Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Four great February concerts @Sheffield Jazz

Gwilym Simcock 28 February

On Friday 1 February at 20.00 we welcome Byron Wallen’s Four Corners. Byron (“one of the most innovative, exciting and original trumpet players alive”…Jazzwise Magazine) brings to Sheffield his dazzling 'Four Corners' band including guitarist Rob Luft Byron is widely recognised as a seminal figure in world jazz, and he has played alongside legendary musicians such as Andrew Hill, George Benson, Jack DeJohnette and King Sunny Ade.

The Duncan Eagles Quartet will be appearing on Friday 8 February at 20.00. Duncan “is fast becoming one of the most exciting players emerging on the UK jazz scene" (Jazzwise) and comes to Sheffield as part of a UK tour to promote his debut album 'Citizen', which follows a string of highly praised releases with UK group Partikel

On Friday 15 February at 20.00 Two of a Mind, led by Chris Briscoe and Allison Neale,will explore afresh the freewheeling, wonderfully melodic interpretations by Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond on Blues in Time and Two of a Mind, Arrangements drawn from the original Desmond/Mulligan records are featured as well as their arrangements of other standards and new standards- based compositions by Chris Biscoe.

And on Thursday 28 February at 19.30 we move to the University of Sheffield’s Firth Hall, when Gwilym Simcock will be playing solo piano.  Gwilym Simcock has carved out a career as one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers on the European scene. He moves effortlessly between jazz and classical music with wide-ranging influences, from jazz legends Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius and Pat Metheny, to classical composers including Ravel, Dutilleux, Bartók and Turnage.

All Sheffield Jazz gigs, except the Gwilym Simcock concert, will be at Crookes Social Club, Mulehouse Road, Sheffield S10 1TD,

Further details of the complete Sheffield Jazz programme can be found at www,sheffieldjazz.org.uk 

February gig listings (North East)

Alan Barnes Feb 8th and 26th

Feb 1 Paul Edis Trio Gala Theatre, Durham DH1 1WA*
Feb 2 Dale Storr St Augustine’s, Darlington DL3 7TG*
Feb 3 Jazz Main The Globe, Newcastle NE4 7AD
Feb 4 River City Hot Four Beresford Arms, Morpeth NE613UZ
Feb 6 Sue Ferris & Giles Armstrong Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee SR8 2RN*
Feb 8 Dean Stockdale Trio Saltburn Community Hall TS12 1JW
Feb 8 Alan Barnes w Paul Edis Trio Traveller’s Rest, Darlington  DL3 9ER
Feb 9 Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle NE3 3HD
Feb 10 Broken Brass Ensemble Cobalt Studious, Newcastle NE2 1AP
Feb 11 Ruth Lambert Trio Beaumont Hotel, Hexham NE46 3LT
Feb 11 Hot 8 Brass Band Riverside, Newcastle NE1 3RQ
Feb 14 NUJO Bar Loco, Newcastle NE1 4PG
Feb 15 Nik Svarc Bishop Auckland Town Hall DL14 7NP* 
Feb 15 Hot Club du Nord Lit & Phil, Newcastle NE1 1SE*
Feb 16 Frog & Henry St Augustine’s, Darlington DL3 7TG*
Feb 16 Jazz Weekender Middlesbrough Town Hall TS1 2QJ
Feb 18 Dean Stockdale Trio Beaumont Hotel, Hexham NE46 3LT
Feb 20 Daniel John Martin w Swing Manouche Bishop Auckland Town Hall DL14 7NP
Feb 21 Daniel John Martin w Swing Manouche Black Swan, Newcastle NE1 1SG
Feb 22 Hand to Mouth The Vault, Hexham NE46 1XD
Feb 22 Not Now Charlie Bridge Hotel, Newcastle NE1 1RQ
Feb 23 Mark Nightingale w Strictly Smokin’ Big Band Sage Gateshead NE8 2JR
Feb 23 Daniel John Martin w Swing Manouche The Vault, Hexham NE46 1XD
Feb 23 New Century Ragtime Orchestra Caedmon Hall, Gateshead NE8 4LN
Feb 24 Daniel John Martin w Swing Manouche Claypath Deli, Durham DH1 1QS*
Feb 24 Debra Milne & Steve Glendinning Quakerhouse, Darlington DL3 7QF
Feb 25 Giles Strong & Roly Veitch Beaumont Hotel, Hexham NE46 3LT
Feb 26 Alan Barnes The Vault, Hexham NE46 3LT
Feb 26 Booker T Jones Sage Gateshead NE8 2JR
Feb 26 Gerry Richardson Trio Fox Inn, Hexham NE46 3DB
Feb 28 Strictly Smokin’ Big Band Millstone, Newcastle NE3 1QL
Feb 28 Musicians Unlimited Dorman’s, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT
Lunchtime gigs*

Russell Corbett's February preview in the North East

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.         

JATP Bradford's Spring Programme

Rafe's Dilemma 01 Feb 

Five gigs to get a Spring in your step in Bradford

01 February 2019 - Rafe's Dilemma
Commissioned for the 2018 Bolton Worktown Festival to celebrate the play "Spring and Port Wine" by Bill Naughton, Rafe’s Dilemma brings an eclectic mix of jazz, electronic music and rock to create an excitingly fresh and intriguing sound depicting the story of a family on the edge, combining the passion and musical excellence of Nel Begley - voc, Katie Patterson - d, perc, Sam Vicary - b, and Jamil Sheriff - keys.

01 March - Joy Ellis Quartet
Pianist, vocalist, Composer Joe Ellis’ passion for jazz, improv, groove and dance music atop classical roots inform “fiery improvisations” and “well-structured hard-bop solos” at venues & festivals across the land, “startling” debut album “Life on Land” with follow-up “Dwell” already in the mix. Joy Ellis : p,voc; James Kitchman :g; Henrik Jensen : db; Adam Osmianski : d

15 March John Bailey Quartet
When not with Russell Watson or Arild Andersen & Julian Arguelles (album “Oneiric Sounds”) John Bailey gets out mixing standards, contemporary jazz with some Holdsworth stuff in there for good measure. Quite fusion / quite jazz. John Bailey : g; Richard Iles : flugel; John Sandham : b; Jonathan Hartley : d

5 April Ben Crosland Quartet
Leading groove cats on the northern jazz scene led by master composer and bassist, Ben Crosland bringing contemporary classics of Jaco Pastorius, Mike Mainieri and Don Grolnick and beautiful Crosland and Platt originals punctuated by the occasional standard freshly realised. Rod Mason :saxes ; Jez Platt :cp; BenCrosland : b; Dave Tyas : d

03 May  Matthew Read Trio
Drawing influence from such luminaries as Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Paul Motian, and  impelled by like-minded approaches to music making, the Matthew Read Trio bring a fresh edge to the world of the guitar trio. “This is definitely a trio on which to keep a sharp eye” 4 stars - All About Jazz. "Proof indeed that the British Jazz scene is in incredible form" - Chris Philips, Jazz FM. Benedict Wood : g; Arthur Newell : d; Matthew Read : db.

More JATP gig information http://jatpjazz.blogspot.com/p/gigs-to-come.html

Venue Bradford JATPjazz, at Glyde House, Bradford BD5 0BQ (tel 01274 271114 or 01274 543547)

Monday, 28 January 2019

Jazz to warm your heart in Leeds!

A lot to look forward to this month - music from two big bands, jazzy-pop, women led groups, international musicians from New York, plus a new venue! We have six bands concert for you, plus to start - one of our ever popular jazz cafes at Inkwell.. .

Jazz Cafe and Jam session Sunday afternoon 3 Feb 2019 @Inkwell Leeds £7/5, performers and kids under 16 free. 1.30-4pm Come down and listen or join in at our Inkwell February jazz jam. Friendly and supportive (and free!) for performers whether instrumentalists or singers. All ages welcome. Jazz trio to support you - Matt Aplin piano, Steve Crocker bass, Steve Mullarkey drums.

Ari Hoenig Trio SATURDAY evening 9 Feb 2019 @Seven Arts Doors 7.30pm Music 8pm  £16/14,  25's and under £8 Ari Hoenig drums, Tom Ollendorff on guitar, Conor Chaplin on Bass. Ari Hoenig is one of the jazz worlds most respected and innovative drummers. A prolific bandleader and sideman, he has appeared on over a hundred recordings and worked with a diverse spectrum of artists including Wayne Krantz, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joshua Redman and Chris Potter. Support: Matt Nicholas sextet 8-8.30pm

Emma Johnson’s “Gravy Boat” with Nishla Smith Jazz Leeds/Madame Jazz presentation, Sunday afternoon 10 Feb 2019 @Seven Arts 1.30-4pm £10/8  Emma Johnson sax, Calvin Travers guitar, Angus Milne double bass, Ali Wells drums, Nishla Smith vocals. Emma’s first project for small ensemble aims to explore the different textures and possibilities that emerge from a small band of close knit musicians performing together. Nishla Smith moved to the UK from Berlin in 2017. This year she has been one of Manchester Jazz Festival’s talent development artists.

Jazz at Roundhay opening night feat Enrico Tomasso Friday evening 15 February @The Bar on Park Lane 8pm-11pm Doors 7.30pm  Tickets £10/8 Enrico Tomasso trumpet with Andy Cholerton keyboard, Steve Crocker double bass Paul Smith drums. A new monthly jazz session on the third Friday of every month in Roundhay in Leeds. We’re starting off with a special visiting guest swing trumpeter and vocalist (and a Leeds lad) Enrico Tomasso. We’re hoping for great things from this new Jazz Leeds venue! Come and join us at The Bar on Park Lane next to Roundhay Golf Course. Ample car parking. Tickets  www.ticketsource.co.uk/sevenleeds or on the door if not sold out.

Derrick Harris’s Be-pop Quartet @Inkwell Sunday afternoon 17 February 1.30pm £9/7 (25 and under £5 kids under 16 free) Derrick Harris guitar, Jez Platt piano/organ, Paul Chamberlain bass, Paul Smith drums. Guitarist Derrick Harris arranges seminal pop tunes in a jazzy format. As well as leading his own groups, Derrick frequently guests as a soloist with bands up and down the country.

Leeds University Union Big Band Sunday afternoon 24 Feb 2019 1.30-4pm £10/8  @Seven Arts, 25's and under £5, kids under 16 free  A welcome return for this big band who play a wide variety of dance band/big band repertoire including swing, funk and jazz. .

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra Thursday evening 28 Feb 2019 @Seven Arts Doors 7.30pm Music 8pm (£14/12 25's and under £7) A melting pot of influences with music ranging from luscious and sweet melodies to broad walls of sound, from drum and bass to funeral marches, from fairytale ballads to calypso. The musical glue binding it together are 17 of the best young London musicians  and their universal passion for improvisation. Support 8-8.30pm Kathy and John Dyson’s “Inside Out” duo 

Other news...
Rush Hour Jazz this month-  Wed 20 Feb with young Leeds saxman Ben Powling (World Service Project, Wandering Monster, Vipertime, Mansion of Snakes) @Seven Arts Bar between 6-7pm payf

Instrumental Workshops led by Tom Sharp and Dom Moore continue on Sun Feb  3 and Sun Feb 17th 10am-12 midday at Inkwell in Chapel Allerton,

JazzLeeds Voices Choir directed by Tessa Smith  meets on Monday evenings Feb 11th and 25th 7-9pm at Inkwell in Chapel Allerton,

Our Venues: 
Seven Arts 31 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 3PD,
Inkwell Arts: 31 Potternewton Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 3LW
The Bar on Park Lane, Park Lane, Roundhay, LS8 2EJ

Website at www.jazzleeds.org.uk

See you soon as one of our gigs!

Steve Crocker

February Jazz at Scarborough

Artephis Feb 27th 

from Mike Gordon - February Jazz at Scarborough will feature:

Easy Street
Easy Street has built a strong local following with a repertoire taken from the best and lesser known standards. Roger Maughan’s rich vocals are supported by Howard Beaumont (piano), Bob Malinowski (bass) and Lee Adams (drums), plus Graham Pinkney on vibes. £5

FEB 13
Joel Purnell
Saxophonist Purnell is acknowledged as one of the UK’s most respected and exciting contemporary jazz musicians. ‘Immaculate taste’ (The Guardian), ‘Fire-breathing solos’ (Jazzwise). With MG3. £5

FEB 20
Latchepen with Matt Holborn
Latchepen is a band born out of a collective admiration of Django Reinhardt and all that swings. Far from a carbon copy, Latchepen take their love of the gypsy jazz tradition and bring it forward into the wider jazz and songbook repertoire, with stunning results as you can hear on their new album, ‘Love letters’. The word Latchepen is an exclamation of happiness and contentment in the Romani  language. Matt Holborn (violin), Kourosh Kinani (guitar), Jeremie Coullon (guitar) and Simon Read (bass). £8

FEB 27
This Manchester based contemporary jazz-rock quintet comprises some of the North's most creative young musicians, who take a jazz quintet line-up in innovative directions, distilling an eclectic sound with an increasingly electronic element. ‘An outstanding band of young musicians’ (Jazz North).A aron Wood (trumpet/ flugelhorn/ electronics), James Girling (electric/flamenco guitars), Ali Roocroft (piano/ keyboard), Alasdair Simpson (bass) and Matt Brown (drums). The band is part of Jazz North’s Northern Line Project. £5

Doors open at 8.00 pm and music begins at 8.45.

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

Scarborough Jazz @ The Cask Inn  Cambridge Terrace, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 2LQ tel 01723 500570

Jazz North East Spring programme

Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet 9 February

From Wes Stephenson at Jazz North East.

We are pleased to announce our programme of events for their Winter Spring series. We start on Sunday 3 February a farewell concert to Corey Mwamba and the group NTH. Corey has decided to retire from live performance, he has provided some truly majestic experiences for Tyneside audiences over the last 10 years so we are sorry at this turn of events, but truly ecstatic to welcome him back for a final performance and one not to be missed. The event will be preceded by an improvisers workshop. The following week we have the absolutely sublime Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet visiting for the first in a number of co-promotions with Gosforth Civic Theatre, we can't wait to hear this fabulous harpist playing the music of Alice and John Coltrane along with a number of her own originals.

Sunday 3rd February NTH The Bridge Hotel - Newcastle £10 / £8 Concessions

Saturday 9th February Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet Gosforth Civic Theatre - Newcastle £12 / £10 Concessions

Friday 22nd February  Not Now Charlie + Thomas Dixon Quartet The Bridge Hotel - Newcastle £8 / £6 Concessions

Saturday 2nd March Joy Ellis The Globe - Newcastle
£10 / £7 Concessions

Thursday 7th March Jade Quartet The Globe - Newcastle £10 / £8 Concessions

Thursday 14th March Metamorphic led by Laura Cole The Black Swan Bar and Venue - Newcastle £10 / £8 Concessions

Friday 12th April Meraki + Early Bird Band The Literary and Philosophical Society - Newcastle £10 / £8 Concessions

Thursday 18th April Archipelago + Paul Taylor The Literary and Philosophical Society - Newcastle £8 / £6 Concessions

Another great programme and heaps to look forward to. Doors open 7.30pm  music at 8pm for all events. Concerts are 14+ with under 18's accompanied by an adult, we hope to see you there!…

The Bridge Hotel Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ
Gosforth Civic Theatre Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 3HD
The Globe  11 Railway Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7AD
The Black Swan Bar and Venue at Newcastle Arts Centre 69 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1SG Contact: 0191 222 9882 /
The Literary and Philosophical Society 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1SE

Reflex CD (Nun Street - Newcastle) 0191 260 3246
www.seetickets.com / info@jazznortheast.com 

Southport Jazz Festival this weekend

Joe Stilgoe 2 February

We are delighted to introduce our 15th Jazz on a Winter’s Weekend in Southport starting Thursday 31 Jan and running through the weekend to Sunday 3 February. The best in British, some of the North West’s stalwarts and an array of International visitors to play for you, all under one roof. Geoff Matthews called his festival “the best Jazz house party in the UK” and Neil Hughes has continued that tradition. The Royal Clifton Hotel & Spa is home from home, featuring 2 great rooms for live music, has a great bar, real ale, menus and service to match.

Thursday 31 January
Gala Dinner with Chetrio-  Neil Yates Richard Wetherall and Dave Green

Friday 1st February
Nigel Price Organ Trio
Swingtime Big Band with Emma Holcroft & Joe Stilgoe
Jeremy Sassoon’s Jazz Quartet feat. Iain Dixon

Saturday 2 February 
Tony Kofi – Portrait of Cannonball
Kjetil Mulelid Trio
Gala Dinner with Joe Stilgoe
Nearly Dan
Zoe Gilby Quartet

Sunday 3 February 
Dan Whieldon’s European Quartet
Champian Fulton Scott Hamilton Quartet
Alan Barnes Octet
Jazz Samba

Tickets here https://southportjazzfestival.com/
Weekender package £150
31 January- 3 February at the Royal Clifton Hotel  Southport PR8 1RB

Liverpool International Jazz Festival line up

 Darius Brubeck Quartet
 David Helbock's Random/Control 
VEIN with Andy Sheppard

The Seventh Liverpool International Jazz Festival is being hosted by the Capstone Theatre at Liverpool Hope University's Creative Campus, from Thurs 21st - Sun 24th Feb 2019.

LIJF 2019 opens with Austrian pianist David Helbock's Random/Control on Thursday 21st Feb, followed by a concert from high-octane innovators Strobes on Friday 22nd Feb.

Saturday 23rd Feb includes an Indian classical music/Jazz crossover concert at 1pm presented by Milapfest, afternoon duo sets at 4pm from Kit Downes & Tom Challenger and Trevor Watts & Stephen Grew, and an evening concert from the Darius Brubeck Quartet, featuring Dave O'Higgins.

The final day of the Festival (Sunday 24th Feb) begins at 1pm with a triple bill concert of Northern based bands (After the Flood, Deep Cabaret and Ancient Infinity Orchestra), a saxophone workshop day presented by Curly Woodwind featuring Andy Sheppard taking place throughout the afternoon, and a 4.30pm concert by Atom String Quartet, hailing from Poland. The Festival concludes with a concert from Swiss trio VEIN with Andy Sheppard on the evening of Sunday 24th Feb.

Throughout the Festival there are support sets from a variety of groups from the North of England including Jazz North Introduces award-winners Slow Loris, electro-jazz quartet Kollega, and Jazz North Northern Line band Artephis.

Full details of the Festival, which is supported by LiverpoolJazz, can be found at: http://www.thecapstonetheatre.com/jazzfestival/.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Ashington Jazz club put their feet up

Ashington Jazz club are taking a winter break. There will  no gig on the next scheduled date of the 4th of February. We will hopefully be back with a new band later in the Spring. See website https://johnjazz.wixsite.com/newajc for more details

The club is based at Block & Tackle  Pub, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NW. Concerts are usually Sundays 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

John Taylor

Happy Chappies in York Cross Keys

Traditional Jazz at the Cross Keys every Thursday afternoon - featuring this week on 31 Jan Frank Brooker’s Happy Chappies

Our local hero, Frank, a naturalised Yorkshireman born on the south coast of Yorkshire in Portsmouth, on reeds, leads a line-up of local worthies including Greg Wadman on trumpet, Jim Wright on banjo/guitar, Phil Kampen on bass and Terry Binns on drums. This is Dixie Jazz plus with the emphasis on fun with their own brand of swing music, featuring some of the greatest jazz favourites. They entertain everywhere they go with a good sing-along or two. Frank Brooker’s Happy Chappies is one of the favourite bands on the Jazz Club circuit and we are indeed fortunate to have them at the Cross Keys.

Traditional Jazz every Thursday afternoon, 1.00pm – 3.30pm, Cross Keys pub, 32 Tadcaster Road, York YO24 1LQ, Tel 01904 700854 with local musicians; food available (a special jazz menu), free admission, free parking (register your car at the bar). The pub is dog friendly and child friendly.

Alan Bramley

Zoe Gilby at the Halifax Square Chapel

Zoe Gilby's Quartet are performing at the Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax on Friday 1st February. It’s part of independent venue week.

Zoë Gilby is a vocalist and songwriter, making a stunning impression on the music scene today. Her compelling original compositions are written with double bassist husband Andy Champion. Her stockpile of music reaches a wide range of more contemporary material from composers such as Pink Floyd to Kate Bush, with influences from Sheila Jordan and Joni Mitchell. Touring the UK and internationally, she continues to perform at prominent jazz festivals and venues.

“A mix of intelligent original songs and innovative arrangements. It’s the quality of the original songs that make this jazz vocal album stand out from the pack.” “Spirited songs with a certain gritty personality poking through.” – The Jazz Mann


Fri 01 Feb, 8:00pm at Copper Auditorium
Square Chapel Arts Centre
Square Road, Halifax
West Yorkshire
HX1 1QG.

Box Office 01422 349 422. Admin 01422 353 073

Located centrally, opposite Halifax Railway Station and ten minutes from the bus station, Square Chapel is next door to The Piece Hall.

Tickets: £10.

Jazz at the Lescar goes on tour...

Corey Mwamba 6 Feb

We're so excited about this - a full range of music covering a LOT of ground, from folk influences to big bands, free improv, to jazz standards, bass-playing vocalists, international musicians from the New York, Berlin and Cologne jazz scenes, and we're out on tour to some lovely venues around Sheffield.

First up we've got Corey Mwamba on his final tour, with a brilliant quartet of Northern musicians, NTH. This is followed by a phenomenal trio, Escape Hatch, which features Phronesis pianist Ivo Neame, alongside bassist Andrea Di Biase and drummer Dave Hamblett.

We have beautiful songwriting/folk music with a strong jazz influence from the acclaimed Magic Lantern, and also the immense Patchwork Jazz Orchestra, led by award-winning Tom Green, with a line-up of star musicians. We also have the return of Family Band, a great quartet featuring Kim Macari and Riley Stone-Lonergan, and also an incredible trombonist from NYC, Jacob Garchik puts in a Sunday appearance for us, with members of the vibrant Birmingham based band Young Pilgrims and a killer quintet line-up on the same bill.

In March, vocalist Jessica Radcliffe brings an original, beautiful, and inspiring musical response to the First World War, with a wonderful band drawn from the best of the London jazz scene. We follow that with another of the London scene's rising stars, bass player/vocalist Charlie Pyne, plus two European collaborations in quick succession, Uncanny Valley, and Mike Walker with Tria Lingvo (from Cologne). Finally we're off for a special gig at Yellow Arch with the wonderful blast of energy that is Vula Viel, with support from two Sheffield-based bands; Captain Avery & the Cosmic Triceratops of Intergalactic Peace and Beyond Albedo. Gigs are at the Lescar unless otherwise stated

6th February 2019: NTH 

One of the UK’s most creative improvising musicians, mixing jazz with influences from folk and electronic music, vibraphonist Corey Mwamba is retiring from public performance, but he’s not going quietly! NTH features three of northern England’s most vital musicians, bassist Andy Champion, pianist Laura Cole, drummer Johnny Hunter.

13th February 2019: Escape Hatch 

Three of the most exciting musicians on the European jazz scene: MOBO-award winning pianist Ivo Neame (Phronesis), Italian double bassist Andrea Di Biase, drummer Dave Hamblett. Mixing influences from Ligetic, Messiaen, Vijay Iyer and Steve Lehman, their music is a journey through an array of musical landscapes

20th February 2019 at Holt Cafe: Magic Lantern 

Magic Lantern is Jamie Doe, a musician who’s songs reach out and inspire with their warmth, simplicity and heart-felt lyricism. He visits us with a band drawn from the London jazz scene, taking in afro-beat grooves, solo piano, folk and late night saxophone jams, all unified by Jamie’s uniquely expressive voice and song-writing.

27th February 2019 at Yellow Arch Studios: Patchwork Jazz Orchestra

17 musicians, one huge sound! Led by award-winning trombonist Tom Green, they sold out their debut at the London Jazz Festival. Lush melodies to broad walls of sound, drum and bass to funeral marches, and an incredible line-up.

6th March 2019: Family Band 

A mix of musical freedom and freewheeling momentum inspired by the free jazz revolution led by Ornette Coleman and others, by turns fiercely intense and cathartic, but also with moments of peace and introspection, always strongly rhythmic.

13th March 2019: Jessica Radcliffe’s Remembrance Project 

Vocalist/composer Jessica Radcliffe (Corrie Dick, NYJO, London Vocal Project) brings together a first class line-up to play music composed in response to the human experience of the first world war. Gripping, atmospheric, and relevant; based on music, poetry, reports, letters and other historical documents of and about the conflict.

Sunday 17th March 2019 at Yellow Arch Studios: Jacob Garchik Trombone Choir and Quintet 

A unique gig bringing together the music of phenomenal NYC trombonist Jacob Garchik with UK-based musicians in TWO vibrant and exciting bands. Jacob brings together a line up trombones, tuba and drums to form a trombone choir playing gospel songs and he will kick also off the gig with his a quintet featuring himself and Richard, with Andrew Woodhead (keys), Olie Brice (bass) and Andrew Bain (drums).

20th March 2019: Charlie Pyne Quartet 

Joyful, optimistic, thoughtful music from bass player/vocalist/composer Charlie Pyne. Charlie’s own music combines riffs, kaleidoscopic harmony and memorable tunes, mixing contemporary jazz with influences from rock and tango

27th March 2019: Uncanny Valley (Tom Challenger, Phil Donkin, Oliver Steidle) 

Three incredible musicians from the London and Berlin jazz scenes; probing, reactive, and propulsive improvised music from Tom Challenger (saxophone), Phil Donkin (bass) and Oliver Steidle (drums).

3rd April 2019: Mike Walker and Tria Lingvo 

Internationally acclaimed guitarist Mike Walker (Impossible Gentlemen), meets Tria Lingvo, based in Cologne, and winners of the 2014 New German Jazzprize

Thursday 4th April 2019 at Yellow Arch Studios: Vula Viel
Gyil player Bex Burch returns with her uniquely energetic and intense vib. Support from Captain Avery & the Cosmic Triceratops of Intergalactic Peace and Beyond Albedo.

Jez and The Jazz at The Lescar team.
Jazz Promoter of the Year 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards
Tel. 0774 020 1939

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Norvol Jazz Network revamp and relaunch

The Norvoljazz network management group are proposing a change in status of the network in order to widen our scope and effectiveness . We want the network to become an advisory group from the jazz industry in the North so to better inform sector organisations like Jazz North. We are aiming to relaunch the network with a new name The Northern Jazz Network at the Leeds Jazz Festival on Sat 20 July.

Further information is on our Facebook forum page "NorVolJazz Forum" or on our website www.norvoljazz.org

Please give any comment your club may have on the proposals by Friday 8th February to our Facebook forum or directly by email to crockersteve@ntlworld.com or gill.wilde49@gmail.com
Steve Crocker
Chair of Norvoljazz network

Monday, 14 January 2019

Mike Gordon's best from 2018

Jazz Aesthetic

Sorry I’ve been a while sending this but here we go!

Dave Newton & Alan Barnes
They were a highlight at the 2018 Scarborough Jazz Festival as they celebrated forty years of playing together since their student days at Leeds College of Music.  They have, as you would expect. incredible rapport but what always stands out is the freshness of their music.  They haven’t stood still and continue to explore and develop musical ideas.

Jazz Aesthetic
This Hull University student band has become a regular annual booking at Scarborough Jazz and they always attract a good audience.,  They play exciting contemporary jazz by Brian Blade, Michael Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Dave Holland and others all arranged by Director Pater Elsdon. The band’s line-up varies each year but they always tackle this challenging music with enthusiasm and skill.  On 5th December you could hear a pin drop.   You feel the future of jazz is safe in their hands.

Benn Clatworthy Quartet
David Kennard wrote in the Scarborough Jazz programme in October: Benn is recognised as a truly world class saxophonist who has performed with Herbie Hancock, Cedar Walton and Bobbie Shew.  Born in England and tutored by Ronnie Scott, who rated him as one of the best UK players that he had ever heard, Benn has been based in Los Angeles for 40 years. He possesses the tunefulness of Lester Young and skilfully merges it with the muscular tone of Coleman Hawkins. Like Sony Rollins, he is harmonically adventurous, and is capable of playing at speeds that recall Charlie Parker. He puts all this together with punch, beauty and at times surprising delicacy.  Benn lived up to this and more.  A stunning evening for Scarborough Jazz @ The Cask.

Mike Gordon
Scarborough Jazz Club and Jazz Festival

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Lance Liddle's New Year Honours list

2018 has been such a good year for 5* gigs that to select just three is like being asked to name the three best of anything. However, here goes!

Greg Abate w. Paul Edis Trio – Jazz Café, Newcastle (picture Ken Drew)
The 2018 DownBeat Critics Poll had Greg placed third in the ‘Rising Star Alto Sax’ category. How bizarre is that for a 70-year-old who has been delighting audiences throughout the world for many years? Greg’s session with Paul Edis (they’d played a duo set earlier in Durham) was but the latest of many gigs he’s played, over the years, in the northeast. This one ticked all the boxes from the previous ones and maybe a couple more.

Mingus Big Band – Middlesbrough Town Hall.
To hear an American big band just down/up the road from you these days is quite something. In my younger days, Basie, Ellington, Herman, Kenton and others were regular visitors to Newcastle’s City Hall.   In retrospect, I can’t believe how naïve we were in thinking this would last forever but, tempus fugit, they, the musicians, died and we, the listeners, grew older.
Fast forward to Middlesbrough Town Hall and a Sunday evening concert in the refurbished civic auditorium – I’d previously heard Kenton there – and the years tumbled away. A big band that took the work of Mingus, not as a tribute band but a band that brought his vast legacy into the present day. I’d heard the band a couple of days previous at Ronnie’s and this rubber-stamped that earlier concert. Wow!

Mick Shoulder Quintet – Black Bull, Blaydon.
For reasons unknown, sightings of Lewis Watson playing a jazz gig are about as rare as a duck-billed platypus turning up on your bird table. However, on one magical night at Blaydon Jazz club, bassist Mick Shoulder put together a hard-hitting bebop band that let those present realise that they were in the presence of perhaps the greatest unsung tenor-player ever to play there (or anywhere come to that!). He blew up a storm and trumpet player Graham Hardy and the backroom boys, Shoulder, Edis and Russ Morgan, were with him every step of the way. On Bebop Spoken Here, I referred to it as The Quintet of the Year – decision stands.

I could have listed many many more but, alas, Jo Harrup at Ushaw Jazz Festival and Alison Rayner Quintet at the Globe are but two of the concerts that I have reluctantly had to leave out, but, maybe if you ask me again tomorrow, they will be in!
Lance Liddle
Bebop Spoken Here

Steve Crocker's Jazz Honours 2018 from Leeds

Leeds is such an amazing city for live jazz now it is almost impossible to pick out three highlights but here (with one big add-on!) they are,,,
The Shuffledemons (painted by Gina Southgate)

The Leeds Jazz Festival 2018 was a much bigger event this year, covering six days in July with six venues and around 50 bands. The grand finale, curated by Sally Coe, Xero's partner was "Celebrating  Xero Slingsby" on 24 July at the Wardrobe. Xero was a punk jazz sax hero in Leeds in the 1980's, his music is now popular amongst young jazz musicians, especially Belgium where Xero played a lot so we were pleased to welcome Den Hoed over to take part. The event was a triumph from start to finish. Improv, the changes, dancing in the ailes, Gina Southgate's live painting, The Shuffledemons from Canada, Leeds Local Heroes like Tony Burkill , Maggie Somers, Paul Hessian, Louis Colan etc.

The Mingus Big Band at the Howard Assembly Room 13/10/18.  Simon Godley's review sums it up "A nigh-on two hour performance – bisected by a short interval – the Mingus Big Band provided the sell-out crowd with a startling reminder of Charles Mingus’s genius as they shifted easily from the swaggering invention of ‘Jump Monk’ (a song that first appeared on the 1955 live concert recording Mingus at the Bohemia) to a modern arrangement of ‘Invisible Lady’, cementing Mingus’s place in the vanguard of the Third Stream. Charles Mingus’s generosity as a bandleader was well-regarded and this was replicated in today’s ensemble with ample time and space afforded each individual musician for what were some really quite incredible, improvised solos. Philip Harper was the first to step up to the plate during ‘Jump Monk’ with a raucous, rebellious blast of his trumpet whilst Helen Sung contributed a most phenomenal piano interlude during ‘Sue’s Changes’, a wonderfully spontaneous ballad-come-free jazz piece written by Mingus for his wife." The Howard Assembly Room programme has had some lovely jazz during the year, curated by the irrepressible Jo Nockels - the venue will be missing from the Leeds Scene from March 2019 for 12 months because of rebuilding and improvement works but it will mean even more jazz can be programmed there afterwards.

My third honour goes to the whole Leeds Jazz Scene. When I first came to the city in the 1980s there were maybe four venue playing jazz? Now there are almost 30. Special mention must go to local heroes like Richard Lindley at the Cafe Lento, Jack Simpson at the Hyde Park Book Club, Les and the team at Jazz at the Spa, Mark Young at the Sela Bar, Ryan de Warne at the Domino, both Leslies (Best and Jeffries) at Heart in Headingley, and the two JazzLeeds venues run by Leeds Jazz - Inkwell and Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton. Also worth mentioning are the jazz musicians appearing increasingly at nightclubs like the Brudenell, the Belgrave, the Wardrobe etc where they are putting on musicians like Pharorah Sanders and David Murray. The Leeds young jazz album "To be there now" was a triumph - produced by local saxman Ben Powling and highlighted by Jazz DJ Gilles Peterson. 

Paul Bream's best jazz picks from 2018

Paul Bream from Jazz North East with his "three" favourites from 2018! (Ed)

There’s a novel by B S Johnson, ‘The Unfortunates’, which consists of 27 sections that can be shuf-fled and read in any order. Looking back at the many tremendous gigs I’ve attended in 2018, and faced with the ludicrous task of identifying my ‘favourites’ from such a cornucopia of riches, I’m inclined to take a leaf (or several leaves) out of Johnson’s book, submitting a score or more of re-views and leaving the reader to select at random. The novel’s title, however, wouldn’t apply - on the contrary, having heard so much great music, I consider myself ‘The Fortunate’.

[Editor’s comment: “Stop being so self-indulgent. I make the rules here, and I’m even bending those to allow you five choices.”
Author’s response: “If you’re going to be authoritarian about it, I’ll treat it like a Jazz North East raffle, put all the possibles in a hat, and pluck out five - at least I know that every one will be a win-ner.”]

So, what does the process give me?

Luís Vicente, Olie Brice & Mark Sanders (pic Ken Drew)

Luís Vicente, Olie Brice & Mark Sanders - One of those wonderful occasions when three musi-cians come together for the first time and immediately find a common language of the highest im-aginative creativity. For Portuguese trumpeter Vicente this was his first ever UK gig, and he’d never previously played with either Brice or Sanders, but the rapport was tremendous, delivering music that was completely free yet shot through with spontaneous melodicism.

Daniel Levin - a solo set of riveting intensity from New York cellist Levin, displaying a virtuosic command of his instrument, and employing a range of extended techniques that served not as ends in themselves (such parlour tricks are sadly not uncommon in improv circles) but as totally integrat-ed means to express his musical vision. At the end of the evening he joined the trio of Graeme Wil-son, Andy Champion and Stu Brown, lifting their performance too into a higher dimension.

Joe McPhee, John Pope & Paul Hession - another one-off meeting that worked a treat. Free jazz veteran McPhee last played with drummer Paul Hession 15 years ago, and had never even heard of bassist John Pope until the previous evening. Their pre-gig rehearsal apparently consisted of Joe saying “Let’s get out there and make some noise”, and that’s exactly what they did - but what a glo-rious, uplifting noise it was, careering joyously across the spectrum from spirituals to Albert Ayler, with all three participants finding opportunities to nudge the music in different directions. McPhee will be 80 next year, but his thirst for new challenges is undiminished (playing part of this gig on a plastic trumpet is all part of the process!).

Velvet Revolution - I’d heard this trio of German saxophonist Daniel Erdmann, French violinist Théo Ceccaldi, and UK vibes maestro Jim Hart at a 2017 festival in Holland and been blown away, so had been salivating for weeks before they made their Newcastle debut. It proved even more memorable than expected; flight problems meant that Théo didn’t get to the venue until nearly 11.00pm, so Daniel and Jim offered a full set as a duo before ‘normal service’ was resumed and the trio played on to midnight! It was fascinating to hear how the absence of the violin affected not just the dynamics but also the melodic inclinations of the music, so this was like hearing two entirely different (and equally brilliant) bands interpreting common material.

Lori Freedman, George Burt & Corey Mwamba 

Lori Freedman, George Burt & Corey Mwamba - Canadian clarinet player Lori Freedman originally met George Burt and Corey Mwamba a year ago when she guested with the Glasgow Impro-visers Orchestra, but this was their first outing as a trio. In fact the gig started with a short solo piece from Lori, incorporating an astonishing array of vocalisations and deconstructed sound generation from the bass clarinet, after which George and Corey entered into the spirit of the moment with whoops and hollers before adding their own utterly distinctive approaches on guitar and vibes. In a year which has been marked by some memorable international collaborations, this was an en-thralling climax. 

[Editor’s comment: “There, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?”
Author’s response: “No, but I’m unilaterally bending the rules to mention a handful of also-rans.”]

Simon Rose & Steve Noble (a rare visit from Berlin for baritone sax specialist Rose, reunited with Steve Noble for an exhilarating duo set) . . . Tony Malaby, Richard Bonnet & Sylvain Darri-fourcq (New York sax master in sparking form with French guitarist and drummer) . . . Pericopes + 1 (Italian sax & piano duo joined by American drummer for music operating at the creative cusp of quick-change charts and open improvisation) . . . Greg Abate & the Paul Edis Trio (living proof that there’s still plenty of mileage in the bebop heritage in the imaginative hands of American alto master Abate and an entirely simpatico rhythm section) . . . Daniel Karlsson Trio (engaging Swe-dish piano trio emerging from the shadow of EST to forge their own rhythmically dynamic identity) . . . 
[Editor’s comment: “That’s enough - stop now!”
Author’s response: “Whoops, sorry - see you next year.”]

More 2018 Jazz honours - from Harkirit Boparai and Steve Mead

More jazz highlights from the North! Here's Harkirit Boparai's favourites of the year from the City of York's thriving jazz scene and Steve Mead, the Director of the highly successful Manchester Jazz Festival

Harkirit Boparai  - Crescent, York 
My 2018 highlights were:

Alina Bzhezhinska: Inspiration
Alina played a stellar set to a sold out crowd. Undoubtedly one of the best harp players about at the minute. This show was inspired by the works of both Alice and John Coltrane, but her band, which featured the stunning Tony Kofi on sax, really made the music their own. Absolutely delightful set, which culminated in in Journey in Satchidananda, leaving the audience gasping for more.

Moses Boyd Exodus and Kamaal Williams: Live AV show at York Theatre Royal
Part of a collaboration with York Mediale Festival, this was a unique show like no other. Taking two bands who are at the peak of the new London scene emerging, putting them in a theatre with massive psychedelic projections. The results were frankly mindblowing. There was a real sense that this was a show to not be repeated again.

Alex Hitchcock Quintet
This is a young talent that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on. Alex recently won the Peter Whittingham jazz award, and after seeing his show in the Basement, it’s no surprise. That guy can seriously play sax. Be sure to catch him at some point, you won’t regret it!

Steve Mead -Manchester Jazz Festival

Jazz North’s Alt Shift J project was a great example of empowering young people to define - on their own terms - how to build a jazz programme with artists, venues and audiences that really resonate with them. Extending to four areas of the north in Penrith, Middlesbrough, Cleethorpes, and Clitheroe, the latter event with Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues, Gypsy Carrot, The Grand and Lancashire Music Service back in October included Arun Ghosh and Roller Trio in the line-up. It really helped to ignite the local scene, with Arun working with young children in local schools, Chris Sharkey directing the Shiftin' Jazz ensemble, a vintage vinyl fair, food stalls, and DJs adding to the festive vibe https://vimeo.com/296325125 

My gig highlight was seeing Keith Tippett and Matthew Bourne at the Marsden Jazz Festival – also in October. Barney’s thoughtful programming saw them bring the attenders in the atmospheric St Bartholomew’s Church to a stunned silence, with a totally improvised lesson in space, sound and empathy that tingled our spines and fuelled our ears with mesmerising music.

Thirdly, heartfelt congratulations to our fellow programmer Jez Matthews at The Lescar in Sheffield : well-deserved winner of this year’s Parliamentary Jazz Award for best venue.

Jez Matthews best Sheffield moments 2018

2018 seems to have passed in a flash. Counting up, we ran 56 gigs at 5 venues around Sheffield, and so its very difficult to pick out a best 3; so here’s a load more! I could have chose any number from across the year for all sorts of different reasons.

The year started with a sellout gig for Manchester’s Beats & Pieces Big Band on their 10th anniversary tour, at Yellow Arch studios. What a night that was; they so connected with the audience, a true experience for everyone at a brilliant venue. I was blown away by the arrangements, and how the band’s music has developed over those years.

Two bands with overlapping line-ups brought us their utterly distinctive and original music in the first half of the year; the Elliot Galvin Trio and Dinosaur both prompted big queues to get in, mixing jazz with synths, electronics (and in Elliot’s case hacked toy instruments), all from their new albums on Edition Records, a label which has really gone to the next level this year.

Formerly based in Sheffield, drummer Johnny Hunter astonished us with his original music for sax, string quartet, and drums, Pale Blue Dot. Ambitious, perfectly balanced and full of stillness; a reflective and beautiful antidote to the world outside the Lescar backroom, and a great reason for why we run these nights. Improvisation and string quartets in a pub. Perfect.

Birmingham-based drummer Jim Bashford brought a quartet featuring Trish Clowes and Percy Purceglove to The Lescar, playing classic Thelonious Monk tunes. The room was so rammed I had to stand on a chair at the back to watch the band over the audience. The connection between the frontline players and the playing by the whole band was sublime.

The Johnny Mansfield Elftet landed at The Lescar in September. 11 amazing musicians charmed another full room with their original music, alive with youthful positive energy and optimism. There seems to be a continuous flow of brilliant young musicians emerging on the UK scene, exemplified by this  band.

We had two unforgettable nights at the tiny Hop Hideout beer shop, with ECM recording artist Kit Downes (Harmonium), Tom Challenger (sax) and Ingebjørg Loe Bjørnstad (vocals). Intimate, whispered, improvised, wordless folk tales. I also caught Kit and Tom at Lancaster Jazz Festival and at the Royal Festival Hall; they effortlessly scale their unique music from the smallest to the largest venues, and it still makes complete sense.

During October four talented and very different young bands, the Samantha Wright Quintet, Morpher, Josh Schofield Quartet, and the Bela Horvath Trio, toured to venues in Nottingham, London, Lyme Regis, Sheffield, and Birmingham, to enthusiastic audiences, and really demonstrating the amazing pipeline of music talent emerging around the country. I was involved in managing the tours, alongside Birmingham-based promoter Tony Dudley-Evans, and it was such a buzz to see their music develop and the responses of the audiences.

Finally in the space of 4 days, we put on the band that Hannah Brady (my Jazz at The Lescar co-conspirator) and I play in, Foxhat, at the atmospheric Holt Cafe, alongside three bands all featuring the students that have been working with us to put on the music at The Lescar; the Cesca Grace Quartet, the Kate Griffin Trio, and Life Aquatic Band, mixing jazz, fusion, folk and indie psychedelia, the best fun, and so good to see our young colleagues playing their own amazing music. Watch out for them all! A few days later four of us went down to London and were awarded UK jazz promoter of the year at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Words can’t express what this meant to me personally, and to the team around me. Its an immense privilege to feel part of this scene, and I was as proud as I’ll ever be.

Northern jazz honours - Sheffield, Wakefield, Bradford, Marsden 2018

As we all know the North of England is one of the best place for jazz in the UK. This year we excelled ourselves again at the UK Parliamentary Jazz Awards - The Lescar in Sheffield won the coveted Parliamentary Jazz Award in 2018 for best jazz venue (the third year running that at Northern jazz promoter has won the award), Lance Liddle's North East jazz blog "Bebop Spoken here" won the Parliamentary Jazz Media Award and Bolton's clarinettist Arun Ghosh was winner of the best album of the year.

But alongside the positive news it was a year where we lost good friends too - Brian Bicat, the founder of Bradford JATP Jazz passed on in September and Chris DeSaram, chair of NorvolJazz and promoter or Wakefield jazz also sadly left us in October.

Like we do every year we've asked some of the key organisers and influencers from the North what they remember as their three jazz highlights of 2018 - our NorvolJazz light hearted New Years honours list! Here's four views to start with....

Paradise Ensemble
Paul Thomas - Sheffield Jazz
My 2018 highlights were

Embodied Hope Quartet at Sheffield Jazz on 13 April
A great British/US collaboration featuring some dazzling soloing by George Colligan and Jon Irabagon.

Paradise Ensemble at Manchester Jazz festival on 27 July
Brilliant material brought to life by a very tight, exuberant band featuring some of the best of the North's musicians

Henry Lowther's Still Waters at Scarborough Jazz Festival on 28 September
Lovely stuff, particularly from Henry and Barry Green, with Flo Moore deputising very well for another hero of UK jazz: Dave Green.


Judith Waterhouse -Wakefield Jazz 

Three great gigs at Wakefield Jazz in 2018 were:

The full house seemed to sense that something special would be forthcoming, but no one who hadn’t heard them perform before could quite anticipate the ways in which Ubunye would be remarkable.  ‘Powerful’ found new expression when the band joined the singers in numbers that were typically joyous and upbeat, but with shifts in emphasis between the band’s elements—and of course, with highlighted instrumental soloing. The reaction of the audience to each of the instrumentalists was uniformly uproarious; and once of the fascinations was that although they were clearly jazz musicians, they played very much in what might be called a pan-African idiom—that liquid, bubbling guitar style; bass playing that was improvised with a sensitivity to the vocal dynamics; and both acoustic and electric piano holding everything together.

Greg Abate and the Pete Rosser Trio.
Wakefield Jazz learned just how much of a musician our new lead promoter is! Greg Abate is clearly steeped in the bebop tradition (and the gig commenced with a Charlie Parker tune), but his rhythmic and melodic reach was extensive, with a strong emphasis on long, beautiful lines, even at the fastest tempos. In the slower numbers, he also had a very good line in bringing out the mellifluous character of the alto. Of course, a musician of his calibre requires a top-flight rhythm section, since for all that they make it appear easy, true improvisation is a high-wire act; and in a quartet, there is no place to hide. Happily, the Pete Rosser Trio matched Greg at every point, each member excelling, but in that unaccountably coordinated and complementary way that makes jazz the thing it is.

And the one we wished had not happened - Chris de Saram’s Wake
It was acknowledged as the most fitting of send offs by the full house present.  Clark Tracey offered his services, so we booked his new band of BBC Young Jazz musician of the year winners or finalists plus the ever popular Alan Barnes.  A fitting tribute of long standing Wakefield favourites joined by the newest generation of excellent jazz musicians

Eirik Svela

Martin Powell - Bradford JATP
So my 3 most memorables??  I'd have to say

Atlantic Crossover + John Settle - 01 June 2018 @JATPjazz - a thunderous night of top jazz from some of the North's finest musicians : Jim Corry, James Russell, Rod Mason, Mark Chandler, Jamiel Sheriff, Adrian Knowles & Dave Walsh. Other than this was a massive celebration of the life of JATPjazz founder, Brian Bicat, it was the look on these massive jazz cat's faces when John Settle absolutely blasted them on vibes. Their jaws dropped in amazement.

Emily Brown Quintet - 02 Feb 2018 @JATPjazz - Stone the Crows!! this Lady can sing, schmooz and generally have the audience eating right out of the palm of her hand. Emily just gets better and better - and I know I keep saying this, but Emily's gigs mirror that as do increasing audience numbers - 94 is very close to the record - and the irrepressible smiles on the faces of Emily's bandmates speaks volumes. Glyde House was full to busting - not a chair left in the place. Emily Brown - voc, Stuart McDonald - sax, Jason Scott - p, Fergus Quill - b,   Caroline Boaden - dr

Eirik Svela Group - 23 Nov 2018 @JATPjazz- My, oh MY! what an outstanding band this is. Svela knows precisely when to come forward and step back and given the scarcely believable talents surrounding him - Andrew Robb flourishingly rock solid, Jamiel Sheriff brimming with the manifest class and nuance for which he is rightly famed, Magnus Sefaniassen Eide a simply staggering prospect of Maddren-esque proportion and Matt Anderson who has been learning the dark sax arts of old London Town for sure -  it's little surprise that his was a JATPjazz night to remember. And so thought the audience who would have sought multiple encores had the time allowed prior to departing with smiles from ear to ear.

Barney Stevenson (Marsden Jazz Festival) 
For me, all, selfishly, at Marsden Jazz Festival in October 2018!:

Keith Tippett and Matthew Bourne @St Bartholomew's Church at Marsden Jazz Festival: an extraordinary gig, which held the audience in rapt attention and received a standing ovation

Jonny Mansfield Elftet "On Marsden Moor" @Mechanics Hall at Marsden Jazz Festival: commissioned for Marsden Jazz Festival 2018, Jonny's suite set words of five poems by Marsden-born poet Simon Armitage's to stunning effect. Was broadcast on Radio 3 on 12 November: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001404

SAWA, vocalist Alya Al Sultani's trio with Shirley Smart (cello) and Clemens Christian Pötzsch (piano), @British Legion, Marsden Jazz Festival: SAWA mesmerised the audience with songs of heartbreak and unrequited love.

More highlights to follow, watch this space!