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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Three festival previews in the North East

Tom Bancroft's In Common - Berwick Jazz festival Oct 12

From Russell Corbett

The north east of England's jazz scene is thriving with no fewer than three festivals in October. The second Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music occupies the first few days of the month with highlights including a free admission lunchtime concert by free jazz veteran Joe McPhee at Newcastle University (Oct 4), Stan Sulzmann and Nikki Iles (Oct 5) and a rare appearance by Peter Brötzmann (Oct 6), both at the Lit and Phil, and a first visit to the region by American trumpeter Nate Wooley at the Bridge Hotel (Oct 7).

The following weekend sees the return of the Berwick Jazz Weekend. The second edition of the annual north Northumberland event features Tom Bancroft leading his band In Common (Oct 12) and the following day (11am) running a workshop for those interested in jazz and the Indian classical music tradition. The recently formed Edinburgh-based Tenement Jazz Band makes the short trip south of the border to play a gig comprising 'classic jazz' era-inspired numbers (Oct 13) and Djazzville's Hot Club-flavoured Sunday jazz brunch (Oct 14) concludes matters at the Maltings Theatre and Cinema.   

And one week later (Oct 19-21) there is a third festival, the first Middlesbrough Weekender at the Town Hall. Forty years ago the Newport Jazz Festival came to Middlesbrough. Yes, George Wein's legendary NYC festival pitched up at Ayresome Park, the former home of Middlesbrough Football Club, bringing with it some of the all-time greats of the music; Ella, Hamp, the Jazz Messengers, MJQ, Buddy Rich and many others. Following major renovation works, the recently reopened Town Hall will welcome some of today's leading practitioners including Beats and Pieces Big Band, Laura Jurd's Dinosaur, Printmakers and two bands with a living link to the events of 1978 - NYJO and the 88 years young Chris Barber. To top it all, Sunday's closing concert (Oct 21) features all the way from NYC, via a week-long run at Ronnie Scott's, the magnificent Mingus Big Band.

Non-festival events proliferate across the region. For full details check out the many what’s on listings including the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group nominated (Jazz Media Award) Bebop Spoken Here blog. 

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