Swanage Jazz Festival, held from 7-9 July 2023, attracted a variety of talented musicians and delighted audiences with its eclectic lineup. The event, now in its 32nd edition, showcased a mix of home-based ensembles and exciting performances, all while being set against the beautiful backdrop of the Dorset coast.
The festival, which features a volunteer-run organization, saw an expanded program this year, with performances taking place across four venues simultaneously. From soul-jazz to European quartets and traditional jazz, the festival offered a chance for both well-established and emerging musicians to shine.
Some notable acts included Alan Barnes’ festival-opening set, where his alto saxophone brought Art Pepper’s Straight Life to life. Other highlights included the Thokozile Collective, led by guitarist Dan Somogyi, and Rebecca Nash’s Redefining Element 78 suite, which captivated the audience with its evolving sound.
In addition, the Perfect Houseplants, a Brit-jazz supergroup, reunited for two sets, hinting at the possibility of a future recording. Misha Mullov-Abbado’s sextet also impressed, with saxophonist Alex Hitchcock enhancing the leader’s compositions.
For those looking for more traditional jazz, Chris Hodgkins led a ten-piece band, paying tribute to Humphrey Lyttelton with new arrangements of Lyttelton/Buck Clayton pieces.
Swanage Jazz Festival 2023 proved to be a successful event, as musicians and audiences alike enjoyed the variety of performances and the picturesque setting. With an impressive lineup and a strong sense of community, the festival showed that it continues to be a significant event in the jazz scene.
For more information on the Swanage Jazz Festival, visit their website.