Friday, 28 August 2015

Vote for Scarborough Jazz Festival in the Scarborough UK Awards

The finalists have been announced for the second annual Scarborough UK Awards to celebrate the work of Scarborough's venues, restaurants and cultural institutions.

There are a number of categories including best local attraction, best bar and best entertainment venue and Scarborough Jazz Festival has been announced as a finalist in two categories - Best Cultural Attraction and Best Event.

Voting is open until September 6th and winners will be selected solely on public vote. The voting form is available on the Scarborough UK website and is very easy to fill out (if you don't wish to vote in every category, you can click categories by selecting 'continue' at the bottom of the voting form).

Good luck to Scarborough Jazz Festival! (This year's festival runs between 25th-27th September, by the way...)

BBC Documentary featuring music of Matt Bourne airs tonight

A new six-part series about the canal network in the UK begins tonight on BBC One and will feature original music by pianist Matthew Bourne.

Matthew Bourne and Sam Hobbs worked on this BBC commission together and brought in some of Leeds' finest musicians to join them including Jonny Flockton, Mark Creswell and Richard Ormrod.

Interested in canals or music by one of the country's most respected pianists and improvising musicians or both? Tune in!

Find out more on the BBC Website or on Matthew's website.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

LCoM Celebrates 50th Birthday with Nikki Iles & All Star Alumni Big Band

Leeds College of Music is celebrating its 50th Birthday and to launch their LCoM50 events, they have invited pianist Nikki Iles to curate a big band of LCoM jazz alumni.

Iles graduated from LCoM in 1984 and subsequently returned as a lecturer. She will be composing and arranging material especially for the performance which features alumni from the early days of the college to some of the most recent graduating years.

The concert takes place on Sunday October 11th at 7.30pm at the Venue and tickets are available for £15. Those interested in attending are advised to book early as this band is sure to pull a crowd!

See LCoM website for more details on the LCoM50 events.

Personnel -

Saxes - Andy Schofield, Paul Jones, Tori Freestone, Riley Stone-Lonergan
Trumpets - Steve Titchener, Kim Macari, John Thikell
Trombone - Rick Taylor, Kevin Holborough, Chris Fower
Rhythm Section - Nikki Iles, Alex Munk, Caroline Boaden, Robin Mullarkey, Matt Sim

Nicki Allan Launches Charity Single for Cancer Research

Jazz vocalist Nicki Allan is releasing a single to raise money for Cancer Research, both in memory of a close friend Nick Laycock who passed away after being diagnosed with stomach cancer and drawing from her own experience with breast cancer.

The single is called For Life and will be officially launched at the Chapel Allerton festival on September 5th. Proceeds from online downloads and cd sales will be split between MacMillan Cancer Care and Yorkshire Cancer Research.

In an article published by Yorkshire Cancer Research, Nicki says

On returning home from the funeral I immediately felt compelled to compose a piece of music in Nick’s memory. The melody was easy but I could only think of a few hook lines here and there for the words and assigned the main task to another friend, Johanne Levy, who was going through breast cancer at the time. She wrote the lyrics, which were beautiful, and yet it was another four years before the song was recorded.

In January I found a lump which turned out to be breast cancer and although it initially turned my life upside down, once I got my head around things I realised I wanted to try and give something back to charity to spur on the fight to find a cure for this terrible disease that was threatening to take my life.

Full Article Here

For Life will be available on iTunes from September 5th and more information can be found on Nicki's website.

South African Jazz at University of York, September 4-9

The University of York is hosting a 6 day celebration of South African jazz to initiate a two year British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship project entitled South African Jazz Culture and the Archive.

Between September 4th and 9th, a host of international speakers will appear at the University to give talks, book readings, film showings, live music and more. All events are open to the public and free to attend (booking is required!) Below is a snapshot of the events but for full details, visit the University of York website.

Friday 4th September

Prof. Christopher Ballantine - Song, Memory, Power and the South African Archive

Saturday 5th September

Catherine & Darius Brubeck - Two Takes from 'Jazz Life', a work in progress
Eugene Skeef - Bheki Mseleku - Keeper of the Home

Sunday 6th September

Adam Glasser, Tete Mbambisa & Pinise Saul - South African Jazz Standards Legacy Project 
Dr Lindelwa Dalamba, Vuyiswa Ngcwangu & Pinise Saul - Women in South African Jazz

Monday 7th September

Dr Sazi Dlamini- [De]articulations of mbaqanga in South African engagements with the jazz influence

Tuesday 8th September

Dr Lindelwa Dalamba - Emergent Music: South African Jazz and the Postcolony

Wednesday 9th September

Tete Mbambisa (piano) and his Big ‘SA-UK’ Sound with Julian Arg├╝elles (tenor), Chris Batchelor (trumpet), Steve Buckley (alto), Gilbert Matthews (drums), Vuysiwa Ngcwangu (voice) and Steve Watts (bass)

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Jazz Cafe, Newcastle - Update

The Jazz Cafe in Newcastle has closes its doors for a few weeks for the summer break and will open again on September 1st. When they reopen, they will also have a new license which allows young people to attend gigs there until 11pm when accompanied by an adult. Plus they'll now be able to serve draft beers. In anticipation of their reopening, they have circulated details of their main events in September.

Mark Pringle's Moveable Feast Trio (September 11th, 9.00pm)

Winner of the Peter Whittingham Award, Mark Pringle has been wowing audiences and the musicians community recently. Graduating from the jazz course at Birmingham Conservatoire, he has since received a place on the hugely prestigious European Jazz Masters programme. This trio is the core of the larger 12 piece ensemble that make up Moveable Feast and will also feature James Banner and Euan Palmer.

Alice Grace Quintet (September 18th, 9.00pm)

Vocalist Alice Grace comes from an impressive start in jazz - singing with NYJO and degrees from Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Amsterdam Conservatoire. Since then, she has gone on to sing across the UK and further afield in Europe and in Dubai. Sitting alongside her work as a jazz singer, Alice also sings and produces drum and bass music. This quintet also features Peter Gilligan, Paul Gowland, Paul Grainger and Russ Morgan.

Soundbone plays Led Zep (September 25th, 9.00pm)

Trombonist Chris Greive has appeared many times in the North East with his trio NeWt. This time, he appears with guitarist Graeme Stephen and NE drummer David Carnegie play homage to the music of Led Zeppelin. “More structured episodes are interspersed with bouts of fiery free improv mayhem....Powerful and inventive music of a high order.” (The List)

Keep up to date with the goings on at the Jazz Cafe by visiting their website. 

A day of Jazz at the Chapel Allerton Festival

The annual Chapel Allerton Arts festival takes place this year between 31st August and 6th September with a range of events and activities for all ages - there's film, art and music at various venues across Chapel Allerton. As has become tradition, the Seven Jazz team led by Steve Crocker are putting on a full day of Jazz to end the festival on Sunday 6th September.

For £3, audiences can see live jazz from 12.30pm until 6.30pm as well as enjoying the sunshine (hopefully!) and food and drink stalls run by local producers and businesses.

12.30pm - Garforth Jazz Rock Band 
1.30pm - Stretch Trio
2.30pm - Rod Mason/Nicki Allan Quintet
3.30pm - James O'Hara Blues Band
4.30pm - Louis Louis Louis
5.30pm - Tarantismo

If that isn't enough jazz, you can also see jazz singer Tessa Smith lead the Community Choir at 3.15pm, Hassan Erraji at 7pm and  A Dread Supreme at 9pm all on Saturday 5th September.

For more information on the programme, visit the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival website.

IMOWI Course with Jesse Bannister

Although not strictly jazz, there is quite a tradition in Leeds of jazz musicians and those interested in improvised music studying indian music, too. IMOWI, Indian Music on Western Instruments, has received Arts Council support to run a summer school at Heart in Headingley between 3rd and 5th September.

The course will be run by saxophonist and renowned indian music educator Jesse Bannister and he will be joined by vocal tutor Anol Chatterjee. From 10am until 5pm each day, musicians and vocalists of all abilities are invited to study the traditions of playing and practising Indian Music.

The course costs £130 full price and £90 for the unwaged. There are also two further discounted places at £40 and two places available at no cost for those who want to be involved but cannot afford the full fee.

To find out more about Jesse Bannister, visit his website and to keep updated about similar activities and events, visit the Leeds Inspired website.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Want to help the Lancaster Jazz Festival?

Only one month remains before the 2015 Lancaster Jazz Festival kicks off. This festival has gone from strength to strength thanks to the hard work of the festival team and with last year's festival selling out almost every event, this year is sure to be a huge success. (The programme includes Emprical, Tori Freestone, A Dread Supreme and a commission premiere by Calum Mcleod.)

As with many jazz festivals, they couldn't run without the help of volunteers and festival director Matt Robinson has put a call out to those who would like to be part of their team during the festival.

Behind the scenes during LJF it's a mad three days of running around, meeting people, troubleshooting and caffeine with the entire festival team mucking in from dawn to well into the early hours. The wonderful volunteers are the people that make it all happen and make sure that artists and audiences feel comfortable and that everything is running smoothy.

We need volunteers to help with audience management, to meet and greet artists, to help sell merchandise, to support our tech crews, to stop the festival team falling asleep and a million other things. There's no limit to how much or how little time you can volunteer and it doesn't matter if you have loads of experience or none at all.

There are a range of positions available including stage manager, stage tech, front of house and more. Volunteers are able to give as much or as little of their time as they are able.

Those interested should fill out the online form on the Lancaster Jazz Festival website and someone from the team will be in touch.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Richmond Jazz Festival

The Richmond Jazz Festival takes place between 11th and 13th of September and features both established acts and up-and-coming talent from the UK.

The festival states their mission is to 'advance and promote, by all available means and widest interpretation, the appreciation, practice, study and knowledge of the art of Jazz and other improvised music.'

Visit the Richmond Jazz Festival website for more information.

Continuum Trio/Square One Double Bill (Friday, 7.30pm)

Continuum Trio are from Leeds College of Music and are focused on all three voices having equal spotlight in the group. Expect strong melodies, lush harmony and grooves reminiscent of John Scofield. (Will Sensicle-guitar, Will Stockbridge-bass guitar, Peter Udall-drums)

Square One hail from Glasgow and are co-led by guitarist Joe Williamson and Pete Johnstone. Their music draws influence not only from jazz but also from folk and rock. Pianist Pete Johnstone won Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year and the group have made a name for themselves UK-wide so expect great things! (Joe Williamson-guitar, Pete Johnstone-piano, Dave Bowden-bass, Stephen Henderson-drums.)

Norma Winstone and Nikki Iles Duo (Saturday, 7.30pm)

This duo features two of the UK's most respected and celebrated figures in Jazz. Norma Winstone is widely considered to be at the forefront of jazz and has performed in many seminal groups including Azimuth, Kenny Wheeler's Music for Large and Small Ensembles and Nikki Iles' group, The Printmakers. Nikki herself has an international reputation both as a performer and as an educator and has a packed schedule of international engagements. This performance is sure to be one to remember.

Richmond Jam (Sunday, 7.30pm)

Richmond Jam presents its annual exuberant feast of original music and jazz standards. Richmond Jam is an ensemble of improvising musicians aged 12 – 19 from Richmond and the Dales. It arose out of a two-day workshop for young musicians held as part of the 2009 Richmond Jazz Festival. Consequently, since 2010, workshops have been held fortnightly at the Youth Centre on the Richmond School campus. The primary aim of this unique, ongoing programme of workshops and concerts, is to help young musicians, through individual and group improvisation, to gain the knowledge, skills, experience and confidence to create and perform their own music.

The Haggis Horns 'What Comes To Mind' UK Tour

The Haggis Horns have been a favourite of audiences and musicians alike for years. Mark Ronson called them the best horn section in the world and they feature on some of the top chart releases of recent years with groups like Amy Winehouse, Jamiroquai and Martha Reeves.

The band have been hard at work in the studio preparing for the release of their latest album, What Comes to Mind - their first in 5 years. They have just announced tour dates across the country to promote its release, starting with an album launch gig at Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds on 25th september. Audiences are advised to book early for these live dates as they are guaranteed to sell out!

The Haggis Horns are: Malcolm Strachan (trumpet), Atholl Ransome (tenor), Rob Mitchell (bari), Dan Goldman (keyboards), Kenny Higgins (bass) and Luke Flowers (drums).

Tour Dates -
25th September - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
26th September - Band on the wall, Mancheter
2nd October - The Bongo Club, Edinburgh
3rd October - The Cluny, Newcastle
10th October - Brooklyn Bowl, London
30th October - The Musician, Leicester

For more details, visit The Haggis Horns website.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Songwriting Masterclass with Duncan Lamont

Ilkley Jazz Festival takes place in a few weeks and as well as a number of live performances throughout the weekend, Sunday 22nd August will feature some workshops which are free to attend.

Tenor saxophonist and composer Duncan Lamont is recognised internationally for his contribution to jazz, both through his playing with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole and with Kenny Wheeler on Music for Large and Small Ensembles, and through his gift for song-writing. Duncan's songs have been recorded by singers like Blossom Dearie and Cleo Laine and Fred Astaire himself commended Duncan on his songwriting ability. (Not to mention the seminal children's tv themes he composed - Spot The Dog and Mr Benn!)

From 2pm until 4pm on Sunday 22nd August, Duncan will take participants through the process of songwriting. The event doesn't require extensive knowledge of jazz harmony but some musical knowledge will be beneficial.

Places are limited so those interested should contact festival director Beverley Beirne by visiting the Ilkley Jazz Festival website.

Sandhouse Stompers Mardis Gras for Favela Brass Update

Congratulations to the Sandhouse Stompers for raising a grand total of £4062 for the Favela Brass Project during their 9 day coast to coast mardi gras!

Read about the project and keep updated with their news on their website.

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.