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Montreux Jazz Festival has a special place among all jazz festivals. Throughout the 51 years of its existence it's gathered an impressive collection of great names from the history of music. From jazz giants sich as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Count Basie and many more, to rock legends Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Deep Purple and many others – have all played here. This year the three main stages hosted 105 concerts across different genres: Auditorium Stravinsky presented pop, jazz and world music, Montreux Jazz Club focused primarily on Jazz, and Montreux Jazz Lab – on different experiments with electronic music.

For two weeks this small beautiful city on lake Geneva transformed into a firework display of sound, rhythm and musical styles. Music was everywhere: musicians and entertainers performed on the streets, waiters sung and tap danced, the free program presented in the park and in the clubs gathered excited crowds.

The festival comprised not only the concerts in the three main venues, but also various workshops, talks and competitions. One of the workshops is going to have a great impact on all jazz lovers around the world. The main guest of the workshop was Quincy Jones (below) who is connected to the festival since 1991. He and TV producer Reza Ackbaraly announced the first ever subscription video-on-demand platform named Qwest TV. The purpose of this new project that launches this autumn is to introduce jazz to new generations.

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Jazz train gathered music lovers several times during the festival and carried them up to the mountains treating them to the sounds of New Orleans style bands. Jazz boat was another great addition of the festival. It provided the opportunity to see the beautiful city of Montreux from a different point of view.

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There were many great concerts during Montreux Jazz Festival this year but the most unusual and unexpected one for me was the Surprise concert created by Quincy Jones, Jacob Collier and Jonah Nilsson (below). Starting at 1.30am and finisishing at 4am, it was perhaps the latest jazz gig I've ever watched. The excited audience enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of this gig and the way young musicians improvised and easily supported each other, inventing and developing musical themes.

I must confess that at first I was rather surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of pop music at major jazz festival. However, strolling past the statues of legendary musicians of the past lined up neatly on the embankment, it struck me that this is in fact the essence of the sprit of this charming vibrant city. Various musical genres coexist well here, each style of music finds its own audience and together they create one great festival of music!

Although I only had the pleasure of joining for seven out of 16 days, and many fabulous gigs were missed, I hope that my small photo gallery will help you to immerse yourself into the atmosphere of the marvelous Montreux Jazz Festival 2017.

– Tatiana Gorilovsky (story and photos)

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Tuesday night in Istanbul, and Korhan Futaci's lyrics are being roared back at him like this is Casablanca, and they're 'Le Marseillaise'. Though there's no overt political message (I'm told one lyric is about this life's unavoidable tears, and the salve of the afterlife to come – more gospel than rebel rock in sentiment), Futaci's Kara Orchestra play ritual, Near Eastern jazz-rock with an unmistakable underground edge. They fade in and out of focus in a dislocating, mantric haze, Futaci's tenor sax facing off with Bariş Ertürk's baritone, as psychedelia, muscular free jazz and obscure invocations pass through local, ancient filters. What's happening feels committed, rooted and urgent. In nearly a week in Turkey's vast capital, nothing quite matches it.

Istanbul Jazz Festival includes a strong international line-up (Antonio Sanchez, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Donny McCaslin (top), Joshua Redman, Christian McBride and Roberto Fonseca among them). My stay, though, is based around ViTRin, its Turkish new music showcase. In a former shoe factory's gardens on the Bosphorus's banks, MadenÖktemErsönmez further update the legend of Turkey's 1970s underground rock. Playing in front of dark stripes of scaffolding resembling a Tudor house in the moonlight, guitarist Sarp Maden sparks feedback from a fast, bucking solo. The bright laser buzz of his instrument has a vintage science-fiction sheen, amidst a simmer of rattling beats, finger-popping bass funk and spectral atmospherics. Someone approvingly mentions Can. Before them, Miles Mosley & The West Coast Get Down (below) brew up a quiet storm with Hendrix's 'If 6 Was 9'.

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Then there's Junun (below), who on their self-titled album were a collaboration between Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, Israeli singer-guitarist-flautist Shye Ben Tzur and India's Rajasthan Express. Greenwood's back at his day-job, but Ben Tzur is this heavy, highly danceable Qawwali trance and swing's guiding force. With a band drawn from Tel Aviv and a Sufi Muslim saint's shrine, and Ben Tzur's composition of devotional Qawwalis in Hebrew, when he thanks God, he is melting religious divides. Such projects can sound trite, but this music's potent existence moves me to tears. It's the philosophy behind Istanbul's grand Hagia Sophia museum, with its exposed layers of Christian, Muslim and secular history, of Byzantium and Constantinople.

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Crossing the Bosphorus to its Asian side's bohemian Moda neighbourhood for a multi-venue 'Night Out', Gevende are the highlight, influenced by Radiohead, but as individual as their lyrics' polyglot, imaginary language. A bereft trumpet intertwines with rippling guitar on a softly crooned ballad. Finally, jagged wah-wah guitar is displaced by Bootsy Collins rubber-band bass, and Miles electric funk. Turkish indie-rock in theory, Gevende are on their own trip. Though my chosen musical route-march misses them, colleagues also enjoy Kolektif Istanbul's "progressive wedding music", a Balkan-Anatolian blend suiting this crossroads city.

At a concert down amidst the millennia-smoothed Byzantine columns and fearfully inverted Medusa heads of Yerebatan Cistern, Özer Arkun's cello and Fatih Ahiskali's oud duet with a melancholy familiar from here to Europe's old gypsy and Jewish ghettos. At the French Consulate's Palais de France gardens, meanwhile, pianist Can Çankaya and bassist Kağan Yildiz play stately hard bop in the early moonlight, harmonising for a moment with a nearby call to prayer. Unremarkable in style, they feel cleansing tonight. The straight Turkish jazz I hear is often disappointing, trying hybrids which just miss the mark (though I'd like to have heard more of the acoustic, Anatolian Bilal Karaman Trio). A panel of local music business veterans speaks realistically of hard times, greeted by knowing gallows humour from the audience.

Looking out at the Bosphorus one night, I run into a musician who mentions the frustrations of being an artist here, unable to say what he'd like. The situation with President Erdogan is otherwise left implicit, and never volunteered (though a massive, defiant protest march reaches Istanbul from Ankara as I leave). This oppression at the city's edges is something I considered before travelling, but I'm profoundly glad I came. Istanbul makes London look small and young, and offered the nuances of cosmopolitan conversation, human generosity and sometimes subtly brave, enlivening music. People are bigger than their governments.

Nick Hasted
– Photos by Mahmut Ceylan and Faith Kucuk

Umbria Jazz is one of the largest festivals in Italy attracting visitors from all over the world for its 10-day programme. Tens of thousands flock daily to the hilltop town of Perugia for a feast of music that lasts from midday until the wee small hours of the morning. The main event happens in the Arena Santa Giuliana, a large 4,000 capacity stadium and also at the beautiful Teatro Morlacchi in the centre of the old town. The theatre shows are at 5pm and midnight and it is at these that the real magic of Umbria Jazz happens.

Carlo Pagnotta, the founder and artistic director of Umbria Jazz, is a lover of piano jazz – for him the more the better. So this year he programed a wide range of it from leading players in a series of duos such as Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda, Stefano Bollani & Egberto Gismonti, Chucho Valdes & Gonzalo Rubalcaba (below) and a brilliant concert featuring two pianos and five pianists with Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green, Eric Reed and Dado Moroni all playing Monk classics. The pianists played solo or in duos, sometimes swapping over half way through a tune, for a really memorable experience that gave a new slant on familiar material.

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Umbria strives to remain a 'jazz' festival but has always included pop and rock artists (to help pay for some of the free music that fills the streets during festival time), and this year the electronic pioneers Kraftwerk (below) brought their 3D audio-visual show, and Brian Wilson appeared play his classic 'Pet Sounds' repertoire.

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Both were well attended – Kraftwerk were extremely slick although typically a little mechanical – and musically not the most challenging but visually stunning. Brian Wilson (with Al Jardine from the original Beach Boys Band) was a mixed bag – Wilson himself obviously not in his prime, but Jardine still carried off the songs from 50 years ago (and more), with the band, including Jardine's son, fabulous as they ran through a non-stop stream of classic hits.

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The UK was well represented by Jamie Cullum (above, in the arena) and Jacob Collier (below, in the theatre). Cullum's show (one of the better attended in the arena) went down a storm – his boundless energy and enthusiasm keeping the crowd on their feet singing and dancing till way past midnight, he was brought back for encore after encore.

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Jacob Collier (who also played her last year) has grown in stature and stage craft very quickly – his show last year was over-sold leaving fans standing outside the theatre waiting for returns – but this year in the larger theatre everyone got in. The packed auditorium was full to the roof and Collier did not disappoint – his manic style and audience sing-along's left him and the crowd ecstatic but exhausted at around 2am.

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There was also a 12noon series of very interesting concerts in the National Museum of Umbria. Steve Wilson and Lewis Nash played three times – their show billed as a 'Duologue' and that it was – the brilliant understanding and connection between them creating some wonderful moments. Similarly, the duos between Emile Parisien/Vincent Peirani and Gabriele Mirabassi/Roberto Taufic were terrific. But the best was saved for last with the Linda Oh Quartet (above), who played on the last day. Bassist Oh is best known for her role in the Dave Douglas Quintet (and for her stellar work with Pat Metheny's acoustic quartet) is a great composer and her band featuring Ben Wendel (tenor saxophone) Matthew Stevens (guitar) and Rudy Royston (drums) create wonderful soundscapes, with Wendel the stand-out soloist.

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Other highlights from this year's festival were the Tomasz Stańko Quintet with Enrico Rava (above), two masters who play so well together; a great gig from Riccardo Fassi with his Taniko band featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock, playing the music of Frank Zappa. Wayne Shorter played two sets in the arena – one with his quartet (Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade) and then with the Orchestra da Camera di Perugia conducted by Clark Rundell – the first half vintage Shorter but the second rather long and meandering with the orchestra overpowering.

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Ladies night featured Dee Dee Bridgewater (above) doing her Memphis album with an opening set from Ladies! featuring Renee Rosnes (piano), Anat Cohen (clarinet) Melisa Aldana (sax), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Noriko Ueda (bass), Allison Miller (drums) and Cécile McLorin Salvant on vocals (pictured below). It was this band that that stole the night. McLorin Salvant is emerging as one of the best female vocalists around. Her range and tone are superb and she's certainly on course to become one of the jazz greats.

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Umbria is a big festival and Perugia itself a wonderful city to host such a prestigious event, however numbers at the arena shows this year were thin to say the least (especially the pure jazz nights). The main arena now seems to be too big for the size of audience the artists are attracting and an alternative slightly smaller one is going to be difficult to find. It begs the question that without a radical change in the way either the festival is financed (with more input from the sponsors) or in the way that the festival is produced (a dilution of jazz and more pop and rock acts) that the long-term future of this great festival in its present form is unsure.

– Story and Photos by Tim Dickeson

The autumn line-up of the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room Late Night Jazz series has been announced and includes a brace of rising jazz stars among the highlights. Kicking things off on 28 September is Quincy Jones' mentored drummer Ollie Howell with music from his richly melodic second album, Self Identity, with his band featuring trumpeter Henry Spencer and saxophonist Duncan Eagles.

Further stand-out gigs include trumpeter Yazz Ahmed who made a dramatic this year return with her widely praised album La Saboteuse, but here will make a rare appearance with her Electric Dreams Quartet – specially convened for this performance – featuring vocal sculptor Jason Singh, drummer Rod Youngs and Swedish guitarist Samuel Hällkvist on 12 October, while in-demand bassist and emergent solo artist Daniel Casimir plays music from his debut album Escapee on 15 November.

The eclectic programme also includes top Gambian kora master Jally Kebba Susso (5 Oct), Afrobeat-inspired jazzers Kokoroko (26 Oct); the dazzling Michelle Drees Jazz Tap Project (part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, 14 Nov); legendary British beat poet Michael Horovitz and his William Blake Klezmatrix Band (16 Nov); the Blues & Roots Ensemble and their tribute to the Music of Charles Mingus (23 Nov) and a final seasonal offering from the Chris Ingham Quartet with singer Joanna Eden and their Jazz At The Movies: A Swinging Christmas! (14 Dec). Jazzwise is media partner for this concert series.

– Mike Flynn

For full listings and tickets visit www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/series/late-night-jazz/

A prime slice of 1970s jazz funk from the Dave Gold Big Band is set to be issued in the form of Heaven On Their Minds, in a lovingly packaged and remastered 180gram LP released on 25 August via My Only Desire records.

Weston-Super-Mare-born Gold, the son of the Dixieland jazz saxophonist and bandleader Harry Gold, gained fame through his numerous jazz library compositions, contributing tracks to eight albums on KPM Music's cult '1000' series of library music between 1968 and 1977, as well as to 13 LPs on the equally popular Bruton Music library label from 1979 to 1983. Recorded in 1974 for the BBC Radio 2 show Jazz Club, Gold and co. kick out some serious big band jams on Heaven On Their Minds, adding electric piano and bass guitar to rip through rock and funk-tinged takes on the classic big band sound. The line-up includes the likes of saxophonist Ronnie Ross, trombonist Chris Pyne and Dankworth Big Band drummer Harold Fisher, plus many stalwarts of the library music scene, including bassist Les Hurdle and pianist Cliff Hall.

Remastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery, this release is in a strictly limited one-off pressing of 500 copies on heavyweight vinyl, and comes housed in a sturdy, vibrantly decorated sleeve, with extensive album notes by Jazzwise/The Wire scribe, Daniel Spicer. The 26-minute running time, with two tracks per-side, has ensured the pressing is loud and detailed and also comes with a digital download code for listening on the move.

– Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.myonlydesirerecords.com - and exclusively listen and pre-order the album below:

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