Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gaume festival

When I was away in Coutances last weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of one of my favourite annual festivals - in Gaume in Belgium (not far from Luxembourg and even closer to the trappist brewery at the monastery of Orval). Run for the past 25 years by Jean-Pierre Bissot, he has consistently had many great names of jazz but before they had been recognised elsewhere.
So he explained that Esbjorn Svensson played at his festival as early as 1992 (!), nearly a decade before his trio became famous. Over the past 6 years that I have been going there, I have been particularly impressed by his choices of pianist, including Simon Nabatov, Stefano Bollani (again well before his ECM fame). So it is to the pianists that I often look first. (By the way, Colin Vallon from Switzerland is on that wish list. He is about to record for ECM. I heard him in Gaume 2 years ago. Another is Eve Beuvens, whom I heard last year.) We'll book them at the Vortex when we know that a few more people will show up to agree with this judgment.
So this year's tip for the top is Omri Mor from Israel, playing Andalujazz, which is based around the sephardi music in Algeria.
Also there will be many of the Belgian favourites including Philip Catherine and Greg Houben.
Overall it's 24 concerts over 3 days. The admission price will be around €80. What a bargain.

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