Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020 reflections at Jazz Leeds

Thanks to all the musicians who've made 2020 a memorable year - but in a good way. We're glad we've helped to keep the live scene going in Leeds, and host a few international big names too..

Em Brown Quintet
Teena Lyle Quintet
Gary Boyle Quartet
Jeff Hewer Trio
Soul Surgeons
Ed Kainiek Quartet
Eirik Svela Quintet
Zoe Gilby Quartet
Emilia Mårtensson group
Ethan Iverson/ Martin Speake Quartet
Will Powell Trio
John Settle Quartet
Manouche North  
Sam Jackson and Harry Orme
Rebecca Frodsham
Washboard Resonators
Nicki Allen Quartet
Hyde Park Brass
Toby Jack Brazier group
Ben Powling Quartet
Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat  
John Taylor’s Blues Dudes
Eliot Richards “Meantime”
Bassa Bassa  
Rhythm de Luxe
Alice Higgins
Jeremy Sassoon Quartet
Rory Ingham+Dom Ingham+Jonny Mansfield+Will Harris
Jennie Hammond sings Blossom Dearie
Will Howard Trio  
Tom Sharp Quartet's tribute to Clifford Brown
The Bluebirds
Ends and Means
Kate Peters Quartet
Henry Botham
Fergus McCreadie Trio

Plus... thanks to our jam session participants, to Joey Dunn for her live gig drawings, and to our "living room" recording stars with live sessions by Jeff Hewer, Nicki Allen, Chris Lloyd, Jenny and John Chamberlain, Ed Barnwell and more

Many many thanks also to Seven Arts for allowing us to put the gigs on, to Gledhow Sports Club who hosted our Flying High Jazz picnic (we'll be back!), to Chapel FM for allowing us to do the Jazz Unlocked Radio shows, to Leeds Inspired, Music Leeds, Jazz North for encouragement, and last but not least to all our jazz supporters - we couldn't have got though the year without you.

Happy New Year, and let's hope its a good one for us all!!

Steve Crocker

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Reflections on the past year - Southport Jazz

 Keeping jazz live!

With the current restrictions on hospitality and performance venues it would be understandable to think that there has been virtually no live jazz performed since March. The amount of live music may have diminished but it hasn’t disappeared! Tom Sykes (Southport Jazz Club) has been able to perform a few times, including at a couple of outdoor jazz concerts at Sefton Park Cricket Club in Liverpool in September. He was playing piano with a quartet and quintet (which included Southport Jazz Club’s Mike Smith) and fortunately the rain held off long enough to finish the concerts, with the audience sitting on benches, socially distanced. Thanks to the organisers, Jazz on the Hill, audience members were able to book tickets in advance online and the events turned out to be a very pleasant way of spending a late summer evening.

Tom has also recently been appointed as Lecturer in Music Performance at Liverpool Hope University, where he has been able to run a small student ‘big band’. While the band is able to rehearse in Hope’s larger spaces using Perspex screens to separate horn players, it has been necessary to keep the band to a maximum of 14 musicians. There are students on the waiting list to join, and it is very heartening to know that young musicians are keen to play jazz and big band music. They are, after all, the musicians and audiences of the future, and they provide hope for the continuation and development of the music we love.

Reflections on the past year - Olivia Cameron


We asked jazz promoters in the north for their reflections on the past year - and especially those bits that had offered those rare commodities - fun and inspiration! This is from Olivia  Cameron, who runs the concert series at Kings Hall, Newcastle University

"fun = interacting with musicians to make recordings, still being able to work with colleagues in this musical making capacity

inspiring = seeing others get to grips with technology, and being inspired to do the same.  that's been a challenge, but certainly a positive one

Hearing audience's reactions has inspired me to keep going with offering virtual 'concerts' for them, and also being able to support musicians financially."



News from Cross keys in York


Alan Bramley's Mardi Gras band

From Alan Bramley - jazz organiser at the Cross Keys in York

It’s nine months since we had to close down the jazz sessions at the Cross Keys just as were about to celebrate three years of providing weekday jazz that so many people enjoyed; we regularly had near full houses. Will we ever get back? Will the audience come back?  In the meantime the tenancy of the pub has been put up for sale seemingly without any takers since it is now being offered as a managed pub. Change of landlord is always a worrying time for jazz venues but hopefully we might get back into action in 2021.

Best wishes for Xmas and the New Year


Alan Bramley




Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Jazz Co op keeping music live

Despite the incredibly difficult times faced by the music business there are some really heartening examples of things being done by the smaller voluntary led jazz promoters (and Northern Jazz promoter members) showing the strength of jazz in the region. We'll be highlighting four of these in our forthcoming December reviews - Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues, The Lescar Sheffield, Jazz Leeds and Newcastle Jazz Co-op.

The Jazz Co-op in Newcastle are putting on gigs three nights at Newcastle's Globe, which is owned by their community trust. The gigs are enjoyed by small audiences in the venue and by hundreds more at home via livestream.

The Globe has been developing and improving its livestreaming since May. It has streamed from musicians’ homes during lockdown, then from the empty venue and most recently with an audience in the building. The Globe has been refurbished and redecorated, and new sound, light and video equipment has been installed by a team of volunteers.

Now it has a full programme of live concerts embracing rock, classical, folk and jazz arranged until Christmas. Each gig will have a limited paying audience seated and served at tables in a Covid-controlled environment. However, it will also be professionally streamed online to guests at home who also pay for the experience.

Dave Parker, co-chair of the cooperative that owns The Globe, says 

“We aim to get the best of both worlds. The audience seated in the venue gets to see the musicians in an intimate but safe environment, while those who live too far away or who would prefer not to travel receive as close to the live gig experience as can be achieved.

“Getting an Arts Council Cultural Recovery grant was a huge relief, especially after all the effort so many people have put in to keep The Globe going. When we closed in March we consulted widely with our members and supporters to develop a vision for a post-pandemic future. This formed the basis of our grant application. I specifically want to thank the Music Venues Trust for their lobbying on behalf of grassroots music venues and Co-operatives UK who argued successfully that co-ops should be eligible for the funding.”

Colin Bowman of Cullercoats who has been watching Globe gigs online says 

“It’s so good to watch a quality act in a proper ‘venue’ setting. I really forget I am not actually there in the Globe. The sound and vision is so good and the choice of acts is brilliant. I’m 'there' chatting with my music loving mates and if the beer in my fridge isn’t up to scratch, then that’s my own fault!”

More information:
More features coning in the next few days!


The Jazz Promotion Network (for UK and Ireland) have announced the results from this year's EGM which was held via zoom recently. 

The following candidates have been elected to JPN's board:
•    Penny King (Royal Welsh College Music and Drama)
•    Kim Macari (London, Re-election as Chair)
•    Paula McColl (Moving on Music, Belfast)
•    Orphy Robinson (Ivors Academy/Musician, London)
•    Roger Wilson (NYJO, London)

Wes Stpehenson from Jazz North East in Newcastle and Stuart Issacs from East Midlands Jazz were  unsuccessful on this occasion. The north still has a voice on the JPN through Steve Meads (Manchester Jazz Festival mjf) and Barney Stevenson (Marsden Jazz Festival)