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Guillaume Perret, Chris Sharkey & Marcos Baggiani - Take Five Europe Edition II, image by Emile Holba

First Take Five: Europe residency completed

Last week, the ten artists participating in Take Five: Europe travelled out to the wilds of Kent to spend a week within the beautiful setting of Bore Place, which is a study centre and fully operational organic farm (serving delicious home grown and local produce) on the outskirts of Sevenoaks. The purpose? A bespoke week-long residency designed to assist the artists with the development of their professional future. The programme was shaped around one-on-one interviews with each of the participants, in which they volunteered their thoughts on the skills/areas they wished to explore through the scheme. The result of these consultations was a jam-packed schedule, offering a variety of workshops, seminars and panel discussions led by professionals from across the European music industry. The week also saw a number of new musical collaborations between the artists, which will have a performance outcome at the major jazz festivals of the five participating European countries, including the London Jazz Festival this November.

Martel Ollerenshaw (who produces the project) wrote a short journal at the close of each day, to give us a brief insight into the activities taking place.

Day 1

Monday was a day of international travel, arrival at Bore Place, trying to find the strongest internet connection (a real challenge) and discussion about jazz in Europe.

The following words were used to describe everyone’s feelings about music: memory, love, emotion, beauty, creativity, silence, time, freedom, intention, joy, imagination, sharing, motivation, expression, passion, spirit and a sensibility relating to the beauty of classical expression.

Francesco Martinelli – the Director of the Sienna Jazz Archive - was in the hot seat in the after dinner ‘In Conversation with...’ slot, giving us all a very interesting insight into the history of jazz in Europe.

Great food (as usual at Bore Place) and very good company. Gearing up to be a big week.

Day 2

It’s all go here at Bore Place with a group photograph, a warm-up and two new works (by Oene van Geel and Benjamin Flament) rehearsed and premiered before lunch!

After lunch there was an informative session on the many and varied forms of funding available to musicians in Europe from Andrea Gancs (Hungary), Olivier Bernard (SACEM, France) and Diana Spiegelberg (UK), followed by a much praised session from solicitor Gillian Baxter (UK) on the importance of contracts and protecting your rights.

The after dinner slot was a lively discussion about the recording industry – past, present and future – from Wulf Muller (Spain) and ACT label boss Siggi Loch (Germany).

Good weather, great food – helps everyone concentrate, I’m sure.

Day 3

Spoke too soon about the good weather - Day 3 at Bore Place was cold and wet. Better weather is predicted for the rest of the week - fingers crossed.

Regardless of this, all is well with Take Five: Europe. A practical focus to Day 3 saw three new works rehearsed and premiered (by Maciej Obara, Ole Morten Vågan and Fraser Fifield) - the latter featuring Fraser's spectacular bagpipes. 

The artists worked with performance coach Mary McCusker to enhance their non-musical performance techniques and heard two quite radical approaches to distribution and creating, developing and maintaining an audience for your work (Scott Cohen, Co-Founder of The Orchard) and learning about music, being a musician and teaching music (Erling Aksdal, Head of Music, University of Science & Technology in Trondheim).

We said adieu to Emile Holba who's been here taking photographs of everyone and to several visitors from France, Germany and Spain.

Day 4

Action packed day at Bore Place with visitors travelling in from Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Norway, Poland and even from that well known European city, Chicago! There were sessions on Agency & Management (with Ellen Windholz from jazzbrain and James Wright from Elastic Artists), Broadcasting (Peggy Sutton from Somethin' Else/Jazz on 3 and Sebastien Vidal from TSF Jazz) and programming (Annamaija Saarela from Jazz on the Beach and Wim Wabbes from Vooruit Kunstencentrum).

Three more new works were rehearsed and premiered by Marciej Garbowski, Bram Stadhouders and Tom Arthurs - and an exciting plan was developed late in the evening for performances at the Take Five: Europe partner festivals: Jazz sous les Pommiers (France); North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands); Molde International Jazz Festival (Norway); London Jazz Festival (UK) and Jazztopad (Poland). 

We are all a bit wired from the intensity of the residency but it was nice to have some sun today and to feel that a lot will be achieved by Saturday.

Days 5 & 6

Day 5 at Take Five: Europe concentrated on communicating with audiences and we had presentations from Lucinda Hilbery (offline), Howard Wilmot (online) and Emily Alexander (copywriting – biographies, performance information and press releases).

The latter part of the day concentrated on a ‘pitching’ exercise where artists worked in pairs to find money/resource for their creative ideas. The artists took this very seriously and made some good pitches to the three prospective (but fictional) funders: Piotr Turkiewicz from Jazztopad; Jan Ole Otnaes from Molde International Jazz Festival and Sander Grande from North Sea Jazz Festival.

The rest of the residency was devoted to making music – on Friday the final two pieces were unveiled (Celine Bonacina and Gard Nilssen) and on Saturday morning (Day 6) the core team was treated to a concert of all the music that had been rehearsed and performed during the week. Some really good pieces played at a very high level. All positive for their live appearances at Jazz sous le Pommiers, North Sea Jazz Festival, Molde International Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival and Jazztopad across the rest of the year.

John Cumming (Director, Serious) has summed up the week in a few words and has a number of people he would like to thank for their part in making the residency such a success.

“It’s an intense week, both for participants and the core team - the energy and commitment that David Francis, John Surman, Mary McCusker, Bill Strode, the translators – David and Naomi Buck, Nigel Green (and of course our favourite chef, Andrew) put into the week is matched by our own team – especially Martel, Hal, Michelle, and everyone else involved from the Serious side. Big round of thanks.

Our intrepid photographer Emile Holba was in residence over the first couple of days, so we’ll have some photos to share later this week.

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