On 28, 29 and 30 October, the tenth edition of the So What’s Next Jazz Festival will take place at the Muziekgebouw. A reason for the festival to go for it, especially after previous editions could only go on in slimmed-down form.
“Yes that’s right. Last year we had to deal with downsized hall attendance, the year before that it was online. We are happy that this edition can take place again as the festival was intended initially. At least that is what we assume, although clearly corona is not completely gone. This year we hope to welcome around 1,500 visitors again on the Saturday”.
Speaking is Barend Fransen, a former board member of the festival but involved for the first time this year in putting together the program. Fransen is also founder of the renowned jazz band Gare du Nord.
“I think you can also see that in the program of So What’s Next”, Fransen says. “Because the festival actually wants the same thing that we also want with Gare du Nord: not to be pigeonholed. That applies very much to contemporary jazz anyway”, Fransen says.
“Because if there is one genre that is always looking for the cross-connections, it is jazz. From electro to hip-hop, jazz can be heard in almost everything. And we want to exploit that fact at the festival. I dare say that this edition will be the most broad and versatile edition so far”.
From Los Angeles to Turkey
So where does this versatility lie? Fransen explains, “One of the biggest names we have is Lady Blackbird. A hugely talented singer from Los Angeles, someone who I expect the whole world will know in six months. From the other side, we have the Ashley Henry Trio, from the London hip-hop scene, and Karsu, who interweaves jazz music with influences from Turkish music”.
“But besides that, we also have, for example, the Archie Shepp Quartet”, Fransen continues. “Shepp is an old jazz pioneer from New York, who is now 85 but still influential. That’s what makes him so special. And his presence also tells something about the music movement, about where it comes from”.
Ultimately, this versatility, the eclectic program, is also why the festival fits Eindhoven so well, Fransen explains. “The cross-connections you see in our program, that’s what we’re always working on in Eindhoven. We are always working on innovation, we never ask ourselves here, ‘is it possible?’ but rather, ‘why not?’ “.
And with that attitude, So What’s Next also distinguishes itself from other jazz festivals in the province of Brabant, the organiser believes. “If you look at the Breda Jazz Festival, it is a bit more traditional – a fantastic festival by the way. Jazz in Duke Town in Den Bosch focuses more on Dutch talent and what it all has to offer”.
A broad audience
“We also have a somewhat more international approach – which also suits our audience. And we aim for a broad program. The nice thing about having such a diverse range of music, is that you get a diverse audience. That is perhaps the best thing about So What’s Next”, Fransen concludes.
For more information: Line-up, news and tickets So What’s Next?
Translated by: Bob