Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Jazz North East highlights of 2021

Under the Surface

Whilst the covid pandemic continued to cause chaos , Jazz North East were pleased to stage 28 concerts throughout 2021 providing work opportunities for over 100 musicians across the year. Initially the concerts began as live streams before combining with live audiences. The organisation are grateful for the partnership support of venues including The Globe, The Literary and Philosophical Society, Gosforth Civic Theatre, Cobalt Studios and Newcastle Arts Centre.

As ever the concerts presented a wide ranging pallet of jazz styles, each one a highlight in itself. But it must be said that the final concert of the year from Dutch Trio ‘Under The Surface’ was an absolute joy, the only international act that we managed to present this year, but a most excellent way to celebrate and enforce our commitment to international relations and laying down some positive vibes for 2022.

Our partnership with GemArts Masala Festival in July was incredible, presenting the thoroughly engaging Piano and Tabla duo of Helen Anahita Wilson and Shahbaz Hussain. From the local scene amongst others we supported John Pope Quintet and Archipelago who launched albums on the recently established New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings label.

To pick an absolutely humdinger of the year however, would be to emphasise our partnership with the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music which managed to relaunch full steam ahead and suffered no ill effects of the pandemic. Fergus McCreadie Trio are always an absolute delight, but in-particular we would highlight the concert from Pat Thomas performing the music of the great Duke Ellington. The Lit and Phil concert was a key highlight of the Saturday night festival programming and saw Pat Thomas literally climbing inside the Piano whilst constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing the music of the Duke. Pat appeared as part of a mini series of solo performances which also included Zoe Rahman, Kit Downes, Robert Mitchell and Paul Edis.

Pat Thomas was also recorded so we hope to see this released in 2022 on the aforementioned NEWJAiM Recordings label.

Wishing you Happy Holidays and all the best for the New Year.

We can’t wait to announce our 2022 programme! 

Wes Stephenson


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