Sunday, 19 January 2020

Wakefield's January programme

Pigfoot 31 Jan
From Pete Rosser

Happy New Year to everyone from Wakefield Jazz! 

We return this Friday 17th Jan with Alina Hip Harp, the new quartet led by the remarkable Ukrainian harpist Alina Bzhezhinska, with a more electric angle on jazz, funk and trip-hop, with Mikele Montolli (bass), Adam Teixeira (drums) and Joel Prime (percussion).

Friday 24th Jan we welcome SogoRock (a Northen Line/Jazz North supported sextet from Leeds) - led by Hungarians Bela Horvath and Ferenc Lakatos, they promise elements of jazz, fusion, funk, rock and gospel, with Nic Svarc on guitar, plus sax/synth/keyboards/bass/drums.

And on Friday 31st Jan, the acid trad phenomenon that is Pigfoot, a quartet of UK jazz luminaries deconstructing tunes everyone knows with irresistible good humour and irreverence. Chris Batchelor (trumpet), James Allsop (Bari sax), Liam Noble (piano/keyboards) and Paul Clarvis (drums).

A storming start to the new year - book tickets and food at

35th Wigan International Jazz Festival line up announced

Electric Lady Big Band (pic J Bentley @JazzLeeds Fest 2019)
Lineup for 35th Wigan International Jazz Festival has just been announced - Ruby Turner, Grace Kelly, Electic Lady Big Band and more will be appearing .
Festival will be held 9-12 July at a new venue The Village on the Green at Aspull. See Ian Darrington the festival director asks if we can spread the word & RT & help us generate a healthy, long-term future for the event!

Monday, 6 January 2020

Sheffield Jazz this Spring

 Jean Toussaint quartet 24 January 

It’s not too long to wait for the Sheffield Jazz Spring 2020 programme.  It's a great opening to the season at the Crucible on Friday 24th January when we welcome the international stars of the Jean Toussaint quartet. We can expect seriously exciting music from both Jean himself and his acclaimed pianist Andrew McCormack, who impressed so much in Jean's last Sheffield appearance. They're followed by the phenomenal young pianist Fergus McCreadie and his trio at Crookes on 31 January - one of the hottest, most exciting young bands in European jazz at the moment, his Scottish-inflected jazz winning rave reviews.

The international flavour continues as Swedish vocalist Emilia Martensson and her band arrive at Crookes on 7th February with a fine reputation. A truly original artist, her personal compositions are firmly rooted in the folklore and countryside of her native Sweden. On 21st February one of UK's most creative and fluent sax players Martin Speake plays at Crookes with a brilliant quartet, featuring Ethan Iverson (Bad Plus) on piano, Calum Gourlay on bass and Jeff Wiliams on drums. February closes with a visit to the University's Firth Hall where the Barry Green trio play - a welcome return after his stand-out gig a couple of years ago at the Crucible and who has played with stars such as Ian Shaw, Chris Cheek, Gerald Cleaver and Bobby Wellins.

Sheffield-based saxophonist, composer and record producer Martin Archer brings his Anthropology octet to Crookes on 6th March to revisit the electric period of Miles Davis. After a short break, the 20th March at Crookes sees the welcome return of  Ant Law and his very talented guitar-led quartet, to perform music from their third album "Life I know", currently receiving 5 star reviews. To close March, on the 27th Nikki Iles brings her 18 piece orchestra, a superb big band featuring Julian Siegel, Tori Freestone, Karen Sharp and Gareth Lochrane which will demonstrate the depth and range of her compositions.

After Easter we're back at Crookes on 17th April with Trish Clowes' My Iris  - thought provoking music with driving grooves, distinctive melodies and inventive shifts in tempo. This is followed by the visit of Alan Barnes +11, here to celebrate his 60th birthday with a collection of tunes from 1959 - an exceptional and iconic year for jazz with Kind of Blue, Giant Steps, Mingus' Ah Um, Thelonius Monk at Town Hall and Dave Brubeck's Time Out all likely to feature in Alan's repertoire. We return to Firth Hall on Thursday 30th April when Jason Rebello brings the trio that played such a brilliant gig at the Crucible in 2017. Finally, our last gig of the before the summer break is Yazz Ahmed's Hafla Band at Crookes on 8th May - an eagerly awaited return after her hugely popular gig last year and here to play her new album "Polyhymnia", a celebration of female creativity. Expect colourful melodies resonant with the sounds and sensations of the Middle East with her sonorous trumpet lines.

Full details of our Spring 2020 programme are given here

A very jazzy Leeds new year to you!

It's been a lovely end of the year for us - thanks to you. You came out in such large numbers for our Jensen Sisters Whilwind Jazz Orchestra, Karen Sharp Quartet and our Christmas Party with Tom Sharp Jazz Orchestra  at Seven Arts that we had to close the doors! We've got three great concerts coming up in January too, but before letting you know about that here is a bit of advance warning about our Spring Evening concert series 2020 starting in February. Here are the dates all @Seven Arts :

Emilia Mårtensson Quintet Thus Feb 6
Martin Speake International Quartet with Ethan Iverson Sat Feb 15th
Ian Shaw with Iain Ballamy and Jamie Safir Thus 19 Mar
Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra Sat 28 Mar
Sound of '59 Thus April 30
Lukas Oravec Quintet feat. Alex Garnett Thus 7 May
Ari Hoenig Trio Thus May 14

Season tickets for all seven concerts are available from our box office site here: for £80 or £65 concessions (half price for 25s and under) and more details about the concerts are on the Jazz Leeds website here:

So how about the coming month? Well the first two concerts we're pleased to say are both by women led bands, singer Em Brown and vibe-ist Teena Lyle ....

Emily Brown quintet: Sunday afternoon 12 January 2020 @Seven Arts Leeds £10/8 1.30-4pm
25's and under £5, kids under 16 free
Emily Brown vocals with Jon Taylor sax, Ed Barnwell piano, Fergus Quill bass Caroline Boaden drums. Emily Brown is an experienced jazz singer with a gift for harmonic risk-taking and accessing emotional depth in a song. You can expect to hear jazz, blues, soul & some ear-opening detours – all classics but delivered in Emily’s warmly alert & soul enlarging style. @Seven Arts 31 Harrogate Road Leeds LS7 4PD. Tickets in advance

Teena Lyle Quintet feat. Rod Mason: Sunday afternoon 19 January 2020 1.30-4pm £10/8  @Inkwell 25's and under £5, kids under 16 free
Teena Lyle, vibes, vocals and piano, Rod Mason saxes, Will Powell guitar, Steve Crocker bass, Dom moore drums Teena Lyle is is a leeds legend- vibes soloist, percussionist, keyboard player singer and current member of the Van Morrison Band. She charmed us with her superb appearance at Rush Hour Jazz in October. She’s just back from a Van Morrison tour in Las Vegas and ready for for a full afternoon of jazz in Leeds along with popular saxman “Mr Room Darkener” Rod Mason. @Inkwell 31 Potternewton Lane Leeds LS7 3LW Tickets in advance

Gary Boyle Quartet
Sunday afternoon 26 Janaury 2020 @Seven Arts Leeds £10/8 1.30-4pm
25's and under £5, kids under 16 free
Gary Boyle guitar Andrzej Baranek piano, Ed Harrison, bass Jonathan Hartley drums Funky jazz-rock mixed with bebop from fusion guitar legend and ex Isotope bandleader Gary Boyle who has an impressive pedigree as a session player, sideman, band leader and solo artist @Seven Arts 31 Harrogate Road  Leeds LS7 3PD.  Tickets in advance

Other news...

Rush Hour Jazz this month-  Wed 15 January with Leeds saxman Brendan Duffy and the Jazz Leeds Trio @Seven Arts Bar between 6-7pm payf collection

Our Jazz Instrumental Workshops led by Fergus Quill and Dom Moore are back on Sunday on Sun Jan 19 10am-12 midday  at Inkwell in Chapel Allerton £10/8 per session

Our NEW Jazz Players sessions for more experienced musicians Led by Dom Moore at Inkwell on Mondays -7-9 pm they start on January 13th and January 27th. £10/8 per session. Just turn up and play or for more information contact Dominic Moore <>

No Jazz Leeds Festival this summer as we'll be taking a break - we will be back in 2021. We will be putting on a Jazz Leeds All-Dayer this year however at the Wardrobe, Leeds run by Dave Evans - save the date of Saturday 18 July. More information soon! 

Further information on all our events and links to our Facebook and Twitter pages available on our website at 

See you soon as one of our gigs!

Steve Crocker

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Highlights - Sheffield Jazz, Davenham Jazz and Bradford JaTP

From Paul Thomas, Sheffield Jazz

 Fergus McCreadie Trio
The three highlights from my jazz year...

Christine and Ingrid Jensen and the Whirlwind Jazz Orchestra at Sheffield Jazz: a great band which was clearly revelling in the lovely material and arrangements by the sisters and Josephine Davies

Fergus McCreadie Trio at Glasgow Jazz Festival: beautiful compositions and playing by a pianist and trio who are clearly destined for bigger things

Simin Tander and Jorg Brinkmann at Jazzahead, Bremen: a unique vocal/cello duo which straddled east and western musical forms in a brilliant tour-de force. A revelation.

Dave and Harry - Jazz at Davenham

Kevin Hassett's Redux

The three standout concerts for us were: bands from the North Artiphes, Kevin Hassett's Redux (outstanding) and Jeremy Sassoon Quartet. Must mention - from the South - Janette Mason's "Red Alert" too!

Steve Bootland - Bradford JaTP

The highlight for us has to be our successful move to Bradford’s Latvian Club – a lovely venue and lovely people who’ve made us very welcome and cheerfully accommodated our veritable caravan of tables, chairs, speakers and not forgetting a baby grand. This is the first time in JATPjazz’s 20 year history that we haven’t been based in Bradford city centre; would our audience follow us? The answer has been a resounding yes, attendance at the first gig broke our all time record with 97!

Lucy Woolley's Highlights of 2019

From Lucy Woolley from Jazz North/ Festival Manager of Lancaster Jazz Festival 

Here are my three highlights - 

Jazz North’s northern line Showcase day at Lancaster Jazz Festival is always one on my personal highlights - an opportunity to get artists and promoters together and celebrate the quality and variety of the jazz scene across the North! 

My second highlight is the Camilla George performance at Lancaster Jazz Festival this year, a sell out performance that had the audience enthralled for the whole evening! 

Finally, I would like to highlight the achievements of Skeltr and Emma Johnson's Gravy Boat, two artists I have worked closely with this year, on receiving awards from Peter Whittingham. Both stand out examples of the quality and creativity of Jazz in the North of England! 

Hull's jazzy highlights - from David Porter

                                                   Sarah Tandy Sextet

From David Porter, Festival Director Hull Jazz Festival 

A merry Christmas to all jazz promoters and artists in the north from the Hull Jazz Festival. Here are our 3 highlights from a busy year over on the east coast. As the year draws to a close, we’re looking back on another great year for Hull Jazz Festival and J-Night.

We kicked off a busy summer with two weekends of incredible new music at the New Music Biennial 2019. We were involved in three of the 20 pieces performed at the festival, commissioning Sarah Tandy to write The Dream Without a Name inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and supporting new work by Arun Ghosh and Numb Mob. 

Sarah Tandy brought together two incredible sextet line-ups for her performances at The Southbank Centre and Früit, including Jordan Hadfield, Rio Kai (Nérija), Rosie Turton (Nérija), James Mollison (Ezra Collective), Ife Ogonjobi (Ezra Collective, Moses Boyd Exodus), Joe Bristow (Jason Moran’s Harlem Hellfighters), Xhosa Cole (BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year) and Mark Kavuma. We might be biased, but their set in Früit was one of the highlights of the festival!

Arun Ghosh’s two performances of AMBHAS, inspired by the River Humber and commissioned by Freedom Festival Arts Trust, were joyful. And we were more than a little bit proud to see Hull Youth Wind Orchestra raising the roof at the Southbank Centre, before bringing the piece back to the banks of the Humber for an epic outdoor performance the following week.

And Numb Mob’s reworking of their audio-visual piece Where to Build in Stone was mesmerising. Originally commissioned by J-Night to celebrate Hull Jazz Festival’s 25th anniversary in 2017, this new version was commissioned by Serious, producers of the EFG London Jazz Festival and featured new instrumentation. Always good to see Hull represented on the London stage and their set at Früit the following week was another highlight for us.”

Further details about the year in Hull can be found here

Cheers!  David

2019 Northern Jazz highlights, from Pete Rosser

Three special 2019 moments from Pete Rosser - promoter at Wakefield Jazz

-Veryan Weston’s Crossings (at the Arthouse, Wakefield Jan 2019) - having first been inspired by Mr Weston with Trevor Watts’ Moiré Music in the 80s, it was pleasure to bring his latest project of idiosyncratic rhythmic/pentatonic impro/compositions to a select audience in Yorkshire (with Pei Ann Yeoh violin, Hannah Marshall cello and Yusuf Ahmed drums).

-Alexander Hawkins/Laura Cole (at Wakefield Jazz Oct 2019) - two contrasting sets of solo piano, from Ms Cole’s more compositional intense depth, to Mr Hawkins’ more ebullient and angular riffs and reflections (with Take The A Train making an unexpected appearance).

- Heiner Goebbels (piano)/Gianni Gebbia (sax) (Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield Nov 2019) - uncompromising improvisations with a soupçon of Brecht/Eisler and a brief encore on the organ - a real event.

In my first full season as promoter at Wakefield Jazz, there has been little time to get out to see other live music, but I can recommend excellent new CDs from Richard Dawson, Matana Roberts, Steve Lehman and Tomeka Reid - all artists unlikely to be gracing Wakefield in the near future alas. 

One other personal musical experience - at the end of a frustrating month working in South Africa, I found myself doing a turn at a primary schools concert and so played a version of Dudu Pukwana’s Angel Nemali on the piano - coals to Newcastle etc, but I wasn’t convinced that those young people there had any idea of the great South African jazz tradition that has been so inspirational to so many British musicians. 
Best wishes to all for 2020!


Northern Highlights for 2019 by Pete Woodman

Dennis Rollins
 Wolter Wierbos
Alexander Hawkins and Laura Cole 

Highlights for 2019 - Pete Woodman from Marsden Jazz Festival's "New Stream"(and avid photographer of the Northern scene)

My ‘Jazz year’ started a bit late. In May Manchester Jazz Festival hosted their usual varied and adventurous programme, the highlight being Matthew Bourne and Keith Tippett’s gig at the RNCM.

I am a regular visitor to Ben Crosland's 'Jazz at The Keys' gigs in Huddersfield; in July Dennis Rollins provided a stunning evening of standards, his own compositions and some lesser known songs, all delivered in Dennis's inimitable style. This was followed in October when Tony Kofi visited for a blistering evening of tunes from Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis and others.

In August Ilkley Jazz Festival’s Saturday at the Winter Gardens opened with an improvisation workshop led by bassist Adrian Knowles and sax player Ben Lowman followed by gigs by Zoë Gilby’s Pannonica and Hexagonal. My highlight of the day though was Adrian Knowles's 'Sound of 59' which told the story of arguably the most pivotal year in jazz history with great style and not a little humour.

October brought Marsden Jazz Festival where I am heavily involved in scheduling the 'New Stream'; this year we featured Newcastle trio Taupe, French singer Francine Luce presenting her new collaboration with bassist Andy Champion, and Chris Bussey and Chris Sharkey with their mew 'Altimeter' project. I was especially pleased to have persuaded Dutch trombone maestro Wolter Wierbos to open the show with his UK solo debut.

October also saw my first ever visit to Wakefield Jazz for the piano 'double header' of Laura Cole and Alexander Hawkins with Laura's set focussing more on composed pieces and Alex providing a primarily improvised set. The gig also featured a brief collaboration at the end of Laura's set which delighted the audience.

I also visited Jazz Leeds events at both Seven Arts and The Inkwell for gigs by Helen Pillinger's Ysbryd and an excellent evening with Karen Sharp's Quartet.

I was privileged to attend this year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards at Pizza Express Live in London where Marsden Jazz Festival were nominated for 'Venue of the year'. Sadly, we didn't win, but there was a cause for celebration as Zoë Gilby won the Jazz Vocalist award. Here’s to more success for Northern artists in 2020.

For me the three outstanding highlights would be Tony Kofi's blistering adaptations of Cannonball Adderley's tunes at The Keys, Wolter Wierbos's amazing solo improvised gig at Marsden Jazz Festival's New Stream for the breadth of his control and variation, not to mention his ability to play the trombone for 45 minutes non-stop! Finally the performance by Laura Cole and Alexander Hawkins at their double header in Wakefield was a truly wonderful blend of composed and improvised solo piano.