Monday, 8 August 2011
Burton Agnes Jazz Festival
I spent the weekend at the Burton Agnes Jazz festival. Burton Agnes is a Yorkshire village centred on an 800-year-old stately home, which is currently kept in very good shape by the current owners. It has some beautiful gardens, a vegetable patch in a walled garden that would put any allotment to shame, ornamental ponds, a maze and woodland walk, and a jazz festival. What more could you want? Well, good weather I guess. However, because it was raining a lot of the time I spent an hour in the main house looking at the paintings. Well worth a trip just for that. A very good collection of impressionists in a beautiful setting.
The sun did shine, some of the time, but it also rained a lot of the time. Fortunately, the stage was well protected and there was a big beer tent and tea tent, which between them were able to keep the crowd dry.
The big attraction, from my point of view was Saffron Byass, my son in law’s sister; I presume that makes her a relative of some sort. Short clip filmed with my Iphone attached.
There were a number of other acts including Jaqui Dankworth, though I thought her set was more suited to an intimate nightclub rather than a large well-groomed field with echoes off the stately home in the background. There were rather loud acts towards midnight that sounded quite good from 300 yards away inside my campervan.
One thing I did find interesting was that almost every act had guitars in their line up. My memories of jazz go back to the early sixties when Chris Barber and Acker Bilk were regulars around Bristol and I once saw Miles Davis. Actually, Miles Davis was utterly brilliant. He had Himself on trumpet, Sonny Stitt on clarinet and alto sax, Paul Chambers on double base and Jimmy Cobb on drums and I think, Wynton Kelly on piano. It was probably the best concert I’ve ever been to so it’s hardly fair to compare anyone with that. My point is that there was never a guitar in sight. In the two days I was at Burton Agnes, I didn’t hear one trombone, trumpet or clarinet. OK so I missed some acts, but it must be some measure of the way that the electric guitar has developed that it can now fill the space left by almost any other instrument.