Friday, 19 December 2014

Merry Christmas from NJN!

From all of us at Northern Jazz News, we'd like to wish all of our readers and subscribers a Merry Christmas and Happy 2015. Thank you all for your continuing support!

We will return after the holidays for another year of news, reviews and features and as always, if there's something you'd like us to include on the site use our contact form to let us know!

Durham University Big Band at Pizza Express, February 15th

Durham University Big Band are set to appear at London's Pizza Express on February 15th following a successful appearance there earlier this year.

This event will also feature the winning composition of the Durham Distillery Composition Prize, which was judged by Pete Churchill and Stan Sulzmann.

The band has produced many professional jazz musicians, many of whom have gone on to study and work on the London jazz scene.

The band are -

Tenor: Duncan Walker, Matt McKernan
Alto: Dan Garel, Felicity Evans
Bari: Naomi Tansey
Trombone: Chris Jones, Nat Jackson, Josh Harper, Luke Bentley
Trumpet: Sam Clark, Noah Lawrence, Rasmus Borowski, Charles Price
Keys: Matthew Jacobs
Guitar: Ollie Farley
Bass: Jonathan Berry
Drums: Tristan Bacon
Percussion: Maddie Ridout
Vocals: Will Lavelle, Laura Paul

For more information and details on how to book tickets to the event, see the Pizza Express website.

Artists' Submissions for MJF 2015 Now Open

                                                            Young Pilgrims at MJF 2014

Manchester Jazz Festival is preparing to celebrate its' 20th year next year and submissions are now open for musicians to take part in what is set to be their biggest and best yet.

From MJF...

Every summer, we present what we believe to be one of the most vibrant, exciting and surprising festival programmes, and the contribution of the constantly-evolving north west music scene is vital to this success. We also take pride in our open approach to making it easy for musicians and bands to get their ideas to us.

We are now accepting proposals for:
•       mjf introduces: mjf’s unique platform for talented emerging regional bands aged 16 – 25.
•       The general festival programme

If you’re a musician or band and you’d like to be considered to appear as part of the mjf 2015 festival programme, then get your details to us now. Applying is simple and it’s all online. The deadline to submit proposals is 10am Monday 12th January 2015.

Remember, mjf’s programming policy gives priority to:
•       Contemporary jazz
•       NW-based artists
•       New and/or original work

Although artists working outside of these fields are still welcome to apply. We especially like to hear from musicians wishing to present work which creates an unusual or unique event for the mjf festival programme.

mjf 2015 takes place 31 July  9 August. 2015 will celebrate our 20th year and we welcome any ideas that reflect this milestone. Bands that performed at mjf 2014 – or subtle variants of them – are ineligible for the 2015 festival. Musicians who appeared at 2014 are, however, welcome to submit other projects for consideration.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Lots of Jazz at RNCM...

This week, RNCM in Manchester announced their Spring 2015 concert season. Included in the 10-date concert programme are 5 jazz gigs featuring UK musicians who have built up strong international reputations plus a weekend event to launch their new Concert Hall which features another two jazz gigs!

31st January: RCNM Big Band featuring Mark Nightingale

One of the best known jazz trombonists in the UK, Mark Nightingale performs with the RCNM Big Band for their first concert of the year.

7th February: Matthew Halsall/Gogo Penguin/Mammal Hands

Manchester-born trumpeter, band leader and record label owner Matthew Halsall hosts this evening featuring three bands making a big impression on the jazz scene. Halsall's own Gondwana Orchestra will play, along with Mercury Prize nominees GoGo Penguin and new finds Mammal Hands.

20th February: Troyka

The ever-popular jazz-rock trio Troyka bring their 'Mingus meets Motorhead' approach to music to the RNCM. Thi high flying band features Chris Montague (Montreux Jazz Festival Award), Joshua Blackmore and Kit Downes (Mercury Prize nominee).

5th March: Gilad Atzmon & the Orient House Ensemble

Atzmon returns to the UK after an extensive world tour with his group. A formidable improvisational array…a jazz giant steadily drawing himself up to his full height...’ The Guardian

 19-22nd March: RNCM Big Weekender

This full weekend event launches the new Concert Hall at RNCM. Performances will take place throughout (all free to attend) and amongst the varied programme, the RNCM Big Band will perform with Nikki Iles and Tina May and Courtney Pine brings his House of Legends.

 17th April: Polar Bear

Seb Rochford brings his award-winning group to RNCM. The band have received a second Merucry Prize nomination and go from strength to strength, attracting audiences wherever they go.

For full information on all of the concerts, visit the RNCM website.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Wildflower Sextet Album Launch & Tour

Saxophonist Matt Anderson has announced the dates for his upcoming Wildflower Sextet tour and album launch in February 2015.

The group, led by Matt, features an all-star line-up including Laura Jurd, Sam Vicary, Sam Gardner, Alex Munk and Jamil Sheriff and takes inspiration from the work of the great Wayne Shorter. Original works by Matt sit alongside arrangements of classic and lesser known works by Shorter himself.

The group recorded their debut album with support from Jazz Services, Arts Council England and Leeds College of Music and the tour in February celebrates the release of the album on Jellymould Jazz.

There are three Northern dates included on the tour - JATP in Bradford, The Lescar in Sheffield and Leeds College of Music (which will also be the Leeds album launch date).

For more information, visit Matt Anderson's website and Jellymould Jazz.

Full Tour Dates below...

Stretch Trio Win Peter Whittingham Award

Jazz in the North got another boost this week with the announcement that Stretch Trio have won this year's prestigious Peter Whittingham Award.

The Leeds-based trio fought off stiff competition to win the £4,000 award which is given to a musician or group who present a project which showcases innovation, creativity and ambition.

“We are thrilled to have been offered the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award 2014. It comes at a crucial moment in our career and will enable us to develop the band in a way that would not otherwise have been possible”.

Stretch Trio join an impressive list of groups and musicians that have previously won the award including Soweto Kinch, Led Bib, Roller Trio and Phil Meadows.

Earlier this year The Stretch Trio were selected by a panel of festival promoters as the first Jazz North Introduces band. Through the award they made high profile showcase performances at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival and Scarborough Jazz Festivals and mentoring. In November they released their debut album, Antithesis, which is available through their Bandcamp page.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Audience review of Stan Sulzmann's NEON at Seven Jazz, Leeds

Last week audiences in Leeds and Sheffield had the pleasure to catch performances of Stan Sulzmann's Neon Quartet with Jim Hart, Kit Downes, Tim Giles and Stan Sulzmann.

With busy personal schedules, and Jim Hart resident in France, this was a rare UK three date tour that surprisingly missed out London. With no reviewer available we asked the Seven Jazz audience to talk about the gig from their viewpoint.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Gig Preview: LCoM Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, December 8th

Monday 8th December
The Venue, Leeds College of Music

Trombonist Callum Au will feature in a concert by Leeds College of Music Contemporary Jazz Orchestra on Monday 8th December. Amongst other pieces, the band will perform Au's own arrangement of Bernstein's West Side Story.

The Jazz Orchestra is one of LCoM's flagship ensembles and has showcased the best the jazz department has to offer for many years. Some of the band's recent projects have featured musicians including Dave Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs and more.

For tickets, visit the LCoM website.

Django Bates wins BASCA Award

Django Bates has won a BASCA (British Composers Association) award for his composition, The Study of Touch.

Bates joins 8 other composers as first time winners of the awards including Mark Anthony-Turnage and Tom White.

Contemporary Jazz Composition is the only jazz category and has been previously won by John Surman, Christine Tobin and two LCoM graduates, Tommy Evans and James Hamilton.

For a full list of winners and more information, see the BASCA website.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Jazz at Howard Assembly Room - Early 2015

Howard Assembly Room in Leeds have announced their programme of events for early 2015 and have included three high profile jazz gigs in February and March featuring a host of internationally renowned musicians.

Saturday 7th February - Quercus

A trio featuring singer June Tabor alongside saxophonist Iain Ballamy and pianist Huw Warren. Their debut album was released on ECM records, a record which received glowing reviews. The music weaves original instrumental pieces between sets of songs chosen by Tabor. 'Nobody plays a note too many or expresses a false emotion. It's a unique tribute to the power of song.' - John Fordham

Wednesday 11th March - Ravi Coltrane Quartet

Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane appears in Leeds as part of his European tour with frequent collaborators David Virelles, Dezron Douglas and Jonathan Blake. Ravi was last in the UK to tour Spirit Fiction, his latest album which featured trumpeter Ralph Alessi, Eric Harland, James Genus, EJ Strickland and Luis Perdomo amongst others.

Thursday 12th March - Arve Henriksen

Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen brings his project Places of Worship to Howard Assembly Room for a rare UK date. The pieces are written as reflections of religious sites and buildings and this performance features long-time collaborator Jan Bang and visual artist Anastasia Isachsen.

Gig Preview: Bobby Avey's Authority Melts From Me! in Leeds & Manchester

Bobby Avey has come to prominence in the jazz community over the past few years, building a reputation as 'a young pianist of invention and refinement' (New Yorker). Since 2010, Avey has released his debut album, A New Face, to critical acclaim, been awarded the Thelonious Monk Prize for Composition, been invited to join Dave Liebman's band and has received the New Jazz Works Commission & Ensemble Development grant.

Avey used the New Jazz Works grant to travel to Haiti to develop Authority Melts From Me, a new suite of music based on the rhythms of Vodou drumming.

Currently touring this music with an A-List band which includes Miguel Zenon, Ben Monder, Jordan Perlson and Mike Janisch, Avey will perform two shows in the North as well as an afternoon workshop at Leeds College of Music.

December 9th - Band on the Wall
December 10th - Leeds College of Music

Friday, 28 November 2014

Porter Quartet UK Tour

Tenor saxophonist and recent LCoM graduate Robin Porter has announced a string dates in December for his quartet, starting at Olivers in London on December 2nd.

The band is made up of four musicians who have all come through the LCoM ranks in the last few years - Jonathan Brown on guitar, Tom Hawthorn on drums and Sam Vicary on bass.

The group is described as being influenced by tenor/guitar led quartets like Scofield/Lovano and Rollins/Hall as well as figures from the NYC jazz scene like Ambrose Akinmusire and Aaron Goldberg. The group have performed at the Elgar Rooms as part of the BBC Proms (which was later broadcast on BBC Radio 3).

Tour Dates:

02.12.14: Jazz @ Oliver's, Greenwich, London
03.12.14: Jazz @ Dempseys. Cardiff
04.12.14: Southend High School for Boys, Southend
06.12.14: Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham
07.12.14: Inkwell, Seven Jazz in Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7
08.12.14: The Lit and Phil, Newcastle
10.12.14: LS6 Jam Session, Leeds
11.12.14: Number 39 - Hopstar Brewery Tap, Darwen

Black Friday at FUSEBOX

To remedy the stresses and strains of Black Friday, FUSEBOX in Leeds continue their programme of adventurous, experimental and improvised music.

Tonight, Chris Sharkey brings his trio Shiver back to FUSEBOX, after having their first gig there in 2013. Joined by bassist Andy Champion and drummer Joost Hendrickx, the band is described as being a 'love letter to the electric guitar', a boundary-pushing power trio.

Supporting Shiver are Cameron Vale, a newly emerged Progressive Jazz group that come recommended highly by Chris Sharkey himself! Featuring Miles Spilsbury (sax), George Birkett (guitar), Finn Booth (drums) and Sam Dutton-Taylor (bass).

As always, Fusebox concerts take place at the Fox and Newt, 9 Burley Street, Leeds LS3 1LD (opposite Park Lane College) Tel: 0113 245 4527
ADMISSION £8 / £6 Doors open 8.00 pm Live Music from 8.30 pm


Monday, 24 November 2014

British Jazz Award Winners Announced

                                          Soweto Kinch (Photo: Daniel Hambur)

The winners have been announced in the 28th British Jazz Awards run by Big Bear Music. The winners were chosen in the final round by public vote, with a panel of judges producing a shortlist earlier in the process. Due to a lack of sponsorship, there will not be an awards ceremony this year. Congratulations to all the winners!

Full list of winners below.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Jazz Services - Organisational Restructuring & the Closure of JazzUK

Jazz Services have issued a press release detailing their plans to restructure and cease production of their magazine, JazzUK.

2015 marks their 30th year and following the withdrawal of NPO status in the last Arts Council funding round, the organisation are to undertake a radical new business model to ensure the longevity of their work in the UK jazz scene. Though details are yet to be confirmed, Jazz Services will now focus more closely on artist and audience development and working in partnership with other organisations to contribute to the jazz scene at a national level.

One change which has been announced is the closure of JazzUK. Jazz Services have been working closely with Jazzwise to produce listings and have said that they intend to further this partnership in the future.

Full press release below.