Held every second weekend in July, Holland's North Sea Jazz Festival is without doubt a veritable talent magnet that attracts the biggest, brightest and best names in popular music - not only in the realm of jazz, its core genre, but also from the adjoining worlds of soul, funk, hip-hop and even pop.
Originally established in The Hague in 1976, in 2006 it relocated to Rotterdam, where it's been ever since, occupying the Ahoy convention centre, an enormous arena in which 15 stages will be contracted to present over a thousand different acts during an intense and hectic three-day period. The festival director, Jan Willem Luyken, admits that in terms of logistics, the festival is, by its nature, problematic. "It is a challenge, it's a big puzzle, " he confesses with a wry chuckle. "It's a broad musical spectrum we try to present and the basis, of course, is jazz - we have a lot of jazz - but we also do all of the jazz related stuff like soul, funk, hip-hop, and even pop music, especially the big acts, who go to all of the festivals across Europe. So you have to be smart, you have to save money and be good with your timing. Every year it's a difficult puzzle but on the other hand it's a very nice puzzle, of course, to make. So we're not complaining."
This year's festival is scheduled for the weekend of July 8th, 9th and 10th and although the final line-up has yet to be announced, Willem reveals to SJF's Charles Waring those acts already confirmed. It's a mighty impressive bill. "For Friday 8th July, we have The Roots, Diana Krall, Buddy Guy, Snarky Puppy with the Metropole Orchestra - they won an Grammy - and then we have a very special theme evening presented by the Brainfeeder label and that features Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington - who also will perform with the Metropole Orchestra - Kneedelus, Thundercat and the Jamezoo Quintet. And let's not forget Christian Scott and Dr Lonnie Smith." Saturday July 9th offers an equally impressive line-up: "We have Earth, Wind & Fire, Level 42, Miguel, and it's very good to have Pat Metheny back again," says Luyken. "Also (legendary jazz bassist) Ron Carter, and the hip-hop of today will be there, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals. (Grammy winning chanteuse) Cecile McLorin Salvant will be there and Stephen Wilson, the guy from Porcupine Tree, with his solo project. (Japanese pianist) Hiromi is appearing also and the Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling. And we have the Steps Ahead reunion band..."
Add to that already impressive list Mick Hucknall's Simply Red, blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa, R&B poetess Jill Scott, and jazz cat in a cap, man of the moment, Gregory Porter - who all play on Sunday 10th - and you have a mouth-watering array of talent in one venue...
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 19:41