Copenhagen jazz festival

I was back in Copenhagen last week. I had to attend a meeting as part of the European jazz research project I’m involved with, but it “just so happened” to coincide with the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. And while the weather was miserable almost every day we were there, we managed to strike one good day (above) which worked out well for some open air concerts.

I also managed to go and see Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano play (on my shortlist of must-see gigs from a programme of around 1000 performances that week) before I was suddenly hit with what I can only describe as exhaustion.

I forget that it tends to happen around this time every year: after the teaching, the marking and the exam boards, the pressure comes off – and it’s only at that moment that you realise that the pressure has been there all along. And suddenly your body goes “Right! That’s enough of that!” and shuts down for a few days.

I spent most of my time in the hotel room, not going out — and while I managed to attend the meetings (as well as chair a discussion for Danish radio), I also slept for around 32 out of 48 hours at the height of my weariness.

The great thing about this project is that I get to hang out with people that I like and who do great things with music. In this video, my colleagues Walter (in the glasses) and Christophe (in the flat cap) are looking around in a musical instrument store, and have stumbled across a plastic saxophone.

Walter’s a professor of jazz in Amsterdam, and Chris is a post-grad researcher and a member of one of the coolest bands on the planet, Trio VD.


Despite my tiredness (illness?) I still got to wander around a bit and take a few photos, and by the end of it, I thought I’d finally started to get my bearings around the inner city after what must have been my fifth or sixth visit.

Of course, when the time came to leave and head back to the airport, I got lost on the way to the central train station, and my imagined bearings were overshadowed by my complete lack of a sense of direction.

I’d like to blame my exhaustion-addled mind, and hope that it’s all better when I’m back there for some more jazz-related activities next month… but I suspect that not much will have improved on that front. Mind you, it’s taken me 8 years to mostly not get lost in Birmingham, and that still happens — so perhaps that’s being overly optimistic.