Friday, 21 October 2016

Gig Preview: Perpetual Motion Machine at Heart, October 22nd

This month's Jazz at Heart gig features Perpetual Motion Machine, an all-star band put together earlier this year.

From the jazz at heart website...

Performing at Heart for the first time, Perpetual Motion Machine are a 6 piece contemporary jazz ensemble, comprising of some of the North of England's finest improvising musicians.
PMM play their own original music; a dynamic mixture of jazz, rock, funk and ambient soundscapes, with an energy and dynamism that will have you on the edge of your seat.

It's a band of familiar faces in a brand new line-up - Sam Dunn and Jamie Taylor on guitars, Ben Lowman and Riley Stone-Lonergan on tenors, Garry Jackson on bass and Steve Hanley on drums. 

The gig starts at 7.30pm and tickets can be purchased on the Heart website or on the door for £10/6 concessions. If you'd like a taster, click here to watch the band's new video - The Cut.

Jazz North team up with Kala Sangam in Bradford, October 22nd

If you're in or around Bradford tomorrow, why not head to Kala Sangam Arts Centre to see a special concert supported by Jazz North, Kala Sangam and the International Foundation of Carnatic Music.

Sur Sangam is a project run by South Asian Arts Centre Kala Sangam and tomorrow evening it will feature the world renowned N Ravikiran, R N Prakash and R N Prathap and Jazz violinist Olivia Moore.

From the Kala Sangam website...

Since his grand entrance at the age of two, Ravikiran has won world wide critical acclaim. He has been one of the most inspiring ambassadors of Indian music and culture. The substance and quality of his contributions as instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, guru, author and orator are held in the highest regard.  
Ravikiran is the inventor of the Award-Winning world music concept Melharmony and he is a history making achiever of epic proportions with feats like setting to music 1330 verses of ancient Tirukkural in only 16 hours.
The International Foundation for Carnatic Music (IFCM) is a non-profit organisation whose main motto is ‘Service to Music; Service through Music.’ The IFCM not only endeavours to foster one of the world’s greatest melodic art forms – Carnatic music, but also strives to promote mutual appreciation, goodwill and peace between people of diverse countries and cultures.

Tickets for the event cost £7.50/£5 concessions and a family ticket is available for £20. Tickets can be purchased through the Kala Sangam website.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Apply Now for B-Jazz 2017

Applications for the B-Jazz International Jazz Competition are open until 31st October 2016 so it's time to get that application!

This annual competition runs as part of the Leuven Jazz Festival in Belgium which this year runs on the 24th and 25th March 2017. Ensembles selected to participate in the final will perform in front of a panel of judges and the winner will be offered performances at Getxo Jazz Festival in Spain, Saint Louis College of Music in Rome, Ameersfoort Jazz Festival in the Netherlands and the Druivenfestival in Belgium.

There are also two other prizes available - one for the Best Bass Player and one for the best performance of the mandatory composition (the winner of the B-Jazz Composition Contest 2017).

Full details on how to apply and the eligibility criteria can be found on the B-Jazz website.

York Jazz Initiative Announces New Choir

Ian Chalk has announced that a new Jazz Choir will run in York starting early 2017, representing the latest in a string of jazz education initiatives which aim to make York a centre for excellence in jazz.

From the York Jazz Initiative website...

So if you're an adult (16+) who would like to sing some cool jazz tunes in a group of approximately 20 and be tutored by one of the UK's great jazz singers and vocal coach, Kate Peters, then this is for you.  You don't need to have an amazing voice or be able to read music, just be open to having lots of fun, making new friends and performing concerts! The Jazz Choir will also collaborate with other York Jazz Initiative ensembles.

Rehearsals will be at Vale Of York Academy (formerly Canon Lee School) in York on Thursday evenings from 7:30pm till 9:00pm during term time.  

Budding jazz choir attendees can register their interest on the York Jazz Initiative website and will be sent information shortly.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Tour Preview: Andrew Bain's Embodied Hope, November 2016

Drummer Andrew Bain has announced a UK tour in November to premiere his new work, a seven movement suite entitled Embodied Hope.

The new work is split into seven parts, each representing one of the seven necessary aspects of embodied hope - listening, surprise, accompaniment, practice, responsibility, trust and hope. His band is an all-star cast which features pianist George Colligan, saxophonist Jon Irabagon and double bassist Michael Janisch. After the tour, the band will record the music for a future release on Whirlwind Records, Michael Janisch's label.

Audiences in the North have one chance to catch this band as they tour, with a performance scheduled at the University of Hull on November 9th.

Full tour dates are listed below - if you'd like to find out more, see the full press release over on the Whirlwind Records website. 

Tour Dates - November 2016:

2 - Dempsey's, Cardiff
3 - Ram Jam Club, Kingston-upon-Thames
4 - The Verdict, Brighton
5 - Royal Academy of Music, London
6 - Herts Jazz Club, Welwyn Garden City
7 - Royal Academy of Music, Junior Programme
8 - Watermill Jazz Club, Dorking
9 - University of Hull
10 - Cambridge Jazz Club
12 - CBSO Centre, Birmingham
13 - Jazz at the Albert, Bristol

Gilad Hekselman Trio comes to Leeds, November 9th

One of the most highly regarded jazz guitars in the world will play a one-off performance in Leeds on November 9th as well as a masterclass at Leeds College of Music.

Gilad Hekselman moved from his native Israel to New York in 2004 and has earned his place at the top of his field working with musicians like Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Ari Hoenig, Avishai Cohen and more. To date he has released 5 albums as leader, his latest being Homes in 2015.

... possessing a distinctive lyricism and easily embraceable artfulness that seems to reach beyond his years... Hekselman has a pristine, crystalline sound and a bright playing style that seems as natural and sustaining as air and water... Imagine a brightly lit day, sunlight on water - you are there. If Monet’s waterlily studies were music this could be it... with a quiet assertiveness and expertise that is winning throughout... - Laurel Gross, All About Jazz

Gilad comes to Leeds with his trio featuring double bassist Joe Martin and drummer Kush Abadey. The gig takes place at Wharf Chambers and is hosted by Kim Macari's Apollo Jazz Network in collaboration with bassist and Sela Bar jazz promoter Tom Riviere. 

Tickets are priced at £10 and can be bought online through Ticket Tailor. Tickets are selling incredibly fast and are limited so people are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

For more on Gilad, visit his website.

Gig Preview: White Canvas at Ribble Valley Jazz, November 4th

The team at Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues club work hard all year round, hosting an annual festival, a year long season of club gigs and have recently started hosting a radio show! They've been in touch to tell us about their next gig at the club which takes place on November 4th and features the band White Canvas.

From the Ribble Valley Jazz website...

The band was formed in 2012 by pianist and composer Barry Dallman as an outlet for his original compositions.  Having played and worked in jazz, blues, rock, soul, funk and folk bands throughout his career, Barry’s influences are eclectic and wide-ranging.  His compositions blend the harmony and improvisation of jazz with catchy tunes and head-nodding grooves.  As the author of the popular PlayJazz blog, Barry has often railed against the focus on complexity and technical facility found in some areas of modern jazz and his own music reflects a love of space, melody and dynamic contrast.

Personnel: Barry Dallman (piano), Andrew Hulme (guitar), Grant Russell (bass) and Adam Goldberg (drums).

Tickets cost £10 with a discounted price of £8 for members. Doors open at 7.30pm and there's music from 8pm. For more information on the great music Ribble Valley put on, visit their website

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Commission Opportunity from THSH Birmingham

We've heard through the grapevine of a commission opportunity open to jazz composers which is being offered by THSH in Birmingham. The deadline is soon (Monday 17th October) but just in case it seems like the perfect opportunity for any composer out there, here is the information:

Jazz Electives KS2 Composer: £2500
Jazz Electives KS3 Composer: £2500

We are seeking up to two jazz composers and performers to write two pieces; one for large Primary KS@ children's ensemble and one for KS3 students. These will be performed at Symphony Hall on Friday 9th June 2017. This fantastic opportunity will also include activities such as leading a creative familiarisation session with music service tutors, school-based workshops, mass rehearsal sessions and the final performances.

If you wish to apply, please see the commission profiles and provide a CV (focused on recent commissions and education work), covering letter including 500 words describing why you are applying and how you meet the skills and experience outline and examples of previous including soundcloud links or youtube footage. 

Please note that if you wish to apply for both commissions, you will need to submit two separate applications. 

For full information and application forms, visit the THSH website.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Want to play at JazzAhead 2017?

JazzAhead is one of the largest jazz expos in the world and it takes place over in Bremen each April. Thousands of musicians, agents, festival directors and organisations gather for the 4 day event and there are four official showcase concerts across the event.

Musicians can attend as a delegate and many do so a chance to meet with promoters and festival directors from across Europe to begin building relationships and setting up gigs for their ensembles. They can also apply to play in one of the showcase events and applications are now being accepted for these showcases.

Currently, there is only one of the four that UK groups can apply for - European Jazz Meeting. This features musicians from across Europe. The other three showcases are German Jazz Expo (german jazz), Overseas Night (jazz from outside of Europe) and the showcase hosted by the event's partner country (2017's is Finland).

Applications are judged by a panel and the deadline is October 31st. In terms of opportunities to apply for, this certainly isn't for everyone and musicians should carefully read the guidelines on the website to ascertain whether their music is at the right stage to benefit from this kind of event. However, it can be a great stepping stone to building an international reputation so it worth investigating.

See the Jazzahead website for further information.

Gig Preview: Ivo Neame Quintet at Capstone Theatre, October 20th

The Capstone Theatre in Liverpool has risen to prominence as a jazz venue in recent years, thanks to the hard work of promoter Neil Campbell. As well as running an annual jazz festival in February (more on that soon, keep an eye out for news of the 2017 programme coming soon), Neil also programmes gigs throughout the year. On October 20th, pianist Ivo Neame performs with his quintet.

Featuring some of the UK's best loved improvisers Tori Freestone, Jim Hart, Huw Williams and Dave Hamblett, the quintet will play music from their most recent album, Strata (released on Whirlwind Records in 2015).

Ivo Neame is a forward thinking and innovative pianist, composer and multi-instrumentalist. As a musician of exceptional ability, Neame is developing a reputation as one of the most exciting and original pianists to emerge in some time. Well known as the pianist with Phronesis and with Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset, his most recent release Strata saw him reach new heights as a composer leading a quintet in a set of exuberant and creative originals. With an abundance of ideas, his career is travelling on new trajectory set to emulate the profile achieved by the likes of Django Bates.

"Neame has a restless imagination as an improviser." - 4 Stars Recommended, Marlbank

Tickets cost £11.50 and the gig starts at 7.30pm. 

The following day, Ivo and the band will also run a masterclass at Leeds College of Music. 

For information, visit Ivo Neame's website and the Capstone Theatre website

A Grand New Venue in Northumbria

We've heard through the grapevine that a new venue in Northumbria has started to programme jazz and we definitely approve of the regal surroundings.

Blenkinsopp Castle Inn is connected to the grade 1 listed Blenkinsopp Castle, next to Hadrian's Wall in the picturesque Northumbrian countryside. The Inn serves local beers and ales and fine cuisine and with the open fire roaring away, we can't think of anywhere better to hear live jazz in the winter months.

Named The Green Room Jazz Club, there are 4 gigs scheduled so far - Swing Manouche featuring Daniel John Martin on October 8th, the Ruth Lambert Trio on November 19th, Tommaso Starace Quartet on 28th November and Roz Sluman's Big Shoe Band on December 17th.

We're wishing the club every success and hope to hear more of them in 2017!

To find out more, visit

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Grimsby Jazz Prom, Saturday October 15th

The wonderful Gill Wilde may ave stepped down as director of Cleethorpes Jazz Festival, but she's as busy as ever running Grimsby Jazz and on Saturday 15th, she's organised a Jazz Prom at The Minster.

Three bands will perform, starting at 2pm and the event will showcase the best in regional, national and international jazz. There really is something for everyone.

NE Lincolnshire Music Hub Choirs will perform first, led by Caroline Mesdaam-Gooch and Sue Booth. The teachers and staff involved in the NE Lincolnshire Hub have been making great things happen recently and this promises to start off proceedings with a bang.

Following the choirs, Liverpudlian group The Weave take to the stage. Their fresh sound and unique take on their material have earned them a strong fan base and they have been featured as Jazz North Northern Line artists.

Closing this afternoon of musical delights is the London-based French singer Gabrielle Dulcomble. Bringing her unique mix of sophisication and Gallic charm, vocalist Dulcomble studied at the Guildhall in London, staying afterwards to make London and its music scene her home. She is joined by Maurizio Minardi (accordian), Luca Boscagin (guitar), Nick Kacal (bass) and Saleem Raman (drums).

Tickets cost only £5 and children who are accompanied by an adult attend for free. For more information, see the Grimsby Jazz website. 

Friday, 30 September 2016

Brass Bands go to war at Matt & Phreds, October 2nd

Jazz misses out on the good old Battle of the Bands format that rock has relished for decades. Well, Matt & Phred's have decided we should get in on the action and has organised a Battle of the Brass Bands for Sunday October 2nd.

From Matt & Phred's website...

Matt and Phreds love Brass... really LOVE brass. Over the years we have hosted some of the best, so when a new band rings us up saying "we can bring it at Matt and Phreds" we like to know if they are up to the challenge! To put them to the test, for one night only, we bring you two of the hottest Brass Bands in the North, face to face, trombone to trombone to battle it out.

The Battle features Leeds based BACK CHAT BRASS, 8 of the North's best musicians from some of our favourite bands who have graced the M&P stage, (New York Brass Band, Portmanteau), and to put them to the test, TWISTED TUBES, 10 of our heavy hitting local boys, who have graced the likes of Wembley Stadium, will be raising the stakes on this night to see who will become the first ever M&P's Brass Battle Stars.

Join us for the 'Brass Battle' and may the best band win...


7.30pm - NQ BATTLE PARADE - The parade starts at the club, with both bands hitting the Northern Quarter before the main Battle!

For full information, check out Matt & Phred's website.

Apply to play at 12 Points 2017

As the nights draw in each year, we have a number of things to look forward to - venues end their summer break and there's a whole host of new gigs to attend, TV channels start to show good dramas again, all the wasps bed in for the winter and stop their buzzy reign of terror AND musicians have a bunch of bursaries and opportunities to apply for ahead of the new year.

The latest application portal to open is 12 Points. Their festival will take place in Aarhus in Denmark in July next year and they are on the look out for the next round of artists and ensembles to apply.

They receive a very large number of applications each year, so they highly recommend fully reading the guidelines before submitting yours. There is also a fully completed example application for prospective bands to look at to get a sense of what they should aim for.

For full information and to view the bands that have performed at previous festivals, visit the 12 Points Festival website.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Jazz at the RNCM this Autumn

                                                     Julia Biel by Jenna Foxton

The RNCM have published their Autumn/Winter listings and jazz fans have some interesting choices for gigs this October.

Ropes Project (October 12th)

We've covered this one before - this is Mike Walker's ambitious new project with large ensemble. There's a 22 piece string section, some of Mike's closest musical collaborators and a whole bunch of new music.

Julia Biel (October 15th)

The Independent called her the best British vocalist to emerge in an age and she's been taking festivals by storm in recent years. This is the kind of gig that will appeal both to those who love jazz and the rich history of vocal jazz legends and to those who love singer-songwriters and troubadors.

Gondwana Records Presents...(October 22nd)

Matthew Halsall is one of Manchester's golden boys and he's back at the RNCM following a sold out appearance last year. Not only will you get the Gonwana Orchestra, you'll also get to hear two other bands currently on the Gonwana roster - Mammal Hands & John Ellis's new project Evolution: Seeds and Streams.

There's a whole lot more happening too, so check the RNCM website for full information.