During the heatwave that has hit the UK by storm, Love Supreme in plush, sunny Glynde, East Sussex turned into a hot supreme with incredible performances by the emerging jazz acts coming out of the UK, and also the weather, with some of the hottest temperatures of the year so far. Situated in Glynde Place, just outside of Lewes, the festival overlooks stunning scenery with trees and fields as far as the eye can see. This year’s event felt like it was taking place in a tropical climate rather than that of Sussex, with temperatures reaching 30c and little respite from clouds or shade.
The scorching weather coincided with soaring UK jazz acts with the likes of Alfa Mist, Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd Exodus and Ezra Collective attracting sizeable crowds and proving they have what it takes to compete with the headliners. Standout performances come from Nubya Garcia and Ezra Collective, the latter blending jazz, afrobeat, reggae and even hip-hop to create a powerful, colourful and immersive experience drawing a huge crowd with everyone on their feet grooving with the music. Secondly, tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia again brought a considerable crowd, and an impressive band, playing one of the more interesting sets of the afternoon with her neo-soul and afrobeat inspired jazz. Her band was really highlighted in the performance with standout performances from drummer Femi Koleoso and pianist Joe Armon-Jones who graced the stage with fantastic solos. Garcia, while slightly reserved in her solos, didn’t affect the ensemble’s performance, with the group sounding excellent.
Other noticeable performances came from Yazz Ahmed, a British Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player who’s blend of jazz and Arabic music was a unique experience. The use of xylophone, percussion, and theremin resulted in a performance one could only describe as hypnotic and left one feeling a million miles away from a field in the South of England.
With the unbelievable performances and stamina from the younger and full of energy UK jazz acts the headliners on both days felt slightly weak and underwhelming. Pharaoh Sanders on Saturday night deserved some slack as he approaches his 80s and hobbles around the stage in what feels like one of his last. When he did play he was fantastic to listen to, likewise with his band with a stellar performance on piano by William Henderson. However, due to his, understandably, hindered ability his performance did sadly feel a bit lost and tired. Similarly, Earth, Wind and Fire on Sunday didn’t have too much to offer past the fun zeitgeist tunes of ‘boogie wonderland’ and ‘September’. On before Earth, Wind and Fire came George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic with their overblown mess of rap and metal with awful sounding backing vocalists twerking around the stage.
Love Supreme is a truly lovely, and supreme festival with a lovely atmosphere and great diversity in acts. The festival is suited to all ages and anyone can take something away from this festival, even without being a jazz devotee. Reasonably priced and well located, next year is one not to be missed.
Find out more about Love Supreme here.