Last night was ‘party night’ at Jazz Danmark’s Summer Session.

The musicians have been working from morning until late at night (and beyond) for almost a week now, and the organisers figure that this is a good point for them to cut loose a little bit.

There was a surprise element this time, which nobody was prepared for and it went down really well. Probably the oddest jazz gig I’ve ever been to.

The Fringe (George Garzone, Bob Gullotti and John Lockwood) sometimes do this thing where they dress as Neanderthals and give a particularly ‘primitive’ spin to their avant-garde jazz improvisation. This time, the Summer Session organisers thought they’d take it a step further and dress Joe Lovano up as some sort of ‘man from the future’.

Dog blankets and water pistols

Of course, because none of this had been prepared in advance, the whole thing was fairly improvised using locally obtainable materials and a bit of imagination.

With some dog blankets, shipping rope and burnt cork, The Fringe were transformed into caveman druid shaman characters, while with the help of a cane hat, a ‘super soaker’ and some reflective car windshield shades, Joe Lovano became a shiny, laser-toting samurai gardener from space. Close enough.

The other musicians had been sitting around a campfire, having a few drinks and singing traditional Danish folksongs when the weirdness descended, and just got progressively weirder. The above video is just a small taste of what happened.

Like it’s 1999

After the concert, the party moved back up to the school, where drummer Tyshawn Sorey led a funk band with a rotating membership over three solid hours of jams, extended workouts and interpretations of Stevie Wonder, Prince and Michael Jackson tunes.

To round things off, I DJ’d for a couple of hours from about 1:30am – at first with some latin, afrobeat, funk and reggae, but – inevitably – finished with some disco tunes.

People not only danced, but as you might expect with musicians of this calibre and with the encouragement of alcohol, quite a few played along as well, which really topped off a special night with a really great vibe.

Back into it

And today, it’s all back to normal. Rehearsals, masterclasses, workshops, jam sessions and classes.

They work pretty hard here. But when they play here – they play.

Have I mentioned what a privilege it is to be in amongst all this? This is me doing research, you know. I’m at work right now.