Summer is well and truly in full swing, so we thought it would be a good idea to get out of the capital and head down to the southern coast for something a little different to our normal tastes ... a jazz music festival.
Cue Love Supreme.
Love Supreme, which celebrated its 5th birthday last weekend with its biggest event to date, is the UK's first outdoor jazz festival. What struck us most was the spectacular age range of attendees the event drew in. We're not entirely sure where the recent surge of interest in jazz has come from, but we sure do love the fact that the genre has managed to reinvent itself for a younger demographic.
Jazz elements have been seeping into mainstream music for the last few years. Saxophone solos in dance and house tunes by DJs like Bakermat, Sigala and Kygo have been a staple in the clubs over the last three years especially. Film has also potentially done a lot for the genre, with blockbusters such as 2014's Whiplash and 2016's hit La La Land creating a demand.
Benthe de Vries | Parklife sunglasses in clear
As a result, we are now lucky enough to have a festival like Love Supreme. Families with young toddlers ventured out, young teens in excitable packs, 20-somethings with bags of beer, right up to music-lovers in their 60's and 70's ... even hardcore 80-somethings were rocking up with feathers in their hair and deck chairs at the ready! Love Supreme pleasantly surprised us and put to bed any cheesy or dull preconceptions we may have naively had.
LaSharVu | Main Stage
We were there for the Saturday line-up and managed to catch both upcoming artists and some absolute jazz / funk legends. In a beautiful 24-degree summer daze, we began our afternoon with a powerful, feel-good performance from the ladies of LaSharVu, who opened the main stage. The Basement Jaxx vocalists launched into their set with a bang, covering 2011's Beyoncé hit 'Party', and following on with dance track 'Don't Know How To Love You'.
Lee Fields and The Expressions | Main Stage
Next up was American soul star, the one and only Lee Fields and The Expressions. At the age of 66, the energetic and smooth-talking crooner had everyone with their hands in the air as he covered his own material dating back to 1969, with a few James Brown covers thrown in for good measure.
Throughout the afternoon, we listened to the sounds of Mammal Hands, Becca Stevens, D'Influence, the amazing Sons Of Kemet, the incredible Clare Teal and Mini Big Band, Michael Wollny Trio and a stunning set from the ridiculously talented Mica Paris as she sang the Ella Fitzgerald Songbook in the Big Top tent.
Mammal Hands | The Arena
NAO | Main Stage
Armed with sunglasses, we caught the rays as we stepped back outside to watch voice of the moment, NAO, hit the main stage with her band. Providing a perfect up-tempo set of dance tracks with jazz injections, the mood was perfect for the transition into the early evening.
Aneesah | Apex sunglasses in blue
Khalil | Brook sunglasses in purple
After indulging in some sweet potato fries, milkshakes and grilled halloumi burgers, headliner Corinne Bailey Rae was up next, providing a period of absolute sunset calm. Despite being very mellow in comparison to the vibe of other singers, Corinne's set was still melodic and beautiful, with practically everyone chanting her iconic hit 'Put Your Records On' back to her.
Although not strictly a jazz artist, her soulful voice glided out right to the back of the audience to all the people who were more than happy to listen to her pop tracks as they laid back on the grass.
George Webster | Brook sunglasses in marmalade tort
The living LEGEND that is Herbie Hancock was waiting for us, (rumour has it) shunning the offer of performing on the main stage in favour of the more intimate acoustic environment of the Arena tent. The iconic pianist performed a medley of funk-embracing jazz, which provided a respite from all the powerhouse vocals we'd already heard.
Although not for everyone and perhaps not best suited to an outdoor setting, it was impossible to deny his stage presence and sheer awesomeness. The quality of the music was remarkable, the synchronicity exceptional.
Corinne Bailey Rae | Main Stage
Chilled out to the max, we were ready for the main event. The Jacksons. THE JACKSONS. As in The Jacksons aka The Jackson 5 ... aka the closest we'll ever get to MJ himself. There was no chance of us getting to the front of the stage. Crowds even left Herbie Hancock early to get back to the main stage for the 9.30pm set, proving that cheesy (but totally groovy) choreography is still very much craved and adored by all ages.
Opening with the absolute banger that is 'Blame It On The Boogie', brothers Jermaine, Marlon, Tito and Jackie commanded the stage with a sky-high level of experienced mastery and heart. Although vocally not as strong as they once were, they still nailed it. A string of hits from the old days blended with the expected tribute covers of Michael's solo records.
The Jacksons | Main Stage
'I Want You Back', 'ABC', 'Can You Feel It', 'Rock With You' and 'Don't Stop Till You Get Enough' had everyone jumping and dancing. Despite a dedicated rendition of 'I'll Be There' to the late King of Pop by Jermaine, The Jacksons kept the mood upbeat and passionate. Tito sang some solo material, whilst Marlon busted out some serious moves MJ would definitely have been proud of.
It was a perfectly positive ending to a wonderful experience of discovering new musicians in a stunning setting, with great food and fantastic facilities. Although we missed out on Sunday's headliners, which included the great Gregory Porter, Laura Mvula, George Benson and Kamasi Washington, we'll be sure to enjoy the full weekend in 2018!
Missed our last blog story? Catch up with our review of 'Matt Wills at Omeara'