Preview: Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival

By Daniel Mackenzie (@EkcaLiena)

Another year reaches the point where wind is not welcome relief from sun but a frown-inducing reminder of the coming cold, and another brand new festival arrives on the shores of Brighton. 2014 saw the one-day experimental sound and performance art extravaganza that was Fort Process; this year Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival seeks to address the heinous mainstream festival mislabelling that has irked followers of the genre’s more faithful shades.

BAJF will somewhat prestigiously occupy The Old Market, one of Brighton’s most significant independent venues on September 11th and 12th. The ‘alternative’ tag may be slightly unnecessary as a significant proportion of the programme has thick roots plunged into jazz’s colourful history, though the intention here is clear: no ‘watered down soul, pop-funk and R’n’B’, and certainly no Jamie Cullum. Whether an aggressive backlash or a kindly deployed lesson, the event is absolutely essential to those who like their jazz served hot and free, on a plate shaped more like Pharaoh Sanders than Morcheeba.

The Friday and Saturday evenings run like extended concert events, though starting notably earlier to fit in the bursting programme. Head-jazz-head Daniel Spicer has hand-picked a rich and bustling selection of acts which covers household figures like celebrated drummer Steve Noble and double bassist William Parker. Alongside these however he has placed equal emphasis on emerging talents and local fringe acts – Danish Saxophonist Mette Rasmussen will be appearing, as well as the Brighton-based West Hill Blast Quartet, in which Spicer performs his long established brand of scree and clatter. In an important, not to mention refreshing move, BAJF features a markedly more extensive selection of female musicians, meeting the sadly entrenched gender imbalance issue head on.

Around the corner The Bees Mouth will host after-hours DJs and live poetry once the festival ends on the Friday and Saturday, and those still wanting more on the Sunday can enjoy a matinee screening of Shirley Clarke’s film tribute to the late Ornette Coleman.

The last few tickets are on sale now from the BAJF website.

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