Monday, 30 November 2015

NJ Advent Calendar - NORVOL Jazz (December 1st)

Behind door number 1 is NORVOL Jazz, the network for voluntary jazz promoters in the North. Voluntary jazz promoters make up a huge percentage of the opportunities for live jazz performance in the North and they're a vital part of the infastructure. Countless volunteer hours go into running weekly and monthly gigs across the region as well as educational programmes and jams.

NORVOL Jazz was formed around 4 years ago, growing out of a smaller group of jazz promoters in Yorkshire who met up with support from Jazz Yorkshire. Since then, NORVOL Jazz has opened its doors to promoters right across the North and its membership now exceeds 30 clubs and festivals in every corner of the North.

To date, NORVOL Jazz have received arts funding from Arts Council England twice. The first allowed the network to run a series of professional development days for promoters with experts in fundraising, marketing and audience development. The second, announced only recently, was a large grant to work in partnership with Apollo Jazz Network in setting up a touring network for live jazz in the North og England. NORVOL will run three tours in 2016 and early 2017 with Apollo, bringing high profile international artists to small venues across the North.

NORVOL's website is packed full of information on the venues and clubs who are members, maps of their locations, news on upcoming gigs and more.

To all the volunteers who dedicate their time to running jazz clubs and festivals, we salute you!

Northern Jazz Advent Calendar!

All year round, we endeavour to bring you the latest news from the jazz scene in the North. Well, with Christmas around the corner we are going to use this opportunity to shine a spotlight on all the things that make the Northern Jazz scene so vibrant.

Each day, we'll open a door on the Northern Jazz advent calendar to reveal a part of the scene - promoters, festivals, record labels, education projects and more. Of course, it's impossible to include absolutely everything and we're sorry in advance for anything that slips through the net but feel free to add more in the comments (including a link if possible so people can check out your suggestions!)

Happy Holidays!

Kate Peters Releases New Album

Beloved vocalist Kate Peters is launching a new album in time for Christmas with a launch gig at The Phoenix in York on December 6th.

The album, Honeysuckle Rose, features 10 classic standards and Kate is joined by John Marley on double bass, Martin Longhawn on piano (and MD duties) and Tim Carter on drums.

The album can be purchased through the Jazz in York website and will also be available to buy for £10 at the gig on December 6th.

If you can't make it along to the Phoenix launch gig, Kate will be with Jenny Smith at Seven Jazz that afternoon (Sunday 6th), with Ian Chalk at the Watermark in Scarborough on December 13th and again at the Phoenix on December 21st.

For more information, visit Kate's website.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Line-Up Revealed for 2016 Gateshead International Jazz Festival

The first batch of artists in the line-up for next year's Gateshead International Jazz Festival has been released this week. The festival will run from 15th-17th April next year, now in its 12th year programmed by The Sage and Serious.

Tickets go on sale on Friday 27th November, either through the website or by calling the box office on 0191 443 4661 and there's a Multi-Buy offer that gives a discount to those buying tickets to more than one gig during the festival.

There's a strong international presence in the festival. Vocalist Gregory Porter is back after his sell-out appearance last year. Trumpeter Terence Blanchard brings his quintet E-Collective and speaking of trumpeters, Ibrahim Maalouf premieres music from his new album Red and Black Light AND France's Airelle Besson is in duo with Nelson Veras. There's also Charles Barkley, and two American piano exports - Kris Bowers and Michel Reis.

Closer to home, there's a wide selection of British jazz offerings. Fans of vocal jazz will be pleased to see Liane Carroll featured in the programme. Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman bring their duo playing music from Song (A Ballad Book). There's a solo performance from Evan Parker and John Surman pairs up with the Alexander Hawkins Trio. Preceding a showing of the Tubby Hayes film, Tubby Hayes; A Man In A Hurry, Simon Spillett will perform his tribute to the late saxophonist. Finally, Arun Ghosh will appear and LCoM graduate Phil Meadows appears with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Jambone in a large-scale performance of Lifecycles.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The latest from JazzUK

JazzUK sent out its latest newsletter recently with details on the upcoming #4Jazzfestival in Coventry and vacant positions on the new JazzUK Board.

The #4JazzFestival takes place on the 27th and 28th November in Coventry. According to JazzUK most of the festival's events will be free and the programme features bands like World Service Project, Perhaps Contraption (pictured above), Andrew McCormack, Courtney Pine and Corey Mwamba's Yana amongst others. Full details on the line-up can be found on the JazzUK website.

They are also looking for two new trustees to join the JazzUK board.They are looking for -

 - Knowledge or experience of the jazz world, as musician, manager, promoter, jazz educator, or simply a jazz enthusiast. 

- Experience of audience development in the arts sector. 

- Fundraising from the private sector

A genuine enthusiasm for the genre is a prerequisite. Previous board experience is not required, and the Board of JazzUK welcomes applications from diverse backgrounds and endeavours to have diversity of origin, gender and experience reflected in our trustees 

Board members are expected to attend monthly meetings, typically starting at 4pm in London

Full details can also be found on the JazzUK website.

Jazz North launches Northern Line Round 4

On November 23rd, Jazz North officially opened the application portal for the latest batch of Northern Line bands.

Now in its fourth round, Northern Line has so far seen 37 bands go through the scheme with over 350 performances for 130 different promoters.

Selected bands get to be part of the scheme from September 2016 until December 2017 and are available for promoters to book at a subsidised rate as part of the scheme.

The Jazz North website contains a set of guidelines for prospective applicants to read through as well as an online application portal.

A brief look at eligibility -

- There is no age limit or stylistic barrier

- The majority of band members must be based in the North of England

- Bands who have previously been part of the scheme are not able to apply, although musicians from these groups can apply as part of a different project

- Groups should have audio samples and a website (at least the bandleader must have a website if a band one is not available)

The deadline for submissions is 4th January 2016. Full information can be found on the Jazz North website.

7 Pieces of Silver Tour 2016

7 Pieces of Silver, Paul Baxter's all star septet paying homage to Horace Silver is to release their debut album in early 2016 accompanied by a UK tour.

The band features a four piece horn front line (Alan Barnes, John McKillup, James Lancaster and Matt Ball) and a power house rhythm section of Paul Baxter, Andrej Baranek and Paul Smith.

From press release...

7 Pieces Of Silver consists of a 4-piece horn section with 3 rhythm, combined with the performance of Horace Silver’s Music, one of Jazz’s finest composers, can only result in an exciting, no holds barred show. Very excited about releasing the band’s eponymous debut album featuring Alan Barnes - February 25th on Hungry Bear Records.

Tour dates are listed below but the band are still accepting bookings - interested promoters should contact

For more information, visit the 7 Pieces of Silver website.

2nd February -St. Ives Jazz Club
3rd February - Restormel Arts, Cornwall
5th February - JATP, Bradford
 9th February - Dempseys, Cardiff
17th February - The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
18th February - Jazz At The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
19th February - The Jazz Cafe, Newcastle
20th February -  Zeffirellis, Ambleside
23rd February or 1st March - Parr Jazz at Fredericks, Liverpool
28th February -  Seven Jazz, Leeds
2nd March Scarborough Jazz Club

Big Band Jazz in York, December 9th

December is always a good time for live jazz in the North, as groups perform special performances marking the end of the year in the build up to the 25th. This year it's no different and trumpeter Ian Chalk continues to be incredibly busy, bringing three ensembles to the Post Office Club in York for a Big Band extravaganza on December 9th.

The performance showcases three ensembles that Ian MDs as part of the York Jazz Initiative - the Youth Jazz Orchestra, Youth Jazz Ensemble and the York Big Band Initiative. Expect a varied programme of music from classic big band canon (Night Train, A Child Is Born...), more contemporary charts (Bird Land, Deacon Blues) and the odd festive number thrown in for good measure.

Tickets cost £5, under 18s go free. Doors open at 7pm at Post Office Club, Marygate, York.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Jazz & Improvised Music at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival was founded in 1978 and tomorrow, they begin their 2015 festival which will run until 29th November. As the UK's largest international festival of new and experimental music, their programme is always packed full of groundbreaking artists and there is always a significant presence of improvised music.

There are a few events focused on AMM, the free improv group that was founded in London in the 1960s including a photography exhbition, a talk, a film and a performance by Eddie Prevost's Workshop.

The works of Derek Bailey are featured twice; once with his realisation of Stockhausen's Plus-Minus (completed by Simon Fell) and a very large event which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 which has a world premiere of Bailey's No. 22 [Ping] and five ensembles playing works by Bailey, Sikorski and Frey.

George Lewis will give a talk on composition as ethnography and will premiere his opera Afterword and finally double bassist Dominic Lash will premiere Jakob Ullman's Solo IV.

Details of the full programme can be found on the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival website.

Upcoming Dates for Inclusion Principle

Inclusion Principle, a trio featuring Martin Archer, Peter Fairclough and Herve Perez, have publicised their upcoming gigs which are scattered across the country between now and April 2016 in a sort of elongated tour.

Inclusion Principle operates in a space between electronics, nu-jazz, contemporary electroacoustic music and free improvisation tending towards a minimalist approach. Its members can be seen in numerous different projects , many of which have recorded for Martin's label Discus Music.

They currently have 5 albums available, the most recent being released earlier this year. These can be listened to and purchased on the Discus website.

Information on live dates can be found below with more details to follow on the website soon.

19 Nov 15 - Lee Rosy's Tea Shop, Broad St, Nottingham
2 Dec 15 - Jazz At The Lescar, Sharrow Vale Rd, Sheffield
22 Jan 16 - The Others, Manor Rd, Stoke Newington, London
3 Mar 16 - Blackout, venue tbc, Leeds
5 Mar 16 - Halton Mill, Lancaster
17 Mar 16 - Venue tbc, Bradford
20 Mar 16 - Mopomoso at The Vortex, London
3 Apr 16 - Bridge Hotel, Newcastle
27 Apr 16 - Flim Flam, Ryan's Bar, London

NORVOL & Apollo Receive Grant to set up International Touring Network

It has been announced that NORVOL Jazz (the Northern Voluntary Jazz promoters network) in partnership with Apollo Jazz Network run by trumpeter Kim Macari have been awarded over £32,000 by Arts Council England to set up an International Touring Network for live jazz in the North.


The Northern Voluntary Jazz Promoters Network (NORVOL JAZZ) in partnership with Apollo Jazz Network have been awarded over £32,000 by Arts Council England to establish a touring network for live jazz and to present three tours featuring world-class international musicians.

Through the development of a touring infrastructure, northern jazz clubs clubs will host tour dates and workshops and Apollo Jazz Network, run by trumpeter Kim Macari, will manage the project. The first tour will take place in May 2016 and will feature Canadian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen.

"I am delighted to receive this support from Arts Council England. It has been over a year of development and discussion for a project which is ambitious and large-scale and it’s fantastic that we are now able to roll it out.

The project is going to benefit audiences, promoters and musicians in a direct way. We’ll have three featured artists from the USA collaborating with UK musicians to create new work and then touring it across the region, leading workshops and masterclasses along the way. We’re also going to be live-streaming gigs, allowing as many people as possible the opportunity to be involved. Getting a chance to see groups like this perform in more intimate venues is going to be extraordinary.

This focus on collaboration – artistic collaboration as well as partnering with organisations – is what Apollo Jazz Network has always been about
Kim Macari, Project Director

"We’re really pleased at this news. It is a vindication of what the 30 Northern jazz clubs and festival promoters in the network have been aiming to do. The international touring programme will enable volunteer run jazz clubs – the backbone of the jazz scene in the North – to show off some of the best jazz artists in the world to their audiences".
Steve Crocker, NorvolJazz

Reminder: MJF Application Deadlines

The deadline for submissions for next year's Manchester Jazz Festival are fast approaching so MJF are sending a call-out to musicians keen to play.

There are two ways to get involved. Firstly, the general open call for submissions to be included in the festival programme. This online form is very easy and only takes a few minutes. You'll need band details and bios and to upload audio and/or video.

The second way is through their MJF Introduces scheme. This is aimed at young musicians between 16-25 just starting out in the world of professional gigging and gives the opportunity for young musicians to perform a gig at a major jazz festival. Again, this is applied for through an online application.

The deadline for both of these is 5pm on Friday 11th December 2015. Full information, eligibility and guidelines for submissions can be found on the Manchester Jazz Festival website.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Fusebox Mini-Festival ft. Beats and Pieces, Metamorphic and Royst

The Wardrobe in Leeds is hosting a Fusebox mini-festival tonight and tickets are going fast so be quick if you want to attend!

Fusebox and Efpi are delighted to present a one night mini festival featuring Manchester’s Beats & Pieces Big Band and a collaboration between Metamorphic (led by Leeds pianist/composer Laura Cole) and Norwegian vocal trio Røyst.

With the release earlier this year of their second album All In, Beats & Pieces have firmly established themselves as one of the leading ensembles of its kind in Europe. Led by Ben Cottrell and bringing together 14 incredibly creative musicians, their energetic performances are influenced as much by Michael Jackson, Björk or Radiohead as by Duke Ellington, Gil Evans or Loose Tubes.

Metamorphic and Røyst Trio will debut brand new material developed especially for this collaborative to
ur, fusing elements from contemporary jazz, folk and world music in song-based compositions that challenge the traditional role of the singing voice. Both Metamorphic and Røyst will also present music from their own critically acclaimed albums alongside the joint material.

Tickets cost £12 on the door.

Click these links for more information about the bands perfoming and the organisations hosting the event -

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Polar Bear, Melt Yourself Down and Matthew Bourne in Leeds

This month, Leeds-based indepdendant record label The Leaf Label reaches its 20th anniversary. As part of these Leaf 20 celebrations, which include vinyl re-releases and a limited edtion edition box set, new Leeds venue Headrow House will host gigs by three of the UK's most innovative and exciting improvsing bands and artists.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Video: LCoM50 Legacy Big Band

As part of Leeds College of Music's 50th anniversary celebrations, Nikki Iles recently curated an all star Alumni Big Band to perform a special one-off gig at the college. The audience included a number of invited guests - past tutors and students as well as the legendary Peter Ind, the man who set up the very first jazz curriculum 50 years ago. Unity House made this short film documenting the event with clips from the gig itself as well as interviews with Nikki Iles and Jamil Sheriff.

Ian Shaw and Georgia Mancio help refugees in Calais

The world's media has been rocked in recent weeks by the shocking footage of the refugee crisis. The Calais Jungle, a sprawling camp in the North of France, is the largest gathering of refugees and there has been growing campaigns on social media to encourage people to donate clothing, food, shelters and volunteer time.

Two of the country's best loved jazz vocalists, Ian Shaw and Georgia Mancio, have spent a huge amount of time on the ground in Calais providing vital support. Using their reach on social media, they have spread the word about drop-offs they have made, trips with cars loaded with supplies. They have documented their time there, exposing the dire conditions and providing updates on the groups of ordinary people who have dropped everything to help people in need.

The team at NJN would like to congratulations to both Ian and Georgia, as well as all other volunteers, for their efforts so far. You can keep up to date with their work on their facebook page.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Gig Preview: Jazz for SKIP at Heart, November 27th

On Friday November 27th, Jazz at Heart will host a special concert to raise funds for SKIP, a charity which supports families affected by poverty in Peru and runs educational initiatives.

Three local bands will perform in the jazz showcase event including members of the North Leeds Jazz Orchestra, Colin Byrne's Leeds Jazz Orchestra and Seven Arts jazz workshops.

SKIP is a UK, US and Peruvian registered charity working in the impoverished districts of El Porvenir and Alto Trujillo, located on the North Coast of Peru. SKIP's primary aim is to enable children living in this area to realise their right to an education. In terms of theoretical framework, we understand that families are the principal force in the lives of children and therefore work with the entire familial unit. This holistic approach focuses on four pillars of family development: education, economically stable families, emotional well-being, and healthy and safe home environments. SKIP believes that economically-disadvantaged families have the capacity to be the principal agents of change in their own lives and communities. As such, our organisation works in partnership with the community to empower people to make sustainable changes. 

Tickets for the event cost £8/6 and the ticket sales plus proceeds from the raffles will go to SKIP. Musicians will be donating their time for free in support of the cause.

For more information, visit HEART's website and for a more depth look at the work SKIP does, visit their website.

Three Northern artists selected for Take Five scheme

The participants of this year's Take Five career development scheme have been announced this week and the list features three Northern musicians.

8 musicians were selected by Serious to take part in the scheme which aims to support emerging jazz talent and provide mentorship in the music industry.

Guitarists Craig Scott and Anton Hunter made the cut, as did North East vocalist Zoe Gilby.

From Help Musicians UK

Take Five Edition XI will run until the summer of 2016 and provides participants with one-to-one mentoring sessions to address their particular areas of need, as well a residential period exploring areas such as composition, performance, communications, business infrastructure and strategic direction. 

Help Musicians UK Talent Programme Manager Tim Foxon says:The impact of Take Five: UK on this country’s jazz scene over the last decade has been incredible. It supports some of the most exciting creative musicians at a crucial point in their careers, with truly tangible results. We are thrilled to be a partner for this vital scheme and to see another impressive group of artists selected for Edition XI”.

Congratulations to Craig, Anton and Zoe as well as all the other musicians selected! Look out for their names appearing at venues near you...

Take Five XI

  • Moses Boyd (drums, London)
  • Elliot Galvin (piano, London)
  • Zoe Gilby (vocals, Gateshead)
  • Anton Hunter (guitar, Manchester)
  • Hyelim Kim (taegŭm, London)
  • Zara McFarlane (vocals, London)
  • Cath Roberts (saxophone, London)
  • Craig Scott (guitar, Leeds)

Friday, 6 November 2015

Would you like to manage a jazz club?

The Globe, the UK's only co-operatively owned jazz venue, has issued a call out for prospective tenants and managers to help them grow and expand their reputation as a live music venue.

The deadline for applications is noon on November 9th. Interviews will be held on November 24th.

They say

We are looking for someone to run the Globe and work with the co-operative to build the reputation of the music venue.
We will welcome applications from both prospective tenants and managers. We are open to new ideas. Convince us that you are the right person to run the Globe and we will agree a mutually beneficial arrangement.
• Considerable opportunity to grow the business
• Highly visible corner location
• Nearest pub to Metro Radio Arena
• Established reputation as a music venue
• Late licence (3am Friday and Saturday)
• Fully wheelchair accessible
For tenants: send a business plan including financial projections and details of your skills and experience.
For managers: send your CV and a proposal of how you would like to run the Globe

Gig Preview: Manana Collective at Seven Arts

On Sunday 8th November, Seven Arts in Leeds will host the Mañana Collective, sweeping away the autumn weather with their unique blend of Cuban and Brasilian music.

Leader James Clark grew up in Leeds before moving to Wales to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He returns for a rare Leeds performance featuring cuban flautist Jose Zalba-Smith.

The Mañana Collective is a powerhouse of latin rhythm, playing Cuban and Brazilian music together explosively. A volatile, love loaded party bag around every corner, unpredictably bursts, celebration disperses and flies and dances through the air like confetti. An unstoppable expression of joy with Cuban flautist Jose Zalba-Smith along with Pianist James Clark, Bassist Pete Komor and Drummer Rod Oughton of the Lonely Hearts Rugby Club. Mañana will always bring a concert of moving multi-continental musical mayhem. 

The gig is on Sunday 8th November at 1.30pm. Tickets are £7/5. Ticketsource tells us there are only 21 tickets left so get in quick!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Re-imagining Grimsby

Shortlist magazine has declared in its most recent issue that Grimsby is the Worst Place in the UK. Citing crime rates, lack of cinemas and culture and its out-of-the-way location, the article awards Grimsby this new title while having recently declared Manchester to be the best, a mere 112 miles away.

Of course, as with any issue like this, if you dig a little deeper you will find groups of people tirelessly working to bring culture and community spirit to Grimsby and one such person is Gill Wilde.

Gill Wilde runs both a year-round venue, Grimsby Jazz, at the Old Clee club and an annual jazz festival in Cleethorpes. A whirlwind of activity and ideas, she is constantly seeking new partnerships and collaborations to enhance the jazz scene in the area. She has led jazz education initiatives bringing jazz musicians into schools, supported pilot schemes with musicians and puppeteers in collaboration and more. She has been successful in applying for Arts Council England funding to run the 2016 Cleethorpes Jazz Festival (which takes place in June 2016).

All of this work is done on a voluntary basis.

Congratulations to Gill for keeping jazz flourishing in Grimsby and Cleethorpes and for contributing to the Northern Jazz Scene for many years. Long may it continue!

Another outcome of the recent Shortlist article is Re-Imagine Grimsby, a facebook page where people are coming together to discuss how to improve culture in the area and sharing ideas about potential projects.

You can learn more on the Re-Imagining Grimsby page and can find out about upcoming gigs on the Grimsby Jazz site.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Free Thinking with Alyn Shipton at The Sage

Between 6th and 8th November, BBC Radio 3 will be at the Sage Gateshead for their Free Thinking Festival. Bringing together leading thinkers, the festival features, debates, lectures, music and performance.

Jazz broadcasting royalty Alyn Shipton will appear on Saturday 7th November to host Jazz Record Requests as part of the festival.

Join Radio 3 presenter Alyn Shipton for a live edition of Radio 3’s iconic programme, Jazz Record Requests, with listener’s own choices of jazz that ‘breaks the rules’. 

The event takes place between 4pm and 5pm and attendance is free. Those who can't be there in person can of course tune into BBC Radio 3 where the show will be broadcast live. Naturally requests from listeners are welcomed and you can submit your rule-breaking jazz requests to

Visit the Sage website for full details on the Free Thinking festival.

Strawberry Jam at The Fox and Newt

In recent years, the Fox and Newt in Leeds has established itself has the home of Fusebox, leading presenter of avant-garde/experimental/improvised music and the legacy of promoter Dave Hatfield.

Well, in addition to those events the bar will now also host a monthly night called Strawberry Jam on the first Wednesday of each month. Run by guitarist Dave Murray, the night is described as

jazz/funk/breaks/acid/electronic/experimental - a monthly event featuring live bands, DJs and electronic music. 

With that suitably broad remit, audiences can expect a wide range of music being hosted. This month's event takes place on Wednesday 4th and features two lives bands followed by two DJS. The night kicks off at 7pm and entry is £3/2.

Jemma Freese Trio

Jemma Freese - vocals, piano
Chris Sellers - bass
Theo Goss - drums

Formed in 2014, Jemma Freese Trio are a soul/jazz group based in Leeds, featuring the distinctive vocals and original compositions of Jemma Freese.
The trio are all currently studying at Leeds College of Music (Jemma studies Composition, Chris and Theo Jazz Performance).
Their debut EP Figuratively Speaking was recorded at the college earlier this year and has been critically acclaimed, leading to a session on Nick Ahad’s BBC Leeds show and a feature on BBC Introducing for West Yorkshire.

d s murray quartet

d s murray - guitar, synthesizer
Alex Warren - tenor sax, ewi
Sam Quintana - double bass
Sean Howe - drums

d s murray quartet are a Leeds-based contemporary jazz group showcasing the original compositions of d s murray.  Their sound incorporates elements of drum'n'bass, hip-hop, 70s funk and fusion and electronic music while still remaining firmly rooted in modern jazz.  The band are all final year students at Leeds College of Music (d s murray studies Jazz Composition, the others Jazz Performance).

DJs Bandido and Sam Mills will be spinning jazz, breaks, drum'n'bass and dub so expect some deep vibes and interesting sounds.