I am lucky enough to have been invited/motivated to go to a few festivals over recent weeks.
What is the rationale?
1. Busman's holiday.
2. To hear some different music live
3. To meet people in a different environment and promote Babel's musicians and the Vortex
I have posted the reviews on www.londonjazznews.com
Europa Jazz Le Mans
Schaffhausen Jazz Festival
Overall, it has to be admitted that I do not necessarily hear better things when away. It almost reassures me that our scene is as strong as it is, though it also disappoints me that it doesn't get better heard.
I get niggling feelings of sadness that I miss some very special gigs in London when I go off. For example, when at Jazzahead I missed Louis Moholo's special night; and when at Le Mans, I missed the launch of Jason Yarde/Andrew McCormack's duo with strings.
Nevertheless, you also get feelings of great positive energy about what is happening in jazz. You can't quite work out when something more might transpire, but you just have to stay flexible.
I certainly prefer the festivals as a way to "network" because they are based around the music. Jazzahead seems to let alcohol overpower that. However, one major positive of Jazzahead is about musicians meetings. Kit Downes told me that he met Sylvain Darrifourcq and Adrien Dennefeld there for the first time (with the result of Barbacana!). Julia Hülsmann, in today's interview in Londonjazznews, says that she met Tom Arthurs there (with the result of Tom playing on her last ECM album). Hannes Riepler, when there now, reconnected with his Dutch friends (with whom he studied) and the Austrians of his homeland.
As more come along, I shall continue to do the linking up. More fully-fledged reviews on Londonjazz, and more oblique thoughts here.