Observations from the Gateshead International Jazz Festival

Last weekend was the seventh annual Gateshead International Jazz Festival at the Sage, and I made the trip up on Saturday for some high-quality gigs – Stian Westerhus, FOOD with special guest Eivind Aarset, Joe Lovano’s ‘Us Five’ and Mike Stern.

FOOD was the highlight, immediately re-creating the distinctive blend between electronic and acoustic sounds that defines their recordings. The band is now a duo between Iain Ballamy (saxophones) and Thomas Stronen (drums/percussion), with special guest Eivind Aarset adding sometimes heavily-layered guitar textures and effects, and they freely improvised a 70-minute set so well structured that it often sounded composed and rehearsed.

Tomorrow evening we are going back into the studio for a final session of mastering, and then we will have a short CD’s-worth of properly produced, original tracks to distribute for free as a promotional tool. Hopefully, by the weekend they should be available on this site to listen to.

Happy to be featured on Martin Powell’s ‘JazzScene’ broadcast on BCB Radio this Tuesday – the broadcast can be heard at http://jazzscene.podomatic.com/.

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