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12 Points 2012

16th – 19th February 2012 | Casa Da Musica, Porto PORTUGAL

“An extraordinary festival”
Laurence Mackin, The Irish Times, May 2011

“A compelling showcase of high level creativity from an impressive array of emerging European Jazz talents."
Mike Flynn, Jazzwise UK, May 2011

One of the most stimulating music gatherings in Europe, lands in Portugal for 2012, as nomadic jazz festival 12 Points presents the cream of young European Jazz, when its 7th edition erupts in the magnificent modern venue of Casa Da Musica, Porto from February 16th to 19th.

Alternating between Dublin and other European cities, 12 Points punches above its weight as an important destination for Europe’s creative young musicians. With over four hundred applicants, 12 of the best have been selected for the 2012 edition. There is wide diversity; some comfortably rooted in jazz, others rebellious with electronic, rock and folk fusions. Some have already signed to major labels, some yet to release debut CDs.

The final selection includes our first ever Bosnian participants Divanhana, bringing the evocative sound of sevda, a dramatic urban blues style that will be right at home among our fadó loving hosts, while Poland makes an overdue return to 12 Points courtesy of the exciting Warsaw saxophonist Maciej Obara and his potent quartet.

Planet Jazz has an ever-shifting relationship with its neighbouring constellations, and it orbits the tribalism of pop and rock and the formalities of the classical sphere with ease. Those polarities are writ in those emerging artists pushing boundaries at 12 Points 2012. From Berlin, Schneeweiss und Rosenrot evoke a folk sensibility, with tender harmonies and strong songwriting, while Girls in Airports, our lo-tech groovers from Copenhagen, have embraced the world of Afro beat and Ethiopiques with gusto. Experimental pop-jazz band Machine Birds are prowling the Norwegian underground scene with their improvised electro hybrids.

Different creative agendas are at work with bands like Actuum, a knotty and noisy Parisian five piece with turn on a dime compositions that speak of obsessive devotion to the practice room, not unlike young Londoners World Service Project, mining a similar rich seam of metric gymnastics with all out improv and an urban edge.

If there is a middle ground, it’s occupied by the lyrical leanings of Helsinki’s Big Blue and the sassy interplay of text and music from Dubliners Thought-Fox, and the fleet linear explorations of Portuguese bassist Hugo Carvalhais. Of course, 12 Points wouldn’t be complete without a thought-provoking piano trio. Taking the angular route are this year’s contenders, Ghent’s De Beren Gieren, while Italy’s Livio Minafra helps us maintain an important tradition of solo piano performance at 12 Points.

These are testing times for creativity at the margins, but also a time for rapid evolution, with young bands showing how to revive, renew and reconnect. Those that make their way to Porto are among the brightest hopes that Europe has to offer.

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