As part of JPN’s ongoing work with Dutch Performing Arts (DPA), a schedule of visits to Dutch events is currently taking place – for more details please see the Dutch Performing Arts page under ‘What We Do’.
Steve Mead, Artistic Director of Manchester Jazz Festival, recently visited Rotterdam’s Injazz Festival as part of this programme of visits. This is his report:
Back at the end of June, a cohort of JPN promoters, including my fabulous colleagues Amy Sibley-Allen, David and Alice Porter, Ian Perry and Kate Gamm, attended the Injazz showcase weekend of young Dutch jazz talent, on the warm invitation from Dutch Performing Arts.
It was a relaxed, varied and enlightening affair and we were impeccably looked after. Despite the cloud of despair that hung over our arrival day following the referendum result, our Dutch colleagues welcomed us, looked after us and generally made the whole thing a piece of cake. (Dutch Apple Cake, naturally.)
Showcase performances were scheduled back to back across three main venues, focussing on the relaxed and flexible spaces in the Lanteren Venster, but all within easy walking distance – I especially liked the ingeniously converted Kantine Walhalla – and of the 30 or so bands on offer over the two day showcase, I managed to catch at least 15 minutes of 20 of them.
Most of us have attended similar events in the past of course – they’re a great way of gaining a potted summary – a snapshot of the scene at a particular moment in time – and I love having no expectations and making chance discoveries, of which there were plenty.
Of course there are plenty vying for attention and that elusive UK gig – and plenty of ‘good but not outstanding’ – but there were also some special, unexpected moments.
We were treated to a Trade Dinner – great for chance meetings – (why is it easier to hook up with other Brits at events like this than it is back home??) – and, of course, circulating with your frikandel – although admittedly it wasn’t ideal for vegetarian pests like me… Memorably, we were also treated to a special trip to Amsterdam to an intimate old converted cinema, the intriguingly named Theater de Roode Bioscoop, where three duos played for us and us alone. The unlikely duo of viola and bass (Mark Haanstra and Oene van Geel) shone with their command, musicality and constant interest.
My find though, tucked away in a distant space in the Lanteren Venster at the end of the night, was Even Sanne, centered on vocalist Sanne Huijbregts and guitarist Eran Har and expanded into a new four piece with accompanying film. What struck me here – as it did Amy from Kings Place – was the originality of sound, the combination of Sanne’s simple, striking voice, the ensemble cohesion and the group’s vision, avoiding cliché and going for their own thing – something which many others lacked. Like the best discoveries, I wasn’t expecting it, it felt like it was just for me and I can still remember the sound now – and the tingle factor it prompted.
Thanks must go to Nora and Susanne for treating us like royalty and for Nod for setting it all up for us.
If you haven’t joined JPN yet, apart from the obvious benefits and discoveries, this trip is a great example, especially in such uncertain times, of what such a team effort can achieve for understanding and awareness – on both sides.