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Jazzahead! 2014

Jazzahead! 2014
John Kelman By

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Jazzahead! 2014
Bremen, Germany
April 24-27, 2014

It's hard to imagine, with diminishing music sales, the emergence of streaming services as the musical version of the antichrist for musicians and the increasing challenge of putting rear ends into seats at North American jazz festivals, but as it heads into its ninth year, Jazzahead! continues to provide unassailable evidence that it may be struggling to be so, but jazz is, indeed, a business. A place where artists, labels, festival presenters, club owners, publicists, media and anyone else in any way connected to jazz can comingle in the contexts of daytime conference streams, performance showcases and booths, booths, booths—all manned (peopled?) by folks who want you to hear their latest release(s) and check out their band(s)—Jazzahead! has become the place to go if you're looking to find your way into an international network of jazz industry people that quite literally covers every continent but two: the Arctic and Antarctica...and if a jazz band ever emerged on one of those two isolated locations, they'd no doubt be added to the Jazzahead! roster, too.

One of the most admirable and appealing aspects to Jazzahead! is that it is staffed by people who listen. The event has grown (a very good thing) to the point where it was becoming increasingly difficult to cover evening showcases in the nearby Kulturzentrum Schlachthof—literally an old slaughterhouse that has been converted into a performance space, bar and restaurant, where so many people were going that unless you were there early enough to find a seat, more often than not you had to listen from near the door (not always in the hall), trying to look over masses of peoples' shoulders to catch a glimpse of the act. While there are even more solutions planned for invited journalists who were having trouble getting their work done, the 2014 edition of Jazzahead! already made one very significant improvement: to open up one of the halls in the Congress Centre that houses the majority of the event's activities for evening showcases, so that there were now two venues to choose from. The result was relief in both venues and, while it might well have been possible to move back and forth between them, one of the other problems with becoming a regular at Jazzahead!—and one that nobody expects the organizers to resolve— is that most attempts to keep to a strict schedule are scuttled simply because, walking from one venue to another, or even from one end of a hall to another, someone—or, more often than not, someones—will yell out, "Hey! John!!" and the next thing you know, you're seeing someone you've not seen in months or perhaps even years, trying to catch up with them while still attempting to stick to that schedule.

So, after two prior years covering Jazzahead—2011 and 2012—the big lessons learned have been: don't over-commit, don't try to take in everything, and....relax. The result? Jazzahead! 2014 was the most pleasant experience yet, with plenty accomplished, and that includes, despite being there for only two full days, catching more music than in the previous years, and with far less stress and considerably more comfort.

As ever, the booths represented a cornucopia of music covering the broadest possible purview of jazz. Curious what ECM is up to? There's a booth. Looking to find out more about ACT, Intakt, Enja, Effendi, Hubro, ILK, Whirlwind or the nearly countless collection of established labels and others looking to break into the market? No problem. Want to find out what's going on in Norway, Finland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, and pretty much any country where jazz is being released has on offer? It's all there. In fact, one noticeable change in Jazzahead! over the past several years is that more and more countries are setting up booths so that artists, labels and other industry folks who might not be able to justify one will have a defined place where they can set up meetings.

Of course, there's always the coffee bar and cafeteria for more informal get- togethers and, if you're lucky enough to be booked in it, the adjoining Maritim Hotel (connected by an indoor hallway to the congress centre) where it's rarely possible to predict with whom you'll be sharing breakfast, but one thing is for sure: you'll never be eating alone.

As Jazzahead! looks to its 10th anniversary in 2015, it's already planning to move to a larger venue with larger halls, with more space for networking and concerts. This is great news, as the event has been growing steadily, both in the number of professional participants (over 2,800) and visitors who came to enjoy the over 100 showcase concerts (close to 16,000). As ever, Jazzahead! featured a number of themed afternoon and evening showcases, this year sponsoring a Danish night, a daytime German Jazz Expo and evening Overseas Night, the latter including groups from Canada, the USA and Australia. The semi-annual European Jazz Meeting was also the scene for daytime showcases by artists coming from countries including Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland; Italy, Belgium and Austria; and The Netherlands, France and Norway. A shuttled Jazzahead! ŠKODA Cub Night on the event's final night ,made it possible for invited guests to check out the action at over 25 clubs across the city of Bremen.

As ever, it was simply impossible to catch it all, and so this year, rather than trying to move around from venue to venue to catch ten or fifteen minutes of a thirty- minute showcase at best, the choice was made to stick with a single venue (Halle 2), in order to catch full showcases—short enough as they were, it was all the more important to catch them in their entirety to get a more complete idea of what each artist/group was about.

April 24, Afternoon: Jazzahead! ŠKODA Award: Jan Persson

Each year, Jazzahead!, in collaboration with automobile manufacturer ŠKODA (one of the event's major sponsors) delivers an award to a member of the jazz community for what is usually a lifetime of contribution. The recipients have ranged from musicians like Dutch drummer Han Bennink, who won in 2013, to ACT label founder/producer Siggi Loch, who received the award in 2012. The 2014 Jazzahead! ŠKODA Award, which comes with a 15,000 Euro endowment, went to Jan Persson, the Danish photographer who has, over the past five-and-a-half decades, documented a remarkable number of jazz musicians in stills that manage to live and breathe. Living in Denmark, a country that became home for a number of American jazz musicians, in particular during in the 1950s and '60s, when African American artists were treated far better abroad than they were at home, Persson had the unique opportunity to capture artists like Oscar Pettiford, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Drew, Ben Webster and Horace Parlan, amongst American expats, in addition to just about any jazz artist of significance that passed through the city.

Persson's largely black and white work has been published in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, in addition to appearing in many books and a number of exhibitions—one taking place, in Bremen, at the Artdocks Gallery from April 27 to June 7, 2014.

This was the first time a photographer has received the award that was instituted in 2006, and after a laudation from Danish artist Per Arnoldi, Persson delivered a short but particularly meaningful speech, as he talked briefly about how he came to be a photographer, some of the many encounters he's had during his long life (Persson was born in 1943)...and a parting word that gave encouragement to all aspiring photographers: "And remember: A cell phone is not a camera!"

April 24, Evening: Danish Showcase

Prior to Persson's award, a single composition was performed by Phronesis, a trans-European piano trio with, appropriately, one Dane (bassist Jasper Hoiby, who now lives in London), a Swede (drummer Anton Eger) and one Brit (pianist Ivo Neame, but that only whet the appetite for the trio's full thirty-minute showcase that evening. In some ways the trio's participation at Jazzahead might seem a bit odd, given it's not only got five recordings out—its most recent, Life to Everything (2014), on the UK-based Edition Records label just like the group's previous two, beginning with Alive (2010)—but the threesome have spent significant time traveling in Europe, North America (USA and Canada) and other places abroad. Still, this was a trio of highly motivated individuals and any opportunity to spread the word and expand its potential was one to be taken.

It was a particularly treat to run into Neame and Eger again, so soon after seeing them in Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset's stellar quartet at Jazzkaar 2014 in Tallinn, Estonia just two evenings prior. While both have, over the past half decade, emerged as inimitable players no matter what the context, something different happens when they come together with Høiby in Phronesis, a fact hammered home with particular emphasis when all three (these days, Danish bassist Petter Eldh has replaced Høiby in Neset's quartet) played together in Neset's Golden Xplosion group at the saxophonist's incendiary showcase at Jazzahead! 2012.

The trio's Jazzahead! 2014 was no less exciting as it launched into "Urban Control," the opening track to Life to Everything, another live recording that began with Høiby's virtuosic a cappella intro before Neame and Eger joined in for one of five pieces defined by knotty passages, staggering stops and starts and, well, just an overall complexity that somehow managed to seem completely effortless in the hands of these three outstanding musicians. While there's absolutely nothing that begs comparison to Esbjorn Svensson and his trio, e.s.t., while everyone has been looking for "the next e.s.t." since the Swedish pianist died tragically in a diving accident in 2008, the truth is that the answer may well be right here under everyone's noses.

Phronesis may not have the pop sensibility that yielded some of e.s.t.'s appeal, but the trio's relentless drive has resulted in a slow-building reputation and success that could well be on the verge of becoming something bigger; certainly its full show at the 2012 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal was as good an example of a trio whose playful approach to its rigorous yet open-ended music—music that has, thus far, managed to completely avoid the element of sameness that was beginning to filter into e.s.t.'s until, paradoxically and more than the least bit tragically, the release of its final ACT recording made before Svensson's passing, 2008's Leucocyte—is making fans on both sides of the Atlantic, and whose every new recording since its 2007 Loop debut, Organic Warfare, seems to garner Høiby, Eger and Neame increasing critical and popular acclaim.

The trio also has a curious but successful combination of characters: Eger, the crazy man of the group, with extreme facial expressions mirroring an approach to the kit that's just as outrageous, at times, as it is subtle and nuanced at others; Neame the quiet one who maintains eye contact with his trio mates but rarely cracks more than a slight smile; and Høiby, the true heart of the group, positioned center-stage and looking back and forth between Neame and Eger with something ranging from bemusement to flat-out amusement. Its fiery set may have been brief, but it only served to prove, once again, that Phronesis is one of but a few European piano trios with real— and sustainable—international potential.

If Phronesis was a tough act to follow, Aske Drasbæk Group managed to do so by being something completely different: a two-guitar, bass, drums and saxophone quintet led by baritone saxophonist Drasbæk. It's rare to hear a group with two guitarists in jazz—the most notable group last heard might even be Gary Burton's quintet of the mid-'70s, which featured Mick Goodrick and a very young Pat Metheny in the line-up—and even rarer to hear one where the lead instrument is a baritone sax.

Performing music from its recent debut, Old Ghost (Gateway Music, 2013), the group was slightly disadvantaged by a last minute substitution for regular guitarist Soren Dahl Jeppesen, but his replacement (name unknown) seemed to fit in well with the rest of the group—guitarist Per Møllehøj, double bassist Tapani Toivanen and drummer Andreas Fryland. With both guitarists favoring warm, hollow body tones, the combination with Drasbæk's rich baritone, the similarly deep sound of double bass and only Fryland's cymbals providing much of any high frequencies meant an intrinsically attractive sound that was all the more so thanks to its leader's easy-on-the-ears writing.

While the tendency was towards a lovely, lyrical, dark and earthy sound, there were moments where the group swung elegantly, in a very modern way, while elsewhere in the set the two guitarists not only demonstrated some fine interplay, but in a way that wasn't afraid of getting too close, harmonically speaking; a risky move, to be sure, but one which succeeded admirably.

That Drasbæk only picked up the baritone a few years ago made the success of his showcase all the more unexpected, perhaps, but while his primary early influence, Swedish baritone saxophonist Lars Gullin, seemed to loom a tad large over Drasbæk's overall approach, it was also clear that here, in the context of this unusually configured quintet, this young saxophonist has already found his own voice, both as a performer and a writer.

Singer Live Foyn Friis was up next, with her regular quartet of guitarist/backing vocalist Alex Jønsson Christensen, double bassist/backing vocalist Jens Mikmkel Madsen and drummer Andreas Skamby joined by a four-piece string section (violinists Amalie Kjældgaard and Louise Gorm; violist Mikkel Schreiber and cellist Maria Edlund). Cited as an up-and-comer on the Danish scene with her first album, Joy Visible, both critically acclaimed and nominated for Best Vocal Jazz Album at the 2012 Danish Music Awards, there was no denying her appeal to the Jazzahead! audience.

If there was any single complaint, and it has to be said, it's that as lovely a singer as she was, there was a little too much Björk in both her presentation and the quality of her voice—soft, slightly innocent and almost naïve, but without the unexpected extremes and more experimental nature of the vastly influential Icelandic singer. Still, there are far worse influences to cite, and if Friis demonstrated at least some of Björk's ambition by the very addition of a string quartet to her regular group, and the fact that this is Friis' first recording, versus Björk having already achieved much with the Sugarcubes prior to launching her solo career in 1992, perhaps it's unfair to judge so soon or so quickly. Certainly, while the strings added an extra dimension to her music— impressionistically introduced, for example, as "a tribute to the spring sun after a long winter"—her core group clearly has some ideas of its own, with Christensen, in particular, contributing some nice effects-laden color.

Like Christensen, Friis also employed some electronics, in particular on the opening song, where she used a harmonizer to create a softly layered effect. Still, she didn't resort to overuse—though, if there were any other complaint to be made it would be that, at times, there was so much going on around her with guitar, bass, drums and string quartet as to overwhelm her delicate voice. Not so much in terms of the amount of sound, but the amount of music actually being played—though it may have been the room, as other artists mentioned, over the weekend, that it did feel a little weird to them. Still (and again), it was a bold move to bring a group double its normal size to a showcase event, and for any marks lost Friis made plenty more for being just plain bold enough to make the attempt. Perhaps, then, there's more to be considered about this apparently Björk-informed singer, whose stage presence was gentle and generally quite lovely.

The last time the curiously monikered Girls in Airports was seen was in a very packed, very hot and very sweaty Hamburg club called Golum, part of the 2013 ELBJazz Festival. While there was something to be said for this group—like Aske Drasbæk's group, another curiously configured quintet that this time paired two saxophonists (Martin Stender and Lars Greve) with a keyboardist (Mathias Holm), drummer (Mads Forsby) and percussionist (Victor Dybbroe—it was tough to really assess the group, as it just barely fit on the Golum stage, the sound was more than a challenge, and it was so crowded that it was just about possible to remain upright with both feet lifted off the ground.

The environment, sound and overall context for the group's Jazzahead! showcase was much, much better; there was plenty of room for everyone to actually move about a bit, though as it turned out, everyone but Dybbroe was fairly static. Still, the grooves were much clearer—and with drums and percussion this was a group about groove, in some ways reminiscent of early Portico Quartet before co-founder/hang player Nick Mulvey left the group and it turned far more electronic (and, at the same time, far less intriguing). While both saxophonists demonstrated no shortage of chops—in particular Greve, whose circular breathing and simultaneous leaping around registers and harmonics was most impressive—the music was similarly form-based, with Holm doing double duty as both chordal provider and low-end supporter—sometimes on his Fender Rhodes, sometimes on a synthesizer.

The music often revolved around repetitive keyboard figures, with truly pan- cultural influences coming from climes as distanced as Africa, Asia and, according to the press literature, Nordic countries (though that was the least obvious reference point). But this was, ultimately, music that sounded easy but had plenty more going on under the covers. Some of the writing was episodic in nature, with melodies written for a variety of reed combinations—from two tenors and tenor and clarinet (Greve) to alto (again, Greve) and soprano (Stender)—that provided plenty of tonal variety, even as the writing would begin with the two horns in unison, then open up into broader harmony, only to pull back into unison once again.

The Girls' closing piece was particularly impressive, with Dybbroe moving from congas and other hand percussion to some kind of balafon for an a cappella intro. More's the pity that when the rest of the group came in, this wonderful, woody sound was swallowed up amidst the density surrounding it. But regardless, Girls in Airports, chosen by the Danish Arts Council as its Young Elite pick for 2013, was another group in this evening of Danish artists that will hopefully find its way across the pond to North America and beyond as the result of its fine showcase performance.

April 25, Afternoon: German Jazz Expo

After a morning of meetings, meetings and more meetings it was time, mid- afternoon, to head back to Halle 2 for an afternoon of German jazz. Pianist Martin TIngvall's Tingvall Trio opened, a solid piano trio with considerable success in its native country—its 2011 album, Vägen, reaching number one on the German jazz charts and receiving two ECHO Jazz Awards the following year. Perhaps when thinking of a real successor to e.s.t., Tingvall has more of what's needed for widespread appeal than Phronesis: the trio's opening piece revolved around a very simple, very poppy three-chord pattern and singable melody. Still, while Tingvall Trio's eminently accessible approach has almost instantaneous appeal, it would sure be nice to see the mantle go to Phronesis, if only to demonstrate that it does, indeed, seem possible for a group delivering more substantive complex music to reach a broader audience, as Phronesis appears to be doing.

As easy on the ears as Tingvall Trio was, there's a fine line between being accessible and forgettable, and while there were plenty of attractive elements to the group's music—Tingvall demonstrating a touch of Herbie Hancock amidst his more European lyricism, bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo a fine anchor and drummer Jürgen Spiegel supporting the pianist's occasionally funky overtones with some solid grooves of his own—amidst a plethora of piano trios (in Germany, in particular, with pianist Michael Wollny garnering a lot of attention and possessed of considerably broader virtuosity), it's hard to know if Tingvall Trio can sustain the wave it currently seems to be riding. All the more likely, unfortunately, that it has already peaked, though it's possible that such a prediction is premature. Only time will tell, but until then, as immediate as Tingvall Trio is in engaging an audience, there needs to be something more substantial, more meaty, to make it last when the next round of piano trios comes rolling around, as most certainly will happen...and very soon.

SLIXS, on the other hand, may be poised for greater things—an a cappella vocal sextet that has already reached the ears of Bobby McFerrin at a show in Gdansk, the result being a tour in Europe with the legendary vocalist this year. While a little slick for these ears, it was hard to fault SLIXS for its choreographed ability to use five male voices (Michael Eimann, Gregorio Hernández, Karsten Müller, Thomas Piontek and Konrad Zeiner) with one female (Katharina Debus) to create a vocal mix as capable of getting down and funky as it was soulfully melodic.

The sextet clearly knew how to keep things interesting, using the stage to create an ever-shifting array of sub-groupings in support of the individual singers who all got at least some moments in the spotlight, even during this abbreviated showcase. Beyond vocal range, beatboxing and emulating jungle animals, SLIXS was, indeed, a group with real star potential—a European Take 6, perhaps, with every member of the group representing something different, with plenty of fun built into the equation.

But the most intriguing group of the afternoon was, most certainly, Double Trouble. No, not Stevie Ray Vaughan's backing group reunited, but instead an all-acoustic quartet with one saxophonist (Peter Ehwald), one drummer (Jonas Burgwinkel) and not one, but two double bassists (Robert Landfermann and Andreas Lang). Blending elements of modern jazz, chamber music and a little rock aggression, this was a group capable of some real extremes: at times, far-out and far-reaching; other times, positively beautiful, with the use of two arco basses to create a deep, warm cushion for Ehwald's ruminations.

Any suggestion that the bass is a timekeeping instrument these days is hardly worth mentioning, but while there was no true chordal instrument in Double Trouble, the group's three linear instruments had the capacity for both contrapuntal interaction and vertical harmony. That there was plenty of opportunity for free exploration by the quartet was belied by Ehwald's assertion that the music was, nevertheless, "thoroughly composed."

The Köln-based quartet employed elements of Balkan rhythms and even some Kazakhstan overtone singing (albeit played on instruments rather than sung), with some of its music approaching chaos and elsewhere taking full advantage of the two basses to focus more heavily on groove and melody. Together for two years now, Double Trouble has been around long enough to forge an identity that goes beyond its unique instrumentation, while still being early enough days to suggest that there's plenty more potential for this unorthodox quartet to explore.

April 25, Evening: Overseas Night

Which, sadly, brings things to not the final evening of Jazzhead! but, with an early morning flight home for a quick respite before returning to Europe the following week for Mai Jazz in Stavanger, Norway, the last evening to be spent at Jazzahead! 2014. It's strange how things transpire. Despite being a mere 200 kilometers away from Montréal, it was necessary to travel nearly six thousand of them, and across an ocean as well, in order to find an opportunity to catch Christine Jensen's superb Jazz Orchestra. Since the release of Treelines (Justin Time, 2010) and its follow-up, Habitat—also released on Justin Time in Canada in 2013, but in the US just two months ago in March, 2014—the saxophonist/composer has taken some major steps forward, in particular in her evolution as a writer and bandleader of note.

Jensen, in a quintet front-lined with her New York-based sister, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, at last year's Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (in the same venue, L'Astral, the same evening as Phronesis, coincidentally), has long demonstrated her acumen with a horn—and as a writer, too. But this recent leap into jazz orchestra territory has now positioned her to be easily mentioned in the same breath as American-based large ensemble leaders like Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue.

That Jensen was able to collect the majority of the 17-piece ensemble on Habitat for what may go down as the longest collective trek for a 30-minute gig ever—with the exception of Swedish pianist and co-collaborator with the two Jensen sisters in Nordic Connect, Maggi Olin, who substituted for John Roney, as well as a couple of other deps including, sadly, sister Ingrid— was remarkable in and of itself. That the group managed to pull off a quartet of challenging tunes from Habitat after such a long trek was even more so. While there was neither time nor space to allow all the soloists in the band to get some time in the spotlight, there were, nevertheless, some magical moments, in particular from altoist Donny Kennedy on the opening "Blue Yonder," and Jensen's husband, tenor saxophonist Joel Miller , sharing solo space with trombonist Jean-Louis Trottier on "Tumbledown," Jensen's homage to the earthquake in Haiti, a country which she'd visited in the years leading up to that tragic event.

While Jensen left the majority of the solo space for the rest of her orchestra, she engaged in some marvelous interplay with Olin on "Treelines," while guitarist Ken Bibace got some unexpected feature time on the closing piece, dedicated to expat Canadian saxophonist François Théberge. But while the solos were key to the success of every one of the four pieces Jensen performed in her 45-minute slot (this evening's showcases extended, with thanks to the Jazzahead! organizers), it was the writing and her capable hand at conducting the orchestra through her long-form compositions that made the showcase such a success. While the harsh reality of booking an 18-piece group (including Jensen) for a lengthy road trip is unlikely, that Jensen was able to bring a group of players largely familiar with her music for the showcase will hopefully encourage the chance of her going to various cities around the world, where she can work with local musicians to perform her increasingly compelling music.

Back-to-back with another Montréaler, pianist (and, this evening, accordionist) Marianne Trudel and her Trifolia trio, featuring double bassist Étienne Lafrance and percussionist Patrick Graham, provided a unique opportunity to hear two very different aspects of the city's vibrant jazz scene. Graham's unique percussion setup ("the Paganini of the tambourine," Trudel called him at one point) gave the group a different complexion than the usual drum-based piano trio. Diminutive in size, Trudel's enthusiasm and virtuosity remained a clear rallying point for the entire trio throughout its set.

While attention would normally focus on her skills at the piano, Trudel's story about finding the accordion she brought, in the family home, was so poignant that it ultimately ended up dominating her already fine set. Asking her grandmother about instrument, she was told that her grandfather had wanted to learn the instrument at one point, but moved onto other things instead. At the time that she was composing for Trifolia, her grandfather was suffering from terminal cancer and was unable to open his eyes or speak. With her grandfather largely deaf as well, Trudel recounted holding his hand in silence for an hour the last time she saw him, but when she had to leave—not wanting to, but forced to in order to play a concert—she had to yell that she was leaving; "He opened one eye," she said with a small smile, "and said, 'play loud.'" It was the last thing he said to her, and she went to the concert and played the tune, called "Steppe." Played here at Jazzahead!, its melancholy melody, echoed by her soft voice, reflected her love of, as she put it, "vast landscapes, where silence is." The song also featured a lovely bass solo, and if the rest of Trudel's set was just as good, it was this tune that remained in the mind long after, as much for the story of how it came to be as for how good it was.

While it was unfortunately necessary to skip the evening's final act, American-based pianist Shai Maestro, there was still time to catch one more group, and who could resist a group with a name like The Vampires. Any piano-less group with saxophone (Jeremy Rose), trumpet (Nick Gabrett), bass (Alex Boneham) and drums (Tobias Backhaus) was bound to be compared to Ornette Coleman, but while the free jazz progenitor was undeniably one touchstone for this Australian quartet, he was by no means the predominant one. Instead, The Vampires' music blended everything from hints of soul to tinges of the Balkans, a taste of African and Jamaican influences and, of course, a liberal heaping of jazz-centric interplay for a distinctive gumbo that was more eminently accessible, grooved harder and, through clever arrangements for the two horns, created a bigger sound than might have seemed otherwise possible.

The Sydney-based group has been around awhile, with four albums out including its most recent, Tiro (Earshift, 2013), but for its Jazzahead! debut the group dug right back to its first record, South Coasting (Jazzgroove, 2008), for Rose's appropriately titled opener, "Action Reaction."

With the effortlessly relaxed vibe that seems endemic to so many Australians, Rose introduced "Mother's Dance," also from South Coasting and named after his mother's "hippie-style dancing," driven by Backhaus' near-second line rhythm, which set the tone in an opening duo with Gabrett before ultimately leading to a rhythm-heavy feature for Boneham. The group closed with two very difference tunes: "Euro Schmarp," written by Gabrett after coming back from Europe "in Euro style" and Rose's closing track to Garfish (Earshift, 2012), "Life in the Fast Lane," which moved from visceral free bop intro to a sudden injection of structure, closing the set on an exciting note.

And closing Jazzahead! 2014 on a thrilling note as well. While others would stay for another day of meetings, showcases and, no doubt, some liberal partying the closing night as they club-hopped around Bremen, that early morning flight beckoned. But after missing Jazzahead! in 2013 it was great to be back, and hopefully it will be possible to plan a return visit to the city in 2015, for Jazzahead!'s tenth anniversary.

Photo Credit
John Kelman

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