Edinburgh Festivals 2011 : Jazz & Blues

Hello world. I thought I’d share my thoughts on the gigs I saw during the Jazz & Blues Festival. In general, I think the festival suffers from being too close to the almighty Fringe and International Festival. Tickets aren’t cheap, and while there are some good names, the line-up is never stunning (and by stunning, I mean something like the North Sea Jazz Festival… how did I miss that?!?).

Anyway, I managed to see three gigs. First up, Magnus Öström at the Lot (which is a lovely venue). As a huge EST fan, I was really looking forward to this gig. And while they didn’t quite match the magic of EST, they certainly disappoint. Overall the sound was a little more rock/fusion/electronic than EST. Can’t think of much else to say right now. I have lots of thoughts, and am trying to edit them down into a “why I like jazz” essay to post sometime. But writing isn’t my strong point. Anyway, good gig, and I appreciated that they avoided taking the obvious musical route. Not easy listening , but thought provoking.

Which is probably the opposite of Niki King and the Elements. Even though it was a set of original material, there was nothing new in it.  I think I would have prefered a set of Motown covers, etc. And while the drummer was very good, more than one drum solo is probably overkill. And I kept wanting the bassist to launch into some Tower of Power style licks. But that’s probably just me.

And finally, there was the Hidden Orchestra & Red Snapper. The Hidden Orchestra were OK (which, probably makes them my second favourite local band!). I’d probably even call them “good” if I wasn’t a little jealous of them all! Still, a little too post-rock for me. None of their tracks capture my imagine and make me grin like an idiot. Worth keeping an eye on though, as they’re signed to Tru-Thoughts (one of the best UK labels) and will no doubt go from strength to strength. Red Snapper made me grin like an idiot though.

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