POP superstars Earth Wind & Fire, Elvis Costello and Steve Winwood have been announced as the headliners at this year’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival.
Earth Wind & Fire, the Chicago band behind the massive hits Boogie Wonderland, September and Let’s Groove, were one of the most successful band of the 1970s, selling sold more than 100 million records.
They perform on Sunday as the finale to the annual festival, which takes place at Glynde Place in Glynde, near Lewes, from June 29 until July 1.
Nominated for 20 Grammys, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is dedicated to them. They were invited to perform at the White House by President Barack Obama.
Festival director Ciro Romano says, “We’ve been coveting Earth Wind & Fire since the festival’s inception. They’re a phenomenal live act with an incredible back catalogue of songs and we know they’ll be a massive hit with the Love Supreme audience. Having sold over 100 million records across the course of their career, they are also the biggest act we’ve booked for the festival to date and will provide a fitting finale to this year’s event.”
Led by original members Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson, Earth Wind & Fire are named after “the mighty elements of the universe” and are credited with creating an evolution in pop music that bridged the gap between the musical tastes of black and white America.
“I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before,” explained founder and former lead singer Maurice White, who became the band’s producer until his death in 2016. ”Although we were basically jazz musicians, we played soul, funk, gospel, blues, jazz, rock and dance music… which somehow ended up becoming pop. We were coming out of a decade of experimentation, mind expansion and cosmic awareness. I wanted our music to convey messages of universal love and harmony without force-feeding listeners’ spiritual content.”
He said “cosmic consciousness” has been the key to their library of music over several decades, which he hoped would give people “some encouragement and peace”.
Performing on the main stage on Saturday will be award-winning rock star Elvis Costello & The Imposters. Costello, who scored a No2 hit in 1979 with Oliver’s Army and is married to Canadian jazz singer Diana Krall, will perform with his back-up band The Imposters.
Legendary signer and multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood, who was a backing singer for blues artists such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and B B King while he was still at school, will be playing in the Big Top on Sunday.
The artist, 69, joined the Spencer Davis Group at 14 and the band had their first No1 his in 1965 with Keep On Running. He has recorded with guitarist Eric Clapton and in 1986 topped the Billboard Hot 100 with Higher Love, which won him two Grammys.
His song Valerie was sampled in Call On Me by Eric Prydz in 2003 and it spent five weeks at No1 in the UK.
The line-up at Love Supreme, which has previously seen performances by stars including Nile Rodgers and Chic, The Jacksons and Bryan Ferry, includes a host of jazz stars.
Among them are George Clinton, who records both as Parliament and Funkadelic and revolutionised R&B during the 70s. Tom Misch, who releases his debut album this year, describes his sound as “uplifting, soulful, funky – and happy more than it is sad”. Psychedelic singer and guitarist Curtis Harding, from Michigan, has just unveiled his new single On And On: “I wrote On And On about the cosmic wave that won’t let anyone or anything stop you,” he says. “We all have purpose and I believe once you know yours, it’s harder to give up. So go On And On.”
The James Taylor Quartet, described as one of the most important jazz-pop crossover outfits in the country and is famed for its upbeat and energetic live shows.
Former Bombay Bicycle Club member Jack Steadman is now Mr Jukes, a solo artist who has revived his long-standing interest in jazz, soul and funk, and take son the roles of artist, composer, producer and sample-hound in his album God First.
Mali rock musicians Songhoy Blues, whose new album Resistance combines elements of reggae, country and rock, describe their music as “not world music”. As band member Aliou Touré puts it, “We find it very hard to describe the kind of music we make. Some tracks, when you listen to the new album, they sound really, really rock. Some tracks sound blues. Some tracks sound folk. To us, world music doesn’t make sense. It’s an industry thing. African artists play rock as well, they play blues as well. Blues is from there, rock is from there, reggae is from there, hip hop is from there. So how come people call African music world music? Why not African rock or African hip-hop or African reggae?”
The legendary P P Arnold was spotted by Mick Jagger when she was an Ikette with the Ike & Tina Turner review and hits followed, including The First Cut Is The Deepest and Angel Of The Morning. One of the iconic faces of the Swinging 60s, she has worked with Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, Barry Gibb, Eric Clapton and Roger Waters.
Appearing in the Big Top are singer Mavis Staples, who as she hits her eighth decade has made If All I Was Was Black, 10 songs about America today and her third collaboration with songwriter and producer Jeff Tweedy. The album is the first time Tweedy has composed an entire album of original songs for Mavis.
Other performers include Tony Allen, one of the founding fathers of afro-beat, Mercury Prize-nominated jazz-electronic group Portico Quartet, the soulful voice of Dwight Trible & The Gondwana Orchestra, the Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter Trio, St Louis-born trumpeter and songwriter Keyon Harrold and Yazz Ahmed, a soloist, collaborator and composer from Bahrain who has worked with Radiohead and These New Puritans.
The Arena is the stage for artists including the Ezra Collective, a band that mixes afrobeat, reggae, jazz and hip hop, Norwegian nu-soul band Rohey, Barney Artist, London-based Nubya Garcia, won performs a groove-led live show, Alfa Mist, who blends melancholy jazz harmony with alternative hip hop and soul, the Leo Richardson Quartet, led by tenor saxophonist Leo Richardson, LA-based multi-instrumentalists Moonchild, award-winning jazz performer Moses Boyd Exodus, singer Jazz McFarlane, who explores the meeting points between jazz and the rhythms of Jamaica, award-winning jazz saxophonist Samuel Eagles, and the Tal Gamlieli Trio, who perform an expressive lyrical and harmonious musical style led by Tal Gamlieli, who grew up near Jerusalem.
Some of the best UK acts are showcased in the Jazz in the Round arena and there’s also a woodland party zone housing the Blue In Green Bar.
In 2017, the Love Supreme Jazz Festival had its most successful year, attracting 40,000 across the weekend.
Love Supreme Jazz Festival is at Glynde Place, Glynde, from Friday June 29-Sunday July 1. Tickets start from £54. Visit lovesupremefestival.com.
Above: Elvis Costello
Main picture, top: Earth Wind & Fire
Below: Steve Winwood
Above: George Clinton
Below: Tom Misch
Above: The James Taylor Quartet
Below: Mr Jukes
Above: P P Arnold
Below: Mavis Staples
Above: Portico Quartet/picture: Duncan Bellamy
Below: Dwight Trible & The Gondwana Orchestra
Above: Keyon Harrold/picture: Deneka Peniston
Below: Yazz Ahmed/picture: Giulietta Verdon-Roe
Above: Ezra Collective
Below: Rohey/picture: Signe Fuglesteg Luksengard
Above: Nubya Garcia
Below: Alfa Mist
Above: Leo Richardson
Below: Moses Boyd Exodus
Above: Samuel Eagles
Below: Tal Gamlieli