Friday, 28 July 2017

Dinosaur Nominated for Mercury Prize

Huge congratulations to Dinosaur, the only jazz ensemble to be nominated in this year's Mercury Prize shortlist.

The Hyundai Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ celebrates and promotes the best of UK music, recognising artistic achievement across a range of contemporary music genres. The Shortlist was chosen by an independent judging panel and revealed at our Launch event, hosted by BBC Music’s Huw Stephens. 
 The judges said “This year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize shortlist celebrates the remarkable power of British music. What these artists have in common is an infectious pleasure in music making and an arresting sense of urgency about the music they make. They delight in exploring musical possibilities and refusing to be pinned down by genre conventions.”

The winner will be announced on September 14th at Hammersmith Apollo.

Find out more about Dinosaur by visiting Laura Jurd's website and see the full shortlist here.

Northern Jazz well represented on Live at LUME vol. 3

Cath Roberts and Dee Byrne, with their seemingly infinite amount of energy, have released volume 3 of their Live at LUME series, a selection of recordings taken from live LUME gigs. This one contains many names familiar to jazz audiences in the North. These recordings come from the series of gigs entitled LUME labs, which saw three musicians commissioned to bring together groups of musicians and develop new work.

The album can be bought on the LUME bandcamp page.

The album, at £5 for a physical copy and £3 for digital, is used to fundraise for future LUME activities.

The three ensembles featured are:

Julie Kjaer (flute/bass clarinet)
Olie Brice, Seth Bennett, tim Fairhall & Thordoris Ziarkis (double bass)

Anton Hunter's Labrats

Anton Hunter (guitar)
Kim Macari (trumpet)
Cath Roberts (baritone sax)
Dee Byrne (alto sax)
Rachel Musson (tenor sax)
Tullis Rennie (trombone)
Andrew Lisle (drums)
Tim Fairhall (double bass)

Craig Scott's Gastric Band

Craig Scott (guitar)
Oliver Dover (saxes/clarinet)
Johnny Richards (keyboards)
Michael Bardon (double bass)
Joost Hendrickx (drums)

Halifax Piece Hall celebrates re-opening with Saxophone Massive

Halifax Piece Hall is currently one of the most significant and high profile heritage project in the UK. A £17 million conservation and transformation programme is underway and August will see a series of events welcoming the public back to enjoy this newly refurbished Grade I listed building.

On August 18th, renowned saxophonist and ECM artist Andy Sheppard brings his Saxophone Massive to join the festivities.

Led by world-renowned jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard, the big band will perform an original composition amongst the colonnaded galleries of our Georgian building, filling the whole space with music and celebration. An ECM recording artist, bandleader and composer, Andy Sheppard is one of Europe’s leading saxophonists and one of a very few British musicians to have made a significant impact on the international jazz scene. An international phenomenon, Saxophone Massive has been performed in cities across Europe including in the UK, France and Norway and is now commissioned for Halifax. 

"It is an immense honour to be bringing my Saxophone Massive to Halifax and to be the first major event to take place in the new Piece Hall. Music unites" communities and by reaching out to and including local musicians to be part of the massive, amateur and professional alike, we will present an event that showcases the best regional talent to an audience celebrating The Piece Hall, one of the most stunning buildings in Yorkshire.” Andy Sheppard 

A massive musical feat that’s both uplifting and astonishing.

Tickets are free and will available from August 1st. For more information, visit the Halifax Piece Hall website.

Call for Musicians for Jazz Directors Series with Zoe Rahman

Applications are now being accepted to be part of the third Jazz Director Series, run by Band On The Wall & Brighter Sounds. As with their two previous projects, featuring Terence Blanchard and Chris Potter), the call-out is for musicians to form the Inner City Ensemble. This time, the featured musician is pianist Zoe Rahman.

The Inner City Ensemble will work with Zoe in a residency before embarking on a short tour in October 2017. The instrumentation required for this incarnation of the band is - double bass, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, tuba, alto sax and tenor sax.

From Band on the Wall...

Described by the Observer as “a remarkable pianist by any standard”, pianist and composer Zoe Rahman has firmly established herself as one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz scene. A vibrant and highly individual artist, her style is deeply rooted in jazz yet it reflects her classical background, British/Bengali heritage and her very broad musical taste. Known for her powerful technique, wide-ranging imagination and exuberant performances, she has become a highly sought-after musician, recently working with the likes of George Mraz, Courtney Pine and Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra. She is a winner of the prestigious UK Parliamentary Jazz Award, and has been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.  

“I’m really looking forward to working with open-minded improvising artists who have a strong grounding in jazz, a deep sense of groove and who like to listen to a wide range of musical styles. There will be opportunities for all of the musicians to shine individually as well as contribute to the ensemble as a whole. Hopefully the project will be challenging, rewarding and above all fun for all of us.” – Zoe Rahman

The deadline is 13 August 2017 and successful applicants will be notified by 18th August. For more information and to apply, visit the Band on the Wall website.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Summertime Sax Workshop in Carlisle, July 23rd

Saxophonist and popular educator Roz Sluman is running a day of saxophone workshops and jam session this coming Sunday at The Rugby Club in Carlisle. Check out all the details on the flyer here! Only £15 to attend and have the chance to work with a rhythm section as well Roz's en-masse sax choir.

Huddersfield Jazz Guitar Festival - this weekend!

If you're not already on your way, check out what the Huddersfield Jazz Guitar Festival has to offer this very weekend - a 3 day celebration of all that's great in jazz guitar.

This is the third annual Huddersfield Jazz Guitar Festival and this year is going to prove to be bigger and better. Held at the Rat and Ratchet, the festival is a celebration of jazz guitar in all its many forms,  from gypsy jazz, funk, fusion and mainstream there will be something for everyone. 
The festival is held over three days although there are some fringe events held around Huddersfield on the run up to the festival. Alan Barnes is joining the Charlie Christian Collective at the Head of Steam on Wednesday 19th July.
The festival a proper begins on Friday 21st July with the ever popular Gypsy Jazz Night. The Saturday and Sunday are packed with free concerts during the day, workshops, jam sessions and competitions. Saturday evening sees two of the counties leading players, Cameron Pierre and Femi Temowo who bring their unique and brilliant blend of jazz guitar to an evening we’ve called Jazz, Roots and Beyond. Sunday is dedicated more towards funk and fusion with the amazing Tom Quayle running a workshop and concert during the day and Adrian Ingram’s Cookbook and Dennis Rollins and Johnny Heyes bringing a blend of funk and groove based music to the evening. All this and some wonderful beer brewed on the premises at the Rat, whats not to like.
For all the details, check out the Huddersfield Jazz Guitar website. Congratulations to the team that work hard to run the festival - may it continue for many years!

Apply now for European Young Artists' Jazz Award 2018

Applications are now being accepted for the 10th Annual European Young Artists' Jazz Award, held each year as part of the Burghausen International Jazz Festival in Germany.

The prize was created to actively promote promising young jazz artists. The winning ensemble will be awarded 5,000euro as well as the opening slot at the festival the following day, with 2nd and 3rd prizes being 3,000 and 1,000 respectively.

All styles of jazz are welcomed and groups of three musicians or more (up to and including big bands) are eligible. Musicians must be aged 30 or under on March 6 2018.

Applications should include 6 identical CDs in a neutral cover, a 300 dpi photo of the band (on a separate CD) and a written description of the band and music, max 2 pages.

To find out more about the Award, visit the b-jazz website.

NYJC comes to Yorkshire

In the recent Arts Council England announcement, the National Youth Jazz Collective was was pleased to be announced as one of the organisations to remain an NPO (national portfolio organisation), meaning their funding is secured until 2022.

Following that good news, NYJC have announced that they will be extending their Workshops to five new locations in addition to London and Hampshire; Essex, Bedfordshire, Bristol, Leicester and South Yorkshire.

In each of these locations, 6 full day workshops will take place between October and June. The sessions will be run by professional jazz musicians with each small group working together as a band throughout the year. Musicians will work on improvising, learning new tunes, creative leadership skills and more. Each session culminates in an evening concert, allowing each group to showcase what they've worked on. The faculty of tutors includes some of the UK's finest improvising musicians including Nikki Yeoh, Tom Hewson, Issie Barratt, Kim Macari, Tori Freestone and more.

Musicians of all instruments aged between 8 and 18 are welcome and sessions are tailored for all abilities.

To find out more, visit the National Youth Jazz Collective website.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Oops, Sorry MJF...

So last week, we reported on Joshua Redman's sole UK date with his new Still Dreaming project with Ron Miles, Brian Blade and Scott Colley. In a coup for the North, the gig will take place in Manchester at the RNCM.

In our excitement and our haste to spread the word, we forgot to mention that this gig is of course part of Manchester Jazz Festival.

Sorry, MJF!

Check out this gig and the PLETHORA of others running as part of the festival between 28th July and 6th August on the Manchester Jazz Festival. There really is something for everyone and the team, led by Steve Mead, do an exceptional job each year.

Roy Ayers comes to Leeds, 25th August

A picture says a thousand words. Or in this case, a picture provides all the necessary information about a brilliant upcoming gig in Leeds next month.

Vibraphonist/vocalist Roy Ayers is among the best-known, most loved and respected jazz/R&B artist on the music-scene today. 

Now in his fourth decade in the music business, Ayers, known as the Godfather of Neo-soul, continues to bridge the gap between generations of music lovers. In the 60’s he was an award-winning jazz vibraphonist, and transformed into a popular R&B band leader in the 70's/80's. Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand and whose music industry heavyweights, including Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac and Ice Cube. 

Ayers recently recorded with hip hop artist Talib Kweli (produced by Kanye West) and jazz/R&B singer Wil Downing. 

Many of Ayers' songs including: “Everybody Loves the Sunshine”,”Searchin”, Running Away” have been frequently sampled and remixed by DJ’s worldwide.

Described by Erykah Badu as 'the KING of neo-soul music', Ayers' gig in Leeds is sure to be packed. Tickets cost £25 and can be bought from the Luna Tickets website as well as the outlets listed on the poster above. 

To find out more about Roy Ayers, visit his website.

BlueJam Arts Creative Jazz Workshop, 22nd July

BlueJam Arts in partnership with Cumbria Music Hub are running a day-long workshop in Creative Jazz for young musicians across Cumbria and Lancashire.

Sign up is already going well with young musicians coming from far and wide. Spaces are still available though, so does this sound like it's for you or a musician you know?

Do you play an instrument to Grade 4 standard or above?
Are you interested in jazz and improvisation?
Do you want to learn how to create music with a band?
Do you want to create and record solos over electronic jazz grooves?

Start your summer with an inspirational day of jazz and creativity for instrumentalists from Cumbria and Lancashire.

With professional jazz tutors including improvising composer Jilly Jarman and electronic composer and producer Tom Leah (Werkha)

For more information and to apply to attend the workshop, visit the Cumbria Music Hub website.

A Fond Farewell to Fusebox and JazzintoDoncaster

The vibrant, diverse jazz scene in the North has a lot to thank the voluntary promoter sector for; a huge number of jazz venues in the North are run entirely by passionate volunteers. The landscape changes frequently and unfortunately, just as new venues and nights pop up regularly, we must say farewell to others.

We use this opportunity to celebrate the brilliant and vital contributions made by two promoters of live jazz that have sadly wound up; Fusebox in Leeds and JazzintoDoncaster. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to the teams of people who ran these ventures.

Message from Fusebox -

I'm afraid that Fusebox isn't active anymore. After a meeting last October and a fruitful discussion with the Arts Council, we decided to take a pause, while we wrote a bid and  restyled ourselves.

The plan was to start up again with a new format in September but as time passed and with the busy and complex lives of the musician members, nothing developed and so the general consensus was that Fusebox has run it's course. Sad to see.

Bill Chatwin

Message from JazzintoDoncaster -

Sorry to report that JazzintoDoncaster has now ceased due the fall in people attending with the demography of our supporters. We have been subsidising the Bands over the last 12-18 months and our funds have now been depleted.

We may have one final performance featuring the Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra at a future date to be arranged.

Thank you for your support, especially Charlie Worsdale, Peter Robinson, Malcolm Silverwood and all previous Committee Members the founders of JazzintoDoncaster

Brian Askew

Jazz North Awarded Strategic Touring Funding for Alt Shift J

Jazz North have been awarded over £70,000 from Arts Council England's Strategic Touring fund to develop Alt Shift J, a one-day pop jazz festival to showcase emerging artists and the use of digital technology, aiming to develop a younger audience for jazz and improvised music.

From the press release...

Jazz North has been awarded a grant of £71,646 from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund to curate, produce and tour Alt Shift J, a one day pop-up jazz festival aimed at developing younger audiences for jazz.  The festival will present new artists and use digital technology to encourage more young people to experience jazz music both as participants and audience members.  Accompanied by an extensive audience engagement programme, the project will involve young people in programming the festival and will aim to inspire and engageindividuals and families who may not usually access the arts. Theaward was one of 8 Strategic Touring grants announced earlier this week.

Jazz North Alt Shift J will tour to Cleethorpes, Clitheroe, Middlesbrough and Penrith in Autumn 2018 and over the course of the project will:

•             Present 16 performances by extraordinary jazz artists, selected by a network of 8 local young scenebuilders
•             Deliver 24 interactive performances in local primary and secondary schools
•             Engage local residents through a programme of workshops and participatory activities
•             Stream each festival live to a worldwide audience

Partners on the project include The Culture House, Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues, Blue Jam Arts and Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Welcoming the grant, Lesley Jackson, Executive Director of Jazz North said: “We are really thrilled that Arts Council England is supporting this project: one that will help us to develop the next generation of jazz listeners. This investment will build on their support for the sector in recent years”

She continued “The way that young people engage with music is changing. Alt Shift J will give us the opportunity to redefine the genre and the word ‘jazz’, which often comes with its own baggage, and will break down some of the barriers that currently exist.  Developing younger audiences isn’t just about more and better marketing, so we will explore new ways to connect with them. The chance to use digital technology and work with promoters more closely will release the potential of this amazing music to reach more people and connect young audiences to their local venue.”

To find out more about Shift Alt J and about the other projects run by Jazz North, visit their website.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Joshua Redman 'Still Dreaming' in Manchester, 4th August - SOLE UK DATE

Joshua Redman is scheduled to play the RNCM in Manchester on 4th August, his sole UK date.

World-renowned saxophonist Joshua Redman’s new group, the Still Dreaming quartet, features three of the most imaginative voices in contemporary jazz. Together they’ll interpret Old and New Dreams a renowned 1970/80s band of Ornette Coleman alumni that included Joshua’s father, Dewey Redman, along with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell.
Their repertoire of Coleman compositions and original works was honest, uninhibited and engagingly unpredictable. With his all-star group, Joshua fulfils his birthright, explores his heritage and adds a new perspective to this historic material. The close personal connection will make this UK debut an especially memorable performance.
He will be joined by three incredible jazz heavyweights - Scott Colley, Ron Miles and Brian Blade.
Tickets cost £25 and there are no concessions available. This is sure to sell out so book quickly!

Calling Young Jazz Musicians - 2 day jazz workshop in York, 11/12th August

York Jazz Initiative are running a two day workshop for young musicians on August 11th and 12th, offering the chance to hone your jazz skills with the help of professional musicians for only £20.

Ian Chalk says...

The workshop is for any young person in full time education (including higher education) and is designed to help young people develop their jazz performance skills whether they are experienced jazz soloists or have never played jazz before!
All young musicians would benefit from this workshop as it will widen their harmonic knowledge, help them get to know their instrument better and build their confidence plus having lots of fun!
The workshop tutors are all high quality professional jazz musicians as well as experienced educators and the workshop will be led by York Jazz initiative's Musical Director Ian Chalk. 
Attendees will learn how to begin to improvise with their instruments or voices or add to their existing skills in in fun-filled and encouraging environment.
As the workshop progresses they will have the opportunity to perform with the tutors and have the thrill of playing with professional jazz musicians!

This workshop was made possible through the generous support of the Ronnie Scott's Charitable Foundation. 

For more information and to sign up, see the York Jazz Initiative website. 

York Big Band Initiative ft Marlena Kelli in Wakefield, 9th July

Wakefield Jazz are hosting a special, family-friendly gig this Sunday July 9th featuring the York Big Band Initiative and vocalist Marlena Kelli.

In addition to their regular Friday evening programming, this gig will take place on Sunday afternoon from 1pm, giving families and young people the chance to experience the joyous force of a full big band live and up close.

Musical director Ian Chalk says This will be a fantastic opportunity for them, and just shows how much they've grown, musically, in the last five years.

Tickets cost £10 full price and £5 concessions and can be booked online via the wegottickets website. 

For more information on the band, see the York Big Band Initiative website.

Sarah Vaughan Vocal Jazz Competition - Call for entries

The 6th Annual Sarah Vaughan Vocal Jazz Competition is now open for entries, with a 1st prize of $5,000 and an offer to record an album with the Concord Music Group.

Last year, London-based vocalist Deelee Dube (pictured above) scooped the top prize. Also offered are a second prize of $1500 and a third prize of $500.

The competition is open to solo vocalists of all nationalities who are not signed to a major record label and, for the first time this year, both men and women. Singers will be judged on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation and ability to swing; winner will receive a Concord Record deal.

Now in its 6th year, The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition, also known as the SASSY Awards, honors the talent and tradition of the competition’s namesake as the only international jazz competition of its kind, providing a platform for one outstanding jazz singer to launch a career within the music business.

Previous winners include Jazzmeia Horn (2013) who also was the 2015 winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition, and Cyrille Aimee (2012), the first-ever winner of the competition, whose major label debut in August 2014 was called “a bravura turn, presented with a smile” by The New York Times.

This year's judges are Gary Walker, Vanessa Rubin, T.S Monk, Will Downing and Ann Hampton Callaway.

Entries will be accepted until September 5th. For full information and to apply, visit the Sarah Vaughan Vocal Jazz Competition website. 

Tour Preview: Misha Mullov-Abbado Album Launch & Tour, July 2017

Double bassist, composer and winner of the 2014 Kenny Wheeler Prize Misha Mullov-Abbado will launch his new album, Cross-Platform Interchange on Edition Records this month and will tour England between 15th and 26th July.

Winner of the 2014 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize, Misha Mullov-Abbado is an in-demand bass player, composer and arranger based in London. He is a 2014 City of Music Foundation Artist and recently released his debut album New Ansonia consisting of all his own compositions performed by his quintet on Edition Records, which has been included in “Best Jazz Albums of 2015” by The Telegraph and BBC Radio 3 and been extremely well-received in newspapers and magazines across Europe. As an experienced band-leader but also a versatile sideman Misha has performed at many of London’s top venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, the Vortex, 606 Club, Pizza Express and Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room (as part of the BBC Proms Late series), as well as venues in the rest of the UK and Europe. Having won the 2014 Dankworth Prize for jazz composition Misha is an experienced composer and writes for various jazz groups as well as classical soloists and ensembles, and is influenced by a variety of jazz, classical and pop music.

The final three dates of the tour will bring the ensemble to the North, visiting Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Misha is joined by James Davison on trumpet, Matthew Herd on alto, Sam Rapley on tenor, Liam Dunachie on piano and Scott Chapman on drums.

For more information, visit Misha's website.

Tour Dates

15th July - The Hive, Shewsbury
17th July - The Beaver Inn, Appledore
18th July - St Ives Jazz Club, Cornwall
20th July - St Columba's Church, Cambridge
24th July - The Wonder Inn, Manchester
25th July - The Jazz Cafe, Newcastle
26th July - The Lescar, Sheffield