Thursday, 31 December 2015


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 & R√łyst 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.

1 comment:

  1. For more analysis of the New Years Honours list from Sebastian Scotney!