Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Filling the vicarious trophy shelf

I guess I just have really consensual tastes, since two of my very favourite "young, discovered in 2003" bands have just won important awards.

On August 5th, the Pascal Schumacher Quartet did swept up both the Jury and Audience prizes at the prestigious Tremplin Jazz du Festival d'Avignon.

The latter prize netted them the opening slot for the following day's concert, the former is rewarded with two days at the top-notch La Buissonne studios and the opening slot for the headlining concert at next year's festival.

It's all the more remarkable for two reasons. First, they were playing with a substitute bassist. The regular bassist, Christophe Devisscher just *had* to go and fall in love at first sight on the group's highly successful recent Australian tour, and he just *had* to rush back there to get married. She's a singer, apparently, and will be singing with the PSQ later this year. Keep thoughts of Yoko Ono out of your minds. Second, it was drummer Teun Verbruggen's second win at the competition, since in 2001 he won with Alexi Tuomarila's quartet. Belgian bands led by non-Belgians seem to be doing well.

Sebastian Rocheford, leader of the great British (I was going to type "English," but Seb is Scottish...) band Polar Bear, has won the BBC Jazz Awards Rising Star and PB came in second for Best Band.

Change of the Moon and Dim Lit are both great records, but make sure to see these bands live if you get the chance. Expect features on both bands to pop up somewhere or other in coming weeks.