OK so last weekend I gave a nod to the festival season by attending the Love Supreme Festival, a jazz, soul, funk affair presumably named after John Coltrane’s fearless 1965 album, at Glynde Place, near Lewes in East Sussex.
Walking in you were immediately enveloped with that festival smell of wood smoke, cooking foods and the odd whiff of cannabis. The weather was about as hot as it could get. We arrived in time to catch the first band- the James Taylor Quartet, the British jazz funk band celebrated for their live performances. And they didn’t disappoint, working the crowd with a school teacher bossiness that got us all counting them in in different languages and singing the lyrics to the ‘wrapping up’ encore. It was a perfect main stage first act that got everyone in the festival mood.
Later on I was Introduced to Curtis Harding, an American singer-songwriter and instantly fell in love with him and his music. He was a dude on stage in white shirt, jeans and sunglasses. His music is soul mixed in with blues and rock, a hint of gospel and a whole lot of sixties psychedelia. After recovering from the excesses of sun and drink the next morning I immediately downloaded his albums and vowed to catch him on tour.
Mavis Staples came next and I think the Guardians review about sums her act up:
‘Sunday’s soulful grand dame’ whose ‘blowtorch yowl puts the headliners to shame… she delivers gusts of gospel from the Windy City of Chicago, which helped to shape the civil-rights movement. “I’m still here, I’m a living witness,” ‘
She was good, but I wasn’t convinced how much that message went down in the Deep South of England.
Another hit for me was George Clinton Parliament- Funkadelic. They were fabulous fun with their psychedelic culture and outlandish fashion- lots of barely dressed girls and George himself in an amazing multi- coloured Kaftan. It was just so many people having a party on stage. I wanted to leap up and join in the fun but had to be content with jigging in the crowd. Again the Guardian summed this act up for me:
‘…the brilliantly misfired mess of nu-metal and backing singers in underwear that was George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic…’ .
Other acts included Tom Misch, who had the early evening slot. His soulful, smooth smoky Parisian jazz was perfect for a still very warm evening before the sun started to go down. While Stevie Winwood proved that he had still well and truly got it, perhaps even more so than before. His voice was still strong and clear with all his old favourites.
Then for the main stage headliners Earth Wind and F ire. They’re still funky, but I got a bit bored. I have been listening to them for over 30 years and they fail to drum up any of the excitement for me that the newer acts did. I regrettably ducked out of the Craig Charles set in theMain Tent, in favour of catching a not too late train home. Besides, the effects of the sun and cider were starting to take there toll and I was all danced out!