Founders of the Average White Band may have provided the big headline act on the final night, but Swansea Jazz Festival 2016 was far from average.
The event’s third edition was widely regarded as its biggest and best yet – again organised by Swansea Jazzland’s Dave Cottle at venues in and around the city’s attractive waterfront.
In all, there were some 50 acts performing over three days, and I was lucky enough to catch two of the biggest – Darius Brubeck Quartet on Saturday; and 360, a new nine-piece jazz-funk ensemble formed by Average White Band stalwarts, singer-guitarist, Hamish Stuart (pictured), saxophonist Molly Duncan, and drummer Steve Ferrone (though replaced by Ian Thomas for this performance).
A packed Dylan Thomas Theatre enjoyed such AWB classics as Feel No Fret, Person to Person, and A Love Of Your Own, as well as some exciting new material, to round off the weekend late (later than scheduled due a delayed start) on the Sunday night.
The previous evening, Darius Brubeck and his band performed some of the numbers his father, Dave, had made famous in the ’50s and ’60s; and treated us to some of his own compositions and a couple of well-known standards too.
In fact, the festival had something of a second-generation feel about it. As well as Darius (son of Dave) Brubeck, there was Keith (son of Kenny) Ball and his Jazzmen, and Alec (son of Johnny) Dankworth’s Spanish Accents.
So, what about next year? Dave Cottle says he is happy with the venues (me too after I realised the Dylan Thomas Centre, surprisingly empty 10 minutes before scheduled show time, is not the same as the Dylan Thomas Theatre!) and planning something similar, or possibly even bigger for 2017. Definitely better than average.