Friday, 22 May 2015

Leroy Jones Announces UK Tour

Renowned New Orleans trumpeter and singer Leroy Jones has announced a 15 date UK tour.

Jones has a career spanning over four decades and have been a long-time member of Harry Connick Jnr's big band. He has worked with people like Dr John and has appeared on US TV shows like David Letterman and Oprah.

I remember Leroy years ago in New Orleans. He was always regarded as the greatest. No one could touch him. For young musicians like me, he was exciting, intimidating. For the older ones, he was the keeper of the flames. But Leroy did more than keep the flame. He started a forest fire... Harry Connick Jr.

Leroy will perform with his quintet and will be joined on many dates by Ian Shaw and Joe Stilgoe.

Full details on the tour can be found on the tour website and dates are listed below.

23rd-27th October - Pizza Express, London
29th October - St Albans Arena
1st November - Harrogate Royal Hall 
2nd November - Rose Theatre, Kingston
3rd November - Malvern Festival Theatre
4th November - The Concorde Club, Southampton
5th November - Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
7th November - The Lighthouse, Poole
9th November - The Apex, Bury St Edmonds
10th November - Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
11th November - RNCM, Manchester


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Jazz at Swaledale Festival

Swaledale Festival is a celebration of music and arts set in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Founded in 1972, it takes place annually in May/June and this year runs from 23rd May until the 6th June.

Festival Director Malcolm Creese (himself a respected musician in the jazz community) has programmed two jazz gigs as part of the festival.

26th May - Kit Downes and Tom Challenger "Wedding Music"

Two prodigiously gifted young improvisers, who share a love of the organ music of Hindemith, Messiaen and Vierne, perform innovative and melodic pieces with sharply contrasting dynamics, microtonal nuances and a spontaneous rapport that constantly surprises. Nothing to do with wedding music of course, but fascinating, ethereal and strangely beautiful.

1st June - Liane Carroll & Friends featuring Gwilym Simcock

Liane Carroll - voice; Gwilym Simcock - piano and Hammond organ; Malcolm Creese - double bass; Dave Ohm - drums
An evening of rocking blues and cool jazz standards performed by the brilliant award-winning vocalist who has worked with everyone from Long John Baldry and Sir Paul McCartney to Gerry Rafferty and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Liane's group of friends comprises the extraordinary Mercury Prize finalist and former BBC New Generation Artist Gwilym Simcock, his 'Acoustic Triangle' compadre Malcolm Creese and ace drummer Dave Ohm.

To purchase tickets and to view the entire Swaledale Festival programme, visit their website.

Fusebox Returns!

                                                 Dee Byrne & Cath Roberts (Photo: Tom Ward)

Fusebox has been an important part of the improvised music scene in the North of England in recent years. Following the sad passing of founder Dave Hatfield in January, Fusebox has not been active but Bill Chatwin has announced that they are keeping their promise to Dave and running a full programme from now until the end of the year.

Their first gig will be on Friday 29th May and feature a LUME double bill of Dee Byrne's Entropi and Cath Roberts' Quadraceratops. This takes place at their regular venue, the Fox and Newt in Leeds.

Full details of the bands due to appear as well as information on venues can be found on the Fusebox website.

29th May - Entropi & Quadraceratops (Fox and Newt)
17th June - Alan Wilkinson's Akode (Fox and Newt)
3rd July - Taupe (Fox and Newt)
18th September - Dave Kane's Rabbit Project (Fox and Newt)
1st October - Engine Room Favourites (Seven Arts)
18th November - Metamorphic & Royst (Seven Arts)
26h November - Loz Speyer's Inner Space Music (Fox and Newt)
December - Christmas Special (Date TBC)

Monday, 18 May 2015

Gig/Tour Preview: Orkestra del Sol

It's been quite a while since Scottish group Orkestra del Sol's 2011 release, Lung Capacity. The album received rave reviews including a nod in Jazzwise and the 9 piece group bring smiles to peoples faces wherever they play. They have recently announced that they are going on the road again this year, starting with a gig at HiFi in Leeds on May 21st.

There is at times, a faintly disquieting sense of inexorably advancing, brass-bound lunacy. - The Scotsman

Described as honk-step, a brass band, street band, kletzmer...It's a sound hard to categorise, so have a look at the video or check out their website for more information.

Tour Dates -

May 21st - HiFi, Leeds
May 22nd - Cheese & Grain, Frome
May 23rd - The White Bear, Bristol
May 24th - The Hothouse, Morecambe
July 3rd-5th - Kelburn Garden Party
July 22nd - Edinburgh Jazz Festival
August 7th - 9th - Mugstock

BlueJam Arts team up with NYJO

Cumbrian young musicians will have the chance to work alongside the National Youth Jazz Orchestra next month, when BlueJam Arts teams up with NYJO for a joint concert.

The performance will feature the BlueJam musicians performing with a small group of NYJO musicians, setting the stage for the main NYJO concert.

The gig takes place at the Sands Centre in Carlisle on 26th June and tickets are priced at £15.

BlueJam Arts runs a number of jazz/improvised music workshops including weekly workshops and an improv choir. They are currently working on a HLF-funded project entitled Stone Meets Sky, using film and music to document young peoples' responses to their local Neolithic heritage.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Engines Orchestra announces open call for projects

Phil Meadows, founder and director of the Engines Orchestra, has announced that they are now open for submissions from musicians at all stages of their careers to form their next projects.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your professional career we’re looking to produce a variety of projects in a multitude of styles. However there are, are a few important things to take into account so please read the following carefully...
  • The music has to be original.
  • There must be a performance and/or recording at the end of the project.
  • You can apply as an ensemble or an individual artist.
  • It can be for any size of orchestral ensemble – we have a rhythm section too if needed.
  • You do not need to be able arrange or conduct the project – we have a dedicated team of arrangers and directors.

The orchestra have been on fire since their inception, releasing a well-received debut album, holding a sold-out gig at the London Jazz Festival and running a number of educational courses for young musicians.

The deadline is June 1st and interested parties should submit a paragraph about their current work, an explanation of what their proposed project is and a link to audio or video. 

Gig preview: Big Band Bonanza in York, June 6th

Three big bands in York are combining forces to host a night of live music at St Clements Hall in York on June 6th.

MD for all three groups, trumpeter Ian Chalk, will lead York Big Band Initiative, York Music Forum Jazz Ensemble and York Music Forum Big Band through their paces showcasing the wealth of young musicians and adult learners on the York music scene.

Tickets cost £5 and are available on the door or through the York Music Service website. Doors open at 6.45pm and the first band is on at 7pm.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

RE:SOUL Sessions - Leeds, May 26th

RE:SOUL Sessions
Tuesday 26th May
7.30pm - 11.30pm
Hirst's Yard, Call Lane, LS1 6NJ

A new soul jam session has been organised by saxophonist Jonny Faull and DJ Lubi for Tuesday 26th May featuring a house band of some of Leeds' finest musicians and the opporunity for singers, horn players and MCs to sit in.

DJ Lubi says...

In recent years, the deeper side of soul, funk, hiphop and groove jazz has made a resurgence in Leeds at nights like Soul Rebels (The Wardrobe) and subLIMINAL (Norman Bar), and with bands such Thabo & The Real Deal, The Abstract Orchestra, Noya Rao, Tough Crowd and Pé. So many musicians with so much talent and soul, not enough places to play.

To put this right, a soul jam session has been organised and it kicks off at Hirst’s Yard on Tuesday 26th May at 8pm. With a house band consisting of Jonny Faull on sax, Martin Longhawn on keys, Tamo Harewood on electric bass and Tim Carter on drums, it’s totally dedicated to the groove principle.
Expect heavy beats, fat low-end bass lines, rich harmonies, tight horns, lush vocals and chops!

A facebook group has been set up for people to join and find out more about the events lined up. 

Manchester Jazz Festival Launches Full Programme

                                                         Orquesta Timbala - Daniel Parker

Manchester Jazz Festival launched their full programme this week, detailing the many acts that will perform in Manchester from July 31st to 9 August.

Celebrating their 20th festival, MJF have invited a number of international acts including Robert Glasper, Airelle Besson and Pepe Rivero, festival favourites like New York Brass Band and Buffalo Brothers, a day-long Northern Line showcase presented by Jazz North and the premiere of the Irwin Mitchell 2015 MJF Originals commission, Seeds and Streams by John Ellis.

Check out the Manchester Jazz Festival website for details on the programme, buying tickets and being an MJF volunteer. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Ilkley Jazz Festival needs your votes...

A new jazz festival is in the works for people in the North this summer with the first Ilkley Jazz Festival. The 3 day event will run from 21st-23rd August in various venues in Ilkley and is being directed and organised by Beverley Beirne and Mark Beirne-Smith.

Two headline acts have already been announced (Jacqui Dankworth and The Duncan Lamont Songbook) with more to be announced and there will also be a series of free events and workshops taking place across the weekend.

In order to gain support for this new festival, Beverley and Mark have applied for funding from Aviva in a campaign which supports community events.

In order to receive funding from Aviva, Ilkley Jazz Festival must be voted in the top 200 of  650 submissions. You can sign up to the site to receive 10 votes (which you can use to support 10 projects or use them all for one project). Voting closes on May 31st.

More information on the Aviva Community fund.

More Information on Ilkley Jazz Festival.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Gig Preview: James Hamilton Jazz Orchestra - 'Covers Suite' at Seven Arts

James Hamilton Jazz Orchestra 
Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds
Sunday 31st May

Award-winning composer James Hamilton is bringing his jazz orchestra to Seven Jazz later this month to perform two suites of music, one featuring a host of special guests.

The Yorkshire Suite was commissioned by Jazz Yorkshire and performed by the Doncaster Jazz Orchestra at Seven Arts last year to mark the end of Jazz Yorkshire. The band will perform this suite again in the first half of the concert.

The second half features some brand new music in the form of the Covers Suite. This brings together the jazz orchestra with singers from the Leeds music scene. Seven singers will be featured, with songs being selected by fans on facebook and twitter. The singers are -

Simon Wainwright (Hope & Social)
Simon Fletcher (Hand Made Hands)
David Henshaw (Dancing Years)
Jasmine Kennedy
Dan Lucas (Boss Caine)
Sam Thornton (Louis Louis Louis/King Zepha)
Grant Fennel (Cotton Woolf)

For more information, see the Seven Jazz website.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Jazz North Introduces - Applications Open for 2015

Jazz North is inviting applications from young musicians to take part in their Introduces scheme.

Jazz North Introduces is a scheme that provides young northern jazz artists with their first high-profile showcase performances and mentoring with leading UK jazz artists. Working in partnership with Northern jazz festivals, the 2015 winners will receive the opportunity to be showcased at 5 leading jazz festivals across the North.

Benefits for selected young jazz artists
  • a high profile performance opportunity at 5 leading northern jazz festivals
  • the gigs will be paid and expenses will be covered
  • photo shoot for the band
  • video showreel for the band created from interviews and one performance
  • help with producing EPK (Electronic Press Kit)
  • mentoring from leading UK jazz artists 
 Musicians interested in entering should have recordings of their group and 75% of the band should be under 25 and live in the North of England. For full information on the criteria and application process, see the Jazz North website.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Gig Preview: Ant Law Quintet at The White Rabbit, Leeds

Jazz Jam @ The White Rabbit presents: Ant Law Quintet
Tuesday 19th May

By now, guitarist Ant Law is a familiar face (and sound) to the jazz scene in the North, so we predict a sell-out crowd for his May 19th gig at the White Rabbit in Leeds.

Currently promoting his newest album, Zero Sum World (Whirlwind Records), Law brings with him four heavy-hitters - Mike Chillingworth on saxophone, Ivo Neame on piano, Tom Farmer on bass and James Maddren on drums.

Law surfaced first in 2013 with Entanglement, an album that certainly made scene-watchers at the time sit up and take note of the hitherto little known guitarist. Zero Sum World is even more accomplished, particularly in the writing department. 2015 augurs well if the imaginative essentially acoustic jazz sounds found here are at all representative of what’s in store. 4 Stars, Marlbank

Tickets for the gig cost £5 and can be bought directly from the White Rabbit or by emailing them at

NB - there will be no jam session, just the gig!

Help Musicians UK Launches New Funding Scheme for Emerging Talent

Help Musicians UK have launched a new funding scheme in partnership with PledgeMusic to support artists at the early stages of their professional careers.

This £50,000 fund will go toward supporting artists and ensembles who have an engaged fan base and are at a turning point in their career but do not currently receive funding from any third-party sources. Those successful will receive support from Help Musicians UK if they hit their target on the crowd-funding platform PledgeMusic.

Tim Foxon, Talent Programme Manager says: In a challenging funding landscape, we’ve been looking at new ways to channel much-needed support to musicians in the early stages of their careers. We’re thrilled to be working with Pledge Music to identify some exciting upcoming acts for whom we hope this investment will make a significant impact.

Paul Barton PledgeMusic UK MD says: “Teaming up with Help Musicians UK ideally fits the PledgeMusic ethos every which way. The direct-to-fan model that PledgeMusic offers new, emerging artists and bands is an entry route into a career in music and from day 1, PledgeMusic has incorporated charity work and contributions into its campaigns. Working with Help Musicians UK is a most welcome expansion of this principle.

Applications are welcomed from now until May 29th and there are two further rounds with deadlines of August 31st and 30th November.

There is comprehensive information on how to apply and eligibility criteria on the Help Musicians UK website and you can find out more about their partnership on the PledgeMusic website.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Tim Garland celebrates the North East at The Sage

Grammy Award winning saxophonist Tim Garland is bringing his quartet to the Sage on May 4th, playing music inspired by the North East.

Garland's latest album, Songs to the North Sky, was recorded at the Sage and released in 2014. The album received widespread critical acclaim with 5 star reviews from the Observer, The Guardian and more.

His band features pianist Jason Rebello, drummer Asaf Sirkis and guitarist Ant Law - all of whom recognised as exciting, creative musicians and band-leaders in their own right.

Tickets cost £15 and more information can be found on the Sage website.