With a busy week I wasn’t able to do both Friday and Saturday of the Swingin’ Groningen festival, however I was by no way going to miss the whole festival and Saturday had some great names on the schedule. So after finishing my work on the Static Roots Festival, doing a ride on the Bianchi and fixing evening-dinner, I hopped in my car and drove to Groningen for more music!
And I arrived just in time to see Elektra with renowned Michael Varekamp on trumpet. The description in Swingin’ Groningen’s website only mentioned Michael, who’s worked with Jazzmobile Inc. from New York, did shows focussing on Miles Davis and is well known all over Europe and Japan, however there’s a whole band playing -Elektra- with Michael and it sounds great. No typical song-structures (Jazz isn’t known for the pop-song structure of course) but electrical soundscapes that flow from one groove to another, but it never gets too weird and is well accessible.
I move over to the next stage only to see Reckless Jones end their set. The band is formed around Alaskan born/Groningen resident Tollak Ollestad. It sounds like groovy blues, but I haven’t been able to see enough to really say much about it. However when I arrived there were a lot of people dancing there so it probably was pretty good :)
The stage is cleared and the next band is setting up. As at the moment there’s not much to see on the other stages, I hang around and wait for the next act. And that’s a band from Assen. I’ve seen Loop Alley once before in Vanslag, that was well over a year ago. Loop Alley is a very different kind of music: New Wave with House in the mix. Not the first act you’d expect on a Jazz-festival, but as festivals are getting more diverse and Loop Alley swings and is highly dance-able, it’s a terrific addition to the festival.
However the last act of the evening is the one that I really, really wanted to see. I’ve missed so many opportunities already that I wasn’t going to miss another one. Michelle David & The Gospel Sessions was the show I wanted to see! Michelle is from New York, brought up in a Gospel church and has been involved in many gospel-productions and eventually ended up in the Netherlands. Although she’d kind of had it singing Gospel, guitarists Onno Smit and Paul Willemsen (of Beans & Fatback and Lefties Soul Connection) got her back in. The link was already there as Michelle also sings with Lefties Soul Connection and the result is quite simply awesome. There are two albums out with a fantastic set of songs, I only hadn’t seen it live yet.
The band was awesome! Onno and Paul are a terrific duo on guitars, putting a bit of bluesy sleaze and grease in the gospel. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the drummer, but the whole band shone and Michelle in the midst was a class apart! Superb voice and swinging all over the stage, drawing the audience in that was singing and dancing! My first visit to the gospel, hopefully not my last!