Jiggs Whigham Jul 13th
Summertime brings festive treats. In July the north east of England just about covers the waterfront with the mammoth Durham Brass Festival popping up at locations across County Durham, up north the Mouth of the Tyne Festival presents a diverse range of bands from the regional jazz scene, and Jazz North East programmes the jazz offer at NARC magazine’s Ouseburn-centric festival.
In this, the centenary year of Dizzy Gillespie’s birth, Durham Brass Festival will pay homage to the man with Jiggs Whigham conducting the BBC Big Band at the Gala Theatre (Jul 13). Whigham will play a major part during the festival leading an intensive three day Big Band Summer School. This is an amazing opportunity for young, intermediate and advanced musicians. For further information visit: www.brassfestival.co.uk. Tom Riviere’s Family Band will take part in the festivities (Jul 11) on North Road in Durham at the Empty Shop’s new satellite venue TESTT. Durham Cathedral gets in on the action with the BBC Big Band Quartet playing a gig in the Undercroft restaurant (Jul 12) and the key to the success of this annual festival is the free, outdoor performances across the county. A street corner or local park, brass players will turn up when least expected (Jul 7-16).
The Mouth of the Tyne jazz stage sets up adjacent to Tynemouth Priory, high above King Edward’s Bay over two days (Jul 8/9) from noon each day. Trumpeter Colin Aitchison appears once again as he makes his annual visit from Hong Kong, the Maine Street Jazzmen will play a set, similarly Pete Tanton’s Riviera Quartet, and vocalist Gabriele Heller. Satchmo disciple Aitchison plays a Saturday lunchtime gig at the Black Bull, Blaydon (Jul 15).
NARC Festival at the Cluny presents a free admission day of jazz including MoHaWi and the much hyped Roller Trio (Jul 1). Trombonist Dennis Rollins is the guest of Darlington Jazz Club (Jul 2) at Hummersknott Academy on the outskirts of Darlington. The Yorkshireman joins the Durham Alumni Big Band and Vocal Collective to play two sets starting at six o’clock. If a violin-harmonium duo in a laundrette is your thing, then you won’t want to miss Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes in Gilesgate, Durham (Jul 3) at the Old Cinema Laundrette on Marshall Terrace.
Sample a slice of jazz Argentina-style at Saltburn Community Hall & Theatre as the Sotavento Big Band comes to town (Jul 7), then heads north to Tyneside (Jul 9), pitching up at the Jazz Co-op on Railway Street, Newcastle. The Sotavento boasts an all saxophone horn section – no trombones or trumpets!
Jambone and Quay Voices, Sage Gateshead’s youth big band and vocal ensemble, take on a big challenge at Ushaw, Durham (Jul 15, lunchtime), and at Sage HQ the following day as they tackle Ellington’s Sacred Music. Out in the wilds, Clockmakers (Mike Walker, Iain Dixon and Les Chisnall) turn up at Alwinton Church (Jul 1). There is much more to enjoy during sunny July. Go hear it!
A quiet young man who wouldn’t blow his own trumpet is Matthew MacKellar. Matt, recently turned eighteen, is an accomplished drummer, holding the drum chair in the Early Bird Band (a Paul Edis development band), and sitting-in at Newcastle’s Jazz Café top flight jam session, winning acclaim from seasoned musicians. Matt is soon to leave us, heading to America to study at Berklee School of Music, Boston. All are invited to Matt’s leaving ‘do’ on July 13 at the Jazz Café, Newcastle. Billed as ‘Matthew’s Farewell Jazz Party’, many of Tyneside’s finest musicians will be dropping by to play a set. The action kicks-off at seven o’clock, ground floor and first floor. £6 on the door. Unmissable!