Gent Jazz Festival is running from 7 to 16 July, and is today announcing the first names of the 15th summer edition at the Bijloke site. Thursday 7 July sees performances from Ibrahim Maalouf ‘Kalthoum’, Kamasi Washington, Wout Gooris Trio + Chisolm/Vann (Jong Jazztalent Gent winners) and Terence Blanchard feat. The E-Collective. Kneedelus (A Live Collaboration between Kneebody + Daedelus) are to play three sets on the Garden Stage, the second festival stage. The line-up on Friday 15 July includes St Germain and Ibeyi, and one band is already confirmed for the Garden Stage: Pomrad.
Thursday 7 July
Under the project title ‘Kalthoum’, with an ode to one of Egypt's great divas, Ibrahim Malouf succeeds like no other in reconciling the music traditions of East and West. At the same time, he once again provides the rich jazz scene a new stratification and a different colour palette. He is to perform at Gent Jazz Festival with renowned top musicians including Scott Colley on contrabass and Mark Turner on saxophone. Really getting down to brass tacks, and more relevant and up-to-date than ever before.
With ‘The Epic’, tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington created one of the crucial jazz records of 2015; a monumental and ambitious opus brimming with gusto, intensity, virtuosity and enthusiasm. This young jazz master is also able more than ever to win over a crowd live. It should also be said that Kamasi Washington is one of the protagonists on that other masterpiece of 2015: To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. He found a home for this at the renowned Brainfeeder label of Flying Lotus.
The Wout Gooris Trio debuted in 2014 with Current, an album brimming with contemporary, filmic jazz compositions with a subtle electronic touch. In 2015, the trio won ‘Jong Jazztalent Gent’, Gent Jazz Festival’s annual competition in collaboration with the Duvel Moortgat Brewery. This gives a band the opportunity to realise a special project. In this case, for the Wout Gooris Trio that was to become a new series of compositions, penned by Gooris himself, for an extensive line-up with saxophonists Erwin Vann (B) and Hayden Chisholm (NZ). The result is to be seen and heard live for the first time at Gent Jazz Festival.
On Breathless, Terence Blanchard explores together with his E-Collective the world of grooves and funk for the first time. And the virtuoso and musical centipede is doing so in the ‘African fusion’ style, which makes him so unique and lauded as a trumpeter. Compositions, including reworkings from Blanchard’s oeuvre, a monumental work by pianist Fabian Almazan and a number of carefully selected covers once again reveal a different side to this creative spirit. What's more, he is to perform on stage at Gent Jazz Festival with the entire band that made Breathless into a unique opus.
The fact that jazz and electronica at times get on is old news. However, in collaborations such as these, electronica is often seen as a mere sonic supplementation rather than an integral component of the musical intent. This is not the case for instrumentalists Kneedbody and electronics wizard Alfred Darlington, AKA Deadelus. They jointly sought out a deeper synthesis of acoustic music and electronica, and thus created a many-headed musical beast seamlessly interweaving together jazz, rock and electronic music. The tight result is to be heard on the eclectic album ‘Kneedelus’ – released in 2015 on Flying Lotus’ renowned Brainfeeder label – and soon also during three undoubtedly intense sets on the Garden Stage of Gent Jazz Festival.
Friday 15 July
More than 15 after the huge success of ‘Tourist’, a record blending sultry deep house with jazz in an original way, Ludovic Navarra, AKA St Germain, is now going all West African. He is doing this with a seven-piece band with musicians from Mali, Senegal, Martinique and Brazil, delivering an entirely new sound pallet alongside the recognisable hypnotic grooves. It goes by the name of ‘good time music soaked in Afro-jazz’. Unadulterated joy of playing, and music your hips just won’t stay still to.
Ibeyi are the French-Cuban twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz, daughters of the sorely missed Miguel ‘Anga’ Diaz, percussionist with Buena Vista Social Club. While Ibeyi’s music might have its roots in Cuban Yoruba culture, it has a contemporary sound and is peppered with elements from pop, hip-hop, electronica and jazz. Although with only one album– 14 tracks – to their name thus far, that's really all the sisters need to win over a live audience. Original, sincere and inventive music, performed with an almost tropical warmth.
Pomrad, the alter ego of the Antwerp keyboard player, producer and live performer Adriaan van de Velde, creates irresistibly colourful and danceable music. Steeped in 1980s’ funk, the hip-hop and R’n’B of the 90s, and seasoned with hints of house, dub and trap; Pomrad’s live sound is chunky, funky and sultry, especially since Van de Velde has been accompanied by guitarist Bert and his brother, drummer Stijn Cools. Pomrad has released two EPs in recent years, ‘Vlotjes’, and ‘This Day’, and in spring 2016 we can expect the band’s first LP.
More names for the Gent Jazz Festival will be made known later.
Tickets & info: www.gentjazz.com