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Issue 1099

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Worldwide FM 5th Birthday - South Facing: Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15/8/21

Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming): South Facing Fest @Crystal Palace, London 15/8/21 REVIEW
Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming): South Facing Fest @Crystal Palace, London 15/8/21 REVIEW The Cinematic Orchestra: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15-8-21 REVIEW KOKOROKO: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15-8-21 REVIEW Yazmin Lacey: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15/8/21 REVIEW KOKOROKO: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15-8-21 REVIEW KOKOROKO: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15-8-21 REVIEW KOKOROKO: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15-8-21 REVIEW Yazmin Lacey: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15/8/21 REVIEW Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming): South Facing Fest @Crystal Palace, London 15/8/21 REVIEW The Cinematic Orchestra: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15-8-21 REVIEW The Comet Is Coming: South Facing Fest @Crystal Palace, London 15/8/21 REVIEW The Cinematic Orchestra: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15-8-21 REVIEW Yazmin Lacey: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 15/8/21 REVIEW Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming): South Facing Fest @Crystal Palace, London 15/8/21 REVIEW

There's no doubt that this year's South Facing Festival has been a success. Over several nights it's brought together a wide range of musical styles to a venue that's been dormant for way too long. My fourth visit of the summer to Crystal Palace Bowl, just a few miles from where I grew up, was for the Worldwide FM day, bring together a range of top-quality talent.

I'd wanted to catch Yazmin Lacey in concert for a while - over the last few years she's been a consistent presence on the soul/jazz scene. Her "Morning Matters" EP was among my favourite releases from last year, and the title track sounded powerful and full of soul on the Crystal Palace stage. "Own Your Own" is another record that demonstrates exactly why Lacey has won over so many fans, and it wasn't a surprise that a large number were at the front for the early-afternoon performance.

Similarly, there was real excitement for the KOKOROKO set. The talented eight-piece collective combine a range of styles, including afrobeat and jazz, and in the past two years have released an impressive body of work. They brought some much-needed joy to the stage after months of having to stay at home and not being able to go out dancing, and the quality of musicianship on the stage was staggering.

Next up was The Comet Is Coming, one of the many projects from one of the most important artists in the UK at the moment, Shabaka Hutchings. The saxophonist has been putting out top quality material for years as part of Sons of Kemet, Shabaka and The Ancestors and The Comet Is Coming. All three have their own distinctive identity, and watching the latter was a real education. The trio combine heavy drums and synth with more traditional jazz elements and created a huge rhythmic soundscape that had the audience bouncing around at the front of the stage.

It stood in sharp contrast to the headliners, The Cinematic Orchestra, whose more refined sound was the perfect end to a long weekend. "A Promise" and "To Believe" were atmospheric as the group, accompanied by an impressive light show, had the audience entranced. Lead vocalist Heidi Vogel sounded commanding as they delivered a nearly hour-long set to bring the show to a close.
The varied programme put on during the day showed off just what the South London venue has to offer, and many will be watching with interest to see what happens next.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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