Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Inner City Ensemble musicians announced for Terence Blanchard Project

Tickets are now on sale for the brand new Jazz Director Series concerts, an initiative run by Band on the Wall and Brighter Sound that sees internationally renowned guest artists work with emerging talent in a series of special performances in the North.

Following an open call, 13 young professional musicians were selected to form the Inner City Ensemble. These musicians were selected for their versatility and many of them currently work in a number of different musical settings - from jazz and improvised music to hip-hop and classical.

The ensemble will work with Blanchard in Manchester for the rehearsal period before taking to the road to perform in Manchester, Warrington, Bradford and Kendal.

The Inner City Ensemble are -

Michael Dawson – Tuba
Adam Chatterton – Trumpet
Chelsea Carmichael – Saxophone
Tom McCredie – Bass
Ashley Henry – Piano / Keyboards
Michael De Souza – Guitar
Diane Hammond – Clarinet
Sam Gardner – Drums
Aisling Palmer – Oboe
Amy Roberts – Flute
Kieran McLeod – Trombone
Chris Beagles – French Horn
Sam Rapley – Bass Clarinet

Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Band on the Wall website.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Applications Now Open for The Write Stuff

Applications are now open for the 2016 edition of the The Write Stuff, an initiative run by Jazzwise and Serious for budding music journalists.

This free programme allows new jazz and improv writers to work with professional journalists to improve their work and learn about the world of music press, blogs and more. All this plus the chance to see a load of gigs!

There will be sessions of feature and live review writing by Kevin Le Gendre, an insight into the history and development of the UK jazz and music press by Jazzwise editor Jon Newey and a workshop on jazz websites, blogs and social media run by Mike Flynn.

The sessions will run during the EFG London Jazz Festival between 11-20th November. Those interested in participating should submit a 300 word review of a recent live gig together with a CV and full contact details by Monday 10th October to learning@serious.org.uk. Applicants must be over 18 and available in London between 11th and 20th November.

For more information, see the Jazzwise website.

York Music Forum Jazz Orchestra is recruiting!

Calling all young musicians in York - the York Music Forum Jazz Orchestra is now recruiting to welcome some new players into the fold. Led by Ian Chalk, this ensemble is an ambitious group of musicians under 21 that rehearses weekly and performs numerous times a year.

MD Ian Chalk says...

We are one of the best youth jazz orchestras in the country and we are recruiting!

Does this sound like you -

- Play alto sax, trombone or trumpet
- grade 8 standard (taken exam or not)
- Prepared to commit to make great music 
- Able to rehearse on Thursday evenings

Contact our musical director Ian Chalk on ian@yorkmusicservice.co.uk 

For more information on the York Music Forum, visit their website and to see the Jazz Orchestra in action, watch the video above of their performance of 'Count Bubba'. 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Gig Preview: Maja Bugge in York, September 3rd

Maja Bugge is the only solo artist to be feartured on this year's Jazz North Northern Line roster. Originally from Norway, Maja is now based in Lancaster and has collaborated with a number of organisations and groups including Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Art (LICA), Oslo Moderne Teater, the National Theatre Oslo, Beaivvas Theater, NING, Katma Productions and Opera Omnia. She has been recognised for her work through a number of awards including The Cultural Rucksack Norway’s best performance in 2010.

On September 3rd, Maja will be perform a lunchtime concert at St Saviourgate Chapel in York, as programmed by Late Music.

From the website...

Maja’s unique sound – as evidenced on her CD Shelter (Euredice, 2012) – explores stillness and repetition, harmony and dissonance. Her music balances melody and rhythm with external ambience, acoustics and atmosphere.

Beautiful, meditative music” (Bergens Tidende)
Innovative, she crosses artistic borders with great creativity.” (Erlend Loe, Author)

Tickets ci#ost £5 and can be booked through the Late Music website and more informtion on Maja's music can be found on her website.

Lauren Kinsella UK Tour, September 4-23rd

Vocalist Lauren Kinsella's star is in ascendence. In recent years, she has worked extensively with groups like Blue Eyed Hawk, Thought Fox and Snowpoet. She has won awards and delighted audiences across the country and has released albums on Edition Records, Two River Records, Diatribe and WideEarRecords. She has also taken up a post teaching voice at Leeds College of Music.

In September, Lauren will tour across the UK with a band including Tom Challenger (sax), Dan Nicholls (piano), Conor Chaplin (bass) and Simon Roth (drums) with support from the PRS Women Make Music fund.

Audiences in the North will have a number of opportunities to catch this wonderful band in action; first at Chapel Allerton Jazz Festival on September 4th, then at the Lescar on September 7th and finally at The Black Swan in Newcastle on September 8th.

One of the brightest creatve sparks to come out of the contemporary jazz vocal feld in a long while.
Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise

A full list of tour dates is given below - for more information on Lauren, visit her website.

September 4 - Chapel Allerton Arts Festival, Leeds 3.30pm 
September 7 – The Lescar, Sheffield 8.30pm 
September 8 – Jazz North East present Women in Music @ The Black Swan, Newcastle 8pm
September 18 – Clapham Omnibus, London 8pm 

September 22 – The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen 8.30pm 
September 23 – Edinburgh house concert (message Lauren via www.laurenkinsella.com for full details and ticket reservation) 

Doncaster's Supa Dupa Big Band Bonanza, 16th-18th September

Doncaster Youth Jazz Association have teamed up with NYJO to run a weekend of workshops and performance entitled the Supa Dupa Big Band Bonanza.

From their website...

In partnership with the National Youth Jazz Organisation and proudly sponsored by Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation and the Doncaster Music Hub, Doncaster Youth Jazz Association is excited to be hosting the first Supa-Dupa Big Band Bonanza between Friday 16th and Sunday 18th September 2016 aimed at attracting anyone and everyone interested in learning or listening to jazz from across the Yorkshire region.
On Friday DYJA and NYJO Jazz Ambassadors will be engaging with Doncaster secondary school students, and on Saturday a range of workshops designed to encourage budding young musicians develop their jazz talents will aim to attract a regional audience to the CAST theatre and the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association Centre on Beckett Road. 

A team of support Ambassadors will be on hand to encourage, discuss and support young musicians. “This is an unmissable weekend” says John Ellis MBE. “We have a unique opportunity in providing a focused learning experience for the next generation of jazz musicians and lovers. Learning from the likes of Mark Armstrong (Musical Director NYJO) or Dennis Rollins (Associate Musical Director DYJA) as well as being exposed to the high standards of jazz expertise from the country’s finest young musicians on our very own doorsteps should be on every student’s priority list.

The weekend kicks off with a workshop on Saturday from 10.30am until 12pm called Come and Try. This is a session for those of you who are new to jazz, have always wanted to take up an instrument or just fancy trying something new!

Running at the same time, is Develop Your Jazz Skills. This is an intermediate workshop for those who want to build on the basic skills needed to be a jazz musician and promises to be a fun session of jazz improvisation.

Later in the afternoon from 1pm until 4pm, an advanced workshop will run. This session is designed to challenge participants and will focus on three key areas - performance, theory and the emotional side of playing - dealing with nerves, using intuition, playing with feeling etc.

The weekend culminates in a performance on Sunday between 2.30pm and 5.00pm. Mark Armstrong and Dennis Rollins team up to lead a jam packed big band performance.

Information on all events over the weekend can be found on the DYJA website. 

Friday, 19 August 2016

Chances to learn about jazz on LCoM's short courses

Throughout the year, Leeds College of Music offers a wide range of short courses for musicians of all abilities - from those who want to build on their existing skills to those who are brand new to music. Between September and December this year, jazz lovers will have a number of options. The Leeds College of Music website has full details on each course, how to apply and the prerequisites.

Pop and Jazz Choir (from 19th September, £150) - led by Jenny Chamberlain Smith

Jenny will teach an eclectic repertoire, giving you the chance to explore different styles of harmony singing, including call and response, close harmony, a cappella, and different styles of backing vocals. Material will be taught using a combination of aural and written traditions. During the 30 week course there will be three informal performances.

Introduction to Jazz Piano (from 28th September, £120) - led by Bob Birch

Working in a small group, this practical course will introduce you to some of the key concepts in jazz piano and improvisation by exploring practical jazz theory. You will learn how to play from lead sheets and play a wide range of jazz and blues repertoire in a friendly and supportive environment. You will be introduced to chord symbols and voicings, extended harmony, walking bass lines and using scales to build confidence in approaching jazz improvisation.

Jazz Composition Weekend (12th November, £150) - led by Rob Mitchell

This weekend course will introduce you to the foundations of jazz composition and arranging. The course will explores techniques, devices and structures used in composing melody, harmony and rhythm in jazz, with a focus on writing lead sheet and small ensemble compositions. Part of the course will be theory based with the opportunity to input compositional ideas into Sibelius software with a view to your own compositions being performed and work shopped.

Jazz Improvisation Weekend (3rd Devember, £150) - led by Rob Mitchell

This weekend course is ideal for the inexperienced improviser wishing to gain more knowledge, experience and confidence in improvisation and jazz. Taught in an ensemble environment, 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. Although this course is suitable for all instrumentalists (including drums), there is a focus on melodic instruments. The workshop sessions will provide plenty of opportunities to perform in a relaxed and supportive environment.

Protect your ears with the Musicians Hearing Health Scheme

Help Musicians UK and the Musicians' Union have teamed up with Musicians' Hearing Services to offer subsidised hearing tests and custom fitted earplugs to professional musicians across the country.

By applying to the scheme, musicians will be able to access specialist care for a one-off price of £30 (£40 for non-MU members). The offer includes -

  • An audiological assessment and ear check-up (worth £145)
  • One set of custom made, specialist musicians' earplugs (worth £170)
  • An automatic call back for a subsidised hearing test every two years (costs £20, worth £90)
The scheme comes as a result of a 2015 hearing survey conducted by Help Musicians UK which highlighted a need felt by musicians for advice on how to protect hearing. The scheme is open to any professional musician, regardless of age, genre or instrument.

For full information and to apply for the scheme, visit the Help Musicians UK website.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Rommi Smith - Jazz and Poetry at Seven Arts, September 2nd

Jazz and Poetry are two artforms that have history together. Don't just take my word for it, read this NPR piece from 2014 that highlights five examples of albums where jazz and poetry meet - from Steve Swallow's long term collaboration with poet Robert Creeley to the setting of Elizabeth Bishop's verse by pianist Jeremy Siskind.

Rommi Smith is a perfect example; a poet, jazz singer and writer, she has written many works about jazz and can be seen performing with jazz musicians including Laura Cole and Jenni Molloy. On September 2nd, she teams up with pianist Dave Evans and bassist Kenny Higgins to perform these works at Seven Arts in Leeds. As if that wasn't enough, she will bne supported by Dave Evan's newest big band initiave (which we wrote about recently here).

Tickets for the event cost £10/8 and can be purchased through the Ticket Source website. Rommi will also be holding a workshop talk about her poetry before the gig which is free to all ticket holders.

Robert Glasper Experiment - New Album & UK Tour

16th September marks the release of the brand new Robert Glasper Experiment album, ArtScience. The Grammy Award winning pianist and composer has teamed up with his close musical collaborators Casey Benjamin, Derrick Hodge and Mark Colenburg to produce something to rival their wildly successful previous releases.

To launch the album, The Robert Glasper Experiment embark on a UK tour in November including three chances to see them in the North of England. After playing two nights at KoKo in London (November 14/15), they hit Band on the Wall in Manchester (November 16), The Sage Gateshead (November 17) and Hull Truck Theatre (November 18) before heading to Bristol and Birmingham.

ArtScience finds the Grammy-winning Robert Glasper Experiment getting down to its essence, with each of the band members—keyboardist Robert Glasper, saxophonist and vocalist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Mark Colenburg—delivering the vocals and sharing in the production and songwriting on the album. On ArtScience, the Experiment sounds like a bit of everything that's vibrant and challenging and great about music woven into a billowing fabric of jazz, funk, soul, rock, hip-hop, blues, disco, electronic, and pop.

To find out more about Robert Glasper and the new album, visit his website.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Vula Viel, Liane Carroll, SK2 and more set for Scarborough Jazz Festival

The 2016 Scarborough Jazz Festival takes place between 23rd and 25th September and the programme is as varied and exciting as ever.

Fans of vocal jazz will not be disappointed as there will be performances from Liane Carroll (7pm, Sunday) and Georgia Mancio's new project with Alan Broadbent (8.45pm, Friday). If it's world music you prefer, you'll be in for a treat with the joyous Vula Viel (12.30pm, Sunday), Pan Jumby (4pm, Friday) and Adam Glasser's South Africa & Beyond (2.15pm, Sunday). Brit jazz fanatics will be delighted to be see Brandon Allen (Sunday 8.45pm, Sunday), Alan Barnes & Dave O'Higgins (2.15pm, Saturday) and Gareth Williams & Trish Clowes (7pm, Friday).

All of this only scratches the surface of course, and you can find details on the entire programme can be found on the Scarborough Jazz Festival website.

A new jazz night in Southport

Southport Jazz Club will present a series of jazz nights at the Bakery in the Atkinson in Southport to showcase the wealth of local talent in the area.

Jazz Cafe will feature local bands led by musicians like Mike Smith (pictured above), Miranda Rimmer and Tom Sykes and after the band performs, a jam session will run open to all ages and abilities.

The venue will have food, cake and a full bar on offer.


Thursday 27th October - Ginger Tunes Quartet
Thursday 24th November - Sonorous Quartet
Thursday 15th December - Naomi Webber

For more information, visit the Atkinson website.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Ushaw Jazz Festival, August 26th - 28th

Pianist Paul Edis is working as hard as ever in the North East, this time turning his hand to festival directing as the first ever Ushaw Durham Jazz Festival takes place in Durham between August 26th and 28th.

A weekend of events that celebrate the vibrant North East scene and beyond, the festival will feature discussions, workshops and jam sessions alongside the performances.

Day tickets are available for each day (Firday - £8, Saturday - £25, Sunday - £20) as well as tickets for individual events.

The schedule is listed below but for more information on all the acts involved, visit the Ushaw College website.

Ushaw Durham Jazz Festival Programme

Friday 26th  -  6.00pm -  Northern Monkey Brass Band - in the theatre - £5
Friday 26th - 8.15pm - Zoe Gilby - £5

Saturday 27th - Early Bird Band - in the bar - FREE
Saturday 27th - 1.00pm - 2.15pm - Durham Alumni Big Band  - £7
Saturday 27th - 2.30-3.30pm - Workshop / Talk led by Paul Edis
Saturday 27th - 4.00 - 5.30pm - Alyn Shipton & Alan Barnes - "What is Jazz?" - £5
Saturday 27th  - 6.00 - 7.00pm - Mark Williams and Joel McCulloch Duo - £5
Saturday 27th - 8.00 - 10.00pm - Alan Barnes & Bruce Adams with the Paul Edis Trio - £10
Saturday 27th - 10.00pm - Jam session in the Francis Thompson Room with the Peter Gilligan Trio

Sunday 28th - 1.00 - 2.00pm Square One - £5
Sunday 28th - 4pm - New Century Ragtime Orchestra - £10
Sunday 28th - 8pm - Nigel Price Trio - £7

Bill Evans at Band on the Wall, Manchester - August 12th

Saxophonist Bill Evans had a strong start to his musical career in the 1980s, joining Miles Davis' band and recording 6 albums with him. From there, he has developed a career that spans 4 decades and 24 albums. He has worked with countless heavy hitters like Mike Stern, Herbie Hancock, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Mick Jagger and more.

Tomorrow, he brings his band to Band on the Wall in Manchester for a special performance to launch his latest album, Rise Above. The band features Joel Rosenblatt on drums, Bryan Barker on guitar and Dave Anderson on bass. Rise Above is an album that features a whole host of guest singers and musicians including long time collaborator Mike Stern, Joe Russo and Anders Osborne amongst others.

Tickets for the performance cost £16.50 and can be booked through the Band on the Wall website.

To find out more about Bill Evans, visit his website.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Bad Plus come to Leeds, November 12th

Get out your diaries and block out November 12th because the trailblazing Bad Plus are to perform at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds in a very special Northern appearance.

Based in New York, the Bad Plus are an iconaclastic trio comprised of Ethan Iverson, Dave King and Reid Anderson. Established in 2000, the band have spent the last 16 years performing across the world and have released 11 studio albums - most recently teaming up with saxophonist Joshua Redman (The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, 2015)

“Audacious, rule-breaking jazz trio crunches and at times pulverizes swing to let improvisational freedom shine...Dynamics play a huge roll in the act's music, as does humor, an element sorely lacking in most of contemporary jazz. But beauty is also key... jazz purists tremble while the vanguard flocks.” - Billboard

“It’s about as badass as highbrow gets.”
Rolling Stone

Tickets cost £20.00 and are sure to sell fast, so early booking is advised. For this performance, award winning duo Binker and Moses will open the show.

For more information, visit the Howard Assembly Room website.