Guelph Jazz Festival: Guelph, Canada, September 5-9, 2012
The dilemma for most progressive festivals is how to acknowledge their history but still move forward; a struggle shared by likeminded performers. The Guelph Jazz Festival has created its own familyregular appearances by artists like pianist Myra Melford, Hamid Drake, bassist William Parker and saxophonist Jean Deromewhich is a way to keep some familiarity (and continuity), while still embracing performer's whose artistic output changes and evolves. New faces keep things freshColin Stetson, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer all made their festival debuts this yearand continue the arc that Heble and the festival organizers know is their lifeblood.
Expectations for next year's 20th anniversary are already high and there was some guessing and dream-spinning amongst attendees about whom will be appearing and what possible shape the festival will take. But the festival is, in the best possible sense, exhausting. It consistently delivers a sensual overload of sight, sound and thought making the festival a top-notch destination for spectator, audience, and performer.
John R. Fowler