Thursday, 30 June 2016

News from Cleethorpes Jazz Festival

After another highly successful Cleethorpes Jazz Festival, jazz wonder woman Gill Wilde has announced that she will be stepping down as Festival Director after 8 years in the role.

Both musicians and festival goers alike will attest to the dedication and boundless energy Gill has displayed and the festival has gone from strength to strength under her leadership - this year saw the first commission from the festival with Alan Barne's Fishy Tale.

Gill has handed over to Charlotte Bowen, currently the director of the Culture House in Grimsby. Gill will continue to run the year round programme of gigs at Grimsby Jazz.

Here's to many more years of the Cleethorpes Jazz Festival and congratulations to Gill on her achievements as festival director and for flying the flag for jazz in Grimsby and Cleethorpes!

Scholarship offer to attend the International French Jazz Summer School

For those among you who enjoy both good weather and great jazz education, the International French Jazz Summer School should definitely be on your radar if it isn't already.

Taking place in a chateau in the Languedoc Roussillon region of France, three courses run each summer - the main jazz course, a specialist singers course and the advanced improvisors course.

It has been announced that a very small number of scholarships are available to attend this year's advanced improvisors course which takes place between 20th and 27th August. These scholarships are available to front line players and bass players. This scholarship will reduce the cost of the course from £855.00 to £350.00. This price includes the tuition, accommodation, breakfast and evening meals.

The tutors leading this course will be Simon Purcell and Julian Siegel. Participants will focus on

•    contemporary approaches to jazz improvisation
•    repertoire - non-standard song forms
•    contemporary approaches to melody, harmony and rhythm
•    interactive rhythm section
•    devising effective approaches to practising jazz improvisation

Those interested in finding out more about the scholarships available should contact To learn about the course structure, location, tutors etc of this and other two course offered, visit the Jazz Summer School website.

Gig Preview: Manjula at GemArts Festival, July 12th

                                          (Manjula - photo by Ian Agnew, Dark Woods Coffee)

GemArts Masala Festival, a week long celebration of South Asian Arts, takes place in Newcastle between 11th and 17th July with support from Arts Council England.

The festival will include a variety of events from photography exhibitions to live music, film screenings to family activities and even dog yoga...!

In a joint promotion by Gem Arts, Jazz North East and Jazz North, the Leeds based band Manjula will perform as part of the festival at the Black Swan venue and bar on July 12th.

From the GemArts Masala Festival brochure...

Manjula (meaning melodious) bring their eclectic sound to Masala Festival, exploring, innovating and combiningrhythms from different cultures, to create a beautiful mix of sounds from around
the globe. This Leeds-based project is an example of forward thinking global music, incorporating Portuguese, African and Latin jazz influences, with the haunting ambience of Indian vocal training and the rhythmic attack of jazz improvisation. Manjula will take your mind on journeys to faraway places, whilst making you feel at home.

The gig starts at 8pm and tickets cost £8.80 full price and £6.60 concessions through the Seetickets website.

Full information about the festival can be found on the GemArts website and for more on Manjula, visit Vanessa Rani's website.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Liverpool Fringe Jazz Festival

The Liverpool International Festival for Business is currently running in Liverpool until July 1st. During the course of this festival, there are around 50 live jazz events spread across pubs, clubs and bars in the city. Groups like Ginger Tunes (pictured above), Blue Magnolia Jazz Band, Trio HLK and more will all perform. Most of the events are free and Jonathan Butters has set up a very handy facebook page which lists every event along with timings, address and websites links.

To find out more, check out the facebook event page for the Liverpool Fringe Jazz Festival.

Sun Ra Arkestra to perform rare Leeds date, August

On August 8th, there is a rare chance to see the extraordinary Sun Ra Arkestra led by original member Marshall Allen in Leeds at a special gig at Belgrave Music Hall. Tickets are already selling fast so if you haven't got yours, be quick!

From the Belgrave website...

We're very proud to announce the first ever appearence in Leeds of The Sun Ra Arkestra. Operating under the direction of saxophonist Marshall Allen - who celebrated his 90th year in 2014. With such a massive, joyous songbook and the kind of well organised chaos that sees their legendary 3 hour sets move deftly between rolling grooves, sing-along chants and atonal blasts of mischievous brass, the Arkestra remain one of the most unmissable live acts today. This is possibly and sadly the first and last opportunity you will get to see the Arkestra in Leeds, ever!

Tickets are being sold through the following outlets priced at £22 -

Dice -

See -

Crash -

Jumbo -

Submissions welcomed for the First International Jazz Competition

Jazz musicians of all ages and styles to apply for the 1st International Jazz Competition run by Seven Virtual Jazz Club.

A panel of musicians, festival directors and critics from around the world will judge videos submissions to select a short list of entries which will then be opened for a public vote. The entries will the highest votes will then be used to decide on winners. The prizes being offered are -

1st Prize - 4000 euros + advertising
2nd Prize - 2000 euros + advertising
3rd Prize - 1000 euros + advertising

Musicians interested in applying are asked to submit a video which lasts no more than 7 minutes and is no larger than 2gb. The quality of the video can be anything from a video shot on a smartphone to a professionally made video. There is a cost of 35 euros to submit an application and applicants are able to submit mutliple entries for consideration (the entry fee must be paid for each one).

Submissions will be accepted until September 15th 2016.

For full information on the contest as well as a list of the judges on the panel, visit the Seven Virtual Jazz Club website.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Gig Preview:: Tipping Point in Morecambe, July 2nd

More Music in Morecambe will host cutting edge quartet Tipping Point on July 2nd, the opening gig of their UK tour.

Led by saxophonist James Mainwaring, this group turned heads with their debut album The Earth Worm's Eye View toward the end of 2015. Described as playful, dark, skilful and spontaneous (John Fordham, The Guardian), each of the four musicians are well recognised as strong voices in the world of improvised music.

Tipping Point features James Mainwaring on saxophone and effects alongside British improvised music legend Matthew Bourne Fender Rhodes and two of the UK’s most individual instrumentalists; Michael Bardon double bass and Joost Hendrickx drums. Members of the band have previously collaborated on projects such as; Dave Kane’s Rabbit Project, the Fusebox Orchestra, Shatners Bassoon and Mainwaring/Bardon/Horne amongst many others. It was whilst studying at Leeds College of Music 2007 – 2010 when Mainwaring, Bardon and Hendrickx met and were tutored by Bourne, a pianist whose innovative approach to improvisation and teaching proved to be a great influence on them that the genesis for Tipping Point was born.

The gig at More Music is in association with Lancaster Jazz and North and starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £8, bookable through the More Music website. To find out more about Tipping Point, visit James Mainwaring's website.

Tipping Point Tour Dates

2nd July - More Music, Morecambe
3rd July - Kazimier Garden, Liverpool
4th July - The Oxford, London
6th July - Walton Community Library, Wakefield
20th July - The Lescar, Sheffield
21st July - Broomhill Art Hotel, Barnstaple
22nd July - Fusebox at the Fox and Newt, Leeds

Friday, 17 June 2016

Upcoming Releases and a gig from Discus Music

The indefatigable Martin Archer has announced the two newest releases from his record label, Discus Music as well as a gig later in the month.

Readers of this blog will remember that we recently published an article about a crowdfunding campaign Discus will running to support the Keith Tippett Octet's new album. Well, the campaign was a success and the Nine Dances of Patrick O'Gonogon will be the 56th release on the label. This can be listened to and ordered on the website.

Following that, release 57 will be an ambitious double album from a new project, Story Tellers. With Martin himself on woodwinds and joined by Anton Hunter, Corey Mwamba, Pete Fairclough, Kim Macari and Mick Somerset Ward, Story Tellers will be released in July. A group of strong improvising voices coming together to form something huge...

And if you'd like to hear music like this live, Martin is putting on a gig on June 24th at Bishop's House in Sheffield featuring two sets of music. DAS RAD is a trio of musicians from the Discus Music roster performing together for the first time – Martin on saxophone & electronics, Nick Robinson on guitar and electronics and Steve Dinsdale on drums and electronics. They are joined by Jez Creek aka Modulator ESP who will perform a solo set.

Information on all of this and more can be found on the Discus Music website. (

AJ Brown Summer Tour Dates

Halifax born and LcoM Jazz graduate singer AJ Brown has been described as a cool, clean vocal hero by Cork Jazz Festival and is a favourite of audiences across the country. Recently, he recorded a special live EP at Dean Clough in Halifax and now he has announced a string of gigs over the summer which see him supporting some pretty big names.

On June 30th and July 1st in Scarborough and Preston respectively, AJ will support Will Young. Then on July 5th, he will head to London to support 2Cellos. Towards the end of July, he will perform as support for Sir Tom Jones in Knutsford and Simply Red in Scarborough and Betley.

To keep up with gigs and news from AJ, visit his website. (

Gig Preview: In/Out Trio at The Jazz Cafe, Newcastle June 17th

Tonight, the Jazz Cafe welcomes back some familiar faces for a trio gig which promises to delight and surprise audiences.

Back in February, the venue hosted Paul Baxter's Horace Silver project, Seven Pieces of Silver and now Paul returns, this time as one third of the In/Out trio. Joined by saxophonist Stuart MacDonald and drummer Johnny Hunter, this trio is a creative outlet for all three of these busy musicians which allows them to explore standards and original material, blurring the line between written and improvised content.

The members of the trio are well known in their hometown of Manchester, where they regularly appear as part of outfits like the Blind Monk Trio, the Manchester Jazz Collective and more.

Tickets cost £5 on the door. To find out more about the band, visit Paul Baxter's website ( and to find out about other upcoming gigs at the Jazz Cafe, visit their website. (

Marsden Jazz Festival announces 2016 programme

The team at Marsden Jazz Festival have this week announced the line-up of their 2016 festival, taking place between 7-9th October.

The festival is now in it's 25th year and to mark this special birthday, a number of high profile artists and ensembles both from the UK and abroad have been announced as performers across the weekend. Here are a few top picks to whet your appetite...

Friday 7th October

Ben Crosland : Tribute to Jaco Pastorius (8.30pm)

Bassist Ben Crosland has formed a sextet that mirrors the line-up of Jaco Pastorius's famous small group which included Randy Brecker and Peter Erskine. Ben is joined by Martin Shaw, Paul Kilvington, Mick Hutton (on steel pan!), Dave Tyas and Rod Mason.

Saturday 8th October

Eskelin, Bourne & Sharkey (6.00pm)

Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin is the second featured artist in the Orpheus Project, a funded joint project between Apollo Jazz Network and NORVOL Jazz. A globally celebrated voice in improvised music, Eskelin is joined by guitarist Chris Sharkey and pianist Matt Bourne as they premiere this brand new ensemble on the first date of their Orpheus Project tour.

Sunday 9th October

Impossible Gentlemen (4.00pm)

Closing the festival, everyone's favourite jazz supergroup the Impossible Gentlemen. Gwilym Simcock, Mike Walker, Adam Nussbaum and Steve Rodby are now joined by saxophonist Iain Dixon and the band will play material from their third album, Let's Get Deluxe, which is out in July.

For full information on the programme, visit the Marsden Jazz Festival website. (

Friday, 10 June 2016

Jazz Worlds/World Jazz Book Launch in York, June 16th

Jazz in York are hosting a special event on June 16th to launch a new book on jazz entitled Jazz Worlds/World Jazz by Philip V. Bohlman and Goffredo Plastino.

Hosted at Ink-Well on Gillygate in York, the two authors will be featured speakers along with York University's Jonathan Eto. The speakers will be joined by the Cornelius Corkery Trio will be peforming live during the event.

This is free to attend and no booking is necessary, just turn up on the day (the event runs from 3pm until 4.30pm).

About the book -

“In this book, the authors have gone much further than simply recognizing that jazz is located differently in cultures outside of the United States; they have transformed our understanding of those cultures and what jazz has meant to and for the people who inhabit them. In seeking to locate jazz in the world, and to map the multiple worlds of jazz, this book manages to redefine the possibilities and politics of the field. This is a major achievement for jazz scholarship.” 

Read more about the book HERE.

For more information on the venue, visit the Ink-Well website.

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra head to Montreal

Manchester's Matthew Halsall and his Gondwana Orchestra are representing jazz in the North and in fact in the UK as a whole as one of the few UK artists featured in this year's Montreal Jazz Festival.

Running from June 29th until July 9, this is one of the world's leading jazz festivals and artists from across the globe peform on a number of stages. The Gondwana Orchestra will perform on the TD stage on June 30th at 6pm. Another Manchester artist, blues guitarist Matt Schofield will also perform.

Halsall is widely considered to be at the cutting edge of Jazz in the UK and is regularly nominated for awards (including JazzFM's UK Jazz act of the year and Gilles Peterson's Album of the Year to name two recent ones...)

To find out more about Matthew and his music, visit his website. For full details on the programme, visit the Montreal Jazz Festival site.

News from Jo McCallum the Double Big Band Project

                                                                                 Photo Credit: Fred Little

Back in April, a very special double big band project performed to a sold out audience in Manchester, performing specially commissioned music by Iain Dixon and Mike Gibbs.

The project, organised by Jo McCallum, brought together the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland to work together and premiere new music written for the occassion.

Videos and photographs from the event have now been added the website and big band leaders are invited to borrow the music free of charge to perform with their own ensembles.

Visit the NYJOS/ WYJO Double Big Band website for more information and congratulations to all involved! 

Young Musicians - Apply now for Jazz North Introduces

Applications for Jazz North Introduces will be accepted online until June 22nd 2016 and Jazz North is asking teachers, musicians and youth music leaders to spread the word about this great opportunity for exceptional young jazz musicians.

The scheme is open to musicians under 25 and is designed to support emerging ensembles to further their careers by offering mentorship, advice on promotion and marketing and the opportunity to perform at a number of high profile jazz festivals across the North.

Successful applicants will receive -

  • a high profile performance opportunity at 5 or more leading northern jazz festivals
  • the gigs will be paid and expenses will be covered
  • photo shoot for the band
  • video showreel for the band
  • help with producing EPK (Electronic Press Kit)
  • mentoring from leading UK jazz artists
There is also a special award given to one band in the Under 19 category. This band will receive a day of mentoring with a leading UK jazz artist and a performance opportunity at a Northern jazz venue.

Applications can be made online by visiting the Jazz North website, where you can also find more information about the previous recipients of Jazz North Introduces - Stretch Trio, Jam Experiment and Artephis.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Efficient Brass Playing workshop with Ian Chalk

Jazz trumpeter Ian Chalk will run a one day workshop for brass players in August entitled 'Dispelling Myths & Building Strong Foundations'.

The workshop will cover all the fundamentals of brass playing and aims to give participants a comprehensive understanding on their instruments how to develop good habits.

The full day costs £60 and will take place in York, date and exact location to be announced. Ian is currently trying to gauge interest and invites people interested in attending to contact him via his website which can be found at

Head further North and study with Tommy Smith

Applications are open for young musicians aged between 12 and 17 to spend a week in July studying jazz and improvisation with the internationally respected Tommy Smith in Glasgow.

Between 24-28th July, participants will work with Smith, Alyn Cosker, and Paul Harrison and be taken through their paces in theory classes, recording studio experience and small group playing.

The cost is £240 and applications will be accepted until 24th June. For this year only, participants will also be able to attend the keynote address by Randy Weston as part of the International Society  for Music Education conference.

For full information, visit the RCS Summer school website.

Immerse yourself in the world of jazz with this 5 - day summer school at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, ranked 6th in the world for performing arts education. This summer school is designed and delivered by internationally renowned educators, recording artists and performers, including saxophonist and composer, RCS Head of Jazz, Tommy Smith.
This course is for young people aged 12 - 17 who wish to develop  their skills in spontaneous composition and jazz improvisation. It is an inspiring course which focuses on group performance, whilst offering specific instrumental guidance on key elements of improvisation and performance.


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Music, Photographs and Stories from the Archive in Liverpool, June 18th

On June 18th, there is a special event running at the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool with photographs, live music and discussion about jazz.

The event is run by the Institute of Popular Music at the University of Liverpool in partnership with LiverpoolJazz and the Open Eye Gallery.

Running from 12 noon until 3pm on Saturday June 18, the event includes an exhibition of items from two of Liverpool's hidden archives, the Institute's Popular Music Archive and the Open Eye Gallery archive, selected and curated by project participants.
Live jazz from the Martin Smith Quartet will soundtrack the afternoon, and the event will close with a public discussion on the meaning of music, photography and materiality in the digital era.

All welcome. The event is free however booking is required. To reserve your place please email 

Visit the Open Eye Gallery or LiverpoolJazz sites for more information.

Gig Preview: Lonnie Liston Smith in Newcastle, June 4th

Newcastle audiences are in for a treat this weekend as jazz giant Lonnie Liston Smith comes to the Hoochie Coochie on June 4th.

Moving to New York in the early sixties, Smith became involved with Raahsan Roland Kirk, playing in his band and recording a number of albums. From there, he went on to join Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers where he shared the chair with Keith Jarrett. His collaborations with Pharaoh Sanders were well known and he appears on a number of albums with Sanders. Add to this stints with Miles Davis and Gato Barbieri and a clear picture is presented of how important Smith was to the scene at that time.

He has been active in music since the 60s and still regularly performs around the world. In 2009 he performed at Glastonbury and his music has been sampled by people like Jay-Z and used in the Rockstar video game series Grand Theft Auto.

Tickets for this gig cost £17 with doors opening at 7pm and music from 9pm. This is likely to sell out so get in there quick!

For more information, see the event page.