Sunday, 2 August 2015

A Summer Break at NJN HQ

From August 3rd until August 10th, the NJN team will be taking a well-earned summer break. If you have stories you'd like covered please do continue to contact us through the site or by emailing

Hope you're all enjoying the summer sun/rain...!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Gig Preview: OXYD in Newcastle

Sunday 2nd August, 8pm
The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle (hosted by Jazz North East)

Live jazz in the North often becomes less frequent in the summer with many clubs taking a well-deserved break until they launch their Autumn season. Jazz North East, however, got an offer they couldn't refuse and will be postponing their summer break to host French group OXYD this coming Sunday.

The Paris-based group is influenced by a diverse range of musicians and bands, citing Jim Black, Steve Coleman, John Hollenbeck and Marc Ducret amongst the former, and AlasNoAxis, Kneebody, Radiohead and Sonic Youth on the band front. Their original compositions also draw inspiration from both European and American jazz, but with elements of rock, pop, improv and contemporary music subtly blended into the mix.

Led by keyboards player Alexandre Herer, the band has a powerful front line in trumpet player Olivier Laisney and tenor sax player Julien Pontvianne, with inspirational support from the high quality rhythm section of Oliver Degabriele on electric bass and Thibault Perriard on drums. Since its creation in 2006, the quintet has played clubs and festivals throughout France, Europe and the USA, and has released three critically acclaimed albums.

You can book tickets for this gig from Reflex Records or from the See Tickets website.

Tigran Hamasyan comes to Howard Assembly Room

Just a couple of weeks after Howard Assembly Room host NYC pianist Aaron Parks (October 2nd), they will host another giant of the instrument - Tigran Hamasyan.

On Friday 16th, Tigran will perform in Leeds (his only date outside of London) with the 8 strong Yerevan State Chamber Choir in a concert which explores the music of Armenia.

Although still in his twenties, Tigran is already a solo recording artist for Verve/Universal, Nonesuch and ECM and has been highly praised by piano luminaries Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Brad Mehldau for his dazzling virtuosity.
Tigran and the remarkable choir perform music he has arranged by seven famous Armenian composers including composer Komitas Vardapet, who is well known to admirers of performances by Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble.

Tickets are priced at £15 and can be booked through the Howard Assembly Room website.

BBC Introducing at Manchester Jazz Festival

As part of the Manchester Jazz Festival this year, Kevin Le Gendre and the Jazz on 3 team will be hosting a showcase event at Band on the Wall on Friday 31st July featuring four emerging groups from across the country.

Submissions through the BBC Music Uploader were invited from bands and were sifted through by a panel which include Kevin Le Gendre, Jez Nelson and Gilles Peterson to select the four who would take part -

Ashley Henry Trio - Ashley is a graduate of LCoM currently studying under Gwilym Simcock at the Royal Academy in London.

Nerija - Emerging from the Tomorrow Warriors project, this all-female septet cite Joe Henderson and Kurt Rosenwinkel among their influences.

Phaze Theory - London-based group with an interesting line-up that includes tuba, vocals, guitar and drums.

Cameron Vale - Hailing from Leeds, this quartet is currently part of Jazz North's Northern Line scheme and features four recent LCoM graduates.

The audience for this event is chosen through ballot but those not lucky enough to attend will be able to hear the show when it is broadcast on August 10th.

More Ways to Learn Jazz in York

Those who live in or frequent jazz gigs in York will probably be familiar with the website Jazz In York, run by bassist John Marley. The site details all the jazz events in York as well as featuring articles and interviews and information on the various groups and venues for jazz in the area. John has now added another feature to the site offering free materials for those interested in learning jazz.

At the moment, visitors can access materials based on general jazz improvisation (there are some harmonic an rhythmic exercises available) and specific bass exercises like study pieces and a look at constructing walking bass lines.

John is set to add more materials weekly and will invite other instrumentalists to offer their materials, too.

For more information and to look at this new feature, visit the Jazz In York website.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Instrument Bursaries for Young Musicians

                                                 Nathan Kenworthy, a Hanson Music Bursary Recipient

Marsden-based music shop Hanson is offering 26 young musicians the chance to receive new instruments, upgrade exisiting ones and attend music courses as part of their ongoing goal to support youth music.

Hanson Music have previously supported a number of young musicians to obtain new instruments and recently they saw their first sponsored player become a professional musician in the RAF.

At 26 years old, they now have £20,000 to offer 26 young musicians.

To qualify players will have had to demonstrate a high level of commitment to their chosen instrument and usually already have attained a good level of skill.   There is a focus on students who are active members of junior departments or studying undergraduate at the country’s leading music colleges such as Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland but players of all levels and of all ages will be considered. 

Those interested should visit the Hanson Music website for details on how to apply for the fund. 

York announces plans to become centre of excellence in jazz

Recently, we reported on a new big band starting in York, led by Ian Chalk as part of the York Jazz Initiative. Well, this week more information was released about the plans they have to make York a centre for excellence in Jazz.

Launching in September, the initiative will include streaming lessons and classes offered to those at any level who wish to know more about jazz. The programme will be based at Canon Lee School in York but will offer lessons in the form of skype, e-books and face-to-face.

In an article published in the York Press, Ian Chalk said

We're determined to make York a centre of excellence in the north of England for jazz education for young people and adults. Large ensembles, small groups, individual tuition, distance learning, workshops, attention to detail and passion for an important art form. 

Read the York Press article here and visit the York Jazz Initiative website for more information.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Hull Jazz Festival Summer Edition

The Summer Edition of Hull Jazz Festival kicks off today, opened by festival favourites New York Brass Band. Hosted at Hull Truck Theatre, there is a weekend of jazz featuring beloved vocalists and a celebration of A Love Supreme.

Singer Clare Teal brings her trio to celebrate the works of Doris Day on Friday and North East's finest Zoe Gilby closes the festival on Sunday with a Jazz Brunch with her quartet. There is a hip-hop double bill on Friday with the Abstract Orchestra and Akala and Gary Crosby pays tribute to the great Coltrane album A Love Supreme (which is 50 years old this year!) with his quartet featuring Denys Baptiste.

There are a couple of ticket offers available over the weekend; book three gigs in advance and see the cheapest for free and see all three Northern Line shows on Saturday for only £21.

To see the full details of the gigs happening at the festival, visit the Hull Jazz Festival website.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Sandhouse Stompers go Coast to Coast for Favela Brass

The Sandhouse Stompers, a 9 piece New Orleans brass group made up of Northern musicians, are embarking on a 120 mile walk from Morecambe to Whitby to raise funds for Favela Brass.

Starting on 23rd July, the group will play 9 gigs as they walk through towns from coast to coast, as well as stopping to busk and raise awareness of the work Favela Brass does.

The Favela Brass project provides free brass, percussion and English lessons to children in a small favela in Rio de Janiero.  Brass instruments are extremely expensive to buy in Brazil and brass tuition is almost non-existent in Rio's state school system. Net result: children in Rio's low-income neighbourhoods rarely learn to play brass, which is a huge shame considering that music plays such a central role in the cultural and social life of the city. The Favela Brass project aims to change that situation for children in a small favela (slum) called Pereira da Silva in Rio's Laranjeiras district.

The Sandhouse Stompers are - Mark Ellis (saxophone), Stuart Garside (trombone), Tom Ashe (trumpet), Paul Grady (trumpet), Neil Morley (trumpet), Gareth Smith (trumpet), Rowena Smith (trombone), James Stretton (tuba) and Mark Kerrigan (drums).

Keep an eye out for the band busking over next week or so, or catch them at one of their 9 performances -

23rd July, 4pm - Knight Stainforth Hall, Stainforth
23rd July, 8pm - Victoria Hall, Settle
24th July, 8pm - Foresters Arms, Grassington
25th July, 8pm - Crown Inn, Pateley Bridge
26th July, 5pm - One Eyed Rat, Ripon
27th July, 8pm - Little 3, Thirsk
28th July, 8pm - Helmsley Brewing Co., Helmsley
29th July, 9pm - Coach House Inn, Rosedale Abbey

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Ashington Jazz Club Closes its Doors

After 31 years of promoting live jazz in the North East, Ashington Jazz Club has announced that their final gig will be on August 5th.

Promoter John cited dwindling audience numbers as well as a lack of disabled access and healthy and safety issues with the venue as reasons for their closure.

I will give my full support to anyone prepared to take it on. Many thanks for your friendship and support over the last 6 years at the Elephant and 31 years for the club.

Their final gig is on August 5th and features vocalist Zoe Gilby. Congratulations to John and the team for their contribution to jazz in the North East for the past 31 years!

How To Run A Jazz Venue. 19th September

NORVOL Jazz, an organisation set up by and for jazz promoters in the North of England, are hosting an event during the Lancaster Jazz Festival in September called How To Run A Jazz Venue.

The panel discussion will feature a number of successful promoters from across the North - Neil Hughes (owner of the Cinnamon Club, Altringham), Jez Matthews (musician and promoter of jazz at the Lescar, Sheffield), Gill Wilde (promoter of Grimsby Jazz and director of Cleethorpes Jazz Festival) and John Marley (musician and promoter of live jazz in York).

This event is aimed at people who want to become jazz promoters, or who may already do some jazz promotion and want to do it better. You may be a musician wanting to develop venue for people to play, a volunteer with an interest in jazz, or a promoter in other areas of the arts wanting to include more jazz in your festival or programme. This event will help you achieve that.
The seminar will focus on: finding a venue, developing an audience, planning a programme, developing the local jazz community through workshops, masterclasses, jam session and paying for it all! It also provides a prime opportunity to network with successful Northern Jazz promoters.

 The event takes place at the Sun Hotel (Sun Street, Lancaster, LA1 1EW) from 2.30pm until 5pm on 19th September. It's free to attend but sign-up is necessary. You can sign up on Norvol Jazz's website.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Jambone/Jazz Attack Summer Course at The Sage

For young jazz musicians looking for something to do during the summer break, the Sage is hosting a full day workshop led by Paul Edis and James Birkett on Monday 27th July.

Participants will be taken through their paces by two professional jazz musicians and work on areas including playing as a big band, working on playing in smaller groups, repertoire and improvisational techniques. It will culminate in a performance, showcasing all the work done that day.

The workshop costs £26.50 and there is a £5 discount for a second child. The workshop is open to young musicians at grade 3 and above.

Find out more and book places at the Sage website.

Artephis announced as Jazz North Introduces latest group

Artephis, a Manchester based quintet, has been announced as the latest addition to the Jazz North Introduces scheme.

The band are students at the Royal Northern College of Music and formed a year ago. They have a repertoire made up of both original material and material from their influences - Christian Scott, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and Pat Metheny.

Artephis will receive mentoring and help with the development of an EPK as well as performances at six high profile jazz festivals -

19th September - Lancaster Jazz Festival
10th October -  Marsden Jazz Festival
24th January - Southport Melodic Jazz
28th February - Liverpool International Jazz Festival
23rd September - Scarborough Jazz Festival

You can find out more about the Jazz North Introduces scheme on their website and you can check out some recordings of Artephis on their soundcloud page.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Gig Preview: Trio HSK at Cafe Lento, 10th July

Cafe Lento in Leeds have their final gig before the summer break tonight and it features Trio HSK.

The Scottish Trio HSK are currently playing a string on dates across the UK which culminates in a performance at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival featuring special guest Cory Henry, keyboard player with Snarky Puppy and Robert Glasper.

Their compositions draw from contemporary classical music, jazz, hip-hop, breakcore, metal and the music of the Americas, making their language rhythmically and harmonically dense. They deal with musical ambiguities, in particular ‘actual versus perceived rhythm’, deriving unique improvisational frameworks. Among their influences they cite Pierre Boulez, Franco Donatoni, Iannis Xenaxis, Meshuggah, Venetian Snares, Nerve, Dillinger Escape Plan and Robert Glasper.

Expect some surprises and a lot of chops! Entry is £5 and music starts at 8pm.

Ravi Coltrane Quartet comes to Newcastle

US tenor saxophone giant Ravi Coltrane will appear at the Sage Gateshead on July 15th. He appears with a quartet featuring Scott Colley on bass, Adam Rogers on guitar and Nate Smith on drums.

Ravi has recently toured extensively with his quartet with David Virelles, Jonathan Blake and Dezron Douglar (read our review of their Howard Assembly Room gig here) so audiences are in for a treat as Ravi brings this new quartet to the North for their only UK appearance in summer.

Coltrane is now adding to his arsenal of excellent combos, this time featuring long-time cohorts Adam Rogers on guitar, Scott Colley on bass and Nate Smith on drums. He guides the new Quartet with his signature seriousness of purpose, fire, and profundity, led by his distinctive sound on his saxophone.

The ethereal quality of his tone renders even his most intense, intricate passage work immensely attractive and…the sheer luster of his sound and nimbleness of his technique play gently on the ear Chicago Tribune

You can book tickets for this gig on the Sage website.