Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas from Northern jazz News!

We are off on our festive break now but worry not, we will return in 2017 for another year celebrating Jazz in the North.

Thanks to all our readers for your continued support - Merry Christmas!

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Back Chat Brass (Dec 24th)

It's Christmas Eve! We've reached the end of our advent calendar of musical treats and who better to send us off than Back Chat Brass.

Click here to hear the band in full festive flow -

Back Chat Brass are an instant favourite. With a nod to their roots in pop, funk and hip hop, their brassy twist on classic tunes combined with electrifying showmanship will ignite any occasion. Equally at home wielding their horns on a stage or roaming round a festival Back Chat Brass will LITERALLY drag you out of your seat for an all night party.

Friday, 23 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Emma Johnson's Gravy Boat (Dec 23rd)

Behind our penultimate door of the NJN advent Calendar is a talented young saxophonist Emma Johnson and her group, Gravy Boat.

Click here to listen to an exclusive preview of the band's upcoming EP -

Emma Johnson's Gravy Boat is an outlet for Emma's original compositions, which aim to explore the different textures and possibilities that can emerge from a small band of close-knit musicians performing together. 

The Gravy Boat set sail from Leeds in 2016 and have been performing local gigs whilst honing their sound. Emma's writing for the quartet displays a contemporary sound rooted by strong melodies and the band have recently recorded their first EP, which is due to be released early in the New Year. Expect catchy melodies woven around strong grooves, sharp contrasts in texture and dynamic to keep the listener on their toes and that underlying friendly feeling that comes from something new, but just a tiny bit familiar.

Saxophone - Emma Johnson
Guitar - Calvin Travers
Double Bass - Sam Quintana
Drums - Alasdair Wells

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Jam Experiment (Dec 22nd)

Behind door number 22 is a young ensemble that have been making waves on both the Northern and national scene - Jam Experiment.

Click here to listen to an original composition, First Day, by saxophonist Alex Bone -

Jam Experiment is made up of bandleader Rory Ingham, who plays trombone, BBC Young Jazz Musician of Year 2014 – saxophonist Alex Bone, pianist Toby Comeau, bassist Felix Moseholm, and drummer Jonathan Mansfield.
The band describes its approach as “energetic, connected, creative, swingin’, humorous, enthusiastic”. It came together after a weekly jam, and the players’ ambitions are to play exciting original compositions and arrangements, make a strong impression and search for something that is musically new. Among its inspirations and influences are guitar titan Pat Metheny, keyboard legend Herbie Hancock, bassist Christian McBride and pianist Gwilym Simcock.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Paul Edis (Dec 21st)

Behind our 21st door is one of the leading figures of the North East jazz scene, pianist Paul Edis. Paul is about to release an album with Vasilis Xenopoulos and was recently announced as a one of the newest batch of Take Five scheme.

Click here to listen to Paul and Vasilis play the very apt Christmas Song -

Described as ‘a brilliant young pianist’ (Guardian) Paul Edis is a performer, composer, educator and promoter based in the North East of England. He leads a trio and sextet under his own name, and has released numerous albums, with his most recent solo release earning him the stamp of ‘a significant new voice in British Jazz’. Edis is the course leader of the BMus Jazz, Popular and Commercial Music degree at the Sage, Gateshead, and is the promoter of jazz concert series in Durham and Newcastle. In 2016 he directed the first ever Ushaw Jazz Festival.

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Juxtavoices (Dec 20th)

Behind door number 20 is our largest ensemble included in our calendar - Sheffield's premiere anti-choir, Juxtavoices.

Click here to watch Juxtavoices perform For You, Me & Krakatoa -

Juxtavoices is a large antichoir which includes many familiar faces from Sheffield’s leftfield music, poetry and visual arts scene. Although the group performs structured scores, no fixed pitches are ever notated, and the group uses improvisation to shape the detail of the scores as the music progresses. Both trained and untrained voices are included. As well as playing normal concerts, the group is to be found in various unexpected public places and at poetry / text events. 

Juxtavoices are 

Julie Archer, Martin Archer, Jon Ashe, David Bartholomew, Ian Baxter, Mick Beck, Nathan Bettany, Geoff Bright, Chris Bywater, Clinton Chaloner, Julie Cole, Laura Cole, Emma Cooper, Paul Coupe, Edward Eggleston, Kat Fletcher, Sharon Gill, Alan Halsey, Matt Harling, Lyn Hodnett, Christine Kennedy, Bo Meson, Tamar Millen, Geraldine Monk, Rick Moran, Liam Murphy, Tim Plant, Marion Rout, Liz Searle, Wolfgang Seel, Walt Shaw,  Jan Todd, Jane Tormey, Caroline Veal, Peter Veal, Linda Lee Welch, Gillian Whiteley.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Eskelin/Sharkey/Bourne (Dec 19th)

Behind door number 19 is a group formed especially for The Orpheus Project, a joint project run by Apollo Jazz network and NORVOL jazz. NYC tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin toured the UK with guitarist Chris Sharkey and pianist Matt Bourne performing a programme of completely improvised music.

Click here to listen to BBC Radio's Jazz now which features a live broadcast from their Lescar gig -

Eskelin’s trio, featuring Chris Sharkey and Matt Bourne, is comprised of three strong and individual creative voices that come together to create something greater than the considerable sum of its parts. The group toured between October 8thand October 14th, creating performances that were as unique as they were exciting.
For the past thirty years Ellery Eskelin has been at the forefront of the global creative improvised music scene. Based in New York City, he has traveled widely performing, recording and amassing a very personal and iconoclastic body of work. And yet Ellery Eskelin has always remained deeply committed to the traditions of jazz and American music. Eskelin embodies this seeming contradiction with ease. He does not see jazz as a style or idiom but as a process. Further, a process of creative development that has great relevancy to our time. In this pursuit Eskelin consistently delivers to the listening public unadulterated, passionate music with no excuses and no apologies.
Chris Sharkey is known across Europe as being at the cutting edge of creative music. He has been a member of numerous groundbreaking groups in the UK –including TrioVD, Acoustic Ladyland and Bilbao Syndrome. Internationally, he has collaborated with musicians in France (Christian Sebille), Norway (Nils Henrik Aarsheim) , Lithuania (Liudas Mockūnas) and Spain (Asociación Musica Libre).
Bourne first came to national attention as a winner of the Perrier Jazz Award in 2001, which was followed by an award for innovation at the BBC Radio Jazz Awards in 2002, and the International Jazz Festivals Organisation’s International Jazz Award in 2005. Renowned for his intensely personal and sometimes confrontational solo work, Bourne’s uncanny ability to balance delicacy and virtuosity, while establishing a close affinity with his audience, have become hallmarks of his concert performances.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Dave Kane (Dec 18th)

With only a week to go until the big day, we have 6 more musical offerings in our advent calendar. Leeds College of Music has released an Alternative Christmas Playlist featuring music from their alumni including a piece by double bassist Dave Kane.

Click here to listen to the Playlist including Dave's piece Uh Hu Hu -

Composer/ Bassist Dave Kane was born in a small town called Bangor in County Down in Northern Ireland. At age 16 he bought an electric bass guitar from a catholic priest for 50 pounds, and began moving his fingers up and down the ‘ E ‘ string in local punk and alternative bands. With aspirations of eventually playing on the other 3 strings of the bass, Kane began studying music at a local college with the internationally acclaimed composer and bandleader Brian Irvine. As a direct result of hanging out with Irvine, Kane began to explore the idioms of free improvisation, contemporary jazz, classical music, funk, metal, red wine and general mayhem! Further exploration was required, so Kane rowed across the irish channel on his double bass and studied Contemporary music (essay writing!) at Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds.

 Unfortunately there were no influential teachers there like Irvine, so he learnt how to use a library and subsequently encountered the music of John Cage, Edgar Varese, Cecil Taylor, Barry Guy, John Coltrane, Iannis Xenakis, Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa and John Zorn. Upon graduating from University Kane lived and worked in London for a while trying to get his ’shit together’ and playing free music with some British Jazz legends including; Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmall, Elton Dean, Evan Parker, Tony Levin, Mark Sanders, Paul Rogers, Alex Maguire and many other heads! Currently based in Leeds, Kane is a founder member of L.I.M.A. (Leeds Improvised Music Association) and the musical director/ composer for the L.I.M.A orchestra. An ever expanding large improv orchestra featuring some of the UK’s finest young musicians inc, Matthew Bourne, Chris Sharkey, Christophe De Bezenac, Petter Fadnes. Other projects include; The internationally acclaimed Bourne/ Davis/ Kane. Dave Kane ( solo double bass + voice ).
The Shank Trio (featuring saxophonist James Allsopp and drummer Tim Giles).
 Didrik Ingvaldsen’s Quartet Alpha. Dave Kane’s Rabbit Project.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Ken Ford (Dec 17th)

Today we pay tribute to a staunch supporter of jazz and long time jazz promoter Ken Ford who sadly passed away this week.

There is no link to a musical offering today but instead we urge yoyou to check out the plethora of artists that  have played at Hull Jazz by checking out their website  -

From Northern Jazz Live...

Sad to hear of the passing of Ken Ford from Hull Jazz. Ken had organised the weekly club in Hull since 1983, originally at the Howarth Arms and latterly at the Goodfellowship on Cottingham Road. The 2017 Hull City of Culture will be a fitting memorial to his work playing and promoting live music in the City

Kens funeral will be at 10.30am Thursday 29th December at the large crematorium, Chanterlands Avenue Hull HU5 3TS. The wake afterwards will be at the Kenilworth Suite, Goodfellowship Arms in Cottingham Road  HU5 4AT. There will be a musical tribute to him.

Friday, 16 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Inclusion Principle (Dec 16th)

We're now into single digits before the big day and to celebrate, here is a wonderful trio compromised of Martin Archer, Peter Fairclough and Herve Perez - Inclusion Principle.

Click this link to hear an extract from the group's latest album, Third Opening released in 2015 -

Inclusion Principle operates in a space between electronics, nu-jazz, contemporary electroacoustic music and free improvisation tending towards a minimalist approach.

Both Martin and Hervé play a similar set up of laptop and woodwinds and yet have a different approach to their instruments. Put together, there is a chemistry that inspire and drive their improvisations towards a wide range of soundscapes. the choice of instruments and sounds on their palette allows them to dramatically change their music between beat driven electro, minimal and microtonal improvisation via electroacoustic experimentation and nujazz. Now joined by master improvising percussionist Fairclough for this third album, there is something for all in their music and, first and foremost, an enjoyment of sound and performance, which carries across and touch their audience, whatever the style they may adopt.

Third Opening is recorded with an almost forensic focus on the small detail within the sound, revealing a seething quantum world of sound just under the surface.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Jamie Brownfield (Dec 15th)

Behind door number 15 is a trumpeter who is currently featured in the Jazz North Northern Line artist roster.

Check out Jamie and his quartet playing the jazz standard Misty -

JBQ consists of British Jazz Awards rising star, Jamie on Trumpet. Tom Kincaid on Piano, Ken Marley on Double Bass, and Jack Cotterill on Drums. This fresh and exciting quartet have a vast  range of experience in different styles of music and have come together to play their own mix of  New Orleans street beat, swing & reggae.

The band are heavily influenced by the likes of Harry Connick Jr, Leroy Jones, Clark Terry,Oscar Peterson & Christian McBride, to name only a few. From the original New Orleans Street Beat tunes such as “The Happy Feet Blues” through to our own compositions you can hear the roots of the music we listen to.

The band members have played with such notables as Bruce Adams, Shakin Stevens, Scott Hamilton, Alan Barnes, Digby Fairweather… Playing all over the world from Europe, to Scandinavia, and as far as the US!

The band have a residency, and perform once a month at Matt & Phreds Jazz Club, Manchester.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Ian Chalk (Dec 14th)

Two weeks into our advent calendar, we find trumpeter Ian Chalk. 2016 has been a busy year as he has been hard at work building up the jazz education scene in York through leading a number of large ensembles and workshops.

He has recently released a recorded an album of 16 christmas carols with brass and strings which is free to download. All he asks is if you can afford it, make a donation to MacMillan Cancer Support. Follow this link to download the album -

Ian is a jazz trumpet player performing throughout the UK and a well-known jazz educator.
As Director of York Jazz Initiative Ian directs 5 different jazz ensembles for all ages and abilities.
He performs with his band Firebird Quartet and is in demand as a guest soloist at jazz venues around the country and has performed with many great jazz artists including Dennis Rollins, Gary Smulyan, Kate Peters Septet and the Yorkshire Jazz Orchestra.
Ian lives in York and is striving to make the city a centre of excellence for jazz education.

"One of the UK's finest trumpet players..." - Whighams Jazz Club, Edinburgh

Ian's website -

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Family Band (Dec 13th)

With only 12 days to go until good old Santy Claus gets to work and besides the elves at the North Pole, behind door number 13 there are four little jazz elves working hard - Family Band.

Currently preparing to release an album on BUG Records in early 2017, check out this video of the band by Maria Alzamora of Tom Riviere's composition Mao 2 -

Rooted in the music of Ornette Coleman and the 1960’s avant-garde, Family Band play powerful and freewheeling music – moments of fierce intensity, a tender spirituality and the blues combine to form an emotionally complex and cathartic whole that rarely fails to move. Comprised of four long-time musical collaborators and friends, the group recently released their eponymous debut album and are in the process of preparing their second release, an album of live material recorded at Manchester Jazz Festival.
“What a revelation – exciting group, gradually revealing more and more depth and thrilling the audience to the very end” – Blow The Fuse, The Vortex
“A band who aren’t afraid of the jazz tradition” – Jez Nelson, Jazz On 3
Trumpet – Kim Macari
Tenor Saxophone – Riley Stone-Lonergan
Double Bass – Tom Rivière
Drums – Steve Hanley

Monday, 12 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Engine Room Favourites (Dec 12th)

Behind door number 12 we find record label owner, composer and saxophonist Martin Archer and Engine Room Favourites.

Click here to listen to an extract from their album Bad Tidings from Slackwater Drag -

Martin Archer - Sopranino, alto, baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, bass recorder
Mick Beck - Tenor saxophone, bassoon
Graham Clark - Violin
Laura Cole - Piano and Fender piano
Corey Mwamba - Vibraphone
Seth Bennett - Double bass
Peter Fairclough - Drums and percussion
Johnny Hunter - Drums and percussion
Walt Shaw - Percussion
Steve Dinsdale - Percussion
A band of band leaders, comprising some of the most creative new voices on the scene plus some maverick veterans. You decide who is which. A front line which is as sophisticated as it is rough edged. Complex interplay from piano and vibes flanking them from either side of the stage. And a rhythm powerhouse of four percussionists, collectively able to move from the most delicate and unexpected little instrument textures through to a barely containable percussive storm. 
The band aesthetic remains true to Archer's earliest experience in creative music, as a follower of the AACM school of music pioneered by Art Ensemble of Chicago, Leo Smith, and Anthony Braxton. This is a style which has never been really followed up by European musicians, nevertheless it remains the model for Archer's contributions to jazz based music. Archer has said "the appeal of this style to me is that it remains considered, spacious and open, without sacrificing any of the improvisational heat and energy which places its exponent players firmly in the avantgarde tradition. And crucially, it never disconnects from its own past, in particular the blues, no matter how abstract it gets. It's that very mix of pure abstraction with the directness and energy of the sound that I continue to find so compelling in this music.". 
Engine Room Favourites are not postmodernists, not retro stylists, but instead keep their eyes and ears firmly on a forward path jazz might have taken in the next period, but never quite did.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

NJN Jazz Advent Calendar - Perpetual Motion Machine (Dec 11th)

Behind door number 11 is an ensemble that have been hard at work in 2016. With an unusual line-up of two guitars, two tenors, bass and drums, the group have developed a unique sound with their take on pop songs and originals.

Check out this video of the band playing their tune, The Cut -

Perpetual Motion Machine is a six piece band comprising of jazz musicians from across Yorkshire and beyond. It features 2 guitarists (Sam Dunn and Jamie Taylor), which is what gives this ensemble its unique quality, as they are able to explore a more diverse range on the instrument that only having a single player would not allow. The rest of the band has a more traditional feel to the line up. Two Saxophones (Riley Stone-Lonergan and Ben Lowman) as well as some other woodwind instruments including Bass Clarinet, Electric Bass (Garry Jackson) and Drums/Percussion (Steve Hanley).

The group first got together back at the start on 2016 to experiment with the idea of having the two guitars working side by side, and it quickly became a regular rehearsing outfit, taking already established pop songs (Black Star by the late David Bowie / Here comes the flood by Peter Gabriel) and deconstructing them to form new arrangements. Two original compositions swiftly followed written by Sam, which the band recorded in August to be released as videos. Over the subsequent months more originals were bought to rehearsals from the rest of the band which now make up the majority of the music the band perform.

A national uk tour is in the final planning stages for the ensemble throughout early September 2017 to help promote the Album "IGNITION", which they are recording in January at Rebel Elements Studio in Ilkley, West Yorkshire under the watchful eyes and ears of engineer Sam Hobbs. A short teaser clip for the band was also recently released on youtube to help promote the forthcoming album.