Friday, 18 August 2017

Everyone to Ilkley!


Just in case you haven't already heard, the Ilkley Jazz Festival is in full flow and there's a whole host of concerts to attend throughout this weekend. Now in its 4th year, the festival has been growing steadily thanks to the hard work of Beverley Beirne and Mark Beirne Smith. So, what catches your eye for this weekend?

Friday 18th - Back Chat Brass will delight the crowds in the town centre from 4pm, before saxophonist Stuart MacDonald performs at Monkmans at 6pm (2 course meal included in the £22 ticket price). Rounding the night off is headliner Ian Shaw, bringing his Theory of Joy project to Ilkley. One of the world's finest singers, this is certain to be a packed house!

Saturday 19th - Early risers can get involved in the jazz workshop running in the Winter Gardens at 10am and first to perform a gig slot is the Jamil Sheriff Trio at 1pm. Following them is trumpeter Jamie Brownfield and his quartet at 2.30pm. James Mainwaring brings his newest band, Ikigai, to the festival at 4pm and then the woman of the hour, Beverley Beirne, sings Carmichael at 6.30pm. Finishing off the day's festivities at the Winter Gardens at 8pm is John Crawford's Times and Tides and for all of those still raring to go, head across to the Black Hat for the late night jam session.

Sunday 20th - Closing the festival are two great ensembles - first off the Hot Club Du Nord Jazz Brunch at 12.30pm at the Black Hat and then over to the bandstand for the Dales Jam ensemble at 3.30pm.

Something for everyone! Check out the Ilkley Jazz Festival website for more info and well done to the team for another great festival.

NYJO Academy Big Band - Apply Now



Calling young musicians across the UK; the NYJO Academy Big Band are holding auditions for new members in September and you have until Monday 21st August to apply to take part.

The band, led by drummer Sebastiaan De Krom, is the NYJO Academy’s flagship ensemble designed to equip talented young musicians with a solid foundation in the big band genre – helping to prepare them for entry into the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, further education or the music profession.
The NYJO Academy Big Band is structured around a series of ‘projects’ centred around the work of a particular composer or genre, such as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus or Loose Tubes.
We are on the lookout for promising musicians under the age of 20 to join the band. Auditioning is free but rehearsal sessions cost £100 per term (free for music students at university and bursaries are available). Candidates must be strong improvisers with sight reading ability, who are keen to improve their section playing and gain an in depth understanding of the big band tradition and its future.
Although the rehearsals take place in London, NYJO are committed to ensuring that no young musician misses out on participating in music making and as such, travel bursaries are available for non-London based musicians to be part of the band.
For full information on the band and how to be involved, see the NYJO Academy Big Band website.

New efpi release: Friendly Ghosts by Adam Fairhall


Manchester based label efpi have announced their latest release, a solo album by Adam Fairhall.

Friendly Ghosts was officially released on August 11th and is Adam's first solo offering. The material was recorded during two concerts as part of Jazz North's Northern Line scheme in Newcastle and Manchester.

A little information about Adam Fairhall -

Over the past decade, Adam Fairhall has forged an international reputation as a jazz pianist and improviser of exceptional versatility. Named as a nod to the ever-present influence of long-gone pianists on his playing, Friendly Ghosts represents Adam’s recorded debut as a solo pianist and continues the synthesis of styles that has long been a feature of his work. 

The album is available to purchase on bandcamp; the physical CD is priced at £11 but those who pay above that also receive an efpi neon badge. There is also the option to download the album at a cost of £7.

To find out more, visit Adam Fairhall's website.

Chapel Allerton Village Jazz Festival - September 1st - 3rd



Steve Crocker and the team at Seven Jazz are gearing up for the 2nd annual Chapel Allerton Village Jazz Festival, catching the late summer sun between 1st - 3rd September. This is their second festival of the year no less, following on from the highly successful event in Millenium Square in Leeds earlier this month.

From the press release...

The Chapel Allerton Village Jazz Festival in Leeds gets underway in a couple of weeks starting Friday 1st September  and running to Sunday 3rd September. Dazzling jazz sax player Dave O'Higgins will headline, with a special performance with material from his latest album, It's Always 9.30 in Zog at Seven Arts on Saturday 2nd September. 

He plays with quite exceptional fluency and his fund of ideas never runs out - Observer. 

His band will also be giving a masterclass before the concert. There is a definite funky feel to the bands on offer at this second Village Jazz Festival . Dave Kane's amazing Magic Ya Ya band open the festival on Friday 1st September, then there are performances on Saturday by bluesy songstress Terry Shaltiel with guitarist Esmond Selwyn and on Sunday afternoon on the main festival Regent Street stage by rising stars Nag Champa, Dan Goldman's Elec-trio, Hyde Park Brass plus a final set from the popular James O'Hara Blues Band.

There are a whole host of other performances over the weekend as well including pop-up sets from
the Washboard Resonators in  the cafes of Chapel Allerton village, a set from community big band,
Mojo 78, popular vocalist Marlena Rose with Canadian guitarist Jeff Hewer and the latin rhythms of
Tempo Feliz.

All in all 4 venues with 14 different bands - plus the rest of the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival to enjoy
too.

For more information, including links to purchase tickets, visit the Seven Jazz website. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Musicians Announced for Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation


Brighter Sound has announced the 15 emerging musicians selected by Pee Wee Ellis to collaborate during a four day jazz and funk residency. Music develop during this time will be performed live at Band on the Wall on August 20th.

The musicians taking part are -

Jamie Stockbridge, Jon Needham, Ollie Walton, Dan Mitchell, Alex Hill, James Girling, Patrick Martin, Conall Mulvenna, Max Barker, Josh Poole, Nick Waldock, Aaron Wood, Joe Luckin, Tom Thorp and AJ Dawson.

To find out more about each of the musicians, you can view their individual profiles on the Brighter Sound website.

Brighter Sound says...

The group, who will form two funk outfits for the show, is made up of some of the North West’s most promising musicians, including members of Manchester’s Afro-rock-funk outfit Agbeko, ten-piece brass collective Twisted Tubes, funk rock band Mamma Freedom, and jazz-fusion quintet Mercury.
The residency is the ninth in Brighter Sound’s Artistic Directors Series which aims to support artists at all stages in their careers, giving them the time and space to experiment, collaborate and explore under the direction of an inspirational and influential professional artist.


One Day Jazz Vocal Workshop with Nicki Allan, September 10th


Well loved jazz singer Nicki Allan has announced that she will host a one day jazz vocal workshop on September 10th at Inkwell in Chapel Allerton, Leeds.

Nicki says...

Would you like to learn to Scat Sing or do an intrumental solo with your voice but don't have the confidence or ability quite just yet? Then this could be for you..I'm running a Jazz Vocal Improvisation and Repertoire workshop to cover all of that stuff from simple, effective warm ups, modes and phrases to help you get going plus lots of interactive singing and scatting and an afternoon session putting it all together with repertoire and how to connect with lyrics with our live house jazz trio plus light lunch and all day refreshments are included in the price for just £75 for the whole day. 


To book a place simply email me, Nicki Allan at allannicki@hotmail.com or call 07905 482615 or better still, both.
Places are limited because this is an intimate workshop not a huge crowd. Everyone gets a go and gets to take part.


As Nicki says, space will be limited so if you're interested, book soon. To find out more about Nicki, visit her website - www.nickiallan.com.

Jazz At The Mill Announces Autumn Programme


Jazz audiences in and around Bradford take note - Jazz at the Mill at Black Dyke Mills returns for another season of weekly jazz starting September 11th.

Run by the great team team of Kathy and John Dyson, Jazz at the Mill will host jazz every Monday (please note the change of day; it's on a MONDAY now) featuring some of the finest musicians the North has to offer.

Entry costs just £5 and tea, coffee, homemade soup and cake are available. If you fancy something a little stronger, it's BYOB. All events run from 7.30 until 10pm.

Below is the full schedule of gigs from now until the end of October. For more information, keep an eye on the very useful Live Jazz in Bradford facebook page.

Sept 11th - Nicki Allan Project feat. Rod Mason 
Sept 18th - Wendy Kirkland Quartet
Sept 25th - The Jazz Dawgs feat. Adrian Ingrams
Oct 2nd   - Kate Peters Quartet
Oct 9th    - Jeff Hewer Quartet
Oct 16th  - Inside Outside Quartet
Oct 23rd  - Beverley Beirne Quartet
Oct 30th  - Soul2Jazz

Friday, 4 August 2017

Gig Preview: Nikki Iles at Grimsby Jazz, September 6th


We may have just stepped into August, but a jazz promoter's work is never done and venues across the North are spreading the word about their new Autumn programme of live events. Over in Grimsby, Gill Wilde is planning to kick off proceedings with a bang as she hosts the Nikki Iles Trio at the Old Clee Club on September 6th.

Nikki is a musician familiar and well loved by many, but just in case you need reminding...

Playing highlights in the last couple of years have included The Julian Arguelles Octet, The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Tony Coe and Tina May, , ‘Renga’ with Rufus Reid . The Anglo / Canadian Quartet with Martin Speake,  Anthony Michelli and Duncan Hopkins., trio with Jeff Williams, The Stan Sulzmann Big Band, Joe Locke and Neil Pursey , Claire Martin and Dave Holland in the tribute to Kenny Wheeler at this years London Jazz Festival .  . This year  looks to be a very busy year. Following the success of her trio CD, Hush., recorded  in New York with Rufus Reid and Jeff Williams, she has recently recorded with Norma Winstone and Kenny Wheeler and the London Vocal Project, “Mirrors” on Edition and most recently has seen the release  of the long awaited Printmakers CD “Westerly “ on Basho records with Norma Winstone, Mark Lockheart, Mike Walker , Steve Watts and James Maddren  and “Stardust ‘ (Jellymould) with long–time friend , saxophonist, Stan Sulzmann.

She brings with her to Grimsby Dave Green on double bass and Geoff Simkins on alto saxophone. 

For more information on the rest of the programme and details on how to buy tickets, visit the Grimsby Jazz website.

New from Discus - See One, Do One, Teach One



Martin Archer's label Discus Music released their 64th album on August 1st as the third in a series of quartet releases featuring new combinations of musicians from the Discus family.

Deep Tide Quartet features Martin Archer on tenor sax, Kim Macari on trumpet, Laura Cole on piano and Walt Shaw on percussion & live electronics.

Open ended jazz playing with no stylistic limits – written scores, graphic scores, improvisation – improvisation which is inclusive of melody and structure – whatever we feel like playing – plenty of space for the music to develop its direction – concentrated and careful listening - ultimately rooted in, and building on the tradition of, pure jazz skill no matter where the music takes us.

Though originally conceived as a recording project, the band quickly decided to work together and take the band out live. Their debut was at The Verdict in Brighton in July and dates are confirmed in Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield and Bristol in the coming months. 

For more information and to listen to/buy the album, visit the Discus Music website.


Want to support Jazz in the North East? Here's how...


Paul Bream, champion of jazz and improvised music in the North East, runs a very informative and handy Jazz Alert mail-out so you'll never again miss out on a gig in the area. This time, he also flagged up an opportunity to support the scene in other ways - by becoming a board member for Jazz North East.

He says...

Jazz North East is the longest established promoter of Jazz in the UK, with 2016 having seen us celebrate 50 years of bringing the best contemporary jazz to Tyneside. But for us this anniversary was just the launchpad for the future. We’re much more interested in looking forward to our future concert programmes, with diversity very much at the heart of our approach. 
As a registered charity and company limited by guarantee, our activities are managed by a Board of Trustees, who play a crucial role in making sure the organisation manages its funds properly and fulfils its role of promoting gigs that showcase the best of British and international jazz.
We are currently looking to recruit new members to our Board to help us manage our existing programme of gigs and build on our past success. We are particularly keen to recruit people who have skills and experience in any of the following areas: 
Graphic design
Website development and management
Audio and video recording
Online sales and streaming
Education/music development. 

But specialist skills aren’t essential: a love for jazz is the foremost requirement, and we don’t expect volunteers to have a comprehensive knowledge of jazz and its artists - enthusiastic newcomers would be very welcome, and being a Board member is itself an exciting learning experience! 

The role is a voluntary one. You will be expected to attend Board meetings (normally around 10 a year, and usually held in central Newcastle in the evening) and help out at our regular gigs (generally four a month but you won’t need to be at every one). In return, you will help shape our future activities and get free entry to hear and meet some of the most exciting jazz musicians around. 

Check out our website http://www.jazznortheast.com/ to get an idea of the quality and variety of our current programme. 

If you are interested in joining us then please send an email to info@jazznortheast.com, giving us an idea of how you would like to be involved." 

My understanding is that JNE aren't expecting anybody to dive in without getting a good idea of what is involved, and interested people will be able to sit in at one or two Board meetings and other events before making a firm decision . . . readers of 'Jazz Alert' are clearly committed consumers of jazz; here's a chance to help out as a provider.

Cast Your Votes Now - Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017


It's that time again - the voting is now open for the 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. This year, they are supported by Pizza Express Live in conjunction with Peroni.

The winners will be announced at the awards bash in Pizza Express Live in Holborn, London on 10th October. The deadline for nominations is 16th August 2017.

The voting for these awards is open - each award has an open text box for you to submit your nomination. In case you're wondering about who is eligible for your vote, worry not -

Voting Criteria for each category

  • Jazz Album of the Year (released in 2016 by a UK band or musicians)
  • Jazz Vocalist of the Year (UK-based vocalist who impressed in 2016)
  • Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year (UK-based musician who impressed in 2016)
  • Jazz Ensemble of the Year (UK-based group who impressed in 2016)
  • Jazz Venue of the Year (including jazz clubs, venues, festivals and promoters)
  • Jazz Media Award (including broadcasters, journalists, magazines, blogs, listings and books)
  • Jazz Education Award (to an educator or project for raising the standard of jazz education in the UK)
  • Jazz Newcomer of the Year (UK-based artist, musician or group with a debut album released in 2016)
  • Services to Jazz Award (to a living person for their outstanding contribution to jazz in the UK). 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Dinosaur Nominated for Mercury Prize


Huge congratulations to Dinosaur, the only jazz ensemble to be nominated in this year's Mercury Prize shortlist.


The Hyundai Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ celebrates and promotes the best of UK music, recognising artistic achievement across a range of contemporary music genres. The Shortlist was chosen by an independent judging panel and revealed at our Launch event, hosted by BBC Music’s Huw Stephens. 
 The judges said “This year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize shortlist celebrates the remarkable power of British music. What these artists have in common is an infectious pleasure in music making and an arresting sense of urgency about the music they make. They delight in exploring musical possibilities and refusing to be pinned down by genre conventions.”

The winner will be announced on September 14th at Hammersmith Apollo.

Find out more about Dinosaur by visiting Laura Jurd's website and see the full shortlist here.

Northern Jazz well represented on Live at LUME vol. 3



Cath Roberts and Dee Byrne, with their seemingly infinite amount of energy, have released volume 3 of their Live at LUME series, a selection of recordings taken from live LUME gigs. This one contains many names familiar to jazz audiences in the North. These recordings come from the series of gigs entitled LUME labs, which saw three musicians commissioned to bring together groups of musicians and develop new work.

The album can be bought on the LUME bandcamp page.

The album, at £5 for a physical copy and £3 for digital, is used to fundraise for future LUME activities.

The three ensembles featured are:

Julie Kjaer (flute/bass clarinet)
Olie Brice, Seth Bennett, tim Fairhall & Thordoris Ziarkis (double bass)


Anton Hunter's Labrats

Anton Hunter (guitar)
Kim Macari (trumpet)
Cath Roberts (baritone sax)
Dee Byrne (alto sax)
Rachel Musson (tenor sax)
Tullis Rennie (trombone)
Andrew Lisle (drums)
Tim Fairhall (double bass)

Craig Scott's Gastric Band

Craig Scott (guitar)
Oliver Dover (saxes/clarinet)
Johnny Richards (keyboards)
Michael Bardon (double bass)
Joost Hendrickx (drums)




Halifax Piece Hall celebrates re-opening with Saxophone Massive


Halifax Piece Hall is currently one of the most significant and high profile heritage project in the UK. A £17 million conservation and transformation programme is underway and August will see a series of events welcoming the public back to enjoy this newly refurbished Grade I listed building.

On August 18th, renowned saxophonist and ECM artist Andy Sheppard brings his Saxophone Massive to join the festivities.


Led by world-renowned jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard, the big band will perform an original composition amongst the colonnaded galleries of our Georgian building, filling the whole space with music and celebration. An ECM recording artist, bandleader and composer, Andy Sheppard is one of Europe’s leading saxophonists and one of a very few British musicians to have made a significant impact on the international jazz scene. An international phenomenon, Saxophone Massive has been performed in cities across Europe including in the UK, France and Norway and is now commissioned for Halifax. 

"It is an immense honour to be bringing my Saxophone Massive to Halifax and to be the first major event to take place in the new Piece Hall. Music unites" communities and by reaching out to and including local musicians to be part of the massive, amateur and professional alike, we will present an event that showcases the best regional talent to an audience celebrating The Piece Hall, one of the most stunning buildings in Yorkshire.” Andy Sheppard 

A massive musical feat that’s both uplifting and astonishing.

Tickets are free and will available from August 1st. For more information, visit the Halifax Piece Hall website.

Call for Musicians for Jazz Directors Series with Zoe Rahman


Applications are now being accepted to be part of the third Jazz Director Series, run by Band On The Wall & Brighter Sounds. As with their two previous projects, featuring Terence Blanchard and Chris Potter), the call-out is for musicians to form the Inner City Ensemble. This time, the featured musician is pianist Zoe Rahman.

The Inner City Ensemble will work with Zoe in a residency before embarking on a short tour in October 2017. The instrumentation required for this incarnation of the band is - double bass, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, tuba, alto sax and tenor sax.

From Band on the Wall...


Described by the Observer as “a remarkable pianist by any standard”, pianist and composer Zoe Rahman has firmly established herself as one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz scene. A vibrant and highly individual artist, her style is deeply rooted in jazz yet it reflects her classical background, British/Bengali heritage and her very broad musical taste. Known for her powerful technique, wide-ranging imagination and exuberant performances, she has become a highly sought-after musician, recently working with the likes of George Mraz, Courtney Pine and Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra. She is a winner of the prestigious UK Parliamentary Jazz Award, and has been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.  

“I’m really looking forward to working with open-minded improvising artists who have a strong grounding in jazz, a deep sense of groove and who like to listen to a wide range of musical styles. There will be opportunities for all of the musicians to shine individually as well as contribute to the ensemble as a whole. Hopefully the project will be challenging, rewarding and above all fun for all of us.” – Zoe Rahman

The deadline is 13 August 2017 and successful applicants will be notified by 18th August. For more information and to apply, visit the Band on the Wall website.