Friday, 27 March 2015

Trustee Opportunities for Jazz North

Development organisation Jazz North has put a call out to invite people to join their board and become trustees.

We seek trustees whose profile, reputation and skills will enable them to act as a powerful ambassador for Jazz North in any forum. We would expect that potential trustees share our vision for jazz in the North and our belief that jazz has the transformational power to enrich lives through improvisation. We are specifically, but not exclusively, looking for enthusiastic, entrepreneurial-minded, ambitious individuals with expertise in one or more of the following fields:
  • Professional music practice
  • Business development
  • Finance and accounting
  • Fundraising
  • Corporate Governance
  • Education
A Board Recruitment pack has been developed to provide full information and allow interested parties to apply.

For full information, see the Jazz North website.

All Change in Darlington

This week marked the end of an era in Darlington, as Darlington Jazz Club held their final gig at the Forum, the venue that has played host to the club for many years. Darlington Big Band played at the Forum for the final time earlier this week.

But the jazz community in Darlington shouldn't worry as the Jazz Club will re-emerge on April 12th at a new location, the Quakerhouse pub in Mechanics Yard which will be one of a few venues used to host events. And of course, later in April will see the annual Darlington Jazz Festival take place, using Quakerhouse and other jazz-friendly venues to showcase the wealth of talent in the area.

Information on Darlington Jazz Festival.

GoGo Penguin selected for Rochester Jazz Festival

GoGo Penguin have been selected to take part in this year's Made in the UK showcase as part of the Rochester Jazz Festival in New York.

The festival runs from 19th-27th June this year and the programme includes acts like Antonio Sanchez, Fred Hersch, Diana Krall and the Yellowjackets alongside their annual UK showcase.

Congratulations to Gogo Penguin and the other groups selected!

Full List of Made in the UK artists -

Anthony Strong Trio
Andrew McCormack Trio
Tom Bancroft's Trio Red
Brian Mollet Quartet
Cloudmakers Trio
Julia Biel
Denys Baptiste Triumvirate
GoGo Penguin

Gig Preview: Krzysztof Urbanski's Urban Jazz Society in Leeds

Jazz at Heart Presents: Urban Jazz Society
Heart Arts Centre, Headingley
Saturday 28th March

Multi-award winning saxophonist Krzysztof Urbanski brings his newest project, Urban Jazz Society to Heart this Saturday (28th March).

Described as one of the best in his generation by the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute, Urbanski has made the North of England his home recently and has teamed up with 4 UK musicians to perform his original music which pulls in elements from hip-hop, R&B and jazz.

Krzysztof is joined by Stuart McCallum on guitar, Ashley Henry on piano, Sam Gardner on drums and Sam Vicary on bass.

For more information and to hear tracks from their debut recording, see Krzysztof Urbanski's website.

Our Top Gigs for Cheltenham Jazz Fest 2015

                                                               Supersonics: Nhu Diep

This week, Cheltenham Jazz Festival director Tony Dudley-Evans published his top picks for this year's festival, which takes place between 29th April and May 4th. The article prompted us to check out the full festival programme and we've selected a few of our own highlights to add to Tony's suggestions.

Impermanence Trio (Parabola Arts Centre, 2nd May 9.30pm)

This is one that Tony included in his picks, too. Pianist Matt Bourne teams up with Riaan Vosloo and Tim Giles to premiere the new group, Impermanence Trio. The show will be interactive, with audience members encouraged to use their phones to make decisions on the music. The trio share the bill with Alexander Hawkins and Elaine Mitchener, a duo that will also be making an exclusive first appearance.

Supersonics (Jazz Arena, 4th May, 10.45am)

An unlikely time for a jazz gig, Chris Sharkey appears as part of the festival's Family Show strand. Supersonics features long-time collaborators Chris, Stale Birkeland and Petter Frost Fadnes as they explore melody, beats and soundscapes. These gigs are open to everyone from 5 years old and over.

Clare Teal (Town Hall, 2nd May, 7pm)

One of Yorkshire's finest, vocalist Clare Teal brings her mini big band to Cheltenham. The show will feature a mixture of material, displaying Clare's own songwriting alongside her interpretation's of jazz standards.

 Dave Douglas/Lee Konitz Quintet (Town Hall, 2nd May, 3.45pm)

Dave Douglas and Lee Konitz present their new quintet for the first time in the UK. Their focus will be on the works of Lee himself, Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Jazz Short Courses at LCoM

Leeds College of Music are gearing up to run some short courses focused on jazz in the coming months. These courses are open to anyone, with certain courses targeting beginner improvisers to those wishing to study jazz full-time. Full details can be found on the LCoM website but below are the brief outlines of the upcoming courses.

Jazz Brass Weekend - 25-26 April 2015

A fantastic opportunity for all brass players to gain valuable insight into improvisation, specific to brass technique. Covering aspects of blues, II-V-I progression, ear training, feel and instrumental technique; you will study with two of LCoM’s leading jazz tutors and brass specialists from our BA Jazz programme.  This two-day course is ideal for players who are perhaps intending to study music full-time or just building their confidence in general.  Working both with your tutors and a live rhythm section, you will learn how to improvise with increased fluency, whilst gaining knowledge of the repertoire and how your playing can best relate to it.  The weekend will conclude with an open rehearsal in front of an audience of friends and family.

To book, please visit

Jazz Improvisation Weekend - 9-10 May 2015

Develop your confidence and creativity in this step by step guide to developing jazz language and improvisation.  You will study the development of improvisation, jazz phrasing, chord scale relationships, understanding II V I harmony, guide tones, jazz lines, rhythmic development, jazz blues, rhythm changes and altered chords.  This intensive course is ideal for both the inexperienced improviser wishing to gain more knowledge, experience and confidence in improvisation, and for the seasoned improviser who wishes to take their jazz improvisation language to the next level.


New Jazz Night at The White Rabbit, Leeds

March 24th
Riley Stone-Lonergan Quartet
The White Rabbit
11 York Place, Leeds
Free Entry

A new jazz night is being piloted at The White Rabbit in Leeds with hopes to turn it into a regular gig/jam session. The first event takes place on March 24th and features the Riley Stone-Lonergan Quartet, 2 weeks before they travel down to perform at Ronnie Scotts in London. The second band will be Le Toot & The Kansas City Four on April 7th.

The night will be co-run by two Leeds jazz musicians, drummer Matt Parkinson and guitarist Francesco Coghetto. The house band will differ each week and will perform a gig before opening up into a jam session.

Stay tuned for more details!

Last Call for Submissions - Lancaster Jazz Festival

The final week of submissions for this year's Lancaster Jazz Festival is now upon us, with submissions from artists being accepted until March 27th at 5pm.

Ensembles and artists are invited to apply to be part of the festival, which this year runs from 17th - 20th September 2015. The festival presents a wide variety of music in its festival, equally supporting classic and straight ahead jazz alongside left-field and experimental music. They aim to support both local and national acts and last year their programme included acts like Courtney Pine, Elliot Galvin Trio, The Initiative and Zeitgeist.

Their artist submission guidelines are very clear and the online application portal is designed to be easy to use, so interested parties should visit the Lancaster Jazz Festival 2015 page for full details.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Polar Bear Announce New Album, Single and UK Dates

UK jazz luminaries Polar Bear are back with a new album Same As You and a UK tour. Despite its short gestation since the last record, the Mercury Prize shortlisted In Each And Every One, Same As You is a bold statement showing a strong vision for the band's future.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Yamaha/Jazz FM's Replay Project seeks musicians

Yamaha and Jazz FM have launched a new project, designed to offer a unique performance opportunity at the Love Supreme festival to people who used to play instruments and want to start up again.

The Replay Project is on the look-out for lapsed saxophonists, trumpeters and trombonists and will give them the chance to coached by James Pearson, leader of the Ronnie Scott's All-Stars and Pete Long, MD of the Ronnie Scott's Big Band. The Replay Big Band will be then perform a set during the Love Supreme Festival in July.

Those interested in taking part are asked to download the parts on the Replay Project website (the two pieces offered are Count Bubba and The Chicken), and video themselves playing one of them. The deadline for these applications is April 3rd 2015.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Zoe Rahman heads to Hedben Bridge

The annual Hebden Bridge Piano Festival takes place between 17th-19th April and amongst the predominantly classical programme, there is one jazz concert.

Pianist Zoe Rahman will perform on April 19th at the Waterfront hall. Her reputation as a creative voice in jazz has continued to grow in recent years and audiences are drawn her solo piano playing which has strong roots in her classical background and her Bengali heritage.

Tickets for this, and all other Piano Festival gigs, can be purchased on the Hebden Bridge Piano Festival website.

RIP Lew Soloff

Renowned jazz musician and session trumpet player Lew Soloff passed away on Sunday 8th March aged 71.

Soloff worked tirelessly as a trumpet player in the USA, building impressive CVs both as a pop sideman and jazz musician. His work with Blood, Sweat and Tears brought him international acclaim, as did his playing Paul Simon's hit, You Can Call Me Al.

As a jazz musician, he worked for many years with luminaries like Gil Evans and Carla Bley, and was a member of the Manhattan Jazz Quintet. He taught at Manhattan School of Music for over 20 years.

His passing comes shortly after the sad deaths of Kenny Wheeler and Clark Terry. The world of jazz trumpet has lost three greats.

Review: Ravi Coltrane Quartet in Leeds

It's been a strong week for international jazz in Leeds; Ravi Coltrane Quartet on Wednesday, Arve Henriksen on Thursday and Phil Donkin's quartet featuring Glen Zaleski and Colin Stranahan on Friday. People were out in force for Ravi on Wednesday, where he played to a full house at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds.

From the first note to the last, this gig was exceptional. Opening with Ornette Coleman's Bird Food, drummer Jonathan Blake and bassist Dezron Douglas switched from broken, free playing to the type of swing that we all long to hear but seldom do. Pianist David Virelles opened the second piece ('Marilyn & Tammy' from Ravi's latest album Spirit Fiction) with a solo intro, his searching and thoughtful improvisation ringing throughout the hall. Pianists tend to get a rough deal in that room, which isn't particularly well suited to jazz gigs (especially those with drums or an amplified double bass) but it didn't seem to hamper Virelles one bit. His solos employ chords, clusters and textural playing as often as single lines so there was no danger of being drowned out by the acoustics.

Switching from tenor to soprano (and on one occasion, playing Strayhorn's Lush Life, sopranino), Ravi Coltrane continually confirmed why he is regarded so highly as an improviser. Every solo was had its own identity, strong and creative. His rich, warm tenor sound filled the hall as he played his ballad, 'The Change, My Girl' and his interaction with drummer Jonathan Blake on 'Quilly's Blade' was frenetic and exciting.

The two sets were very well put together, showcasing the many sides and sounds of the band. Ravi included a composition of Blake's, Homeward Bound to close the first set and gave Blake the opportunity to let loose. They make a very strong team, Douglas and Blake, as in fact do the band as a whole. Ending on Lush Life, it seemed clear that the band had an encore up their sleeves and they did not disappoint with a hugely energetic Countdown, with metric twists and turns throughout.

The fact that he is John Coltrane's son is incidental. Ravi Coltrane is a virtuoso and an important voice in jazz all of his own accord; as indeed are his three band-mates.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Gig Preview: Phil Donkin Quartet at Wakefield Jazz

Bassist Phil Donkin brings his international quartet to Wakefield on Friday March 13th, playing material from his latest release on Whirlwind Records, The Gate (featuring Glen Zaleski, Jochen Ruckert and Ben Wendel).

Originally from Sunderland, Donkin has been a New York resident for a number of years, which is where he met and played with two of his cohorts on this gig, pianist Glen Zaleski and drummer Colin Stanahan. He is now based in Berlin though has been touring the UK recently with this band.

He is joined on this gig by British saxophonist Julian Siegel.

It's been a strong week for US jazz in the North, with Ravi Coltrane selling out Howard Assembly Room on Wednesday and this is sure to be a packed gig so arrive early!

Tickets - £14

APPJAG Jazz Awards 2015 Winners Announced

                                Photo Credit: Hayley Madden

The APPJAG Jazz Awards ceremony took place earlier this week, seeing LCoM alumnus Phil Meadows pick up the Jazz Ensemble of the Year award for his 23-piece crossover orchestra, The Engines Orchestra. Congratulations to Phil and all the other winners!


Vocalist of the Year - Norma Winstone MBE
Instrumentalist of the Year - Laura Jurd
Album of the Year - Partisans 'Swamp'
Newcomer of the Year - Peter Edwards
Venue of the Year - St Ives Jazz Club
Media Award - LondonJazzNews
Education Award - NYJO
Services to Jazz Award - Chris Hodgkins
Ensemble of the Year - Engines Orchestra
Special Award - Peter Ind