The Love Supreme Jazz Festival has always been about more than jazz.
I say ‘always’ – it’s actually only been going for three years. But, as the main 2016 line-up is announced (February 2016), the event is so well-established, it seems to have been around for ever.
More than jazz? Well, there’s the whole friendly atmosphere (which I reflected on after the first festival in 2013), excellent variety and quality of food and drink (if, inevitably, a bit pricey).
And the music is more than jazz too. Host radio station Jazz FM is branded as the home of “jazz, soul and blues”, and, of course, funk comes into that mix.
Traditionally (if something three years old can be traditional), the main stage at Love Supreme is home to the most commercial acts, and sometimes they’re the least ‘jazz’. A couple of years ago, there were hip-hoppers De La Soul and rockabillying Imelda May among them.
There’s also a tradition that the headline acts are fairly mature, as we noted with Chaka Khan and Van Morrison last year. Nothing wrong with that, and this year’s headliners are Grace Jones (who’ll be 68 then) and Burt Bacharach (who’ll be 88).
While Grace’s music includes R&B and disco (the closest relatives of soul and funk), Burt’s probably isn’t jazz or soul or blues or funk, but as a giant of popular (rather than ‘pop’) music composition, he and his singers and musicians will doubtless be as big a hit this summer as they were when Burt headlined Brecon Jazz in 2014.
Other names that have caught my eye in the initial line-up announcement include the supremely entertaining Anthony Strong (who set Brecon Jazz alight a few years ago), Average White Band, Caro Emerald, Kelis, Melody Gardot, DJ Gilles Peterson, and the return of Gogo Penguin.