Thursday, 31 December 2015

Geoff's Southport selection!

Geoff Matthews - Southport Jazz Winter Weekend Festival and Southport Melodic Jazz Club

"Very timely- it was on 13 December!

Our Christmas Special double gig with the Matinee Swingshift Big Band with guest vocalist David Knopov celebrating Sinatra’s Centenary followed in the evening by Alan Barnes-Tony Kofi Quintet featuring John Turville, Adam King and Rod Youngs.

Both events sold out – altogether close on 300. Completely different and both very enjoyable. Nice to end the year on a high note!

A view from Leeds...

So much to choose from in 2015!!

Just three to choose so I've chosen my favourite recording by Sheffield pianist Alex Hutton released during 2015 - the folky and lyrical "Magna Carta Suite" with  Yuri Goloubev –double bass and Asaf Sirkis – drums. I had the opportunity to play the score with Alex in Sheffield in October - it is just beautiful.

I'm not sure you can say that saying farewell to old colleagues would be a highlight, but certainly the city's jazz community did themselves proud in celebrating the lives of two Leeds Jazz promoters who passed on in 2015 - Dave Hatfield in January and Barry Cooper in December

And the third would have to be the celebration of 50 years of Jazz Education at Leeds College of Music with the Alumni Big band directed by Nicki Iles on 11th October 2015 at Leeds Venue. Anniversaries are a good time to look back, to ask people to think what has been important and consider what the future might bring and Leeds College of Music's 50th anniversary celebration was just that. This was not only an anniversary for the College, but also for jazz education itself – Leeds was the first full time college jazz course in Europe, established in 1965. Jazz education is now so widespread and commonplace throughout the music curriculum that it is difficult to understand just what a big change that was at the time. It was great therefore that one of the people behind the original course at Leeds, 87-year old (and still going strong) jazz bass legend Peter Ind had travelled up from London with his wife Sue .

I've not even mentioned the successful award by the Arts Council for a NorVol International Touring Programme, nor  any of the bands that have played at our own club Seven Jazz - and we've had some beauts such as Tom Green's Septet, Trish Clowes with Gwilym Simcock and Mike Walker,  Marius Neset Quintet,  Darius Brubeck Quartet, James Hamilton's Jazz Orchestra “Covers Suite” (with all the stand out vocalists of the Leeds popular music scene) Elliot Galvin's Trio, Bad Ass Brass, Maciek Pysz Trio, Andy Sheppard Quartet, Alan Barnes Christmas Carol Octet and the ever entertaining Tom Sharp Jazz Orchestra. I could go on  - but I won't as I've already broken my own rules!!!

Steve Crocker
Seven Jazz Leeds

Jude's choice- Sheffield Jazz

John Taylor, Diana Torto, and Julian Siegel 

From Jude Sacker- Sheffield Jazz

"In January 2015 we put on pianist John Taylor’s New Group with Italian singer Diana Torto and Julian Siegel on sax and bass clarinet, in the Crucible Studio.  These three great musicians gave us a joyous evening, complementing each others energy, subtlety and musicality. Little did we know that that was our last chance to hear the very great and much loved John Taylor.  He unexpectedly died of a heart attack on 18th July 2015 and is greatly missed. This band is my highlight of the year.

I’d also like to add these other memorable bands who played in Sheffield this year from a long list of possibles - Larry Bartley’s ‘Just Us’, Phil Donkins ‘The Gate’, Liam Noble piano solo,  Jean Toussaint’s Blakey Project, New York Standards Quartet and Chris Biscoe’s Mingus Profiles band. So it’s been a good year!

Paul Bream's 2015 highlights..

Joe Morris

From Paul Bream, Jazz North East Newcastle

"With so much variety, how on earth to select just three memorable gigs? The answer is, I can’t, but here’s a selection that perhaps illustrates that variety (although almost any other three would have done just as well).

Joe Morris Quartet - at the Bridge Hotel Newcastle

An astonishing performance in so many ways, starting with the fact that the band was in Newcastle at all, having flown in for just 24 hours to play the only UK date of their European tour. Joe Morris is an astounding guitarist, possessed of the kind of fleet fingered technique that in too many other cases manifests itself in flashy pyrotechnics, but which in Joe’s case is at the service of an equally agile imagination. His partnership with violist Mat Maneri goes back decades, and it shows; they seem almost like two sides of the same brain, firing ideas across the synapses to charge up music that feels pre-ordained in its perfection, and then moves on. With Chris Lightcap on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums - both of them also old sparring partners for Joe and Mat - this was free improvisation of the highest empathetic order.

Jazz North East recorded the gig, and Joe was so pleased with how the whole thing went that he’s talking about issuing this as the quartet’s first ever live recording. So that’s all next year’s Xmas presents sorted out.

Linda Sharrock Group at the Black Swan, Newcastle

A triumph of a different nature. An iconic figure in the New York free jazz revolution of the 1960s, vocalist Linda Sharrock suffered a major stroke in 2009, leaving her largely paralysed and without the power of speech. But her ability to listen closely hadn’t left her and, with the support of sympathetic friends in her adopted home of Vienna, she has rebuilt the ability to find a place in the music and to create near cathartic improvisations of whoops and yells and repeated phrases. She came to Newcastle with one of her closest supporters, saxophonist Maria Richter, and the Sheffield-based improv trio of Derek Saw, John Jasnoch and Charlie Collins, and gave a performance of almost overwhelming intensity. This was music as an enduring state of mind, deploying remembered skills to brilliant effect.

OZMA at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle

Jazz North East’s love affair with French jazz continues, and the quintet OXYD could very well have made their way into this selection, But OZMA just get the nod because their gig was a remarkable game of two halves. For the first set they played an accompaniment to the Buster Keaton movie ‘Three Ages’. This format of live music to silent film isn’t unusual, but almost invariably the musicians seem to feel obliged to play in ‘period style’ . . . which in this case would have meant a kind of pastiche 1920s jazz. But no, OZMA’s music was up to the minute contemporary, yet was brilliantly matched to Keaton’s deadpan screen imagery. Then, for the second set, the quartet let rip with jazz that has been described as having “enough raw energy to power a small city” - it certainly lit up Newcastle!

Three from Jez ...

Christian McBride 

Jez Matthews (promoter of Sheffield's Jazz at the Lescar)

"Here’s my top three gigs - I seem to remember it was three you asked for last year, and I provided a stack more, undecided as usual….. Anyway this time I’ve tried to keep to three!

Vula Viel at The Lescar in April. Bex Burch’s incredible energy and skill on the Dagaare Gyil, a type of xylophone from Ghana, mixed with a group of London’s finest jazz musicians had the backroom of the Lescar literally bouncing.

Christian McBride Trio at The Band on the Wall, Manchester, in June. Just the best swinging jazz from an incredible world class trio, and like all the best gigs, enjoyed with friends in a great, and packed, buzzing venue.

Metamorphic & Røyst Trio
at The Lescar in November. Including in their ranks two musicians originally from Sheffield, Laura Cole and Seth Bennett, plus a trio of vocalists expanded to four in the final full ensemble, ten musicians in total. They produced powerful music with emotional impact, visibly and strongly felt by everyone in the room.

Eyeshutight gets the Wakefield jazz vote..

Chris DeSaram from Wakefield Jazz.

Our honours go to Eyeshutight 4 December @Wakefield Jazz.

This was thrilling and captivating music. Everyone in the audience could easily have agreed that this was a ‘power trio’—an apt descriptor in this case, but hardly a phrase that routinely attaches to an unamplified piano trio. And powerful it was, but in the most unexpected ways: not because the music was played at high volumes or furious speeds, or because the notes were packed together densely; instead, it was spaciousness, clarity, precision and near-telepathic interplay that characterized the entire performance. Of course they also had a good line in crescendos and certainly weren’t bashful about cranking up the volume, but those techniques and others were always deployed in the service of musical ideas and not merely to show what they could do. This was powerful musical expressiveness without ego or empty display, together with
a wealth of ideas.

The opening number lasted half an hour—and it was mesmerizing. It seemed that even the band was a little surprised by how long they had played, but as one theme melted into the next and as the rhythmic patterns shifted seamlessly, we all found ourselves ‘altogether elsewhere.’ Of particular note is that there were few solos of a conventional sort, even though each of the instrumentalists had stand-out moments: throughout, the emphasis was on the sound of the trio; and given the rhythmic complexities, perhaps it could hardly have been otherwise.

Because the music was so seamlessly coherent, it is difficult to pick highlights, but toward the end of the first set, pianist Johnny Tomlinson played a beautifully sonorous, hymn-like theme, around which his harmonic invention was a marvel. We also had funk drumming, extended technique on all three instruments, passages of melodic beauty, pinpoint turns and exciting, propulsive drive, carried in the most surprising range of styles, from rollicking, country-tinged tunes to high abstraction.  The encore was a brief, sweet melody, played with exquisite delicacy—as fine an ending as it was surprising.

The applause was thunderous—and richly deserved"

Gill's choice..

Gill Wilde Cleethorpes Jazz Festival and Grimsby Jazz

"I've many good memories of our gigs this year.

The support from Jazz North enabled us to book the Jazz Worriers, great musicians with a sense of humour proved very entertaining. We could not go wrong with Darius Brubeck Quartet filling the venue and always a favourite Nikki Iles - with and without Tina May. The latter two made ourJazz Prom @ the Minster a huge Saturday afternoon success.

One of the highlights was the discovery of Vein - an outstanding band from Switzerland, consumate musicians without a doubt would impress at any venue. New discovery Vimila Rowe is one to watch out for, amazing voice and wide jazz repertoire is a major attraction with or without accompanist John Etheridge.

And of course Cleethorpes Jazz Festival 2015 was another success and one which will be repeated in June 2016 with another outstanding line up!

Matt Robinson's three!

From Matt Robinson Lancaster Jazz Festival

"My three highlights of the jazz year 2015:

Breaking Bread - The Lancaster Jazz Festival Artist Dinner 2015. 32 artists from around the UK sat together and planned new things, made new collaborations, designed future festivals and critiqued each others performances at the festival - and cooked, drank and ate together.

The 20th Manchester Jazz Festival (for obvious reasons) but especially the amazing team who LJF festival team ran around with for 2 days at MJF. They do incredible work and Steve Mead doesn’t seem to sleep.

Rodrigo Constanzo’s DFScore Project. A fantastic project that worked with musicians of all ages and abilities throughout the north culminating in a performance at MJF but with a years worth of outreach, development, workshops, collaborations and more.

Cheers and a very happy new year!



The real new years honours list didn't do much for jazz, so we've done our own! The North of England is one of the best place to see jazz in the UK, second only to London in the quality variety of jazz being played, composed and recorded***.

We all need to be creative to keep the jazz ship afloat (less jokes about the submerged North please..) So it seems fitting to ask some jazz people from the North what they remember as the highlights of 2015 (up to three) - a NorvolJazz New Years honours list!

So here's our awards....

Matt Robinson/Lancaster Jazz Festival: 
  • Breaking Bread" Artist Dinner 2015 @Lancaster Jazz Festival
  • The 20th Manchester Jazz Festival festival
  • Rodrigo Constanzo’s DFScore Project.

Gill Wilde/Cleethorpes Jazz Festival, 
  • The Jazz Worriers
  • Nikki Iles/Tina May @ Cleethorpes Jazz Fest Prom at the Minster 
  • Vein - an outstanding band from Switzerland @ Grimsby

Chris De Saram/Wakefield Jazz:
  • Eyeshutight @ Wakefield Jazz

Jez Matthews/Jazz at the Lescar
  • Vula Viel @Lescar
  • Christian McBride Trio @The Band on the Wall, Manchester
  • Metamorphic & Røyst Trio @Lescar

Jude Sacker/Sheffield Jazz
  • John Taylor, Diana Torto, Julian Seigel @ Sheffield Millennium Hall

Paul Bream/Jazz North East 
  • Joe Morris Quartet @The Bridge 
  • Linda Sharrock Group
  • OZMA

Steve Crocker/Seven Jazz Leeds
  • Sheffield pianist Alex Hutton's album "Magna Carta Suite" 
  • Celebrations of the lives of Leeds jazz organisers Dave Hatfield and Barry Cooper
  • Leeds College of Music 50th anniversary Alumni Big band directed by Nicki Iles

Geoff Matthews - Southport Melodic Jazz
  •  Alan Barnes/Tony Kofi Quintet Matinee + Swingshift Big Band 

Barney Stephenson/Marsden Jazz Festival
  • Jean Toussaint "Roots and Herbs" Blakey Project @Marsden 2015
  • Us!  -  Jazz in the Spa – working to keep jazz thriving on Saturday evenings in Yorkshire!

Ros Rigby- Programme Director @Sage Gateshead/GIJF 
  • Francesco Martinelli's Jazzahead seminar in April "The shared roots of European Jazz"
  • Marcus Miller at Sage Gateshead in November
  • The Langston Hughes Project at the EFG London Jazz Festival in November 

Steve Mead - Director Manchester Jazz Festival 

  • French trumpeter Airelle Besson at Jazz Sous les Pommiers in Coutances  in May.
  • Vocalist Lauren Kinsella’s suite commissioned by Marsden Jazz Festival ‘What Window Do You Look Out Of?’ in October 
  • mjf reaching its 20th birthday in August

Other people's nominations can still be included - so why not nominate your best three highlightsof 2015 as a reply!

***Just in case you don't know, we'll tell you! There are 18 Northern jazz festivals now covering all areas and musical styles. We have more than 30 jazz clubs, co-operatives, collectives and venues in the North promoting contemporary jazz throughout the year. Our two highly successful music conservatories train many new musicians each year- at Manchester's RNCM and at Leeds College of Music - who celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2015 in style - as well as the Jazz degree run by the University of Northumbria and the long established Improvised Music degree at York University. Places like the Band on the Wall in Manchester, the Howard Assembly Room Leeds, The Crucible Theatre Studio in Sheffield and the Sage Gateshead show that public funding can still provide great spaces for jazz to find a home.

At the much smaller end there are "crucibles of creativity" all over the place - for example Fold studios, Fusebox and LS6 in Leeds, the Lescar in Sheffield, the Bridge Hotel jazz series in Newcastle. There is creativity in our jazz festivals - Manchester's "MJF Introducing" and "MJF Originals", Marsden "New Stream", Lancaster's "Breaking Bread", right through to creative teaching of "Dales Jam" in Skipton or just creative new ways of running things, like the Newcastle Jazz Co-op and Heart in Leeds.

We're also fortunate to have one of the few Arts Council funded regional jazz organisations - Jazz North, that supports musicians and bands through the much admired "Northern Line" scheme, now in it's third year. We also has the most active regional network of jazz clubs in the UK through the NorvolJazz network.

Howard Assembly Room Leeds Spring jazz

The Howard Assembly Room at the Leeds Grand Theatre continues with three high profile jazz promotions this Spring - Mingus Big Band, Mulatu Astatke and Colin Stetson:

Mingus Big Band
Howard Assembly Room
23 Jan 2016

Keeping alive the genius of the great jazz adventurer Charles Mingus, who died in 1979, the band, led by his widow Sue Mingus, has a huge repertoire, ferocious wildness mixed with pin point precision and ultimate lyricism. The band features  bassist Boris Kozlov and baritone legend Ronnie Cuber in the line-up.

Making a unique northern appearance in the intimacy of the Howard Assembly Room, ahead of their legendary Ronnie Scott’s residency, this show is likely to blow the roof off!

Mulatu Astatke
Howard Assembly Room
10 Feb 2016

The revered founding father of Ethio-jazz, vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke, pays an extremely rare visit to Leeds. His utterly distinctive style is made up of a heady combination of jazz, funk, Latin swing, Afrobeat and Ethiopian harmonics. He combines the rhythms of his East African homeland with arrangements reminiscent of Ellington and Gil Evans.

First flourishing in the ‘Swinging Addis’ era of the late 1960s, Astake became a legend in the West through the Éthiopiques series of recordings. With his own band of brilliant players, he reveals that at 70, he is still ever-inventive, visionary and the master of his form.

Colin Stetson 
Howard Assembly Room
11 Mar 2016

Colin Stetson spent a decade in San Francisco and Brooklyn honing his formidable talents as a horn player, working with Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, David Byrne and Bon Iver. He also made his name in the film world composing for Rust and Bone and 12 Years A Slave.

His utterly unique voice as a solo performer, principally on saxophones and clarinets, produces a rich cinematic soundscape that moves in the experimental border areas of rock, jazz and music for film. His intense technical prowess matched by his exhilarating and emotionally gripping skills as a songwriter.

More details here...

Howard Assembly Room
Leeds Grand Theatre
Upper Briggate

Scarborough delights

The Steve Fishwick Osian Roberts Frank Basile Sextet 3 Feb

From Mike Gordon

"Thanks to your support we have had a very successful year at Scarborough jazz in 2015 and because of this we have booked more out-of town bands and duo front liners in the New Year.  We think it is a very exciting programme!

Jan 6 Russ Henderson Saxophonist Russ Henderson is a classy improviser who gives insightful and powerful renditions of standards.  Backed by the MG3 £4

Jan 13 Shannon Reilly Trio Shannon is a vocalist of exceptional quality . Her work with Pat McCarthy, one of the UK’s leading guitarists, has been a great success.  £6 (£5 in advance)

Jan 20 Pete Lyons A major figure on the Sheffield jazz scene saxophonist, composer and educator Pete Lyons plays in a wide variety of styles.  MG3 £4

Jan  27 Dennis Rollins & Stuart MacDonald  Dennis is a trombonist of international repute and teaming him with sax man Stuart MacDonald is a sure-fire winner. With MG3.  £5.

Feb 3 The Steve Fishwick Osian Roberts Frank Basile Sextet An exciting UK/USA bop collaboration, feat Frank Basile (baritone), Jeb Patton (piano) and Mike Karn (bass) and UK stars Steve Fishwick (trumpet), Osian Roberts (tenor) and Matt Fishwick (drums).  £9 (£8 in advance)

Feb 10 Al Wood & Bill Charleson Multi-instrumentalist Al Wood is well known to Scarborough Jazz audiences and a great favourite-this will be his first pairing at SJ with jazz saxophonist Bill Charleson ex Director of Studies at Leeds College of Music. MG3 £5

Feb  17 Firebird Quartet Led by trumpeter Ian Chalk this is a superb band. Dick Armstrong wrote: ‘The Firebird Quartet gave us an evening of stimulating jazz all the way through to their sizzling encore. The audience went home on a cloud of delight.’ £6 (£5 in advance)

Feb  24 Derrick Harris & Matt Chandler Jazz guitarist Derrick Harris has worked in over twenty West End Theatre and national tours +  it’s a welcome return for trumpeter Mark Chandler (ex NYJO and Syd Lawrence Orchestra). Backed by Bob Walker (bass) and Tom Townsend (drums).  £5

Mar 2 Seven Pieces of Silver Led by bass player Paul Baxter a great four-piece horn section with rhythm section play the music of one of the great jazz composers Horace Silver.  £8 (£7 in advance)

Mar 9 Ben Lowman Ben is a saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist and composer.  Amongst his jazz heroes are Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods, John Coltrane and Stan Getz.  MG3 £4

Mar 16 Toby Greenwood Toby’s music displays influences from Latin American and South African jazz, with echoes of Monk, Mingus. Shorter and Sonny Rollins. MG3 £4

Mar 23 Tina Featherstone SJ audiences have really taken to Tina’s clarinet playing. She gained band experience with the New Squadronaires and the Tony Faulkener Big Band. MG3 £4

Mar 30 Martin Jones & Matt Smith This pairing of trumpet and saxophone, played by two of the best in the region, promises an exciting, creative evening. MG3 £5"

For more details, go to our website: Doors at The Cask open 8.00pm.

Scarborough Jazz @ The Cask Inn  Cambridge Terrace, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 2LQ

01723 500570

New jazz venue at the Keys in Huddersfield

Dave O'Higgins and Steve Waterman

Jazz bassist Ben Crosland is promoting a new monthly programme of high quality modern jazz on Saturday nights at the Keys restaurant in Huddersfield, located in the crypt of St Peter’s, the Parish Church. Ben's own trio (Ben on bass, Paul Kilvington piano and Dave Tyas drums) will be accompanying some major jazz names:

Sat 6th February: Dave O'Higgins and Steve Waterman with Ben Crosland Trio.

Saxophonist Dave O'Higgins has honed his jazz chops through 16 albums as leader, years on the road and in the studio with the likes of Joe Locke, Martin Taylor, Joey Calderazzo, Ray Charles, Jim Mullen, BBC Big Band, Ronnie Scott's Allstars, Frank Sinatra, Jason Rebello, Phil Dwyer, Stan Tracey and Eric Alexander. He also leads, writes and arranges for the Two Minds Big Band, teaches saxophone, harmony and improvisation at the London Centre For Contemporary Music and runs a specialist jazz recording studio where he records, engineers, mixes and masters work by some of the finest jazz musicians on the planet. O'Higgins plays with quite exceptional fluency and his fund of ideas never runs out.

Trumpeter Steve Waterman. In the early 80s Waterman played trumpet with the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, then studied in London at Trinity College of Music and was soon established on the city’s jazz scene. In the mid-80s he recorded with Loose Tubes and the Trinity College Jazz Orchestra under Bobby Lamb. Also in the mid-80s, Waterman recorded with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. In 2003, he formed the Jazz Orchestra along with Derek Lawton, a fine West Country-based big band. Waterman’s small groups vary in their personnel to accommodate shifts in musical concepts.

Upcoming programme at the Keys -

Sat 5th March: Alan Barnes with Ben Crosland Trio.

Sat 2nd April: Jim Mullen/Rod Mason Quartet.

Sat 7th May: Stuart McCallum Trio.

Sat 4th June: Martin Shaw with Ben Crosland Trio.

Sat 2nd July: Dennis Rollins with Ben Crosland Trio.

Tickets for every gig £10 (£7 for students) and the start time is 8.30pm

Venue address: The Keys, Byram St, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 1BU

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Brightest of new stars at the Lescar

Cameron Vale 17 Feb - Lescar

From Jez Matthews

I hope you’re all well and have managed to get a break over the festive period! As usual our programme at Sheffield's Lescar focuses on both quality and variety, mixing up jazz with all manner of influences, from the funk and broken beats to metal, electronica and Klezmer and also featuring some of the brightest new stars in the jazz world..

6th Jan Blue Edjer / £6
Bringing a Scandinavian vibe to The Lescar, perfect mid-winter music from the young Swedish/English duo of Sunniva Brynnel and Aubin Vanns, who return with their original songs based on the works of writers and poets, and performed on voice, guitars, accordion and kalimba. 

13th Jan Resolution 88 / £6
Mixing jazz, funk and broken beats, London-based Resolution 88 come to us on the back of international radio play and support slots for Snarky Puppy and Medeski, Martin & Wood, selling out Pizza Express and Ronnie Scotts, as well as being championed by the likes of Craig Charles, Mike Chadwick, and Patrick Forge

20th Jan Matt Holborn Quartet / £6 (in association with Jazz North)
Violinist Matt Holborn brings a great quartet, with a fresh take on the music of Django Reinhardt; Matt Holborn, violin; Ben Mallen, lead guitar; Ben Danzig, rhythm guitar; Simon Read, bass. Fun, swinging music that fizzes with energy and remains true to the Hot Club tradition. 

27th Jan Little Church / £7
Rising star composer and pianist David Austin Grey bring some of the most exciting young musicians in the country in a new band playing material from, and inspired by Miles Davis’ electric period. David Austin Grey (Piano/Synth/Electronics), Aaron Diaz (Trumpet), Rachael Cohen (Alto Saxophone), Nick Jurd (Double Bass/Electric Bass), Tym Jozwiak (Drums and percussion).

3rd Feb Huw V Williams HON / £7
We’re thrilled that one of the most in-demand musicians on the London Jazz scene will be bringing his own band of leaders from the young British jazz scene to The Lescar, touring music from what is surely one of 2015’s best and most assured debut albums, released via the London Chaos Collective. Huw on bass, Laura Jurd on trumpet, Alam Nathoo on Saxophone, Elliot Galvin on accordion and piano and Pete Ibbetson on drums. Its joyful, improvised music, with great themes and inventive, intense playing.

10th Feb Kate Peters Quartet / £6
After blowing us all away when she appeared with Ben Lowman’s band earlier in the year, we couldn’t wait to get vocalist Kate Peters back; one of the most exciting new performers on the UK jazz scene, rich in musicality and knowledge of the jazz tradition, and deserving a much wider reputation. 

17th Feb Cameron Vale / £6 (in association with Jazz North)
Another great band from the creative Leeds music scene that's brought us Trio VD, Roller Trio, Zeitgeist, and Stretch Trio in the last few years. Cameron Vale come to us brimming with energy and big riffs, mixing jazz improvisation with metal, electronica, Afrobeat and Klezmer. Featuring Miles Spilsbury (saxophone, effects), George Birkett (guitar), Sam Dutton-Taylor (bass, effects), Finn Booth (drums). Watch them lift the roof off the Lescar back room!

24th Feb Mike Collins Trio, featuring Len Aruliah / £6
Understated, lyrical contemporary jazz, featuring the exploratory piano playing of Mike Collins, this trio from the Bristol/Bath jazz scene is infused with the music of John Taylor, Bobo Stenson, and Nikki Iles, both in its melodicism and rhythmic astuteness. Their 2015 album ‘And Suddenly, Evening’ rightly received great reviews. 

2nd March Jude Sacker Quintet / £6
Along with tenor sax player Pete Lyons who also features in this band, no-one has made a greater contribution to the Sheffield jazz scene over many years than pianist Jude Sacker. 

9th March Al Wood Quartet / £6
A true legend of the Northern jazz scene, we’re really pleased to welcome from Leeds, multi-instrumentalist sax player Al Wood, with a swinging quartet playing the best straight-ahead jazz, influenced by the likes of Benny Carter and Gerry Mulligan as well as standards from the Great American songbook. 

16th March Dinosaur / £6
Formerly known as the Laura Jurd Quartet, this promises to be a highlight of the year at The Lescar. If you caught their last appearance you’ll know that this will be totally unmissable. The quartet’s reputation continues to spread with appearances across Europe, and a London Jazz Festival feature on BBC’s Jazz on 3 programme, as well as an acclaimed second album, one of the best of 2015. 

23rd March Piero Tucci Quartet / £6
Admired by audiences and musicians alike, Canadian pianist and sax player Piero Tucci is certainly a musician deserving a much wider reputation, so we’re really pleased that he has at last formed a band to play his own wonderful music, and even more delighted that he is bringing it to The Lescar. 

30th March Tim Thornton Quartet / £6
Top quality contemporary swinging jazz from a rising star of the UK scene. With playing credits alongside a host of stars including Steve Fishwick, Gilad Atzmon, Stan Sulzmann, Jason Rebello, Pee-Wee Ellis, Jim Mullen, Soweto Kinch, Guy Barker, Sir Willard White, Stan Tracey, and many others, award-winning bass player Tim Thornton brings a fantastic quartet featuring Riley Stone-Lonergan (alto sax), Ross Stanley (piano) and Chris Draper (drums).

Advance tickets are available for all Jazz at the Lescar gigs from Porter Brook Gallery (Sheffield Music Shop), Hickmott Road, (open 10am - 5pm, Tuesday - Saturday).

Telephone: 0774 020 1939

The Lescar Hotel
Sharrowvale Road
S11 8ZF

7Jazz live in Leeds - Spring 2016

Jean Touissaint"Roots and Herbs" Art Blakey project (Thurs 14 April). 

"We're really looking forward to our Seven Jazz Spring 2016 programme! We have seven superb international jazz and blues dates at Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton - starting with one of the best loved UK jazz players Peter King (Thurs Jan 21st) then country blues legend Steve Phillips with the Rough Diamonds (Fri 5 Feb) , star jazz singer Ian Shaw with Barry Green on piano playing the "Jewish jazz song book" (Thurs 18 Feb), New York based guitarist Phil Robson and his organ trio (Thurs March 3rd), US drummer Jeff Williams with a quintet featuring rising tenor sax player John O'Gallagher (Thurs 17 March), Mark Lockheart's highly rated new band "Majila" with Liam Noble and Jasper Hoiby (Thurs (31 March), and then a special treat - Art Blakey's saxman Jean Touissaint with his highly acclaimed "Roots and Herbs" Blakey project (Thurs 14 April).

All our evening concerts are at Seven Arts,Chapel Allerton in Leeds. More details are on our website here - Don't miss a minute - you can snap up one of our limited number of bargain jazz evening season tickets here

We've some lovely Sunday afternoon gigs too. In January we have a lovely combination of jazz and poetry from Rommi Smith and Siobhán Mac Mahon (Inkwell Sun 10 Jan), then top jazz vocalist Zoe Gilby's "Pannonica" (Inkwell Sun 17 Jan), saxman Nadim Teimoori’s Quintet (Seven Arts Sun 24 Jan) and Matt Anderson’s “Wildflower” Sextet feat Laura Jurd (Seven Arts Sun 31 Jan). In February we have jazz vocalist and sax player Mads Mathias from Denmark (Seven Arts Sun 7 Feb), Cornelius Corkery's Gypsy Jazz Quintet (Inkwell Sun 14 Feb), John Bailey's Quintet (Seven Arts Sun 21 Feb) and "Seven Pieces of Silver" (Seven Arts Sun 28 Feb). March has "Jam Experiment" (Seven Arts Sun 6 March), and Kevin Holbrough's "Slide Area" (Seven Arts Sun 20 March) while in some big jazz names are in evidence on the Sunday afternoons in April with guitar favourite Jim Mullen (Seven Arts Sun 3 April ), European pianist Michael Reis (Seven Arts Sun 17 April) and US guitar legend Howard Alden (Sun 24 April)

Tickets are available online here:
Seven Artspace: 31 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 3PD.Tel 0113 2626777.
Inkwell: 31 Potternewton Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 3LW. Tel  0113 3070108.
Seven Jazz Website is where there are links so you can follow us on our Facebook and Twitter sites.

We wish you all a happy New Year and look forward to seeing you soon at a Seven Jazz event!

Steve Crocker
Seven Jazz Leeds

North East Jazz gigs - listing page

James Taylor Quartet - Hoochie Coochie, Jan 23rd

From Russell Corbett- listing for North East Gigs – January

All gigs Newcastle unless stated otherwise

Jan 6 Take it to the Bridge Jazz Co-op @ The Globe NE4 7AD
Jan 8 Ruth Lambert & Dean Stockdale Vermont Hotel NE1 1RQ
Jan 8 Leash Saltburn Community Hall & Theatre, Saltburn by the Sea TS12 1JW
Jan 9 Zoë Gilby & Paul Edis Jazz Café NE1 5DW
Jan 9 Alan Glen Trio Jazz Co-op @ The Globe NE4 7AD
Jan 10 Roller Trio + Leash Bridge Hotel NE1 1BQ
Jan 14 Havana Style Cuban Jam Session Jazz Café NE1 5DW
Jan 15 Zoë Gilby Quartet Gala Theatre, Durham. DH1 1WA
Jan 15 Paul Skerritt Band Jazz Café NE1 5DW
Jan 16 Steve Glendinning Quartet Jazz Co-op @ The Globe NE4 7AD
Jan 17 Alice Grace Quintet Hoochie Coochie NE1 8SF
Jan 19 Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur + Early Bird Band Sage Gateshead NE8 2JR
Jan 21 Safe Sextet Jazz Co-op @ The Globe NE4
Jan 22 Jamie McKay St Nicholas Cathedral NE1 1TF
Jan 22 Savannah Jazz Band Customs House, South Shields NE33 1ES
Jan 22 Stuart McCallum Jazz Café NE1 5DW
Jan 23 Paul Skerritt Band John Duck, Durham DH1 1RG
Jan 23 James Taylor Quartet Hoochie Coochie NE1 8SF
Jan 23 Zoë Gilby & Andy Champion Jazz Café NE1 5DW
Jan 24 Stuart Collingwood Vermont Hotel NE1 1RQ
Jan 24 Paris sur Tyne Lit & Phil NE1 1SE
Jan 26 Alice Grace Quintet Jazz Café NE1 5DW
Jan 28 Mark Williams Trio Jazz Co-op @ The Globe NE4 7AD
Jan 29 Graeme Wilson & Paul Edis Lit & Phil NE1 1SE
Jan 29 Matt Anderson’s Wildflower Sextet Ushaw College, Durham DH7 9RH
Jan 29 John Bailey Quintet Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham NE46 3LS
Jan 29 Vieux Carré Jazzmen Jazz Café NE1 5DW
Jan 30 Lindsay Hannon & Mark Williams Jazz Café NE1 5DW    

Sheffield Jazz's 2016 spring season

Tim Garland 14 April, Sheffield University Students Union

Neil Pepper writes

"The Sheffield Jazz season begins on Friday 22nd January at Millennium Hall with one of the great names in British jazz for over 50 years, the Peter King quartet.

He’s followed there in February by the Steve Fishwick sextet (5th) and Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble, (19th) with Partisans (26th) playing at the Sheffield University Students Union.

March sees the Jeff Williams quintet (4th) and Jason Rebello (11th) playing solo, both at Millennium Hall, while the Kofi/Barnes Aggregation  (18th) play at the Crucible Studio .

In April we have Malija  at the Crucible Studio (1 April) Tim Garland’s Electric quartet (14that the Students Union while back at Millennium Hall, with Tom Cawley’s Curios (22nd).

The season closes in May  at the Millennium Hall with Vein Trio + Greg Osby (6th) and finally, the Alison Neale quartet (20th).

Full details of all these gigs and links to hear music are at

Have a great New Year – see you in 2016 !"

Millennium Hall, Polish Catholic Centre, 520 Ecclesall Rd, Sheffield, S11 8PY
Doors open at 19.45, music starts at 20.30.  Finish time 23.15.

Crucible Studio, Tudor Square Sheffield S1 1DA
Doors open at 18.45, music starts at 19.15. Finish time 22.00.
Box Office 0114 249 6000 or

The Foundry, Sheffield University Students Union, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TG
Doors open at 19.00, music starts at 19.30. Finish time 22.00.
Tickets -  

Russell Corbett's North East Highlights! January 2016

Laura Jurd's Dinosaur Sage Gateshead Jan 19  

Thanks to Russell Corbett for the latest listings for jazz in January 2016 in the North East!

This is part one - the list will be in a separate blog post!

Trumpeter Laura Jurd visits Sage Gateshead with her band Dinosaur (Jan 19) in a double bill with the Early Bird Band. Jurd’s star has risen whilst the Early Birds – six mid-teens musicians – are the rising stars of tomorrow. Tutored by Paul Edis, the all-male sextet is showing immense promise developing performance skills in a regular series of workshop opportunities and, increasingly, gigs such as this in Gateshead.

Trumpeter Dave Weisser, a veteran workshop leader, has ended a long tenure at the Chillingham in the east end of Newcastle in favour of a permanent move to Newcastle Jazz Co-op’s west end base at the Globe on Railway Street. The first night –Wednesday Jan 6 – will take the same form as before with an ad-hoc rhythm section and numerous front line guests sitting in. In recent times Barbadian drummer David Carnegie and Chilean saxophonist Claude Werner were first heard at a Weisser ‘Take it to the Bridge’ workshop. The Globe, Wednesdays, is the place to catch the new names on the scene. The Jazz Co-op’s schedule includes an all-to- rare appearance by the doyen of Tyneside pianists Alan Glen (Jan 9), Steve Glendinning (16) and fellow guitarist Mark Williams calls in on Jan 28.  

Vocalist Alice Grace, herself a relatively new name on Tyneside, has two gigs in January. Hoochie Coochie (Jan 17) is a free admission, late afternoon start, and at the Jazz Café on Jan 26 Grace’s band will take to the stage at eight o’clock. Zoë Gilby has rightly acquired a national profile and her loyal Tyneside fan base has two opportunities to hear her sing a burgeoning book of original compositions at the Jazz Café with Andy Champion (Jan 23) and a fortnight earlier (Jan 9) Gilby revisits her ‘Pannonica’ project in stripped-down duo format with pianist Paul Edis, again at the Jazz Café. A lunchtime engagement (Jan 15) at the Gala Theatre, Durham will see Gilby performing her ‘Pannonica’ set with her regular working quartet.  

The prosaically titled Havana Style Cuban Jam Session is a new venture at the Jazz Café. The session does what it says on the tin with members of Havana Club 5 leading the way on the second and fourth Thursdays in the month. The long-established Dixieland outfit – we’re talking mid 1950s to the present day – the Vieux Carré Jazzmen have secured a gig at the Jazz Café (Jan 29) amidst the usually modernist fayre heard on Pink Lane. Twenty fours hours later (Jan 30) Lindsay Hannon and Mark Williams will put matters right with a set of original material, jazz interpretations of  contemporary standards and a smattering of GAS book numbers.

Leash is an occasional treat. The trio – one-time Jazz Action officer Adrian Tilbrook with bassist Andy Champion and Mark Williams (guitar) – will kick-start Saltburn Jazz Club’s 2016 programme (Jan 8) and two days later (10) turn up at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle in a double bill with Roller Trio at Jazz North East’s first promotion of the year. Paris sur Tyne at the Lit & Phil is an ambitious undertaking for the promoter in its fiftieth year as a grant-aided voluntary organisation. On Sunday 24 a two-part Anglo-French collaboration of improvising musicians will take the form of two sessions – afternoon and evening – of constantly changing combinations with the prospect of new alliances being forged.

The hugely popular James Taylor Quartet returns to Hoochie Coochie (23), Scottish tenor player Graeme Wilson returns to Newcastle to play another set of Monk tunes with friend and band mate Paul Edis (piano) at the Lit & Phil (lunchtime, 29) and a new name on the scene, Jamie McKay, plays jazz guitar in St Nicholas Cathedral (lunchtime, 22). There is more Dixieland for those who want it at the Customs House on Mill Dam, South Shields (evening, 22) with the ever-popular Savannah Jazz Band.

Finally, at the end of the month there is yet another of those annoying clashes when Matt Anderson’s excellent Wildflower Sextet appears at Durham’s Ushaw College (29) and in a first visit to the region the John Bailey Quintet appears at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham. Choices, choices…                  

Newcastle's Jazz Co-op programme for new year

Strictly Smokin' Big Band Feb 21st

Jazz programme for the January and February 2016 at Newcastle's Jazz Co-op

There’s live music at The Globe every Wednesday and Saturday and most Thursdays and Sundays. Please check for latest information

Sat 9 Jan, open 8pm, £5 ALAN GLEN TRIO 
veteran master of jazz piano

Sat 16 Jan, open 8pm, £5 STEVE GLENDINNING QUARTET 
jazz guitar and vibraphone

Thur 21 Jan, open 7.30pm, £5 SAFE SEXTET
British bebop with great horn section

Thur 28 Jan, open 7.30pm, £5 MARK WILLIAMS TRIO 
exceptional original guitar-led groove

Sun 31 Jan, open 7pm, £5 VIEUX CARRÉ JAZZMEN 
1920-30s jazz played with style

Sat 6 Feb, open 8pm, £7 ANDY LAWRENSON TRIO 
tribute to violinist Stephane Grappelli

Fri 12 Feb, open 7.30pm, free INDIGO JAZZ VOICES
showcase for local jazz vocalists

Sat 13 Feb, open 8pm, £5 BUDTONES 
horn & vocal-led band with new line up

Thur 18 Feb, open 7.30pm,  tbc 
please check website for details

Sun 21 Feb, open 7pm, £9 STRICTLY SMOKIN’ BIG BAND 
tight, loud, classic and modern

Thur 25 Feb, open 7.30pm, £5 REDEMPTION 
high energy jazz fusion quartet

Sun 28 Feb, open 7pm, £5 MISSISSIPPI DREAMBOATS 
foot-tapping New Orleans style jazz

Doors open 7.30pm.

Jazz.Coop, The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 7AD

Nel Begley and Rod Mason start the new season at UCC

Nel Begley is a singer from Buckinghamshire currently at Leeds College of Music. She has performed with a wide range of ensembles and choirs in venues from the Steinway Hall to the Royal Albert Hall. As well as studying Jazz as a degree she has attended the established Montgomery Holloway summer seminars four times and has performed with the Laurie Holloway trio on a number of occasions.

Rod Mason is a saxman who has played any festivals and have been asked to appear many times in the UK and abroad.

Nel Begley Rod Mason and the Ken Butler Trio at UCC in Bradford Wed 13 January 2016 9pm- free.

The upcoming programme at UCC is as follows (all Wednesdays):

20 jan The After Hours band 
27 jan The Kate Peters quintet 
10 feb Em Brown & Andy French 
17 feb Terri Shaltiel band 
24 feb Anne Cleveland & Tony Denton 
9  mar Julie Edwards band 
16 mar Dixielanders jazz band 
23 mar Mellow jazz with Barbara Coultas 
13 apr Alison Eastwood & Darren Bromley 
20 apr Ruth Gardziel Hot Fiv
27 apr Viviana Zarbo

Undercliffe Cricket Club
Intake Road,
Tel. 01274 637162

Contact Ken Butler 01274 611830 OR 07942 901053,

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Katie Rogerson and the NHS choir pitch for No 1

Katie Rogerson (photo Yorkshire Newspapers)

A campaign to take the NHS to the top of the UK singles chart this Christmas has captured the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of people.

Katie Rogerson, a children’s doctor (and a Leeds based jazz singer) from Roundhay in Leeds has helped to launch a charity single by the NHS Choir in a bid to take the festive top spot that is among the bookies’ favourites- see it here:

More than 200,000 people have pledged to buy the single after a Facebook campaign set up by Katie and colleagues Harriet Nerva and Joe Blunden went viral and amassed millions of shares and likes. All proceeds from the song will be shared between Carers UK and Mind (including Mind’s sister charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland), and smaller charities in the New Year.

The NHS Choir will compete with X Factor winner Louisa Johnson, the Star Wars theme, Stormzy, Justin Bieber and One Direction for the coveted top spot which will be revealed on BBC Radio 1 on Christmas Day. I think we know which one most jazz fans would want to see win! Over to you...

Roberto Fonseca joins the GIJF line up

GRAMMY nominated and award-winning Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca joins the line-up for Gateshead International Jazz Festival at the Sage on Friday 15th April 2016

The fully-fledged Buena Vista Social Club prodigy was born in Havana into a musical family and started studying piano at the age of 8, drawing inspiration from afro-Cuban music and jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, but also old American funk and soul classics. Roberto has gone on to work with various members of the Buena Vista Social Club including stars such as Omara Portuondo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Rubén González and he has recently collaborated with Mali’s music sensation Fatoumata Diawara.

Ros Rigby, Performance Programme Director, said:

“We’re very excited to bring Roberto Fonseca to next year’s festival. We first brought him to the North East to perform to a packed Newcastle City Hall audience back in 2003 as a relatively unknown young virtuoso pianist with Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer, a concert that was part of our pre-opening programme. He returned after Sage Gateshead’s opening, as Music Director for Ferrer in May 2005, and then performed to a sold out Sage Two crowd in 2007 with his own band. He returned with the Columbian salsa collective LA-33 in 2009 and with Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura project in 2010 before opening the 8th Gateshead International Jazz Festival in 2012. It has been great to be part of his journey over the years and for this concert, he will be bringing his trio - Ramsés ‘Dynamite’ Rodriguez on drums and Yandy Martinez on bass.”

Tickets go on sale for Roberto Fonseca can be purchased online at  and at the Ticket Office either in person or by calling 0191 443 4661.  

The Gateshead International Jazz Festival, the UK’s biggest held under one roof, runs from Friday 15 – Sunday 17 April 2016 at Sage Gateshead. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Northern jazz festivals - great news!

Robert Fowler's Gerry Mulligan Concert Band - WIJF 2015

Fantastic news from Ian Darrington at Wigan. The Wigan International Jazz Festival whose future was in serious doubt WILL be continuing!

While the attention of the London jazz press has all been about the collapse of the Brecon jazz festival, in the North we have a rather different (and happier) tale to tell. The Wigan International Jazz Festival is a four-day celebration of classic jazz, big bands and jazz orchestras and features national and international artists. The Festival, which takes place in July each year had it's 30th anniversary in 2015 but there was doubt about the festival organisation continuing. Wigan Jazz Club has stepped into the breach - there will now be a change in the management team with Wigan Jazz Club taking over the role. Festival Director Ian Darrington MBE has started attracting acts for 2016 from international artists and from the vibrant and global youth jazz movement.

Ian has been asking for suggestions and says

"Following my posting last evening re Wigan Jazz Festival I wanted to say a sincere thanks for all the replies…an amazing response. I started to reply to the suggestions as they came in but I just couldn't keep up to them and so decided to send one reply of thanks to you all.

There have been some excellent suggestions and I will consider all of them. At the end of the day we have four evening and six afternoon slots to fill and a minimum of two thousand tickets to sell…the challenge begin!"

Good work Wigan Jazz!  and

Monday, 14 December 2015

The HoneyBirds - "Sing the Bells"

From James Hamilton (New Jazz Record and Leeds Fold)

On the 29th October 2015, Leeds Fold, a newly established recording/rehearsal studio, workshop and gig space opened up its’ doors to the public in the first of a series of monthly live jazz events. The celebrations kicked off with a house band made up of some of Leeds finest jazz musicians, a mountain of fresh samosas, homemade sweet chilli jazz jam, and beer from Leeds brewery.

As if that wasn’t enough merriment for one night, Leeds’ vintage vocal songstress' “The Honeybirds” recorded their Christmas single live in front of an audience armed with handbells and well oiled vocal chords.

Vocals: Daisy Thurkettle, Jenny Smith, Tessa Smith
Trumpet: Kim Macari
Tenor Saxophone: Will Howard
Guitar: Kathy Dyson
Piano: Jamil Sheriff
Double Bass: Sam Quintana
Drums: Jordan Dinsdale

Crowd of handbells conducted by James Hamilton. Music and lyrics by Jenny Smith, arranged by Jenny Smith and James Hamilton. Recorded at Leeds Fold Studio Party by Jack Davis. Mixed and mastered by James Hamilton

This little piece of Christmas can be yours to take home for whatever price you like. Proceeds will go towards helping The Honeybirds, Leeds Fold and New Jazz Records do what they do :-)


The Honeybirds have a passion for close­harmony singing, vintage­style dresses and red lipstick! Established in March 2012, the elegant trio first took to the stage at Haworth's 1940's festival and have been delighting audiences ever since. Singing predominantly Andrew's Sisters arrangements, The Honeybirds pride themselves on an authentic close­harmony sound as heard in the 1930s and 40s. 

Leeds Fold is a recording/rehearsal studio, live venue and workshop space run by a group of volunteers, aimed at providing accessible, high quality facilities to early career musicians and producers.

Many thanks!


****Some of us were even there ringing dem bells....