It doesn’t do exactly what it says on the tin: Copenhagen Jazz Festival might need a new moniker if it goes on diversifying at this rate.
If you want to see 1150 jazz greats here, of course you can. Sonny Rollins, Charles Lloyd, Andrew Cyrille and Bobby Ferrin are just some of the big name highlights at this, the 33rd edition of one of the world’s premier jazz festivals. But with over 1000 concerts on the books, organisers are now looking to push into new territories; essentially creating a festival which will have Wire readers and fans of avant-garde sounds going weak at the knees.
Which is why DJ Krush finds himself headlining the sumptuous sixties surroundings of Vega, one of Copenhagen’s foremost nightspots. The Japanese spinner lovingly wipes each twelve with a rag before placing it on the platter: a little gesture perhaps, yet one which says a lot about his attitude to crate-digging and his love for vinyl. After a crunching set bouncing between hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass and off-kilter electronics, he gets his biggest roar of approval by paying homage to fellow Mowax kid DJ Shadow by playing a sliced and diced rearrangement of Josh Davis’ classic track Organ Donor.
Over in the courtyard at Charlottenborg Palace, the home of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, two bands impress. Papir are a Danish trio who look like they spend all day at the skate park, but in reality are probably at home listening to Can records instead. Their barnstorming al fresco set veers between driving prog, Led Zeppelin-style wig-outs and slow-build rumblers reminiscent of Mogwai. No song seems shorter than ten minutes but each is a sonic journey that’s worth buying a ticket for.
Sharing the Charlottenborg stage with them are Grammofunch – who get their name from founders Jeppe Gram and Rune Funch, but appear on stage as a fivesome. Their winsome folk-tinged indie features delicate vocals, dreamy soundscapes and just a touch of the twee that marks out Danish music from afar. Their set is breezy and highly enjoyable.
In a city where the arts are integral to everyday life – and almost everywhere can become a fantastic venue – the final part of our odyssey takes us to the National Gallery of Denmark’s modernist rear foyer – where Anderskov Accident turn in a thrilling performance. With their post-rock aesthetic and willingness to chop and change time signatures at the drop of a hat, this troupe push the envelope. And yet, there is a plan. Jacob Anderskov’s piano-playing, when it duels with double bass, drums and trumpet, makes you think of The Rachels at their peculiarly beguiling best. Tom Rainey’s guest drumming thrills too.
A wonderfully engaging and progressive festival in Scandinavia’s greatest (and most fun) city.