Lancaster Jazz Festival took place on 17th September 2017. We went down there to grab a bit of the excitement, and here is our review! Jemma Freese and Marie Köhl picked out their favourites from the festival.
Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat create contemporary jazz compositions with distinguished sections delivered both confidently and emotively. The subtle rock flavours and upbeat rhythms intertwine with complex melodies from the tenor saxophone effortlessly. This material is written from Emma’s personal experiences, shown in her thoughtful choice of harmony and the meaning behind every note she plays, and the titles of each song help guide the listeners through the refreshing changes within the music. Each member responded to one another instantly in rhythm and dynamics, forming a strong band image and style.
Performing compositions by Maria that each tell their own story, the Maria Chara Argirò Group are experimental in their expression whilst retaining a definite jazzy folk sound. This gives them scope to appeal to audiences from both scenes. Their improvisation sections create a warped sense of time due to the fluidity of the dynamics. Using vocals as an instrument is one of their contemporary features, yet they also push the boundaries of this by exploration of syllables, noises and a wide range of notes to crate dramatic textures. The tenor saxophonist’s and clarinettist’s performance was a perfect example of the intense listening and awareness within the group, with his extremely well-timed placement of notes and being so in sync with the vocalist. Maria succeeds in creating an environment in which everyone involved can be sincere with their emotions, shown by her interactions with the audience and the band.
In a slightly different kind of review, Marie Köhl choreographed a dance in reaction to J Frisco’s performance at the Lancaster Jazz Festival.
Jemma Freese & Marie Köhl
Featured image shows the Maria Chiara Argirò Group. Photo by Pete Hyde.