Thursday, 23 February 2017

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival, March 3-5

The annual Great North Big Band Festival is coming up next month, and this time they have a new home. In recent years, the event has been held in Sunderland but for the 2017 edition, nearby Chester le Street will house the 30 big bands.

Fans of big band music will be in their element as a weekend of performances and competition runs from 3rd - 5th March.

Friday - Concert Double Bill featuring Musicians Unlimited Big Band & Festival Big Band

Saturday - Big Band Jazz Competition (Open Section) - 11am until 7pm
                 Performance featuring the winner of the day's competition - 7pm

Sunday - Big Band Jazz Competition (School and Youth Section) - 11am until 7pm

For more information, visit the Great North Big Band Festival website.

Commission Opportunity at Kendal Calling

Well loved festival Kendal Calling has put out a call to artists to apply for a commission fund. Nine commissions will be offered this year, with one of the artists being offered a larger commission to perform their work at two other festivals.

From the Kendal Calling website...

Over the last two years, Lost Eden has commissioned a variety of brand new artworks, including the Mechanical Heart by Felicity Jones and the Umbrella Tree by Tim Hill and Dave Young (Rag and Bone). In 2017, nine commissions will be offered. Of these one artist will be offered a larger commission to tour their work to an additional 2 major boutique music festivals.  Lost Eden at Kendal Calling is produced in partnership with Walk the Plank. A panel made up of Walk the Plank and Kendal Calling representatives will shortlist and select applicants. In their proposals, successful applicants will have demonstrated good value for moneyartistic excellenceunderstanding of logistical and production and plans for sustainable working practices.  Successful applicants will receive funding to create and install their work, and will be promoted in the 2017 Lost Eden launch and arts programme. All commissions are subject to securing Arts Council funding in 2017 (a bid is currently in place).  

Family Band UK Tour kicks off at Wakefield Jazz, February 24th

Fiery quartet Family Band have announced a tour stretching from Newcastle to London which commences this Friday, 24th February.

2016 saw the band selected for the Jazz North Northern Line initiative, receive BBC radio play and record their first full length album. Now as 2017 gets started, they will perform a number of live performances showcasing material from their upcoming album as well as newly composed works.

This is a superb, freewheeling band composed of four long-time musical collaborators and friends.    Rooted in the music of Ornette Coleman and the 1960’s avant-garde, Family Band play powerful 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.   They are currently preparing a second CD of music recorded live at the Manchester Jazz Festival at a terrific and well-received gig.
“What a revelation – exciting group, gradually revealing more and more depth and thrilling the audience to the very end” – Blow The Fuse, The Vortex

Tour Dates

Friday 24th February - Wakefield Jazz
Monday 27th February - The Wonder Inn, Manchester
Wednesday 1st March - The Lescar, Sheffield
Friday 17th March - The Jazz Cafe, Newcastle
March 27th March - Jazz in the Round at The Cockpit, London
Friday 7th April - JATP, Bradford

LCoM Alumnus scoops Composition Award

Congratulations to saxophonist and LCoM alumnus Matt Anderson who was this week announced as one of the winners of the 2017 Dankworth Awards.

Anderson's piece 'Jig, Jag, Jug' received the prize for Small Ensemble, with Matt Sulzmann's 'Castle View' named as runner up. In the Big Band category, Jacky Naylor won with 'Bilbao' and James Brady came runner up with his piece, 'Hermeto's Hideaway'.

Also announced was the 2017 Eddie Harvey Arrangers Award, which this year goes to Tom Green for 'Badger Cam' and Jacky Naylor received the runner up position for 'Stockholm'.

From the press release...

"The winning pieces will be performed by members of the GSMD Jazz Dept under the direction of Scott Stroman and Malcolm Edmonstone at Milton Court, Silk Street, Barbican on: Thursday 23rd March 2017 7.30pm" 

The awards evening is produced by GSMD in partnership with the Worshipful Company of Musicians. The Dankworth Awards awards will be presented by members of the Dankworth Family.

Congratulations to Matt and all the other winners!

Friday, 17 February 2017

Arve Henriksen, Bill Laurance and Brad Mehldau head to Leeds

Howard Assembly Room in Leeds have unveiled their Spring 2017 programme and there are a number of performances scheduled between now and May that may well appeal to the jazz community in the North.

On March 6th, pianist Bill Laurance performs. A former student at Leeds College of Music, Laurance's star has been in ascendance in recent years. A two time GRAMMY winner with Snarky Puppy, he has also been nominated for a MOBO as a solo artist.

Just two days later, Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen performs with Trio Mediaeval on March 8th. Trio Mediaeval continuously re-interpret the ancient music of religious orders and the folk music of Nordic lands. Their shimmering luminous sound joins with Arve Henriksen’s hushed trumpet and live electronics to unforgettable and spine-tingling effect. Their new programme Rímur explores the mediaeval musical line between Norway and Iceland, with chants and folk songs from both countries including 14th Century vespers and ancient folk song

And finally, looking ahead to May there's a gig that is already selling fast; world famous pianist Brad Mehldau brings his trio with Jeff Ballard and Larry Grenadier.  On May 16th, the trio will perform in Leeds for one night only, playing music from their recent album on Nonesuch Records, Blues and Ballads.

To book tickets and find out more about the full programme, visit the Howard Assembly Room website.

End of an Era: Final Jazz at the Phoenix with John Marley and Kate Peters, March 6th

John Marley and Kate Peters have announced that they are wrapping up their jazz night at The Phoenix in York after a 6 year run promoting live jazz year round.

The night has seen numerous visiting groups perform as well as the best of the region's jazz musicians perform. The Phoenix, and John and Kate's contributions, have been integral in building a burgeoning jazz scene in York and the night will be sorely missed.

John says

Thanks to Jenny Everton and Jon Fulton for inviting us to do it all those years ago (6 years we think?) ...the 6th March will be our grand finale...a big, fun night of if you can make it to one of those gigs then it'd be great to see it out in style and with our friends!
Thanks to everyone who has supported the gig over the years!

Congratulations to John and Kate for all their hard work over the past 6 years - do make sure to head to the Phoenix on March 6th to give them a good send off!

Kathy Dyson stands for MU General Secretary

Jazz guitarist and renowned jazz educator, Dr Kathy Dyson, is standing for the post of General Secretary of the Musician's Union, paving the way for the MU's first female General Secretary in its 124 year history.

Current G.S. John Smith has announced his retirement after 15 years and his deputy Horace Trubridge has stepped forward to take his place as well as Kathy.

Kathy says

I’m standing for a more feminist, inclusive and collaborative approach to working together, and for a decentralised union that fights more strongly for funding, musical work, and instrumental music education in all the regions. We need to create a long-term policy and strategy for every area of music we cover as a guide for action. We must also involve members more fully in our collective endeavour. 

We can build on our existing work creating cooperatives with music teacher members. We can also help to improve fees, wages and conditions by focusing more resources on fighting funding cuts and working more collaboratively with regional arts organisations.

Kathy is currently Chair of the Executive Committee and has a long history of working hard to fight for positive change in the Music Sector.

We wish her good luck in her campaign!

Gig Preview: NYJO 'Three Nations Under One Groove' at Sage Gateshead, April 1st

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra has set up a three date tour in collaboration with two visiting international youth jazz orchestras, including one date in the North as part of the Gateshead International Jazz Festival on April 1st.

After a number of successful collaborations with Germany's BuJazzO and the Dutch Nationaal Jeugd Jazz Orkest, they have put together these three special performances featuring all three ensembles which are sure to be unforgettable gigs!

NYJO MD Mark Armstrong says

The whole concept for “Three Nations Under One Groove” is to demonstrate that jazz is a universal language spoken by young musicians across Europe, with the variety of colours and “jazz dialects” used by all three nations coming together to add nuance and conversation to the repertoire we play.
One key element was that although all three groups brought their own repertoire and players, we would perform as mixed groups rather than separately as NYJO, BuJazzO and NJJO. The music ranged from NYJO’s eclectic mix of arrangements and commissions, original compositions by the NJJO director Martin Fondse, the epic Cuban Fire by Johnny Richards for Stan Kenton, and a “jazz concerto grosso” for big band and small solo group specially written for the project.
Tickets for the Gateshead performance cost £15 and can be bought through the Sage Gateshead website.
For more information, visit the NYJO website.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Gig Preview: Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra in Lincoln, March 17th

Saxophonist Julian Siegel has announced a 6 date tour for his newly formed jazz orchestra, a 19 piece ensemble featuring many top UK jazz musicians.

Supported by funding from Grants for the Arts, the concerts will feature large ensemble arrangements of some of Siegel’s trio and quartet works as well as a new composition written specifically for the group entitled Tales from the Jacquard.

Audiences in the North will have the opportunity to hear this group when they play the Terry O’toole Theatre in Lincoln on March 17th. They will also perform at De Montfort University in Leicester (14th), Lakeside Arts in Nottingham (15th), Ronnie Scotts in London (16th), Guildhall Theatre in Derby (18th) and Town Hall in Birmingham (19th).

The Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra are –

Nick Smart (conductor)

Tom Walsh, Percy Pursglove, Henry Lowther, Claus Stoetter (trumpets)

Mike Chillingworth, Jason Yarde, Stan Sulzmann, Tori Freestone, Gemma Moore (saxes)

Mark Nightingale, Trevor Mires, Harry Brown, Richard Henry (trombones)

Liam Noble (piano)

Oli Hayhurst (double bass)

Gene Calderazzo (drums)

Liverpool International Jazz Festival, 23rd - 27th February

The fifth annual Liverpool International Jazz Festival takes place between 23rd and 26th February at the Capstone Theatre. The festival has become synonymous with varied and ambitious programming and glance at this year’s festival shows it’s no different this time round.

MOBO award-winning Sons of Kemet open the festival with a bang on the 23rd, supported by one of the North West’s favourite groups, Blind Monk Trio.

Friday 24th sees a performance by Mammal Hands, a Manchester quartet signed to Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records. Their support is provided by Jazz North Introduces ensemble, Sam Quintana’s Wandering Monster.

On Saturday, Austrian pianist David Helbock performs with his trio.

Sunday will feature a saxophone workshop by one of the UK’s most beloved musicians, Iain Ballamy at 11am, followed by a duo concert featuring Iain along with Huw Warren.

For full details on the festival, visit the Liverpool International Jazz Festival website.

BlueJam Arts Youth Jazz Programme 2017

BlueJam Arts, an arts organisation led by the brilliant Jilly Jarman and her team, have announced details on the upcoming jazz workshops running this term for young musicians.

 Trumpeter Geoff Bartholomew leads a weekly workshop each Thursday from 7-9pm. These sessions are open to emerging players aged 11 and up, though adults are also welcome. The cost is £4 for young musicians and £7.50 for adults per session.

 Jilly Jarman has also started a series of workshops for young women in jazz. Led by Jilly and guests, these sessions will focus on beginners and emerging musicians, looking at learning tunes and developing improvisational technique. Open to musicians aged 9 and up, costing £6 per session.

 If you’d like to join a group and get stuck into performing, the BlueJam Youth Jazz Ensemble is open to new members. This group is led by Geoff and Jilly and they have upcoming gigs at The Source in Carlisle and Solfest. Players from all over Cumbria are welcome.

All of the above sessions take place at the BlueJam Arts Space, Mostyn Hall, Friargate, Penrith, CA11 7XR. For more information, visit the BlueJam website.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Jazz Thing with Adrian Riley on Coast and County Radio

Calling all jazz radio fans, venues and musicians; there's a new radio station broadcasting across the North and it includes a weekly 2 hour show on jazz presented by Adrian Riley.

Adrian says

'jazz thing' is committed to supporting jazz in the region, playing plenty British music in the mix and featuring as much new stuff from the North of England as I can get my hands on. It's often a bit funky, tries to start each show approachable to a wide audience but isn't afraid to get a bit 'out there' too - 2 hours means I can fit all sorts in. it also features weekly live jazz listings for the region. 

Adrian is calling out for musicians to send over tracks to be played during the show and for venues to send their gig information to be included in the weekly jazz listings segment of the show. After each programme, the show is archived on mixcloud to be accessible long term.

For more information, visit the Jazz Thing facebook page and the Coast and County Radio website.

Friday, 27 January 2017

New Year New Artists at The Sage, January 28th

To start 2017 with a bang, the Sage Gateshead is running a day of concerts on Saturday 28th January that feature emerging talents from a number of genres, inviting audiences to hear the future of music.

Representing jazz is the renowned pianist Elliot Galvin. He performs with his trio at 5pm.

From the Sage Gateshead website -

European Young Jazz Artist of the Year Award 2014 Elliot Galvin’s star continues to ascend.
A superbly gifted composer and pianist, his disparate world of influences has seen him compared to Django Bates.
From de-constructing standards to creating his own mirco-tonal melodica, Galvin’s music is both playful and deadly serious drawing on a wide range of influences from Keith Jarrett to Stravinsky, Ligetti, Deerhof and the Beatles as well as the films of David Lynch, the Dada movement and the literature of James Joyce.

Also performing on Saturday afternoon are winners of the 2015 BBC Radio Young Folk Award Talisk, portuguese clarinettist Horacio Ferreira, Sky Arts award winning sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun and more.
Tickets to see all artists in the afternoon session, running 12 until 6, cost £21.50.
Full details on the entire programme, which runs through both Saturday and Sunday, can be found on the Sage Gateshead website here -

Refujazz Charity Event at HEART, February 11th

Jazz at Heart's Lesley Jeffries and double bassist John Marley have teamed up to run a full day of jazz performances and workshops to raise money for several refugee charities supporting those fleeing from war.

The day runs from midday to 11pm on Saturday 11th February. Tickets for individual events cost £5 and a day pass is available for just £20. Events in the cafe are free entry but all donations are gratefully received.

The timetable of events is below. For more information, visit the Jazz at Heart website here -

12-12.45pm - Al Morrison Trio (Cafe)
1-1.45pm - Joe Boyes Trio (Main Hall)
2.15-3pm - Bassa Bassa (Main Hall)
3-3.30pm - Inside Out Duo (Cafe)
3.30-4.30pm - George Macdonald Trio (Main Hall)
4.30-5pm - The Irrelevance (Cafe)
5-6pm - Louie Mcdonald (Main Hall)
6-6.30pm - Sam Dunn (Cafe)
6.30-7.30pm - York Youth Jazz Orchestra (Main Hall)
7.30-8pm - Aleks Podraza Trio (Cafe)
8-9pm - Leeds Jazz Orchestra (Main Hall)
9-9.30pm - Phil Green's Sky High Jazz Trio (Cafe)
9.30-11pm - Kate Peters Quartet + Jam (Main Hall)

Workshops -
John Marley - Jazz Bass Time TBC
Sam Dunn - Jazz Guitar Time TBC

Preston Jam Music Festival 2017 - 25th March to 1st April

In collaboration with the team at Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Festival, the University of Central Lancashire are running a five day programme of performances, jam sessions and talks on improvisation. Running between 25th March to April 1st, it acts as a fringe programme leading up to the main Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Festival which takes place a month later.

There will be two seminar/discussion events - one focused on Django Rheinhardt as the first non-American jazz artist and an artistic symposium featuring a number of keynote speakers as they discuss music and freedom.

There are a number of opportunities to hear the students and staff of the BA music course at UCLAN as they run a showcase of performances as well as a jam.

On April 1st to close the festival there will be a performance featuring not one but three well known acts. Audiences will be treated to performances  by Soweto Kinch, Nerija and Atomic Brass.

To find out more about the full programne of events, visit the UCLAN website here -