Swingin’ Groningen day 2

The 19th edition of Swingin’ Groningen is held this year. Quite impressive considering the 5 years the festival was on hold. It got a ‘reboot’ last year and thankfully they’re back to stay so this year Groningen was swinging again for a good three days.

Next to the bar- and clubtour with concerts all over Groningen, there are also 4 open air stages and that’s where I was at. Running from location to location to catch the most I could. I’m afraid I missed the first two acts (Viktorija Piltovic and the Kehrwieder Young European Jazz Lab) but was in time to see Kris Berry.

I saw Kris Berry not too long ago as an opening act to Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and was hoping to see her do a full show on her own so finding her name on the Swingin’ Groningen list was a great find.The band played a great set. A bit of a vintage feel with a lovely mix of Caribbean sounds, a bit of Latin and a touch of jazz. A great start of the evening and I can’t wait till the next gig.


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On the Grote Markt stage Dr. Lonnie Smith played a funk/jazz gig on Hammond, backed by the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw. It was fantastic! My only regret was not being able to get a better angle of sight of Lonnie Smith, would have loved to get a close portrait shot of the man.


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However I didn’t have time to watch the whole gig as there were three gigs about to start and I wanted to see them all. First I rushed to see trumpet player Rob van de Wouw at the Poeleplein stage. An incredible gig of very modern jazz, mixed with a lot of electronics, organ, drums and bass. Loved that sound.


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But as I said I was a bit busy so I rushed to the Waagplein stage to see Randy Brecker (of Brecker Brothers fame, amongst others). A fantastic trumpet-player, playing with Mike del Ferro this night (Randy would also be playing on Saturday). Interesting compositions, a great groove and again a fantastic concert.


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Eventually I tore myself away from Randy’s gig and headed back to the Ellebogen stage to see Electric Barbarian. Every square inch of the stage was filled. A 4 piece string section, trumpet player (lot’s of trumpets tonight), bass, drum and a turntable. Loved the mix of instruments, the beats, funk and grooving sound. Coming from Groningen they did their city proud.


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However I had to get back to the stage at the Grote Markt for the last gig there: Chef’Special, the band that of all the band will be best known by most of the younger audience. Mixing ska, reggae, funk, pop and rock to a grooving rhythm they easily won over the whole audience that was singing, jumping and swinging all over the Grote Markt. A fantastic way to end the second night.


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Alas, I didn’t see any of the following acts. Had a busy week and on Saturday the third evening of Swingin’ Groningen was to begin and I had to get some sleep. From what I heard the Hackney Colliery Band gave a terrific performance, I’ll catch them next time around.