One of Britain’s biggest jazz stars will be appearing at this year’s festival. Ahead of his show on Sunday, Courtney Pine answered a few questions.
You’re probably the first true jazz artist to play the Colne R&B festival in its 23 year history. Does the idea of playing to a ‘non jazz’ crowd appeal?
I have always tried to bring jazz or improvised music to an audience that would not usually get to hear it. this has been my mission from day one to get jazz music to a wider audience.
Following on from that, do we put too much emphasis on musical genres and labels anyway?
This is the only way that this culture can maintan control of music by putting barriers or labels on a form of human expression. Jazz has no boundaries and musicians like myself strive to prove this point.
Can you put your finger on what jazz means to you?
it is the ultimate form of musical expression that we have on this planet. There is no other style of music that allows for this amount of freedom.
Who will be playing with you in Colne?
Fellow musicians who have worked with me for over 10 years with similar purpose of thought trying to get more people to experience improvised music: Drums - Robert Fordjour, double bass – Darren Taylor, guitar – Cameron Pierre, violin – Omar Puente.
What kind of set can we expect from you?
I don’t really know as i make my mind up whilst we are playing as to the direction of the music. I like to play some old shool music like drum and bass as well as be bop, afro beat and some Bob Marley.
You’re currently in the studio. Is there a new album in the offing? Can you tell us more about it?
It is called House of Legends and is based on legends from my Caribbean culture. The sound is very up beat people like Claudia Jones (founder of the Notting Hill Carnival) are highlighted with tracks dedicated to them. I hope it will be released in September.
You’re often seen as a role model to young musicians, is this something you consciously strive to be?
I had a hard time finding elders who would help me in my effort to play jazz but after a while a realized that I was looking in the wrong place. Older musicians from my culture who i had no idea were well versed in jazz started to point me in the right direction. Now that I am of an age I try to do what these great musicians did for me and simply share knowledge. This is a big part of being in jazz music.
Playing fantasy festivals for a moment. Which three artists/bands living or dead would you love to share a line-up with?
Radiohead, Mary J Blige, Bob Marley.
And finally, a word for anyone coming along to see you in Colne....
Expect the unexpected – it’s jazz but not as they know it!
- Courtney Pine plays the international stage on Sunday at 5pm