In another first, this was the weekend that the Americans returned to Europe. None of the booked Stateside artists pulled out at short notice, and they were all radiating a confident excitement, newly vaccinated, and travelling to play. Some of them hadn’t gigged in over a year, particularly as NYC had remained completely closed to live performances since March 2020. Here we had John Scofield, Fred Frith, Ava Mendoza, Gerald Cleaver, Joe McPhee, Hamid Drake, Myra Melford, Drew Gress, Joey Baron, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and alto saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos’s five-piece Strictly Missionary. Also on site were Brad Mehldau, David Murray and the Talibam! twosome of Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea, who were already resident around various European parts. In fact those latter pair are this year’s Improvisers In Residence, spending an entire year in Moers.