Friday, 25 November 2016

Seamus Blake UK tour, February 2017

The Orpheus Project has announced that their third featured artist in the scheme will be world renowned tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake.

With over 70 albums as a sideman and 16 as leader, Blake has built a global reputation as being one of the leading exponents of contemporary jazz.

He will be joined on this tour by drummer James Maddren and pianist Ross Stanley and will perform at venues across the North and in London between 3rd and 10th of February. The band have dates at Southport Jazz Festival, Newcastle, Leeds, Grimsby, Wakefield, Ribble Valley and London. Seamus will also host a masterclass at Leeds College of Music.

 We are all very excited to welcome Seamus as our third Orpheus Project artist. Whenever his name is mentioned, there’s a buzz of excitement amongst musicians and listeners – being able to bring him to small venues and share this music with audiences and promoters is a great feeling. The atmosphere at these gigs is going to be electric.- Kim Macari, Apollo Jazz Network Director

 Seamus Blake’s tour is third in a series of tours supported by Arts Council England and in partnership with NORVOL Jazz.

 “extraordinary, a total saxophonist” – John Scofield

For full information and to book tickets, visit the Orpheus Project website.

Nikki Iles and Stan Sulzmann at LCoM, December 2nd

Leeds College of Music is to host Nikki Iles and Stan Sulzmann in a special workshop on December 2nd.

The workshop will focus on duo playing and improvisation and who better to learn from than a pair of musicians whose musical friendship spans over 20 years and two duo albums?

Pianist Nikki Iles has a long connection to LCoM, first studying there as an undergraduate and later teaching piano. Recently, Nikki was asked to direct an all-star alumni big band to celebrate the college's 50th birthday.

This workshop is open to the public and tickets cost just £5. For more information and to book tickets, visit the LCoM website.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Applications now open for Northern Line scheme

Jazz North are now accepting  applications  from ensembles to take part in their flagship initiative , Northern Line.

A number of groups are selected by a panel of judges and are then invited to take part. When featured in the artist roster, ensembles can be booked by promoters at a subsidised rate. They are also supported by Jazz North who provide them with a photo shoot and promo video. Each year, a showcase event takes place at Manchester Jazz Festival - a whole day of performances by each featured ensemble.

Now in its 5th round, so far the scheme has supported 47 groups to perform 450 gigs at over 150 venues.

Applications will be accepted until 10pm on Monday 12th December 2016.

For full information on eligibility and application criteria, visit the Jazz North website.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Take Five edition XII participants announced

Serious have announced the latest edition of Take Five, their development programme that supports exceptional musicians,

The Take Five initiative is aimed at British and UK based composer-performers and is designed to give some of the UK’s most talented emerging creative jazz musicians the opportunity to take ‘time out’ to develop their craft, build their careers and get their music out into the world.

Serious developed this scheme in 2004, in partnership with the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and PRS for Music Foundation, and has gone on to produce ten more successful editions, involving 80 musicians aged under 35. From Edition V onwards, additional funding has been received from Arts Council England and Help Musicians UK.

Take Five Edition VII is

Corrie Dick (Drums)

Duncan Eagles (Saxophone)

Kim Macari (Trumpet)

Paul Edis (Piano)

Olie Brice (Double Bass)

Rebecca Nash (Piano)

Richard Foote (Trombone)

Shirley Tetteh (Guitar)

For more information, visit the Serious website.

Almondbury Jazz Festival, Saturday 19th November

The first Almondbury Jazz Festival takes place tomorrow, Saturday 19th November.

Music will be programmed at three pubs in the village throughout the day - The Woolpack, The Radcliffe and the Con Club. The church will also be open to serve food and act as a meeting point as people travel between venues.

What's more, it's all for a good cause. The money raised will go to Forget Me Not Children's hospice.

We've listed the schedule below but for full information, visit the Almondbury Jazz Festival website.

The Woolpack

1.30pm - The Jade Harris Experience
6.30pm - Julie Edwards
9.30pm - Ben Crosland Quartet

The Radcliffe

2.00pm - Derrick Harris Quartet
4.30pm - Adrian Ingram's Cookbook
8.30pm - Asaxual

The Con Club

1.00pm - Sax Pots
4.00pm - The Hot Five
8.30pm - Cool Hand

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Calling all young musicians: LCoM Generation Big Band

Leeds College of Music is welcoming applications for young musicians to take place in the newly assembled Generation Big Band.

From the LCoM website...

Generation Big Band at Leeds College of Music aims to bring together excellence across all generations of the Yorkshire jazz community.
Using cutting edge arrangements the band will consist of alumni who are working professionally in the music business, existing LCoM conservatoire students, along with up and coming young musicians who show great potential. Whilst this is a three-tier ensemble the emphasis is on quality and an opportunity to bring together the best of the best.

Through the audition process we are excited about reaching out especially to the younger jazz community and bringing together musicians who are passionate about improvising. Whilst places will be limited, this is a chance to connect with you, so please apply for an audition if you are interested – it might lead to other things.

The fee for young musicians is £125.

The deadline for applications is Midday on Wednesday 23rd November. Auditions will then take place on November 26th. There are 6 places available and while they would expect to receive applications from musicians aged over 14, they are open to applications from younger musicians too.

Congratulations to LCoM for this exciting initiative - bringing generations of musicians together to share music and learn from each other is a great idea!

For more information, visit the LCoM website.

Marsden Jazz Festival sets a new generation of musicians on their way

Marsden Jazz Festival have done their bit to support the next generation of musicians with a donation of recorders to Marsden Junior School.

Marsden Jazz Festival takes place each October and this year celebrated their 25th birthday. With a real community atmosphere, the festival spills out into the streets and involves not only nationally and internationally renowned artists but also community music groups and youth ensembles.

In a recent press release, Director Barney Stevenson said

“We had a fantastic festival this year and wanted to do something to help inspire local children to become our headline performers of the future. Many of the children who first visited the festival with their families have gone on to play in school bands on our outdoor stages, and some have even returned years later as professional jazz artists. 

The staff and children at Marsden Junior School are always really supportive of the festival, and this year allowed us to use the playground for parking. We’re really pleased we’ve been able to donate the recorders which we hope will be used by children for years to come to get their first taste of performing music.”

Well done to Barney and the team for continuing to contribute to Marsden all year round. We look forward to their 26th festival next October...perhaps with a record choir this time?

For more information, visit the Marsden Jazz Festival website.

Friday, 11 November 2016

We want YOUR music for our NJN Jazz Advent Calendar

It's the most wonderful time of the year and it's just around the corner. Following on from our Advent calendar last year, where we featured a different part of the Northern Jazz Scene each day, we wanted to carry on the tradition.

This year, we want to showcase the music of Northern musicians so we need you to get in touch. Each day, we'll feature a track from a different ensemble or musician.

Here's what to send us -

- A link to soundcloud/youtube/bandcamp of a track (Links only please, we don't have the capacity to receive mp3s or posted CDs) - these links must be public and free to listen to.

- A bio of the musician/ensemble

- One photo of the band or musician

- Links to all relevant sites - website, facebook page, twitter etc.

We want to focus on music with a link to the North so we'll prioritise musicians based in the North, born there or with a strong connection (studied in the North etc).

There will be 24 posts, from December 1st until December 24th. If we receive a large number of submissions, we'll do our best to feature them all by sometimes featuring more than one per day.

To ensure your music is included, send in your submissions early and make sure they contain all of the information requested above.

Send submissions to with the subject header - NJN JAZZ ADVENT SUBMISSION.

We look forward to hearing your music soon!

Black Cygnet: Jazz and Beyond

Black Cygnet is a new series of events taking place at The White Swan in Leeds which showcases the best of cutting edge and improvised music.

In association with Leeds College of Music, the gigs are curated by pianist Matthew Bourne. The first gig takes place on November 15th and will feature two groups - a trio featuring Matthew Bourne, Ed Jones and Joost Hendrikx and support TBC.

Following on from that, their next gig is December 6th, this time featuring Epic Toe Birth (Johnny Richards and Mick Bardon) and a duo with Dave Kane and Chris Sharkey.

For more information on these upcoming gigs, see the facebook event page, Also, check out the Leeds College of Music website for information on this and their other projects and events.

Gig Preview: Tipitina at Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Club

Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club have organised a gig guaranteed to bring the festive atmosphere for their final gig of the year on December 9th.

Lancashire based band Tipitina love the music of New Orleans, Barrelhouse, Gospel and Rhythm & Blues. Fronted by vocalist Debbie Jones and including the talents of Justin Randall, John Hicks, Andrew Dalton, Andrew Jones and Pat Flood, Tipitina launched their debut album back in 2009 and have since built up a strong following across the UK.

“A wholly admirable album, the youthful energy, sincerity and obvious affection for the New Orleans style is captivating – a sure-fire club and festival attraction” - Jazz Journal
“To capture the spirit of New Orleans so fully, from a base in the North West of England is a spectacular achievement”
- The Guardian
“Instantly recognisable, Tipitina are really on to something” - Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2 

The gig costs £10, £8 for members. There is a food available at the venue from 6pm until 9pm, so audiences can book a table early and make an evening of it.

For more information, visit the Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club website.

Vote Now in the British Jazz Awards

Voting has opened for the 2016 British Jazz Awards. Organised by Big Bear Music, this is the 31st consecutive year they have celebrated the best of British Jazz.

Open until 30th November 2016, the public are invited to vote for their top instrumentalists and vocalists as well as new album and best reissue.

In each category, 4 nominations are displayed. However, voters are welcome to provide an alternate nomination in the 'other' box. In two cases (clarinet and piano) the option to give an alternate nomination has not worked, so to vote for someone else in these categories, you should email

Interestingly, one of the nominees, Liane Carroll as well as vocalist Sarah Jane Morris, have taken to facebook to call for the broadening of the nominees - encouraging voters to use the 'other' box to vote for musicians to spread awareness of the wealth of jazz talent across the UK.

To vote, follow this link.

New Jazz Jam night in Leeds - Sid's Little Egg

Calling all musicians and jazz fans in Leeds; there's a new jazz night starting up this Sunday (13th) thanks to double bassist Roz Macdonald.

Sid's Little Egg is a newly opened bar near Brewery Wharf in Leeds and it is hoped that if all goes well on Sunday, it could become a regular venue for the jazz jam every fortnight.

Originally from Scotland, Roz is a recent graduate of the jazz course at Leeds College of Music and was announced as being one of this year's Yamaha Jazz Scholars (see this London Jazz News article announcing the Scholars). For this first session on Sunday, Roz's band Ekacnap will be the house band, playing a set from 5pm until 6pm. The jam then opens from 6.15pm and runs until 9pm.

This has the potential to turn into a great hub for musicians - there isn't currently a jam that runs in that early evening slot on a Sunday and with a good location and drinks deals, it seems like Roz has picked a great spot.

As with all of these ventures, they can only run if people vote with theit feet and head down regularly. Well done to Roz for setting it up - support live music and join her and Ekacnap there on Sunday 13th.

For more information, see the Sid's Little Egg facebook page.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Gig Preview: The Cookers in Gateshead & Manchester November 14/15

The Cookers, a supergroup if ever there was one, are only playing 4 UK dates during their European tour and the North is lucky enough to host two of them - Sage Gateshead on November 14th and then at Band on the Wall in Manchester on November 15th.

Collectively, this is a band with over 250 years playing experience and over 1,000 albums released. If that isn't worth braving the cold November nights for, I don't know what is.

From The Cookers website...

Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart all came up in the heady era of the mid ‘60s. It was a period that found the dimensions of hard bop morphing from their original designs, and each of these guys helped facilitate the process as members of some of the most important bands of the era. Hart and Henderson were members of Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking Mwandishi group; Cecil McBee anchored Charles Lloyd’s great ’60s quartet alongside Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette; Billy Harper was part of Lee Morgan’s last group, as well as being a member of Max Roach’s Quartet and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers; while George Cables held down the piano chair in numerous bands including groups led by Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper.
David Weiss and Donald Harrison, from a more recent generation and the youngest members of the band, are experts in this forthright lingo, having gained experience performing with Art Blakey, Bobby Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, Roy Haynes and Herbie Hancock.

The band have been together for 7 years and these two dates are sure to be unmissable - a band made up of musicians that played integral parts in jazz history coming together to create something new.

For more information, visit The Cookers website.

Jamil Sheriff UK Tour and Album Launch

Pianist and highly regarded educator Jamil Sheriff released his first trio album, Places Like This on October 30th on James Hamilton's label New Jazz Records.

Jamil's back catalogue as asideman and band leader is impressive but this is first time he has fronted a trio for an album.

From the New Jazz Records website...

Jamil is known throughout the UK Jazz scene for his lyrical and rhythmic approach to original music, and this latest project is no exception. Carefully developed through-composed elements are interwoven with freer improvisations and swinging solos, showing Sheriff to be an artist with a unique identity. His approach brings together a mixture of influences as he endeavors to find common and genuine ground between a wide ranges of styles. He is a passionate ambassador of creative arts grown in the North of England, and invests much time, as an educator (Head of Jazz at Leeds College of Music) and performer, supporting the development of regional scene. Recent collaborations include work with both emerging artists and acclaimed performers such as Ingrid Jensen, Henry Lowther, Dave Lyttle, Tom Harrison, Colman Brothers, Gareth Lockrane, Richard Iles, Neil Yates, Matt Anderson and Josh Kemp. Composition remains at the heart of Jamil’s artistic output, and the trio (formed in 2013) provides him with the space to explore freer elements. The ensemble was initially part of Jazz North’s Northern Line and in 2014 toured China for two weeks before recording ‘Places Like This’.

To celebrate the launch of the album, the trio will perform a number of tour dates between November and January. Full list of dates below but if you'd like to hear the album or buy a copy, visit the News Jazz Records site. 

Jamil Sheriff Trio Tour Dates (with Dave Walsh and Pete Turner)

November 8th - Parr Jazz, Liverpool
November 11th - Birmingham Jazz
November 20th  - Inkwell, Leeds
November 30th - Lescar, Sheffield
December 2nd - Glyde House, Bradford
December 3rd - HEART, Leeds
January 4th - Matt & Phred's, Manchester

Northern Jazz heads South for EFG London Jazz Festival

It's les than two weeks until this year's EFG London Jazz Festival kicks off. Ten days of jazz starting on November 11th - over 2,000 artists, 300 gigs and 50 venues. There are a number of Northern artists heading down to fly the flag for Jazz in the North so here's a preview of who's playing and where.

Jazz for Toddlers (Dave Kane & Oli Dover)

As part of the festival's expansive learning and participation programme, double bassist Dave Kane and saxophonist Oli Dover will run a series of workshops throughout the festival aimed at children between 2 and 5. Some of the workshops have already sold out so it's looking like it'll be a huge succes.

Mike Walker and Iain Dixon with The Guildhall Band & Choir (November 11th, Clore Ballroom) 

Two fifths of the supergroup The Impossible Gentlemen, Mike Walker and Iain Dixon join The Guildhall Jazz Band and choir led by pianist Malcolm Edmonstone. Expect a varied programme and a joyful evening of music!

Zoe Gilby Family Jazz All-Stars (November 12th, Cadogan Hall)

Another family-friendly event, one of the North's most beloved vocalists Zoe Gilby will perform a programme that guides families through the jazz greats and Zoe's unique takes on popular songs.

Phil Meadows Project (November 14th, Ray's Jazz at Foyles)

LCoM Alumnus and award winning saxophonist and band leader, Phil unveils his brand new ensemble during the festrival. (He will also perform with his trio SKINT, supporting Donny McCaslin)

Matt Roberts BigISH band (November 14th, Spice of Life)

Another LCoM graduate, Northern boy Matt Roberts has become well established as a big band leader since moving to London.  This large ensemble will pay tribute to one of Matt's heroes, the great Duke Ellington.

Matthew Halsall & Gondwana Orchestra (November 15th, Islington Assembly Hall)

Manchester based trumpeter and composer Matthew Halsall has sold out multiple shows at London Jazz Festivals gone by so this one is sure to be busy. He premieres new work with a line-up including harp, saxophone, piano, bass and drums.

Chris Sharkey's Make It/Break It (November 19th, Southbank Centre)

Chris Sharkey has been comissioned by Serious to premiere this new piece. Over 100 musicians will gather in the day to put together the new piece which centres around improvisation and collective music making.

For more information on full programme and to book tickets, visit the EFG London Jazz Festival website.

In Sadness: Bill Kyle

By Kim Macari

There are people that seem as if they'll live forever, so woven into the fabric of life that their passing comes as an enormous shock. Bill Kyle was one such person. I, like the rest of the Scottish Jazz community, was stunned to hear the news that Bill passed away suddenly on October 30th. Even now, it seems unthinkable that Scottish Jazz has lost such a central figure.

Like almost every other Scottish jazz musician of my generation, Bill gave me my first gig. The Jazz Bar opened just as I was seriously getting into Jazz. I don't even remember being introduced to Bill; the first interaction I recall was him offering me a gig. He sat me down one evening in the bar, explaining the jazz scene - telling me who to seek out, how to get gigs at other venues. He'd give us a gig before we were ready, offer us the opportunity to learn on the bandstand. If a tune was called at a jam session I didn't know, he'd smile that wry, Fifer smile and say "well, better go and learn it for next time." He didn't admonish, he didn't judge, he just encouraged.

Bill was proud to say that The Jazz Bar only ever closed its doors on Christmas Day and as a result, the club was a beating heart, a constant for the scene.

In recent years, Bill hosted my sextet LOCUS - both during the Jazz Festival and through his funded Bridge Music programme. After our Jazz Bar gigs, he'd bring over a bottle of wine and we'd chat. In fact, after our Glasgow gig he drove us back to Edinburgh and we spent the journey talking about jazz, about gigs he'd seen and played, about albums we liked.

I saw so many extraordinary gigs at the Jazz Bar thanks to Bill. Jerry Bergonzi, Billy Hart, countless gigs during the Festival (where he'd put on an ASTONISHING number of gigs and opened the bar until 5am every day each August).

Every Monday, I'd play with the Jazz Bar Big Band and was able to cut my teeth playing in a real blow band having just left school. During the audition process for music college, Bill would ask about how it was going, offer advice and support and celebrating when I got a place.

Reading the comments and posts about Bill since the 30th, you'll see that I was by no means unique - he gave unwavering support to hundreds of musicians over decades. He was an enormous part of the jazz scene.

What I mean to say is - Thank you, Bill. You were one of a kind and you will be dearly, dearly missed.