It’s the 20th Anniversary of Swingin’ Groningen this year and that has to be celebrated! The festival was rebooted 3 years ago after having been on hiatus for a couple of years and -after a modest start- is starting to really grow again. Mixing wel known names with new talent is showing to be a good success. June 13th was the opening evening of the festival.
Unfortunately I missed the first two contestants of the “North European Jazz Talent”. A total of 6 musicians played two or three compositions each, backed by a musicians/teachers of the Groningen Prins Claus Conservatory after which a jury selected a winner. The audience also choose a winner for the “Sai & Schut” prize. Eventually both prizes went to bass-clarinet player Ziv Taubenfeld who played a very impressive Charles Mingus song and appeared -from the four acts I saw- most relaxed on stage.
After this a three hour concert was set at the main stage: the 20th Anniversary Tribute Band. I was not able to see the whole thing as at the same time in the Vera venue Mattanja Jow Bradley and The New Shining had a concert going (see previous blog). So I first went to the Vera venue but arrived in time to see most of the last hour of the gig and that was steaming! The Tribute Band is a special occasion band for this event and is lead by Benjamin Herman, probably best known for his work with New Cool Collective.
For this gig he assembled a fantastic band: Mark Schilders on drums, Rory Ronde on guitar and Carlo de Wij on Hammond and as guests he had Nippy Noya on percussion, Tineke Postma on saxophone, Timo Lassy on alt0sax and flute, Ruben Hein on vocals and keys and Izaline Calister on vocals.
As said I unfortunately missed most of the concert but I was very happy to at least catch the last part of the gig, stepping in as Tineke was tearing it up on sax and a few songs later Ruben Hein got back on stage playing a set of fantastic Ray Charles songs. And as much as I am a fan of Anton Goudsmit in New Cool Collective the combination of Rory Ronde on guitar with Benjamin Herman is just amazingly good! A fantastic opening of the festival!