Above: Hugh Masekela plays at the festival
The annual Love Supreme Jazz Festival came back to Glynde Place in East Sussex from 3rd-5th July 2015. These three days were jam packed with exciting acts and good vibes, celebrating the art of Jazz.
With sunny weather accompanying the energetic ambience, the event had four entertaining stages: The Main Stage, Big Top, The Arena and The BandStand. This ensured that there would always be music playing throughout the day. There were also a variety of stands selling food from different cultures such as Mexican, Caribbean, Chinese, Spanish, the list goes on. Furthermore, shops were selling vinyl records, jewelry, books, clothes and more – all correlating to the theme of jazz.
This year’s line-up included many well-known and respected artists such as Chaka Khan, Van Morrison, Larry Graham, Dianne Reeves, Hugh Masekela and many more.
One of the first acts to perform on Saturday was British soul singer, Omar. Accompanied by his live band, he brought a lively performance to the main stage, as a range of sounds were embodied in his set. This included Reggae, Blues, Soul, Jazz and more. Demonstrating his competence and high ranged vocals, Omar sung some of his hit songs such as There’s Nothing Like This, as well as cover songs like Everybody Loves The Sunshine by Roy Ayers.
Later on in the day, one of the most well respected musicians in Funk, Larry Graham and The Graham Central Station (above), dramatically raised the audience’s energy levels through their liberating performance. Entering the stage with their white and blue silk uniforms, they were ready to meet the audience’s high expectations- and they surely did! Embedding a range of sounds into their set, but primarily leading with Funk, they compelled the crowd to dance along, creating a captivating ambience. Halfway through the set, Larry asked each of his band members who musically inspires them. Answers to this question included James Brown, Teena Marie, Miles Davis, Ohio Players and more. Once each person had stated their musical inspiration, the band collectively performed a cover song of every artist mentioned, hyping the crowd even further. Once Larry had finished his set, we were left feeling refreshed and eager for more!
On the Big Top stage, Dianne Reeves performed a chilled, yet effective set. With a fusion of soothing sounds assisted by her angelic voice, an ethereal setting was created. The audience swayed along to the tuneful melodies, engaging with the cool vibe. Reeves performed some of her hit songs such as Better Days, coaxing the audience to sing along.
Later in the evening, the headline act of the day graced the stage. Being the last act to perform on the main stage and entering with a sparkling black dress, the audience roared with excitement to see Chaka Khan (below) in the flesh. With a special 1hr30min slot, Chaka performed some of her well known songs such as I’m Every Woman, Ain’t Nobody and I Feel For You. As the set progressed, the sky darkened and the stage shone brightly, focusing all attention on the Queen of Funk. Mesmerizing the crowd with her powerful vocals, she proved that she is still competent in her craft. As her live band played a range of spunky sounds, the audience kept moving on their feet until the end of the energetic set. It was a great way to end the evening.
On the final day of the festival, the Australian neo-soul group, Hiatus Kaiyote, was one of the many acts in the line-up. Performing on the main stage, the band performed songs off their newly released album ‘Choose Your Weapon’. Known for blending a variety of genres into their music, the collective crossed sounds of Soul, Rock, Jazz, and R&B into their set, whilst front-woman of the group, Nai Palm, sang relieving vocals . Before performing some of their songs, Palm explained what each one was inspired by. Their track Shaolin Monk Motherfunk was inspired by Kung Fu movies!
On the Big Top stage, the South African musician Hugh Masekela who used his music as a form of protest against Apartheid, performed an authentic set and demonstrated his various skills as a trumpeter, vocalist and more. Embedding African culture into his music, the crowd danced along to the ocean of sounds played, creating a festive scene.
Sunday’s headline act, Van Morrison, brought joy to the audience as he took the stage. Playing the piano and the harmonica, as well as singing some of his well-known songs such as Days Like This and Brown Eyed Girl, everyone sung along, dwelling in the loving atmosphere.
Overall, this event had a jovial and friendly environment. It consisted of a range of insanely talented artists and the music played added to the benevolent climate. I would urge all jazz, soul and funk lovers to attend the Love Supreme Jazz Festival at some point in their life. I promise you- you will not regret it!
By Maxine Harrison