Friday, 30 September 2016

Brass Bands go to war at Matt & Phreds, October 2nd

Jazz misses out on the good old Battle of the Bands format that rock has relished for decades. Well, Matt & Phred's have decided we should get in on the action and has organised a Battle of the Brass Bands for Sunday October 2nd.

From Matt & Phred's website...

Matt and Phreds love Brass... really LOVE brass. Over the years we have hosted some of the best, so when a new band rings us up saying "we can bring it at Matt and Phreds" we like to know if they are up to the challenge! To put them to the test, for one night only, we bring you two of the hottest Brass Bands in the North, face to face, trombone to trombone to battle it out.

The Battle features Leeds based BACK CHAT BRASS, 8 of the North's best musicians from some of our favourite bands who have graced the M&P stage, (New York Brass Band, Portmanteau), and to put them to the test, TWISTED TUBES, 10 of our heavy hitting local boys, who have graced the likes of Wembley Stadium, will be raising the stakes on this night to see who will become the first ever M&P's Brass Battle Stars.

Join us for the 'Brass Battle' and may the best band win...


7.30pm - NQ BATTLE PARADE - The parade starts at the club, with both bands hitting the Northern Quarter before the main Battle!

For full information, check out Matt & Phred's website.

Apply to play at 12 Points 2017

As the nights draw in each year, we have a number of things to look forward to - venues end their summer break and there's a whole host of new gigs to attend, TV channels start to show good dramas again, all the wasps bed in for the winter and stop their buzzy reign of terror AND musicians have a bunch of bursaries and opportunities to apply for ahead of the new year.

The latest application portal to open is 12 Points. Their festival will take place in Aarhus in Denmark in July next year and they are on the look out for the next round of artists and ensembles to apply.

They receive a very large number of applications each year, so they highly recommend fully reading the guidelines before submitting yours. There is also a fully completed example application for prospective bands to look at to get a sense of what they should aim for.

For full information and to view the bands that have performed at previous festivals, visit the 12 Points Festival website.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Jazz at the RNCM this Autumn

                                                     Julia Biel by Jenna Foxton

The RNCM have published their Autumn/Winter listings and jazz fans have some interesting choices for gigs this October.

Ropes Project (October 12th)

We've covered this one before - this is Mike Walker's ambitious new project with large ensemble. There's a 22 piece string section, some of Mike's closest musical collaborators and a whole bunch of new music.

Julia Biel (October 15th)

The Independent called her the best British vocalist to emerge in an age and she's been taking festivals by storm in recent years. This is the kind of gig that will appeal both to those who love jazz and the rich history of vocal jazz legends and to those who love singer-songwriters and troubadors.

Gondwana Records Presents...(October 22nd)

Matthew Halsall is one of Manchester's golden boys and he's back at the RNCM following a sold out appearance last year. Not only will you get the Gonwana Orchestra, you'll also get to hear two other bands currently on the Gonwana roster - Mammal Hands & John Ellis's new project Evolution: Seeds and Streams.

There's a whole lot more happening too, so check the RNCM website for full information.

Applications Now Open for Peter Whittingham Award

Help Musicians UK have this week announced that applications are now being accepted for the Peter Whittingham Award.

Open to solo artists and ensembles in the first two years of their professional careers or in higher education, the award offers a £5,000 grant to support an important creative project.

Claire Gevaux, Creative Director at Help Musicians UK said, “The continued support of the Whittingham Family through this unique award allows us to invest in the next generation of jazz musicians, helping the most talented artists through these formative and crucial stages of their career. We can’t wait to see the incredible standard of applications and know that our esteemed panel of experts will have an enjoyable challenge in finding the winner.” 

In recent years, the award has been given to Patchwork Jazz Orchestra (pictured above), Square One, Phil Meadows, Roller Trio, Soweto Kinch and more. (You'll notice some Northern favourites popping up on that list!)

Applications will be accepted until Friday 11th November at 5pm. Auditions will take place in London on Friday 9th December. 

For full information and find out more about the projects the award has helped to support, visit the Help Musicians UK website.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Scarborough Jazz Festival this weekend

Mike Gordon and his team have been working hard and are almost ready to open the doors to the 2016 Scarborough Jazz Festival. Kicking off on Friday 23rs September and running until Sunday 25th, festival-goers will be treated to a jam-packed programme.

Mike Gordon says...

After the incredible complimentary evaluations we received for the 2015 festival I knew it was going to be a tough challenge to do better this year.  But I think we might have done it with an impressive, balanced, entertaining line-up.

Rousing big bands: Abstract Truth Band, SJ Jazz Orchestra.
Superb vocalists: Liane Carroll, Georgia Mancio, Nicola Farnon, Vimala.
Rhythmic variations: Pan Jumby, Vula Viel, Adam Glasser.
Swinging modern jazz: Sax Section, Benn Clatworthy, Brandon Allen, ARQ, Waterman/Nightingale/Barnes, Williams & Clowes,
Something different: ‘Charlie Parker On Dial’, Malija.
Rising stars: Artephis

And a wonderful venue! All strung together by our compere Alan Barnes.

(A special mention goes to Artephis, who appear at the festival through the Jazz North Introduces scheme. The band have performed at 7 jazz festivals during the scheme and what better way to end their time than at the Scarborough Jazz Festival!)

Artist Submissions Now Open for MJF 2017

 It seems like only yesterday that thousands of audience members descended on Manchester for the 2016 festival in July. But the work never stops in the running of a jazz festival and the team have announced that applications are now open for 2017.

There are three strands for artists to apply to -

General Festival Programme - to play at MJF in their main programme, artists and ensembles can use the very straight forward and easy to use online submission form.

MJF Introduces - This is festival's platform for supporting emerging talent and is open to regional bands aged between 16-25.

Irwin Mitchell MJF Originals 2017 - Each year, the festival commissions an artist to create a new piece of work to be premiered at the festival. Last year, guitarist and composer Anton Hunter produced an ambitious work for an 21 piece ensemble entitled Article XI.

For more information and to apply for any of these three strands, visit the MJF website.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Gig Preview: Bitch 'n' Monk at Fusebox, 23rd September

It's the welcome return of Fusebox this week and the team have lined up yet another eclectic, surprising and inspired programme for Autumn.

To start them off, they host Bitch'n'Monk on Friday 23rd September.

Bitch'n'Monk are Heidi Heidelberg and Mauricio Velasierra, an Anglo-Colombian duo that defy genre altogether.

In the intriguing Anglo- Colombian duo Heidi plays guitar, sings and beatboxes and Mauricio plays assorted flutes. The two transform their sound into junkyard electronica through the ingenious use of looping pedals. You’ll spend a while pondering how to classify them. Prog folk? Operatic post-punk? Gothic reggae? But they know how to write melodies - The Guardian

Tickets cost £8/6 and to make it even more of a bargain, the evening will start with a solo set from bassist Dave Kane. It's doors from 8pm and music starts at 8.30pm.

For more information and the other exciting gigs coming up this season, see the Fusebox website.

MOBO Awards 2016 - Nominees Announced

The full list of nominees for the 2016 MOBO Awards were announced this morning at Ronnie Scott's in London. Public voting is now open and the winners will be announced at the ceremony on November 4th 2016.

There is one Jazz category in the MOBOs, Best Jazz Act. This year, the nominees list contains two international artists - pianist Cory Henry and double bassist Esperanza Spalding, along with three UK/UK-based musicians - multi-instrumentalist wunderkind Jacob Collier, double bassist and owner of Whirlwind Records Michael Janisch and finally, LCoM alumnus and globally recognised pianist Bill Laurance.

View the MOBO Awards website to see a full list of nominees and vote for your favourite.

Congratulations to all nominees!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Reminder! Supa Dupa Big Band Bonanza in Doncaster this weekend

We reported on this event back in August but some things are worth repeating, so big band fans - make sure you have your tickets for this gig on Sunday 18th September in Doncaster.

In partnership with the National Youth Jazz Organisation and proudly sponsored by Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation and the Doncaster Music Hub, Doncaster Youth Jazz Association is excited to be hosting the first Supa-Dupa Big Band Bonanza between Friday 16th and Sunday 18th September 2016 aimed at attracting anyone and everyone interested in learning or listening to jazz from across the Yorkshire region.
On Friday DYJA and NYJO Jazz Ambassadors will be engaging with Doncaster secondary school students, and on Saturday a range of workshops designed to encourage budding young musicians develop their jazz talents will aim to attract a regional audience to the CAST theatre and the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association Centre on Beckett Road. 

There's more information on our August article here or check out the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association for further details.

Eyemouth Hippodrome to start hosting jazz events

Jazz in the North covers a huge geographical area and this may be our most northerly article to date - the Eyemouth Hippodrome sits in the Scottish Borders but as it is only 8 miles away from Berwick Upon Tweed, we figured the Northern English and Scottish jazz fans can unite to attend these gigs!

Although not a new venue, the Hippodrome is beginning to host live jazz and has two upcoming gigs in the diary. This Sunday, September 18th, they welcome the New Focus Duo featuring pianist Euan Stevenson and Konrad Wisniewski. This is a paired down version of their larger ensemble which recently released their second album, New Focus on Song, on Whirlwind Records.

Next to perform are jazz/americana/folk/blues group the Bevvy Sisters on 28th October.  Initially an offshoot of the Loveboat Big Band, this trio call to mind the music of the Andrews sisters with their harmonies and witty compering. Featuring the talents of Heather Macleod, Gina Rae, Cera Impala and David Donnelly.

To check out full information on these and the other gigs on offer, visit the Eyemouth Hippodrome website. 

LS6 & Sela Bar welcome new students to Leeds with jazz

It's at this time of year that Leeds comes to life as thousands of students descend to start their autumn semester. Many venues will run lots of live music to welcome the new arrivals and show them how vibrant the music scene is and jazz is no different. Two musician-promoters, Benji Powling and Tom Riviere, have made a significant impact on the scene through their programming at LS6 and Sela Bar respectively so we'd like to highlight the two jazz offerings they are hosting this week -

September 18th - LCoM Tutor Band & Jam at Sela

The Cooler returns from it's summer break with a great line-up put together by LCoM jazz pathway leader Jamil Sheriff to welcome the new intake of students to Leeds. As a special one-off event we've teamed up with LCoMSU to organise a jam session after the set, so bring your instruments!

Joel Purnell - Tenor Saxophone
Jamil Sheriff - Piano
Garry Jackson - Double-Bass
Dave Walsh - Drums 

September 21st - Emma Johnson's Gravy Boat & Jam at LS6

Recent LCoM graduate Emma Johnson kicks off the autumn season of LS6's weekly gigs with her project, Gravy Boat. Drawing inspiration from great contemporary tenor players like Seamus Blake, Emma's writing style is rooted in strong melodies. 

Emma Johnson - Tenor Saxophone
Calvin Travers - Guitar
Sam Quintana - Double Bass
Ali Wells - Drums 

To keep up to date with the listings for both of these nights, see the Cooler and LS6 facebook page

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Charlie Hunter UK Tour, November 2016

American guitarist Charlie Hunter has developed a huge worldwide following with his unique playing style, simultaneously playing bass lines, rhythm guitar and solos on his custom 7 and 8 string guitars.

Earlier this year, Charlie released his latest album on Ground Up, the first time his album has been released by a major label in 9 years after a number of self-releases. The amazingly titled Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth (10 points for anyone who can name the person who first uttered those words) features a quartet line up including Bobby Previte on drums, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone and Kirk Knuffke on cornet.

The arrangements lock in, offering many twists and turns, but never leave the groove behind….All killer, no filler.All Music Guide

Hunter willl appear in the UK in November to perform material from this latest album and he is joined by Bobby Previte plus two special guests - Kieran McLeod on trombone and Yelfris Valdes on trumpet.

Audiences in the North will have a chance to see the band when they perform at Band on the Wall on November 20th. The band will also perform at Ronnie Scott's (November 18 + 19), Birmingham (November 21st) Bristol (November 22nd) and Edinburgh (November 23rd).

For more information on the Manchester date, visit the Band on the Wall website. For information on Charlie Hunter, visit his website.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Lancaster Jazz Festival Binge, September 15th

The Lancaster Jazz Festival kicks off next weekend and the jazz community of Lancaster are celebrating the launch with a huge evening of music featuring almost every jazz group in the area.

On September 15th, The Gregson Centre will have performances in three rooms from 7pm until midnight and all for the bargain entry price of £5. An incredible 16 groups will perform, showcasing the burgeoning scene in Lancaster and setting the tone for a wonderful weekend of music during the festival.

To find out more about what the festival has in store, visit the Lancaster Jazz Festival website. Visit the facebook event page to find out more about the Festival Binge event.


Main Hall - OTR (7pm), Orbit (8pm), Ponyland (9pm), The Intiative (10pm), Meter Men (11pm)

Olive Bar - Luca Brasi 4 (7pm), Muskrat Ramble (7.45pm), Deep Cabaret (8.30pm), LJQ (9.15pm), Stephen Grew (10pm), Some Some Unicorn (10.45pm), Elephant in the Room (11.30pm)

Cinema - Bill Roberts Billionaire Trio (7pm), Howard Haigh (8pm), Sue Parish Jon Moore (9pm), Atomic Brass (10pm).

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Wandering Monster announced as latest Jazz North Introduces recipients

Leeds based ensemble Wandering Monster have been announced today as the latest beneficiaries of the Jazz North Introduces scheme to support emerging jazz talent in the region.

The group, led by double bassist Sam Quintana, will perform at a number of high profile jazz festivals as part of the Introduces initiative, as well as receiving mentoring from one of the UK's leading jazz musicians and help with developing strong promotional materials like photographs and video footage.

Sam Quintana says

“I am thrilled that Wandering Monster have been awarded this opportunity. Since the band's formation two years ago we have developed a set of original material which I am really excited to showcase at some of the UK's best jazz festivals. Thanks to the scheme we will be performing to audiences who would otherwise never get to hear about Wandering Monster or listen to our music”.

Jazz North's Nigel Slee says

“We believe it is vital to help and support the next generation of jazz artists. Wandering Monster are an example of the exciting and diverse music that is being created by young musicians in the UK today. Thanks to our festival partners we can make sure their music is shared with audiences across the North”.

A junor award was also given to Muskrat Ramble. Aged between 12 and 16, Muskrat Ramble were the youngest applicants and impressed the panel with their enthusiasm and potential. They will be given mentoring sessions to develop their music.

Wandering Monster will appear first at Lancaster Jazz Festival on September 17th, followed by Marsden Jazz Festival on October 8th as well as performances at Liverpool Jazz Festival, Scarborough Jazz Festival and more later in the year.

To find out more about Wandering Monster and the JNI scheme, visit the Jazz North website.

Calling All Young Female Jazz Musicians

Young female jazz musicians between the age of 14 and 18 are being invited to attend 4 residential workshop weekends run by the National Youth Jazz Collective and their Creative Leadership Ensemble programme.

Each weekend will focus on developing the compositions of each participant to a high level by working on improvisation, composition, leadership and performance skills. Groups will be lead by a number of highly regarded female tutors and each weekend will culminate in an informal concert.

The enrolment fee for the entire programme, encompassing the four weekends, is £200. Financial support is available in the form of bursaries (including full scholarship bursaries).

The dates of the weekends are as follows (these will be in Saxmundham) -

18th - 20th November 2016
3rd- 5th February 2017
17th – 19th March 2017
30th June – 2nd July 2017

Interested parties should register their interest by emailing NYJC Artistic Director  Issie Barratt by 23rd September. 

Click here to see the CLE ensemble in action at King's Place.

Click here to email Issie Barratt to ask for more information or to register interest.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Michael Jackson Big Band Night at Sela Bar, Leeds - September 22nd

For one night only, Sela Bar in Leeds will play host to a very special celebration of the King of Pop with an evening of big band arrangement of Michael Jackson's greatest hits.

Watch a 19-piece all star big band reimagine your favourite Michael Jackson tunes from the powerhouse albums that define the modern pop genre: "Off The Wall" and "Thriller". Throw in tunes from Prince, Chaka Khan, Phil Collins, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones and you have a night that promises to please fans of big bands, pop music and die hard MJ fans alike. There is something for everyone! 

Trumpeter Ciaran Diston and guitarist Conall Mulvenna will run the show and are responsible for the arrangements. Joining them are a host of Leeds' finest young jazz musicians - 

Vocals: Alice Higgins
Rhythm: Tom Higham, Jess Mollie, Angus Milne, Kieran Gunter, Chris Bland
Saxes: James Boyes, Daniel Brunskill, Will Howard, Rose Perry, Jack Chandler
Trombones: Danny Barley, Elliot Crouch, Laurence Marshall, Pat Martin
Trumpets: Ciaran Diston, Tom Hill, Tom Sharp, Dan Coulthurst

The nights are drawing in and although that might mean the end of BBQs and sunbathing, it does mean the the new season of jazz gigs are starting so it's time to get your diary out and start planning so you don't miss a thing...

For more information, see the event facebook page 

Friday, 2 September 2016

Deadline Extended on Help Musicians UK Development Bursaries

Help Musicians UK have announced that they are extending the deadline for applications to their Career Development Burasary scheme until 23rd September 2016.

The bursary fund is open to emerging professional musicians aged between 21 and 35 primarily based in the UK. Grants of between £500 and £2000 are available to support activities which will have a significant impact on musical development. This could include -

  • Participation in masterclasses, academies and short courses (such as residential programmes at Aspen Music School, Yale, Lucerne Festival Academy and Banff Centre)
  • A time-limited period of mentoring with a leading expert in your field, focused on specific repertoire or technique
  • Travel for research and creative collaboration
  • A short period of intensive coaching with a world-class tutor in advance of a major performance or project
A large number of jazz and improvising musicians have already benefited from this support including Radek Rudnicki, Lilli Unwin, Alex Roth, Sam Gardner, Sam Vicary and Elliot Galvin.

To apply and for full information, visit the Help Musicians UK website

Corrie Dick 'Impossible Things' Tour, September 2016

 “Corrie Dick is one of the most gifted drummers I’ve come across in recent years; he’s well on his way to being a visionary both as a musician and composer. With such vibrance and flair there is no doubt in my mind that he will soon assert himself as one of the finest contemporary percussionists on the UK scene.”  - Will Vinson

At 25, Corrie Dick has hit the ground running and quickly established himself as a drummer and composer to be reckoned with.

Winner of the Young Scottish Jazz Musician award as well as many nominations for Parliamentary Jazz Awards, Corrie has worked with some of the brightest emerging stars in jazz including Laura Jurd's Dinosaur, Jasper Hoiby's Fellow Cratures,  pianist Isfar Sarabski and more.

He released his debut album, Impossible Things, to great acclaim recently and now is about to embark on an extensive UK Tour.

He'll be joined by a myriad of musicians with differing line-ups throughout the tour. They are -

Alice Zawadzki/Jessica Radcliffe - Vocals/Violin
Laura Jurd/Tom Dennis - Trumpet
Joe Wright/George Crowley - Saxophone
Rob Luft - Guitar
Matt Robinson - Piano/Pocket Piano
Joe Webb - Organ
Conor Chaplin/Joe Downard - Bass
Felix Higginbottom - Percussion
Corrie Dick - Drums/Composition

Full tour dates are listed below - visit Corrie's website for details on line-ups for each gig and more. 

09/09 ~ LONDON, Oliver's Jazz Bar
10/09 ~ LONDON, Oliver's Jazz Bar
11/09 ~ NEWCASTLE, The Bridge Hotel
12/09 ~ GLASGOW, TBC
13/09 ~ GLASGOW, Slouch
14/09 ~ SHEFFIELD, The Lescar
15/09 ~ CAMBRIDGE, Hidden Rooms
16/09 ~ BRADFORD, Glynde House
17/09 ~ DERBY, The Voice Box
18/09 ~ LEEDS, 7Arts
19/09 ~ MANCHESTER, The Wonder Inn
20/09 ~ BIRMINGHAM, The Spotted Dog
21/09 ~ CARDIFF, Dempsey's
22/09 ~ BARNSTAPLE, Broomhill Art Hotel
23/09 ~ BRISTOL, The Bear
30/09 ~ LONDON, Vortex
01/10 ~ MARDEN, Little Mill Oast


Martin Taylor 60th Birthday Solo Tour (October/November)

One of the UK's national jazz treasures is gearing up to celebrate his 60th birthday in style with a tour across Scotland and England starting October 14th.

Martin Taylor MBE has a career in music that spans 5 decades and over 100 recordings. His solo playing and virtuosic fingerstyle playing has earned him an international reputation and the list of his musical collaborators spans both countries and genres; Bill Wyman, Stephane Grapelli, George Harrison and Gary Burton to name but a few.

This 13 date tour will include two Northern performances - at Whitby's Musicport Festival on October 21st and then at Band on the Wall in Manchester on October 27th. Tickets for all tour dates can be purchased through Martin's website (as well as more information on his music, teaching and more).

Martin Taylor 60th Birthday UK Tour

Friday 14th October -  FAREHAM Ashcroft Arts Centre
Saturday 15th October - NEW MILTON Forest Arts Centre
Tuesday 18th October - COLCHESTER Colchester Arts Centre
Wednesday 19th October - GUILDFORD G Live
Friday 21st October - WHITBY Musicport Festival
Tuesday 25th October - MILTON KEYNES The Stables
Thursday 27th October - MANCHESTER Band On The Wall

Friday 28th October - LONDON Indigo O2
Monday 31st October - UPPINGHAM Uppingham School

Tuesday 1st November - RUNCORN Brindley Theatre

Wednesday 2nd November - LOUGHBOROUGH University Arts

Thursday 4th November - DUNDEE Gardyne Theatre

Friday 5th November - INVERNESS Spectrum Centre