Brewery. The Wout Gooris Trio won the competition in 2015, and the band was given one year to realise a special project. The result of this is to be seen and of course heard live for the first time during this edition of Gent Jazz Festival. Jong Jazztalent Gent is once again on the lookout for a laureate. Registration for the competition is through the popular VI.BE platform of Poppunt. The eventual winner is selected by a group of professionals from the sector.
Furthermore, within the collaboration project with HoGent Conservatorium School a guest musician is asked to elaborate a coaching project with a group of students from the conservatory. This year no less than three guest musicians are working on three different projects.
SABAM is once again handing out the SABAM JAZZ AWARDS on 8 July. An artist with a promising future is rewarded with €10,000, based on his or her track record, with another €5,000 going to a top young talent.
Tickets & info: www.gentjazz.com