Friday, 6 May 2016

Gig Preview: Arild Andersen Trio at Band on the Wall, May 17th

Ones eyes can tend to glaze over when the description of a musician is mainly a list of who they have played with. In some cases though, like Arild Andersen, the list bears repeating - a sideman for Stan Getz, Sam Rivers, Paul Bley and Pat Metheny, a band leader with groups that included Bill Frisell, Paul Motian, Ken Wheeler, a huge catalogue of recordings on the famed ECM label.

Andersen is currently to found with his trio featuring Tommy Smith and Paolo Vinaccia. The group released their first album in 2008 on ECM, Live at Belleville (for which Arild won the European Jazz Musician of the Year prize for the album) and since then have toured Europe a number of times as well as finding time to release another ECM album, MIRA.

The trio will make on stop in the North as part of their current UK tour, at Band on the Wall in Manchester on May 17th.

Widely regarded as one of the finest groups currently working in jazz, Andersen’s trio with the Scottish saxophone virtuoso Tommy Smith and the sensational Italian drummer Paolo Vinaccia presents music that thrills and moves the listener in equal measure. Drop-dead gorgeous melodies, razor-sharp interaction, urgent rhythms and the hallmark of all great jazz, spontaneous creativity converge in a live music experience that transcends style and genre and makes an Arild Andersen Trio concert an unmissable event.

Tickets cost £15.00 and full information can be found on the Band on the Wall website. You can find details on all the tour dates on Arild Andersen's website.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Full MJF 2016 Programme Announced

The full programme for this year's Manchester Jazz Festival was launched today with Rethink Jazz as the creative theme.

The 2016 creative is based around RETHINK JAZZ, reaching out not just to jazz fans, but those who might think that they know what jazz is and it isn’t for them – well we would like to encourage them to think again. 

Throughout the festival, Jazz Goes to the Movies will show a series of films that celebrate the relationship between jazz and cinema. There's a weekend of Beer n' Blues at Band on the Wall features groups like Jo Harman & company and Big Boy Bloater. As has become tradition, Monday 25th will feature the crop of new Northern Line groups from Jazz North and you can catch other rising stars like Young Jazz Musician of the Year Alex Ridout, too. Scattered throughout the programme are some big names - Tim Garland drops in with his Electric Quartet on Sunday 24th.

For full details on everything included in the festival programme, visit the Manchester Jazz Festival website.

Leeds College of Music's Jazz Festival at the White Swan

Leeds College of Music is continuing the 50th year celebrations with a two day jazz festival to celebrate the wealth of talent on their jazz degree course.

On May 9th and 10th, The White Swan pub in Leeds will host gigs from ensembles made up of LCoM students - some familiar, some new to the jazz community in Leeds.

The line-up for May 9th has been published on the LCoM website and we predict the 10th won't be far behind - 10 hours of live jazz each day, with groups playing 30 minute sets from midday until 10pm.

It's a great chance to meet the next batch of musicians coming through LCoM and all for free!

More information here -

Changes to Sheffield Jazz Programme

Recently, we wrote about the upcoming changes to Sheffield Jazz's venues and the introduction of Crookes Social Club as one of their main venues. Sheffield Jazz have been in touch to announce some changes to their scheduled gigs -

Because of the closure of the social club at Millennium Hall, we regret that the gig on 20 May by the Allison Neale Quintet has been postponed to Spring 2017 (we will update you on this when we circulate details of the Spring 2017 programme) and the Vein Trio + Greg Osby gig on 6 May is being transferred to Crookes Social Club, Mulehouse Road, Sheffield S10 1TD,  which will be our new home from Autumn 2016. The 6 May gig however will have to take place in the smaller room at Crookes so it is almost certain to sell out. Those wanting to see this great combination are therefore recommended to buy tickets in advance online at .

Friday, 29 April 2016

Alex Munk's Flying Machines Kickstarter Launched

Jazz listeners first came across guitarist Alex Munk when he came to Leeds to study Jazz at Leeds College of Music from 2006-2009. He then moved to London to study his Masters at the Royal Academy in London and since then, he has proved himself to be a guitarist at the forefront of the jazz scene. He has maintained his connections with the North, bringing his own group Flying Machines to perform in Leeds as well as working with fellow LCoM Alumnus Matt Anderson in his group Wildflower and in 2015, he was invited to take part in an all-star big band put together by Nikki Iles to celebrate 50 years of Leeds College of Music.

Alex has recently recorded his debut album with his quartet, Flying Machines and has now launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help with mastering, CD and print costs and PR. Their target is £3,500 and the total currently stands at 38% with 20 days to go.

Alex says

We have the end in sight! It's been a long haul (no pun intended) but the final mixes of our debut album, which we recorded last year, sound like they did in my wildest dreams. All the rehearsing and gigging really paid off. We've captured 9 original compositions in the studio and there's something on the album for everyone, from visceral, rock out improv to lyrical ballads and lush soundscapes. We worked with an incredible engineer called Tim Thomas for both the recording and mixing; he has done a wonderful job of bringing this music to life. 

We are aiming for a late September 2016 album launch date, ahead of our national tour in February 2017. We already have a number of dates booked, from Cornwall, London to Edinburgh - we hope to see you at one of them! We'll be adding more dates as we go along.

Donors can opt to pledge at a number of different levels, each with their own rewards. These range from digital downloads of the album to guitar lessons and private gigs by the band.

You can find out more about Alex and Flying Machines by visiting his website, and to learn more about the Kickstarter and donate, see their campaign page.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tremplin Jazz Avignon Contest 2016 - Submissions open until Saturday

Submissions for the Tremplin Jazz Avignon Contest are open until Saturday of this week (30th) for ensembles from across Europe.

Since 1992, this French outdoor jazz festival has run a contest open to emerging ensembles across Europe. The winners are given a gig supporting the headline act of the next festival as well as three days of recording in a studio in France. This year, the judging panel is led by Kyle Eastwood.

The eligibility criteria states -

- Bands of between 2 and 6 people and all based in the EU
- No age limits
- No overlapping (musicians cannot compete in more than one band)
-Winners from previous years cannot apply
- Bands can be represented by an indie record label (preferably their own)

The application must include bios of each member, at least 3 high quality recordings with at least one original work and hi-res photographs.

You can find the full list of rules & regulations here and the registration form here.

JazzFM Award Winners Announced

The 2016 Jazz FM Awards were held in London last night including performances by Kansas Smittys, Kandace Springs and Hiatus Kaiyote. Congratulations to all the winners, listed in full below.

Instrumentalist of the Year – Mark Lockheart 
Vocalist of the Year – Lauren Kinsella
Breakthrough Act of the Year – Binker & Moses
Blues Artist of the Year – Gary Clark Jr
Soul Artist of the Year (Sponsored by RCS) – Jill Scott
International Artist Of the Year (Sponsored by Yamaha) – Kamasi Washington
Album Of the Year Choose Your Weapon by Hiatus Kaiyote
UK Jazz Act of the Year  – Binker & Moses
Digital Initiative of the Year – Jacob Collier
Lifetime Achievement Award - Quincy Jones
Jazz Innovation of the Year  – Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
Live Experience of the Year  – Ice-T and Ron McCurdy – The Langston Hughes Project at the Barbican
Impact Award – Gregory Porter

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Music Support - Don't Suffer In Silence

A new website has been set up to offer support to people in the music industry struggling with issues related to stress, mental health, substance and alcohol abuse and other addictions.

The site offers a range of resources and their dedicated helpline can be used at any time to find appropriate support and/or treatment through their network of support workers and health professionals. Set up by a small group of music industry professionals (including musicians, engineers, promoters etc) in connection to a Director of Clinical Services, Music Support's mission is to offer confidential, sympathetic and non-judgemental support.

The service aims to become a central body for specialised support within the music industry, run by a team who understand the unique challenges and circumstances faced by musicians and music professionals.

For more information, visit the Music Support website.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Big Band Sundays in Doncaster

Lovers of big band music should make sure the Diamond Live Lounge in Doncaster is on their radar and head down to one of their upcoming Big Band Sunday gigs.

The North boasts an impressive number of big bands and jazz orchestras and Diamond Live Lounge will host two such examples this season - Ronnie Bottomley's Jazz Orchestra on Sunday April 24th followed by the Tom Sharp Jazz Orchestra on Sunday 8th May.

Music starts at 2pm and entry is £10. Audiences for this Sunday's gig will be treated to two sets of music arranged by the great drummer Ronnie Bottomley and performed by a band full of the North's favourite improvisers.

Tom Sharp brings his band in May, fresh from their victory at the Great North Big Band Competition and with a programme full of the great big band writers.

The Diamond Live Lounge is situtated on Wood Street, a few minutes from Doncaster train station.

Louse Gibbs Singing Workshop, June 4th

Renowned vocalist and teacher Louise Gibbs will run a one-day vocal masterclass on June 4th for vocalists who want to feel more relaxed and free in their singing.

The session will run from 10am until 5pm and is limited to 10 participants which ensures that each vocalist will receive ample performance time and tuition. Louise is joined by Sam Leak (piano), Sam Gardner (drums) and Mark Lewandowksi (double bass).

The masterclass will allow singers to -

• explore your “jazz voice”
• learn new repertoire
• develop your improvising skills
• learn how to direct a band and prepare for a jam session
• perform with greater confidence
• experience singing with a supportive trio of top young UK musicians

Louise is a distinguished educator and has taught at a number top UK universities and conservatoires including Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Goldsmiths, RNCM and LCoM as well as many workshops worldwide.

The cost of the session is £75 (£60 for full time students) and includes lunch & refreshments.

To book a place, contact Louise by emailing

Ros Rigby Steps Down after 15 years at Sage Gateshead

                                           Ros Rigby, promoting the 10th GIJF in 2013

Ros Rigby has announced that she will step down as Performance Programme Director of Sage Gateshead at the end of July. 

Ros has held the post for 15 years and is a well respected figure in jazz through her work as the driving force of the Gateshead International Jazz Festival and as a central figure in the Europe Jazz Network. 

In a statement published by the Sage Gateshead on 20th April, Managing Director Abigaul Pogson said 

In Ros we have been lucky to have such a dedicated and passionate advocate of culture who has given so much to this region over so long, and for the last fifteen years has made a formative contribution to Sage Gateshead. Her programmes and festivals – not least the Gateshead International Jazz Festival which we’ve enjoyed again this past weekend – have helped put Sage Gateshead on the national and international map. We are very sad to see her go, but thank her very warmly for everything she has done. 

Ros says -

Being involved in the development of Sage Gateshead from the mid-1990s onwards has been an enormous privilege, and I will take with me very many vivid memories of both successful events and challenging moments, wonderful artists and hugely committed staff and partners. I look forward to having continued contact with the company on a different basis, and also to having more time to become involved in other developments in the region and beyond. Tamsin Austin and I have worked together very closely since she was appointed in 2003, and I cannot think of a better person to lead the work of our team, and to take it in new and exciting directions. 

The Sage has confirmed that Tamsin Austin, currently Head of Popular and Contemporary Programming, will take over the role from September 2016.

Read the full press release here. 

Parliamentary Jazz Award Nominees Announced

Congratulations to Jamil Sheriff and Seven Jazz for their nominations in this year's APPJAG Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

The full list of nominations was announced this week ahead of the awards ceremony on 10th May. Jamil Sheriff is nominated for the Jazz Education Award and Seven Jazz receives the nomination for Venue of the Year.

The full list of nominations are as follows -

Services to Jazz Award: Mike Janisch, Mary Greig, Evan Parker
Jazz Education Award:  Jamil Sheriff, Dr Tommy Smith, Gary Crosby OBE
Venue of the Year: Seven Jazz - Leeds, Jazz Re:Freshed at Mau Mau - London, Watermill - Dorking
Album of the Year: Let It Be Told - Julian Arguelles,  A Room Somewhere - Liam Noble, Seaside - Liane Carroll
Newcomer of the Year: Binker & Moses, Corrie Dick, Theon Cross
Instrumentalist of the Year: Alex Hawkins, Django Bates, Evan Parker, Liam Noble
Vocalist of the Year: Ian Shaw, Eska, Emilia Martensson
Jazz Media Award: Chris Phillips - Jazz FM, Mary Greig - Jazz in London, Jez Nelson - Jazz on 3, Richard Williams

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

SNJO come to Gateshead with the music of Dave Brubeck

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the UK's best large ensembles. Helmed by tenor saxophonist Tommy Smith, the band work with internationally celebrated musicians multiple times a year as well as releasing albums. In the last two years, they have worked with Kurt Elling, Bob Mintzer, Benny Golson and Mike Stern.

The band don't often venture south of the border but the North is lucky enough to host them this year as part of the Gateshead International Jazz Festival. Their programme is celebrating the music of Dave Brubeck and they welcome two featured guests - Bill Dobbins and John Nugent.

Pianist Bill Dobbins was commissioned by the SNJO to arrange the music of Brubeck. He is currently Professor of Jazz at Eastman School of music in New York. He is joined by alto saxophonist John Nugent.

The concert is on 30th April at the Sage Gateshead. Full information on the gig can be found on the GIJF website and the SNJO website.

Tour Preview: Preston Glasgow Lowe UK Tour, April 2016

Preston Glasgow Lowe are a trio that are pushing the conventions of guitar trio music forward. In February 2016, they released their debut album on Whirlwind Records to high praise and they are now embarking on an extensive UK tour in April.

All three members of the group are sought after improvising musicians in London and between them, they rack up an impressive collective CV of recordings and performances with internationally renowned musicians (Peter Ind, Melody Gardot, Tommy Smith, Randy Brecker, Gilad Atzmon...)

"compelling mix of sophisticated harmonic/rhythmic ideas and dazzling soloistic technique" - Jazzwise

For more information on the band, visit the Preston Glasgow Lowe website. Their full tour dates are listed below.

April 2016

13th - Dempsey's, Cardiff
14th - Bonnington Theatre, Nottingham
15th - Fusebox, Leeds
16th - The Verdict, Brighton
17th - Southampton Modern Jazz Club, Southampton
20th - Lescar, Sheffield
21st - The Future Inn, Bristol
22nd - Hot Numbers Coffee, Cambridge
24th - The Alex, Felixstowe
26th - The Phoenix, York
28th - Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
29th - Cafe Lento, Leeds
30th - Jazz Coop (The Globe), Newcastle

Christine Tobin Quartet at Swaledale Festival

Swaledale Festival runs from 28th May until June 11th. Situated in the Yorkshire Dales, the festival is a celebration of arts, music and walking which has run since 1972. Their 2016 programme is as varied as ever with a number of guided walks (many of which are already sold out!), exhibitions, lectures on art appreciation, a large number of classical and folk concerts and more. Opening the festival on May 28th is jazz vocalist Christine Tobin with her new project Remembering Elis Regina.

Joined by Mark Lewandowski on double bass, Kate Shortt on cello and long-time collaborator Phil Robson on guitar, Christine explores the music of Brasilian singer Elis Regina. Tobin cites Regina as her greatest hero and the concert will feature the music of Jobim and Nascimento amongst others.

Gorgeous, affecting and deeply human - The Guardian

The concert is at St Andrews Church in Grinton on Saturday 28th May. Start time - 7.30pm. Tickets cost £16 and only £3 for under 19s.

Full information on this concert and the rest of the festival programme can be found on the Swaledale Festival website.