The weekly jazz sets at Utrecht’s Back and Fourth, led by house drummer Jean Clair, always deliver with great jazz in a cool, laid back bar. Every Wednesday around 9pm a different group of musicians assemble, all chosen by Jean Clair – who’s been organising this evening for the past three years. They don’t rehearse, following in the great tradition of jazz history, instead they spend the evening performing music from the Great American Song Book.
This jazz isn’t overly formal or inaccessible, but creates a warmth and liveliness that attracts a completely diverse audience. In fact, most of the audience is made up of under 30s, representing the younger demographic that are creating and participating a the jazz revival that’s currently occurring across Europe. With hip hop artists bringing jazz rhythms into their music, the jazz scene all over the world is becoming more vibrant than ever, with Spotify reporting a 108% increase in listeners to jazz who are under 30. This explosion of young people currently interested in the scene can be seen in microcosm at Back and Fourth, where the atmosphere is always buzzing.
Reflecting on the jazz revival, house drummer at Back and Fourth Jean Clair described the music that they create every week as ‘timeless’. He also spoke about how audience members often approach him to tell him that they’ve never put a jazz record on at home but have loved the music and the vibe at Back and Fourth so much that they plan on fully exploring jazz from now on. I went along on the 13th February and had an amazing evening filled with amazing jazz, witnessing the kind of music that is created in this space – music that inspires and invites you in. I will definitely be returning to Back and Fourth for more nights filled with great jazz, and hope they continue this weekly tradition for a long time to come. It truly is a great addition to the music scene in Utrecht. Martha Bird 18th February 2019