Now in its 38th Year, North Sea Jazz never fails to please and, this year, with Stevie Wonder and Pharrell Williams topping the bill, it was better than ever... It's a marvel of good organisation, as the sound is impeccable, everything starts on time, there's never really any crush and everyone's good natured.
It is here in Milan, far north in the Bel Paese [Italy, the "beautiful country"], that a cultural pragmatism has attracted those of a more refined musical streak. And it is at Biko, a club not far from the throng of the city centre, that Trio Valore has convened to play to a Milanese crowd intent on devouring live music as would they their mammas' pasta e fagioli. It's a crowd of stylists who want to dance, and they do.
Less Than Zero was written and performed by an unknown with the unlikely name of Elvis Costello. That someone should have the chutzpah to steal the name of the King of rock'n'roll seemed preposterous: Elvis Presley was still alive at the time. This, I told myself, had better be good! And it was just that.
When it comes to genre-bending music and the all-round experience of a musical rollercoaster, no album is truer to sticking to this notion than Fires In The Park by Benin City. Having talked about Benin City's previous single Accelerate, vibrancy, energy and eclectism are part and parcel of what this group brings to every song they do.