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

Second Take Five: Europe residency completed, by Martel Ollerenshaw

Martel Ollerenshaw (who produces the project) provides an overview of the residency at Bore Place (28 January – 2 February 2013).

The first thing that everyone noticed on Day 1 was that we were very fortunate to be working with a really lovely (we already knew that they were exceptionally talented) group of musicians: Airelle Besson (Fr), Arun Ghosh (UK), Chris Sharkey (UK), Daniel Herskedal (Nor), David Kweksilber (Neth), Guillaume Perret (Fr), Marcin Masecki (Pol), Marcos Baggiani (Neth), Per Zanussi (Nor) and Piotr Damasiewicz (Pol). They were all harmonious in their approach and in their reasons for being on Take Five: Europe – and we saw this immediately in the way that they interacted in social situations, more formal situations and in musical situations.

John Surman led all the music workshop sessions across the week and was very happy with the results – the outcome of which we heard fully on Saturday (Day 6) and which we’ll hear again when the group take to the road and perform at Banlieues Bleues (18 April), UNESCO Jazz Day in Wroclaw (30 April) and at North Sea Jazz Festival, Molde International Jazz Festival and Manchester Jazz Festival in July.

Mary McCusker – the performance tutor – strutted her stuff throughout the week and worked with the musicians on, among other things, networking and pitching ides to potential funders/investors. Early on, I heard a few somewhat tentative ‘I love Mary’ comments – which got louder as the week progressed. This pleases me greatly because Mary is wonderful, and I would even go so far as to say that all of us need Mary in our life.

Anna Umbima did a great job chairing the business sessions, harnessing all our energy and guiding us through and in spite of our different learning styles. For reference – 8 out of 10 artists strongly identify as being activists which need to be rounded out with pragmatists, reflectors and theorists (some of whom were also present at Bore Place).

Every day we had guest speakers who talked about the music business and so heard some very informative sessions on: funding (with Xavier Lemettre from Banlieues Bleues, Sophie Blussé from the new organisation, Dutch Performing Arts, and my Serious colleague Diana Spiegelberg); programming (with Lucy Jamieson from the Vortex in London; Michelle Kuypers from NSJF in The Netherlands and Rainer Kern from Enjoy Jazz in Germany); publishing, copyrights and contracts (with solicitor Gillian Baxter); recording industry (with Wulf Müller from Sony and Dave Stapleton from Edition Records - himself a former Take Five participant); digital communications (with Scott Cohen from The Orchard and John Kelman from ‘All About Jazz’); radio (with Vincent Provini from Radio France and Nicky Birch from Somethin’ Else, UK); Agents and Managers (with James Wright from Elastic Artists and Susanna von Canon, Impressariaat); attracting audiences (with Piotr Turkiewicz from Jazztopad, Jan Ole Otnaes from Molde Jazz Festival and Ken Pickering from Vancouver Jazz Festival).

Lots of work! But lots of fun too – we celebrated the birthdays of Chris Sharkey and Per Zanussi; welcomed lots of visitors from across Europe and further afield (Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Poland, Germany, France, Holland and Canada); ate lots of wonderful food (provided by Andrew Johnson the chef and his hardworking team at Bore Place) and developed, some might even say, perfected, the ‘Art of the Hang’ (for the uninitiated, that translates as lots of long conversations, going deep in to the night).

Throughout the week of the residency at Bore Place I was a victim of the spartan internet and phone reception – initially alarming, but actually no bad thing when you’ve got six busy days and you need to concentrate on the job at hand. Fortunately for me, there is a very capable team of people working on this project to ensure that it all runs according to plan – and it did, so thanks to them, who in addition to those mentioned above are: all my colleagues at Serious, especially John Cumming (expert in the Art of the Hang), Suzie Curtis (logistics queen), Michelle Cremin (funder and guest liaison), as well as the wider Take Five network: Bill Strode (sound), Naomi and David Buick (French-English interpreters), Basia Howard and Eva Dabrowska (Polish-English interpreters), Nigel Green and Adam Ball (drivers), Emile Holba (photographer) and of course the staff at Bore Place who look after us all so well.

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