Daniel John Martin - dates 20-24 Feb
February brings many big hitters to the North East. From America, Booker T Jones pitches up at Sage Gateshead (Feb 26), N'Awlins' Frog and Henry visit Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club (Feb 2) and the Big Easy's Hot 8 Brass Band play Newcastle's Riverside (Feb 11). Paris-based Daniel John Martin returns to link up once again with County Durham Djangologist Mick Shoulder and his Swing Manouche outfit. Violinist Martin is the embodiment of a virtuoso and anyone yet to hear him should make the effort to get along to one of his gigs - Bishop Auckland Town Hall (Feb 20), Newcastle's Black Swan (Feb 21), Hexham's subterranean Vault on Hallgate (Feb 23) and Durham's Claypath Deli (4:00pm, Feb 24).
From north of the border, Edinburgh Jazz Bar regulars Jazz Main, led by old-school, swinging tenor saxophonist Nick Gould, play a gig at Newcastle Jazz Co-op's HQ on Railway Street (Feb 3) and a week later a few miles up the Tyne Valley the incomparable Ruth Lambert will sing a selection from the GASbook at the Beaumont Hotel in Hexham (Feb 11). The market town's jazz renaissance continues with appearances by Alan Barnes at the Vault in a fundraiser for Core Music (Feb 26) and Hammond specialist Gerry Richardson at the Fox Inn (Feb 26).
One of Tyneside's on-going success stories is Michael Lamb's Strictly Smokin' Big Band working with an ever-lengthening list of A-listers...Paul Booth, Joe Stilgoe, Hailey Tuck and now the internationally respected Mark Nightingale. On Feb 23 the in demand trombonist is all-but-certain to walk out onto stage in Sage Gateshead's Sage Two space to be greeted by a full house. This is testament to Nightingale's enduring appeal and Michael Lamb's superb jazz orchestra.
Elsewhere, Paul Edis' 'A Brief History of Jazz Piano' set (lunchtime, Feb 1) is already a sell-out at Durham's Gala Theatre. To enquire about returns call the box office on 03000 266 600. Corey Mwamba makes a farewell appearance at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle (Feb 3), harpist Alina Bzhezhinska plays a Jazz North East gig at Gosforth Civic Theatre (Feb 9), pianist Dean Stockdale gigs at Saltburn Community Theatre (Feb 8) and on the same night the ubiquitous Alan Barnes returns to Darlington's Opus 4 Jazz Club working alongside the Paul Edis Trio.
Two contemporary events catch the eye; brilliant guitarist Nik Svarc plays a lunchtime gig at Bishop Auckland Town Hall (Feb 16) in the company of the ever-youthful looking Martin Longhawn (organ) and drummer Steve Hanley. The first Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender (October 2018) was scheduled to include a Jazz North Alt-Shift-J package when, at short notice, it was decided to postpone the event until early in 2019. The new date - Saturday Feb 16 - presents the triple bill of Roller Trio, Ubunye and J Frisco.
So, February offers something for everyone - go hear some of it.