Monday, January 08, 2007

Muenster Jazz Festival

It was nice to start the year at Muenster Jazz Festival. The best for me were the new group of Louis Sclavis, who always has that cerebral side to him, though he was using a really good young band. "L'imparfait des langues" not what one would usually expect from an ECM album. I also liked Atomic from Norway, Mikiel Braam from Netherlands, Fat City Wednesdays, who were "suburban nerds" from Minneapolis doing a great take on Don Cherry. Hopefully they'll come to London to play with Evan Parker some time soon.
Also an exhausting peripheral programme, including a morning bowling session, where I teamed up with Yann, a promoter from Perpignan, to help the entente cordiale. We even won one match, against teams from Holland, Scotland and Norway. I'll post our prize presentation soon. We didn't get to keep the main prize, a James Last LP called Voodoo Party with a bizarre cover and sleeve note.
But even festivals like this which are relatively cheap for the city to put on, and have a long history are now under pressure. What was good fortune that they were well supported by the Muenster has now become a great risk. If the city decides to pull the plug then that means the end of the festival. And that certainly is a possibility. Unfortunately, these decisions are more political than practical. That was also the problem for Caber in Scotland. Tom Bancroft was there who ran the label, and probably did more for improving awareness of the scene over its five years than any amount of official jazz networks could have done. Unfortunately, he was reliant on Scottish Arts Council funding, especially once his distributor went bust. Now the bureaucrats are back to using formalistic organisations that go so slowly, so slowly.

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