As Europe witnesses the dramatic movement of people across its borders, John Sweeney joins thousands making the journey from the Greek Island of Kos to the Austrian border with Hungary. He meets families fleeing conflict and terror in Syria and refugees separated from their loved ones, with children, the old and the sick being forced to march to safety. Among this tide of humanity, he also finds economic migrants seeking a better life in northern Europe and examines whether the onset of winter may mean the crisis is about to claim even more lives.
Chris and Xand van Tulleken - doctors, part-time aid workers and twin brothers - want to see for themselves what conditions are like for migrants fleeing through Europe at the height of winter. They travel to Lesbos in Greece, through the Balkans and on to Berlin and Calais to understand what's being done on a medical and humanitarian level in response to the refugee crisis. Spending time with medics, charities and volunteers in camps and clinics, at border crossings and transit points, they find out what the situation is like on the ground and, wherever possible, lend a hand in the biggest migration crisis of our times.
Chucho Valdes, Cuba's most famous jazz musician, has rebalanced the repertoire of his Afro-Cuban Messengers on Border-Free, mixing its American-jazz agenda (the group's name deliberately references both Valdes' roots and the late Art Blakey's classic soul-bop Jazz Messengers group) with more extended Latin-American input, and some Native American and Andalusian connections, too. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, guesting on three tracks, is warmly romantic on tenor on the loping Tabu, agile and fluent on the Cuban dance-shuffle Bebo, and mercurial on a soprano-sax break full of north African microtonalisms on the hurtling, horn-hooting finale, Abdel.