ROBERTO FONSECA | Copenhagen Jazz Festival

Copenhagen Jazz Festival offers a staggering 1400 concerts at over 120 venues in just 10 days.  These gigs can be found in the heritage-steeped jazz clubs and contemporary concert halls you would expect, but are also hosted in venues as diverse as an abandoned abattoir (Kødbyen, literally ‘The Meat City’) and a progressive church (Brorsons Kirke) with a strictly non-classical music profile.

A highlight series of this year’s festival is ‘Jazz by the Sea’; a selection of open air concerts at Island Brygge’s harbourside area whose programme concluded with Roberto Fonseca.  As the sun set on Copenhagen and the cool breeze brushed across the water, Fonseca and his band performed a set of hot Cuban music.  There was risk of audio distraction from other Fringe performances happening nearby, but our attention was held by a spicy blend of infectious rhythms punctuated by sharp piano ostinati.

Fonseca swapped the piano for a Hammond organ on Family from his latest album Abuc, whilst a scorching horn section pointed to the sky to deliver solos that had the audience clapping and stomping to the beat.  There is an inherent playfulness to Cuban music, when tricksy latin rhythms play both with and against cross-rhythms that tug at the feet and demand dancing.  The party truly arrived with Afro Mambo when vocalist Abrahan Aristilde kept us out of our seats with a call and response melody that transformed Copenhagen’s harbourside to Cuba’s Havana.

The Copenhagen Jazz Festival runs from 7th to 16th July. You can view the whole programme here.


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