On this very rainy Saturday in November, I ended up at the Rockit Festival at Groningen’s Oosterpoort. The first performance this day came from alto and baritone saxophonist Linda Fredriksson’s surprisingly subtle-sounding Finnish quartet making music based on natural sounds. I hadn’t expected intimate chamber jazz in a hall where people were not able to sit down.
Composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Dominic Canning’s London-based project DoomCannon certainly made more noise. The talented British musicians heated up the Endeavor hall nicely.
The American duo Domi and JD Beck evoked some question marks here and there at this festival a year ago. This time the magnificent Metropole Orchestra under the inspiring direction of Jules Buckley gave more structure and color to their pieces. Conclusion: don’t underestimate these musicians.
Yuri Honing had made a few changes to his Peace Orchestra due to circumstances. Bassist Glenn Gaddum participated for the first time (and, according to the bandleader, certainly not for the last). Honing gave his fellow musicians all the space they needed to excel, which they made grateful use of.
Drummer Sun-mi Hong’s group was one of the few acts that managed to really quiet the audience at the Oosterpoort. The Sun-mi Hong Quartet played a beautiful set in which musical sophistication and pure joy of playing went hand in hand.
Cécile McLorin Salvant and her versatile band put on an overwhelming performance that blended French chansons, Kurt Weill-like vaudeville repertoire and jazz improvisations. With her dry humour and engaging personality, she conquered the Challenger Hall, which was filled to the brim.
Marcus Miller opened powerfully with his groovy bass-dominated funk riffs. In ‘Mr. Pastorius’, he linked the two jazz greats Jaco Pastorius and Miles Davis. The Marcus Miller band built the tune, which he recorded with Davis for his album Amandla (1989), into a melancholy blues you hoped would never end.
Most pictures by myself, pictures of Cécile McLorin Salvant, Sun-mi Hong Quartet and Domi & JD Beck by Niels Knelis