. jazz uk B i b d Le APRIL / MAY 2014
NEWS • GIGS • INTERVIEWS • FEATURES • REVIEWS
PUB L I SHED BY
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PPL • JAZZ ON THE ROAD • GIGS HIGHLIGHTS • HOTHOUSE 1 THE JAZZ SERVICES GUIDE TO THE BRITISH SCENE
JazzUK is published bi-monthly by Jazz Services, a registered charity which provides funding, information, and representation for the British jazz community. JazzUK exists to promote the appreciation of jazz and expand the opportunities available to its performers. JazzUK’s print run of 25,000 copies is distributed by mail to donors to Jazz Services and free of charge to jazz venues, shops, libraries, and is also available to read online via the Jazz Services website. JazzUK is pleased to support the Musicians Union in seeking equitable terms and working conditions for musicians. Members of the UK MU Jazz Section are emailed a link to their own free downloadable copy of each issue of JazzUK. JazzUK, First Floor, 132 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SW UK Tel: +44 (0)207 928 9089 Fax: +44 (0)207 401 6870 www.jazzservices.org.uk Editor: John Norbury-Lyons email@example.com Listings Editor: Sabina Czajkowska firstname.lastname@example.org Design / Production: Nick Brown email@example.com Donations / Distribution: subscriptions@jazzservices. org.uk. Advertising: Nick Brown firstname.lastname@example.org 07824 663488 Founding Editor: Jed Williams, 1952-2003. Contributors as credited. The views expressed in JazzUK do not necessarily reflect the policy of Jazz Services.
Welcome to the April/May edition of JazzUK – your bi-monthly guide to the UK’s jazz scene brought to you by Jazz Services. In this issue we speak to the Led Bib’s Mark Holub about the band’s 10 year anniversary and their new album, The People In your Neighbourhood. Continuing the Guest Spot’s forays into UK jazz radio we hand things over to Rhys Philips from Radio Cardiff, and keeping with a Welsh theme the North Wales Jazz society explain how they keep their local scene alive in Out & About. With the PPL-sponsored Parliamentary Jazz Awards coming up in May (and a BIG Jazz Services thank you to everyone who nominated their favourites in the recent voting) we asked the organisation to tell us a bit more about their work with musicians. We also have Phil Meadows’ regular youth jazz feature Hot House, including an interview with the winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year’s Jazz Award, plus news, preview, highlights from April’s Gigs, Jazz Services touring band Q&As and more. All brought to you for free by Jazz Services!
Jazz Services – Supporting Jazz In The UK!
NEWS – Catch up with the latest new of what’s to come in April and May.
OUT & ABOUT – The North Wales Jazz society on how they contribute to their local jazz scene.
PPL – The sponsors of the Parliamentary Jazz Awards explain their work with the UK’s musicians.
LED BIB – Led Bid leader Mark Holub discusses the band’s new album.
THE GUEST SPOT – Rhys Philips introduces us to his Jazz Special show on Radio Cardiff.
HOT HOUSE – Phil Meadows’ regular spotlight on the best of the upand-coming players on the scene.
GIGS HIGHLIGHTS – Sabina Czajkowska’s choice picks from the April issue of Gigs, the Jazz Services listings guide.
JAZZ ON THE ROAD – We speak to more bands touring the UK with the help of Jazz Services’ National Touring Support Scheme.
News Over the next few pages you can read some of the news that has filtered down through the JazzUK grapevine, plus updates on what to look out for in the next couple of months.
Got a story for News? Email details and press releases for the next issue’s news section to the editor, with the title ‘JazzUK News’.
Shez Raja – Soho Live
Bassist and bandleader Shez Raja releases his new Soho Live (33Jazz) disc on 7th April, an uplifting and animated affair taken from three gigs at London’s Pizza Express in Soho. Raja has been a persistent presence on the live circuit for some time and this recording really captures the heart he puts into his live shows, featuring star spots from special guest performers Monika Lidke, Jay Phelps, Shabaka Hutchings, Gilad Atzmon and Soweto Kinch alongside his regular band. “The idea was simply to invite some of my favourite musicians to collaborate with; players with an exciting, raw sound and their own distinctive voice,” says Raja. “They’re world class and have made an incredible contribution to the album.” The music mixes high-energy jazzrock fusion with dance-led grooves and a distinct Indo-jazz element, and the guests lend their talents to the melting pot admirably, including (as Raja puts it) “a face-melting clarinet solo from Shabaka in the opening track.” Not one to rest on his laurels, Raja already has plans for a studio album which is due to feature Mike Stern and Randy Brecker, but for the moment he and his band are returning to Pizza Express for the launch of Soho Live on the 16th and 17th April. If the album is anything to go by, it’ll be quite a show. www.shezraja.com
Emulsion Festival @ Village Underground
The first of several festival updates this issue, as saxophonist, bandleader and BBC New Generation Artist Trish Clowes curates this two-day shindig at the Village Underground in London. Thomas Strønen and Iain Ballamy’s excellent duo Food will headline the event, with triple bills on both the 28th and 29th May. Celebrating new improvised music and with specially commissioned pieces
and premieres, this is now the third Emulsion festival from Clowes; the clearly winning formula offers performances from Juice, Strobes & ByramArt featuring pianist Dan Nichols, co-curator Luke Styles’ Ensemble Amorpha and Clowes’ own group Tangent. There’s also a special performance from Emulsion Sinfonietta which brings together Food, Tangent and Ensemble Amorpha to offer something rather special as a festival closer. www.trishclowes.com
Jazz @ Crazy Coqs
London’s Brasserie Zedel started up a new series of late night gigs earlier in 2014 and we’re pleased to hear that they’re going from strength to strength. Following on from recent shows from David Newton, Ian Shaw and Natalie Williams, throughout April the Piccadilly venue features the likes of Martin Speake (4th April), Gabrielle Ducomble (5th – touring with Jazz Services’ support), Remi Harris (19th) and Noemi Nuti (25th). The concerts are held on Friday and Saturday evenings from 10:30pm and cater nicely to the capital’s night-owls with a thirst for high quality jazz. The Art Deco style cabaret-club décor and intimate atmosphere only add to the overall feeling of being immersed in the spirit of a by-gone era that’s well worth keeping alive, and these late night shows are a welcome addition to the capital’s regular live jazz calendar. www.crazycoqs.com
Cheltenham Jazz Festival
With the weather picking up at the time of writing, fingers are well and truly crossed for the 2014 Cheltenham Jazz Festival, held over the first May bank holiday weekend. Last issue we ran through some of the early headliners to be announced (including Loose Tubes), but the full line-up is as impressive as anything on offer this year so far. Drumming legend Billy Cobham has been added to the bill as he turns 70 this year, alongside vocalists Gregory Porter, Curtis Stigers and Kurt Elling, Germany’s Michael Wollny Trio, Norway’s Trondheim conservatory band and US trumpet sensation Ambrose Akinmusire. The UK is of course well represented too, and Julian Siegel, Denys Baptiste, Liane Carroll, Get The Blessing and Kairos 4tet are all hot tickets for what will hopefully be an equally hot weekend. “We’re proud to once again be delivering a really diverse Festival programme that covers the entire
jazz spectrum,” says director Ian George. “We welcome musical megastars alongside the brightest emerging talents, all set against the beautiful backdrop of regency Cheltenham.” Indeed, the festival atmosphere is enhanced by its outdoors-y feel, with big tops and tent arenas replacing some of the indoor venues in recent years, and with talks, workshops and fringe events aplenty, it once again promises to live up to the successes of previous years. Tickets and information from www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz
Sue McCreeth - No Evil
Album number five from Sue McCreeth is something of a departure for the singer, as she approaches the standards that make up the bulk of the disc’s tracks in a rather more straight-ahead fashion than she has done on pervious recordings. Sue shows herself to be a skilful and faithful interpreter of the repertoire on offer, and No Evil is a very pleasant and well-executed recording that features some lovely solos, particularly from guitarist Jim Mullen on a sweet rendition of God Bless The Child. The minimal line-up of Mullen, Steve Waterman on trumpet and Andrew Cleyndert on double bass lends itself to the gentle pacing and ambience at play here. A fine album by any standard(s)… www.suemccreeth.com
Kit Downes & Ole Morten Vågan live dates
Pianist Kit Downes is organising a short but sweet sounding run of dates in May alongside Norwegian bassist Ole Morten Vågan. For each show the two musicians will play one set with their own groups as well as a short collaborative set to finish, with Vågan’s atmospheric improv quintet Motif offering an interesting counterpart to Downes’ acoustic cello-and-piano duo Trickotareco, featuring Lucy Railton. The UK dates follow on from a trio of concerts in Norway in late April, but if catching the last bus home
from Bergen is a bit too much, then get down to Birmingham’s CBSO on the 9th May, London’s Vortex on the 10th or Brighton’s Verdict Jazz Club on the 11th and you’ll be in for a treat. www.kitdownes.com
Lighthouse – Songs To The North Sky
Tim Garland’s longstanding Lighthouse group adds another exciting chapter to its history with the release of Songs To The North Sky on Edition Records. The saxophonist has charged Jason Rebello, his old compatriot from folk-jazz group Lammas, with piano duties in place of Gwilym Simcock, and the core trio –completed by Asaf Sirkis on kit - has expanded to include some stunning guitar and bass work from young virtuosos Ant Law and Kevin Glasgow. One of the reasons Lighthouse has always been a fascinating group is the melodic space afforded by the pared-down line-up, the extra slack being taken up by the piano’s low end and Garland’s sorties on bass clarinet. So will the addition of extra instruments change all this? On the evidence of a preview show in midFebruary the answer is emphatically ‘no’ - Ant Law’s clear-as-a-bell tone blended seamlessly with the other players and while Glasgow was absent for the gig some in-studio teaser sessions featuring the entire band bode very well. The new album will still showcase the core trio on some pieces, but Tim also flexes his orchestral muscles on a second disc, performing the titular suite in partnership with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. There’s a launch gig at Kings Place in London on 30th May and further tour dates to follow later in the year. www.timgarland.com
Phronesis – Life To Everything & tour dates Another heavyweight disc from Edition is Phronesis’ new live album, Life To Everything. The trailblazing trio’s latest release was recorded over three live dates at
the 2013 London Jazz Festival and is out on 7th April, with a tour to follow in late May – following some European dates the band hit the ground running at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival at Diss Corn Hall on the 20th May, and continue on to Bristol (23rd), Gateshead (27th), Manchester (28th) London (29th), Belfast (30th) and Birmingham (31st). Bassist Jasper Høiby, pianist Ivo Neame and drummer Anton Eger have set the bar stratospherically high in recent times and yet still seem to have everything open to them, with reports from Life To Everything’s live recording sessions confirming their reputation as one of the UK’s top must-see groups. www.phronesismusic.com
Images of Jazz exhibition
Photographer Brian O’Connor has been capturing the live spirit of jazz music on camera for many years now, and last year he gifted Jazz Services with his (very extensive) archive, covering visiting international stars as well as our own home-grown jazz heroes. His Images of Jazz website features the full catalogue, but for a better look at his work you can visit a new exhibition at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells, Somerset, which is showcasing a selection of photographs from his collection. The Images of Jazz exhibition, which contains around 60 photos, runs from the 8th April until the 30th May, and is accompanied by a series of writings by drummer JJ Wheeler on ‘Spirituality In Jazz: The Coltrane Effect’. www.imagesofjazz.com
Peter Edwards – Safe And Sound
Whirlwind Records has announced another set of strong upcoming releases, among them Safe And Sound from the Peter Edwards trio. Yet another class player to come out of the Tomorrow’s Warriors stable, Edwards has recently distinguished himself through collaborations with singers Nicola Emmanuelle and Zara McFarlane, and
Dexter Gordon by Brian O’Connor
with the Nu-Civilisation Orchestra, which he also directs, and on the evidence of this record he is an increasingly promising prospect for the future. Joined by Max Luthert on bass and Moses Boyd on drums, Edwards deftly steers his trio through ten tracks of pianistic finery, surging and soulful on the title track, sparkling on Desdemona’s Tears and elegantly poised on slower numbers. The album shows him to be a talented moodsmith as well as a composer and player, and is well worth checking out. If that’s not enough, Whirlwind also offers great new records in the shape of In The Chop House from saxophonist Tori Freestone, recently on tour with Jazz Services’ support, and Southern Drawl, the debut release from trumpeter Rory Simmons’ new group Monocled Man. Sadly, the space available doesn’t permit further elaboration, but suffice to say we like ‘em. http://pedwardsmusic.com / www.whirlwindrecordings.com
Julian Argüelles – Circularity
To say that the Italian Cam Jazz label has secured something of a coup by releasing the latest album from Julian Argüelles is an understatement, as the saxophonist’s Cir-
cularity is an absolute triumph of a recording. Argüelles has amassed a stunning quartet for this latest effort comprising John Taylor on piano, Martin France on drums and Dave Holland on bass, and the four of them play their hearts out; it’s the kind of contemporary but rooted record that should please the purists, mollify the modernists and convert just about everyone else. Argüelles is fluent and flowing throughout, and the sheer confidence that exudes from every track - all of them originals, and this a testament to the leader’s writing as much as the playing - is highly impressive, belying the fact that is a new band. Argüelles is a busy bloke at the moment as Loose Tubes go on tour to celebrate their 25th anniversary, but as and when his schedule allows he can be assured that this group will be very well received by an eager audience. In the meantime, this recording will certainly do the job. www.julianarguelles.com
National Jazz Archive exhibition, Barbican
Running until 29th April, the National Jazz Archive offers visitors to London’s Barbican centre the opportunity to explore the fascinating history of British jazz music. All
That Jazz: The Golden Age of British Popular Music showcases a wealth of one-off exhibits including archive posters, original concert programmes and rare photos from 1919 up to the 1950s. The exhibition is open every day except Sundays and entry is free; pop in on a Tuesday evening to join one of the ‘hands-on’ sessions and get up-close and personal with some of the archive’s unique material. More info and full opening times at www.nationaljazzarchive.co.uk
Jon Mapp – The World Will End With A Bang
If your tastes run to the more ambient end of electronic improvisation, you could do worse than check out bass guitarist Jon Mapp’s solo album, out on 18th April. It’s a moodily melodic and at times esoteric affair but it certainly shows off Mapp’s narrative-inclined compositions as well as demonstrating the possibilities of the at times underappreciated instrumental discipline of solo bass. An interesting and quietly creative effort. www.jonmapp.com
Jim Godbolt - All This And Slowly Deteriorating Fast The Memoirs Of A Geriatric Jazz Buff
This book and its accompanying CD from Proper Music offers a unique insight into the life and times of Jim Godbolt, writer, historian, promoter, manager and all-round character. These memoirs offer a telling glimpse into his experiences working with some of the jazz scene’s great and good, including Humphrey Lyttelton, George Melly, Sir John Dankworth and many others. The 15-track CD features a wealth of tunes to accompany the text, and anyone looking for a complete package for the jazz buff in their life – geriatric or otherwise – should enjoy this journey through the experiences of one of the most colourful figures on the UK’s jazz scene. www.propermusic.com
EnricoTomasso at Norwich Jazz Party
Emilia Mårtensson – Ana
We couldn’t in good conscience sign off this issue without singing the praises of the gorgeous second album from Emilia Mårtensson, released on the 7th April on Babel. Following on from 2012’s And So It Goes and her recent contributions to releases by Kairos 4tet, Fringe Magnetic and Sam Crowe, Ana again proves that Mårtensson has something very special to offer, and the album is a thing of simple beauty. There’s a brilliantly judged and utterly natural sounding balance between duskiness and pure-toned clarity in her voice, but what really impresses is a talent for storytelling within the context of her songs and for drawing the listener in. Her phrasing on tracks like the Paul Simon cover Everything Put Together Falls Apart recalls singers like Joni Mitchell, with a clear folk influence coming through alongside her more swinging side, and her Scandinavian roots are in evidence too with two tracks sung in Swedish. With a sensitive and sympathetic band behind her, Mårtensson delivers an enthralling and utterly charming long-player that should make her a firm favourite throughout the UK’s jazz scene and well beyond. Tastemakers take note… www.emiliam.com
Norwich Jazz Party
Over the first May bank holiday weekend, the 8th annual Norwich Jazz party gets things seriously swinging at its new venue of the Donston Hall Hotel. The ‘jazz party’ format will see nearly 30 top-class players from all over globe descend on the east of England, including
© Bruce Lindsay
Japanese clarinettist Eiji Kitamura, Canada’s Jim Galloway and Ken Peplowski, Howard Alden and Houston Pearson from the USA. There’s also a fine contingent of UK artists from the mainstream and swing scene, with Enrico Tomasso, Alan Barnes, John Pearce and Adrian Fry all on the bill. Past years have featured sets dedicated to the likes of Billy Butterfield, Tadd Dameron, Humphrey Lyttelton and Duke Ellington, and while adherents to the adage that there’s no school like the old school will find plenty to enjoy, the open and inviting format should make jazz lovers of all walks of life feel right at home. www.norwichjazzparty.com Correction The photo of Josh Kemp on the cover of February’s edition of Gigs, featured in last issue was incorrectly credited to Ruth Applin – the photo was in fact taken by Bob Hewson, to whom we apologise for the error.
out & about For this issue’s Out & About we hand things over to North Wales Jazz, promoters, festival organisers and supporters of their local scene. Here’s how they do it… North Wales Jazz began their activities in 1990 when guitarist Trefor Owen, formerly the mainstay of the highly successful Bangor Jazz Club which had flourished in the 1970s and early ‘80s, got into
raise the necessary funds - in those early days, we received only an occasional small Arts Council grant, and were largely dependent on our own fund raising efforts.” Recalls Maureen, “Everybody laughs when we tell them that for the first six years we frequently held car boot sales at the weekend, with as many as 70 car booters paying us their £5 rent! All too often everything we’d collected was needed to supple-
Asaph in rural Denbighshire but only a mile from the main A55 North Wales Expressway. We opened with Don Rendell and from then on we found it a source of constant amazement that down the country lane to this little pub came an array of jazz legends, including the late, great Dick Morrissey, ex-Woody Herman and Stan Kenton sax player Bill Perkins, guitarists Ike Isaacs, Martin Taylor, Mundell Lowe, Louis Stewart and Jim Mullen, saxmen including Iain Ballamy, Peter King, Alan Skidmore and Dave O’Higgins, plus Ian Carr of Nucleus and the wonderful Jack Parnell – and 24 years on, we still hold monthly concerts at the Farmers. Shortly afterwards we found another hospitable landlord, this time at the Four Crosses in Anglesey, and within three months yet another, in Wrexham, so Jazz at the Seven Stars was born”. “The legendary Ronnie Scott was our first president,” says Trefor, “and we’re immensely proud that, since Ronnie’s sad demise, internationally acclaimed guitarist Martin Taylor MBE has filled the role and taken a keen interest in our activities”.
Terry Seabrook conversation with jazz enthusiast Maureen Hopkins. “For years, I’d been determined to create an organization with a range of venues which would between them bring live jazz to music lovers across the whole of the considerably large North Wales area,” says Trefor, “and when I met Maureen I realized she had the skills, not to mention dedication, to join me in making it happen. She had, for example, the ability not only to publicize events in every conceivable way but to
ment the door takings and pay the band at the next gig”. Although North Wales Jazz still place great emphasis on raising funds themselves, for many years now they’ve been supported by lottery funding via the Arts Council of Wales. “ACW have shown great enthusiasm for what we do, and it’s hard to see how we could keep going without it”, says Maureen. “Our first venue was the Farmers Arms, an 18th century pub near St
From the beginning, they’ve consistently presented an extensive concert programme including both internationally renowned and more local/regional, artistes and bands. In addition, they’ve always placed great importance on promoting jazz at grassroots level and on including participatory jazz workshops and jam sessions in their programme. Individual venues have come and gone over the years with North Wales Jazz currently presenting weekly concerts in Wrexham, an area with a comparatively large population and near enough to tempt jazz lovers from the city of Chester, rural Cheshire and Merseyside, and monthly ones in Anglesey and at the Farmers Arms. Their weekly venue, the Royal British Legion, Llay, has a spacious
concert room with good stage and bar facilities, all of which customers really appreciate, whilst in Anglesey the Victoria Hotel, Menai Bridge, with its view over the straits, must be one of the most picturesquely situated in the country. In the last few years, another regular venue has been added, with four keynote concerts a year at the highly regarded arts complex Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold, Flintshire, where recent highlights have included Jim Hart’s MJQ, Clare Teal, Nikki Iles, Dave Newton, Don Weller and Martin Shaw, and Terry Seabrook’s Milestones and Cubana Bop outfits. For many years now they’ve programmed performances into North Wales arts festivals, including Wrexham Arts Festival and Flintshire ArtsFest and in 2013 presented Trefor Owen’s Shades of Shearing at Brecon Jazz. With outdoor concerts in the summer, and forays into venues in Snowdonia and South Gwynedd, it’s a very busy schedule. For some time now, North Wales Jazz has specialized in jazz guitar events. This began in 2000 when, with a grant from the Millennium Fund, they organized the first of eight immensely successful jazz guitar festivals and summer schools. Largely thanks to Trefor Owen’s many connections on the international jazz guitar scene, in 2003 alone the line-up included a workshop by special guest Johnny Smith, plus eight concerts between them featuring Mundell Lowe, Bireli Lagrene, Louis Stewart, Martin Taylor, Jimmy Bruno, Howard Alden and Gene Bertoncini, not to mention Trefor himself and his star ex-student Andy Hulme. Perhaps not surprisingly, they received over 100 applications for the summer school alone that year, from students based not only across the UK but also in the USA and mainland Europe. “That was our most memorable jazz guitar event”, remembers
Jimmy Mundell, NWJ Guitar Festival Maureen Hopkins, “but also our most hair-raising. On the night we presented Johnny Smith with his Lifetime Achievement Award there was a major power cut in Wrexham 45 minutes before curtain-up. The concert began acoustically, and with daylight fading fast, and five minutes to go before the venue owners had warned they’d have to cancel for safety reasons, Louis Stewart struck up with I’m Beginning To See The Light. Fortunately for us, and like magic, the power was restored immediately!” After the 2008 event, influenced by the state of the global economy, they moved down a few gears, but North Wales International Jazz Guitar Weekends are still a regular feature, one in the spring and one in the autumn, with Trefor featured as course leader and major American guitarists as guest tutors. Always extremely popular with players of all ages from the UK and beyond, the next weekend in May, when New York’s Howard Alden will be the special guest, includes two participants from Norway and another from France. Working alongside Trefor Owen and
Maureen Hopkins, now co-directors of North Wales Jazz, are chairman Dave Saltrese plus a seven-strong team spanning a large age range, including two first-class young musicians, guitarist Andy Hulme and saxman Liam Byrne. Besides his considerable musical talents Andy is the organization’s webmaster and he’s demonstrated quite a flair for writing since taking over the exacting marketing and publicity work from Maureen a year ago. “It’s great to have more time to spend programming events and developing our activities”, says Maureen, “and to have young members like Andy, who also looks after our Twitter feed, and Liam, who handles our Facebook page and records concerts for YouTube and Soundcloud, gives us a real boost. The other team members, Chris Burne, Jo Hinchliffe, our photographer Ken Jackson, Dave Roberts and John Iball, all play an extremely valuable role in their individual ways.” “Always especially keen on welcoming young people to our jazz events, either as audience members or participants, we’ve helped launch several young musicians who’d previously attended
our jam sessions and workshops,” says Trefor, “including trumpeter Jamie Brownfield, winner of the Rising Star category at the British Jazz Awards 2012, and saxman Alex Bone, 2014’s Young Jazz Musician of the Year. We frequently present young artistes and bands, with Slovakian trumpeter Lukas Oravec, BBQ, MYJO, Liverpool’s The Weave and the Brownfield/ Byrne Hot Six all being recent performers.”
Trefor and Maureen’s tips to would-be promoters:
So as North Wales Jazz prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015, what does the future hold for the area’s jazz scene? Trefor Owen, who began presenting jazz four decades ago, is pretty clear on the matter. “I think all promoters will agree that attracting young people into jazz venues is key, and that’s our biggest challenge. Addressing this, for example by taking jazz into schools, has to be a top priority in the next year or two.”
• A highly effective means of publicity, maybe often overlooked in the jazz world, is editorials in the entertainment columns of local newspapers. Although we market our events by every possible means, press releases, our direct postal mailings and our website are the vital three.
• Make sure there’s always a warm welcome, including a smile at the door. • Don’t plan too early. Apart from key concerts, around three months works for us – it allows spontaneity and we’re often able to slot in international and touring bands with a free night in their schedule.
For more information on North Wales Jazz, visit www.northwalesjazz.org.uk or phone 01745 812260 to get on the mailing list. Future concerts include Art Themen, the Brownfield/Byrne Quintet with Alan Barnes, and the Clark Tracey Quartet. The 21st North Wales International Jazz Guitar Weekend runs from 9th – 11th May this year.
• There’s a lot of hard work, so try and build a strong team around you, ideally including your younger members.
With PPL turning 80 this year and once again supporting the Parliamentary Jazz Awards on the 13th May, we asked the organisation’s Jonathan Morrish to tell us more about how they work to help maximise royalties for artists in the UK. Working on behalf of our members is at the heart of everything that we do. Our membership is large and diverse, including major record labels, globally successful performers and record producers, as well as many independent labels and session musicians ranging from orchestral players to percussionists and singers – all of whom are entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their sound recordings. Over the years we have worked hard to maximise royalties for our members wherever possible and everything that we collect – less running costs – goes straight back to them. In the last ten years PPL has made steady and highly significant progress, increasing licensing revenues from £81 million in 2003 to £171 million in 2012. According to the global trade body, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), ‘Performance Rights’, as they are commonly known, was the fastest growing sector in the music industry in 2012. This growth has come at a time when physical sales continue to decline as music consumption, in a digital world, changes and still continues to do so, and PPL will campaign, on behalf of all its 75,000 members, to develop evolving revenue streams as this shift continues. In the past few years, we have also worked to increase performer representation on the PPL main Board and Performer Board to represent the needs of both record companies and performers even better. This took effect at our most recent Annual Performer Meeting in 2013, where we saw performer, songwriter and producer Crispin Hunt and performer and song writer Mark Kelly elected as Performer Directors, taking the total number
of PPL Performer Directors to five and we look forward to being able to serve our performer members with ever greater effectiveness and transparency. Recognising that the UK is a major exporter of music, we have actively worked to grow our international service – partnering with international Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) to ensure that members receive revenue when their recordings are used around the world. PPL now has 68 agreements with music licensing organisations in 34 countries and in 2012 collected £36.6 million in international revenues, collecting for 90% of the total value of the global performance rights market. And it doesn’t stop there. We’ve also been looking at how we can work to establish a performance right for terrestrial broadcast in the US. We are actively involved in the jazz community and for the last 8 years have been supporting the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, working with the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) to encourage a wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz. Earlier this year, we supported of APPJAG’s Youth Jazz event, which annually celebrates today’s youth jazz orchestra scene. With the help of PPL, a youth jazz ensemble has the opportunity to work with a major guest artist culminating in a live performance at Portcullis House, House of Commons. This year we welcomed members of Jambone, the North East’s top youth jazz ensemble based at the Sage Gateshead who were able to perform with trombonist Rick Taylor. If you’re a jazz artist and you’d like to find out more about how we can help you to maximise your royalties both in the UK and internationally, visit: www.ppluk.com / @ppluk Jonathan Morrish is Director of PR and Corporate Communications at PPL. The winners of this year’s Parliamentary Jazz Awards will be announced at the Houses of Parliament on 13th May – see next issue for a full list of winners!
Rick Taylor & Jambone ÂŠ Hayley Madden
Rick Taylor & Jambone
The People In Your Neighbourhood
The brilliantly rabble-rousing quintet Led Bib celebrate their tenth anniversary in 2014. Over the last decade drummer Mark Holub, saxophonists Pete Grogan and Chris Williams, bassist Liran Donon and pianist/keyboardist Toby McLaren
LED BIB © Matt Crossick
have together released several critically acclaimed albums – their debut Arboretum was the recipient of the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award on its release in 2005, and 2009’s Sensible Shoes was nominated for a Mercury Prize – and
established themselves as a potent force on the UK’s modern jazz scene and beyond. To mark this milestone, Holub and co. release The People In Your Neighbourhood on 21st April through Cuneiform records (along with a limited edition
live vinyl recording entitled The Good Egg), and it’s their most assured and very probably their best album to date. But don’t just take our word for it; “For me, this is our strongest record yet,” says Holub, “but of course I would say that! But the difference in this record for me is that we were able to play with an abandon that only 10 years together can bring. It’s great for all of us to be able to be involved in lots of different projects and then come back to Led Bib with those experiences and realise that there really is something special about playing with this combination
of five people, and I think this really comes through on the record.” This amalgamation of outside factors is a big part of what has helped Led Bib become the fearsomely creative musical machine it is today. “Led Bib’s development has been an interesting one for me as a bandleader because it started as very much ‘my’ project, reflecting my influences and interests,” says Holub. “For us, the album form has always been about taking a snapshot of what we are doing at that moment in time, and it has always been a surprise quite what comes out at the end, as very little
in the recording process is planned. Actually with this record, I think this may be even more true because in the last year or two we haven’t been touring that much, so some of the music was stuff we had already toured and some was completely new, but we really didn’t know what would come out.” Unplanned it may have been, but the finished product certainly hasn’t suffered as a result; while The People In Your Neighbourhood features those same fantastic heavy duty horn blasts we’ve come to expect, with saxophones sparring and soaring brilliantly over a rock-solid
rhythm section, what really hits is a depth of feeling or conviction that feels more mature, more bedded in, than before. And it’s great fun, too – while serious and cinematic in places, this is a frequently joyfulsounding record. The tunes often meander through varying degrees of intensity from the mellow to the anarchic, with sinewy riffs and slinky effects-tweaked motifs intertwining to great effect. There’s a real live feel to the recording, as Holub explains later on, and the band sounds very comfortable with their material and the poise with which they undertake their tricky musical manoeuvres really shows off what a cohesive and tight-knit unit they are. “Everything that the band has become is thanks to all the member’s influences. These days, when someone brings a tune to the band, no matter who brings it, the band needs almost no direction, the band has developed a shared language in such a strong way, that we can fairly intrinsically know where the composer wants us to go with the music.” While not a double album as such, The People In Your Neighbourhood is paired with the release of The Good Egg, a limited edition vinyl recorded during two shows at London’s Vortex club in 2013. “I had sort of vaguely planned on making a new album, but I really wasn’t sure when, and how exactly to do it,” he says. “On the previous release, after speaking with our engineer I thought about the idea of doing the recording with monitor speakers rather than headphones, but I didn’t get any further than that. I was then involved with a great community project that the Vortex was running in February, where I was ‘artist in residence’ with a group of very talented young people from Hackney, and they played before one of the Led Bib shows at the Vortex. Shaun Crook happened to be on hand to record this project and I asked if
since he was there, would he mind recording the Led Bib concert too.” The success of the live recording sparked Holub’s imagination for the studio side of things. “We were really happy with the concert and even happier with the recording, and then the project was born. After recording the gig, I realised that it really had to be this live aspect that I wanted to capture in the studio recording too, but with the added advantage of everything a studio has to offer. I thought that as it was our 10th anniversary it would be great to try and make it special, so I decided we could put the live album on a limited edition vinyl and also make a studio album. When we were about to go into the studio for the mixing of the live LP, we played the fantastic Match and Fuse Festival in London and this time we were lucky to have Carlos Boix on hand to record it, and then we added a track from this to the live LP.” The People In Your Neighbourhood was part funded by a successful crowd-sourcing campaign that raised over £10,000 for the project and offered backers a series of intriguing rewards in return for their investment, ranging from thanks in the liner-notes and a pot of Liran Donon’s (apparently famous) homemade hummus to a day in the studio with the band and a private concert, and the album’s title is derived from the range of occupations of those who contributed. “The crowd funding option seemed like a really intriguing way to go, a new way to connect with listeners of the music and hopefully giving people a new way in,” says Holub. With the state of the recording industry a much debated subject, is this independent approach now the way forward for artists looking to make their own way in the world? “It’s hard to say at the moment where things are going in terms of how people are going to fund
recordings,” he says. “In jazz, the reality is that there is not a lot of money in making records, but the records enable you to do tours where you can make some money. But, recorded music is important, and we need to have some way to be able to get stuff out to people.” However, Holub doesn’t entirely advocate going it alone. “With so much crowd funding and selffunding happening these days, and it being easier and cheaper to make records than ever before, you could think record labels are redundant, but the record labels still have a role to play. With a label like Cuneiform, you know they are going to put all their effort into getting your release out to as many people as possible, and people trust that records in their catalogue are going to be great. How labels continue to make money remains to be seen, but with Cuneiform celebrating 30 years this year, they must be getting something right!” Whatever the future holds, Led Bib can rest assured that the past ten years have definitely been well spent. The band goes on tour from the 22nd April until 4th May, starting at the St Ives Jazz Club in Cornwall and including a 3-night residency at The Vortex in London from 1st May. www.ledbib.com
LED BIB © Matt Crossick
As we continue to highlight some of the dedicated DJs who keep the flag flying for jazz on the airwaves, we hand this issue’s Guest Spot over to Rhys Philips, presenter of Jazz Special on Radio Cardiff.
Jazz has always been something I’ve listened to for as long as I can remember. That’s what happens when you have a dad who is both a jazz fan and a great jazz pianist – I guess everyone’s musical tastes are influenced by what their parents listened to whilst they were growing up. Three albums particularly stand out in my memory – Count Basie’s April in Paris, Sarah Vaughan’s George Gershwin Songbook and the Manhattan Transfer album Extensions. Whilst at university, I joined the student jazz society and at the end of my first year was asked to become president. When I took over, I launched a weekly jazz show on the student station Xpress Radio. Within two or three weeks, I had fallen in love!
I graduated in 2008 and it was over two years before I took to the airwaves again. In the summer of 2010, I launched a science magazine show on Radio Cardiff, a community station where everyone is an unpaid volunteer. A couple of months after I started my science show, I was given the opportunity to present a jazz show once again, and Jazz Special launched with a 30 minute Monday night slot in January 2011, moving to a one hour Sunday night slot in September of that year where it remained until very recently. The show featured a mixture of new releases and classic tracks, weekly guests and regular album reviews with Mike Sims, a friend from university who also plays bass in Imperfect Tenth.
I presented the Jazz Society Radio Show for two years during which time I tried out various formats and features, had live sessions from local bands each week and managed to secure interviews with Karen Sharp, Kirk Lightsey, Billy Cobham, Stacey Kent, Courtney Pine and Humphrey Lyttelton amongst others. Humph was and still is my idol – a jazz trumpeter and broadcaster who also hosted my favourite radio comedy show, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. I saved my interview with him to be broadcast in my last ever student radio show. As it turned out, he sadly passed away the night before and the show doubled up as a tribute to the great man.
Radio remains a passion of mine – not only presenting but listening. I have a huge amount of respect for several other jazz broadcasters in the UK – Jamie Cullum, Linley Hamilton, Clare Teal and Helen Mayhew are people I make an effort to listen to every week. By listening to what others with more experience are doing, I can learn and refine my own skills as a presenter as well as finding inspiration for improving the format of my own show and discovering more new music.
In February, Jazz Special moved to a two hour slot on Saturday lunchtime. On Sunday nights, more of the listeners would be people tuning in
especially to hear a jazz show. Now we capture those who just happen to have the radio on over lunch on a Saturday. Mike now reviews a different album every week instead of a batch of albums once per month and I’ve brought in another friend and Imperfect Tenth band member, Anna Lacy-Brown to present a new ‘Artist of the Week’ feature. In the second hour of the show, I do an in depth interview with a guest, a chance to find out what makes them tick and where their inspiration comes from. I’ve been particularly pleased (and lucky!) to have secured some high profile guests – Jamie Cullum, Clare Teal, Jason Yarde, Ginger Baker and the Manhattan Transfer have all done backstage interviews on the show whilst Jacqui Dankworth came down and recorded a studio session for us. But of course Radio Cardiff is a community station. It is there to serve the community and so local bands, artists and promoters are also regular contributors to the interview slot on the show. The show also features a weekly jazz gig guide that covers the whole of South Wales. I usually open with some older tracks, newer music features in the middle part of the programme and towards the end, and I include tunes from local artists and bands who are gigging in South Wales that week. I take care in planning
Rhys Philips in the studio
the playlist for the show – it takes just as long, if not longer to choose the tracks and prepare my notes on each one as it does to present the two hour programme each week. To me, there is no point in listening to a specialist music show if the presenter doesn’t give you some information that you wouldn’t get from listening to the tunes yourself on Spotify.
The Cardiff Connection Cardiff’s jazz scene is still pretty strong. Despite a major setback a few years ago with the withdrawal of funding to the Welsh Jazz
Society, we still have two main jazz venues in Cardiff that programme jazz throughout the week – Dempsey’s, under its old name of the Four Bars Inn was the original home of jazz in Cardiff with jazz nights there set up by Jed Williams, who also founded both Brecon Jazz Festival and this very magazine! With two to three jazz gigs per week coordinated by Alistair McMurchie and Brenda O’Brien, this venue attracts local groups and bands from around the UK alike. These guys are a major part in keeping jazz alive in Cardiff. We also have Café Jazz around the corner which, despite the lack of funding these days, still
programmes three to four evenings of jazz and one evening of blues music per week. And more and more, I notice other venues – clubs, bars, pubs and restaurants – launching weekly or monthly jazz evenings too. South Wales also seems to increasingly be a place for jazz festivals. Brecon Jazz is of course the most famous and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Cardiff has its own heritage jazz festival in Butetown, the Porthcawl Jazz Festival has been running for several years now, Fishguard jazz festival celebrates its tenth birthday
this year and this summer, the first ever Swansea Jazz Festival arrives on the scene. The relationship that Jazz Special has with the local jazz scene is two way – we help promote artists, gigs and festivals and they help us fill the show with great music and interesting content. Everyone’s a winner. Community radio is a great place for aspiring presenters who have something to say and play. If you think you’d like to try it then my advice is to just go for it! You’d be surprised how quickly you start to develop links within your community and the UK jazz scene more generally. It’s great fun and a perfect way to keep on top of new releases and up-and-coming artists. I must finish this article with some thank yous to people who have helped me along the way. Andy Roberts gave me some presenting advice when I first started on student radio, introduced me to Radio Cardiff, put me in touch with many record labels, agents, artists and promoters and has made a substantial contribution to my own collection of jazz CDs. Tubbs and the team at Radio Cardiff have also been a huge support – giving me the chance to get geeky about jazz once a week for the last few years, and now for twice as long! Roger Warburton’s work in compiling local gig listings cuts down the preparation time for my radio gig guide significantly – I hope he never stops! Without my regular contributors to the show, Anna Lacy-Brown and Mike Sims, both my radio show and my jazz band would be worse off. Finally, a big thank you to all of the promoters and gig organisers in and around Cardiff for ensuring that the local jazz scene not only lives on, but thrives. I’m proud that my little radio show can be part of and associated with such an exciting scene.
Rhys’ Pieces Some recent favourite albums from the Jazz Special playlists include: 1. Ever After - Stephane Belmondo: this French trumpeter’s tribute album to the music of Donny Hathaway which was released on the Universal label last year and I was lucky enough to see them perform it live in Paris. It’s a beautiful album featuring the dulcet flugelhorn tones of Stephane with a line-up that includes Kirk Lightsey, Jacky Terrasson and Gregory Porter on various tracks. 2. Family Dinner Vol. 1 - Snarky Puppy: a brilliant release from last year from this large group of musicians. The track with Lelah Hathaway won a Grammy but it’s the Shayna Steele track, Gone Under, that I particularly love. If you’ve not seen the videos of the recording sessions that these guys have made for their last few albums, go check them out NOW! And they have a great new album out too... 3. Osian Roberts & Steve Fishwick International Sextet: these guys have released several quintet albums on Osian’s own label, Hard Bop Records. Their new international group is a great addition to the catalogue. Featuring musicians from the UK, America and Spain, this is straight ahead jazz at its very best but still sounding fresh and different. 4. Slowly Rolling Camera: Dave Stapleton, Deri Roberts, Elliot Bennett and Dionne Bennett are long established names on the local scene here in various genres. Here they come together along with a string of Edition allstar names guesting on various tracks to produce something very different to anything they’ve done individually before – described in the press as a cross between Portishead and the Cinematic Orchestra, it’s a jazz influenced album which moves between several genres including electronic and soul. Released on Dave’s South Wales based label Edition Records, which is often thought of as a ‘Welsh ECM’ due to the outstanding quality of both music and sound production that the label consistently serves up. 5. Humphrey Lyttelton and his Band Live at the Nottingham Jazz Festival 1972: ever since the great man passed away in 2008, his friend and agent Susan da Costa has been going through various recordings that were made of his live performances and releasing them on his label, Caligraph Records. The latest of which came out last year and didn’t disappoint – Humph and the band are on fine form as usual in this recording made in the same year that he first hosted BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. Jazz Special is broadcast every Saturday afternoon between 1pm & 3pm on Radio Cardiff – 98.7FM across Cardiff and online at www.radiocardiff. org. You can also catch up on the latest programme, get in touch, view the playlists and subscribe to the highlights podcast by going to www. jazzspecial.co.uk. You can contact Rhys via email on rhys.phillips@ radiocardiff.org or follow him on Twitter - @rhys_phillips.
Saxophonist, bandleader and educator Phil Meadows gives us his regular insight into what’s hot on the UK’s youth jazz scene…
BBC Young Musician of the Year Jazz Award winner Alexander Bone The BBC Young Musician of the Year award has been offering young classical musicians the platform to focus and develop their talents since 1978. Winners have gone on to become some of the most respected soloists on the planet, but what about other genres? It may have taken the BBC competition a mammoth 36 years but 2014 is the year of the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award, and what a pleasant surprise it has been. The judges have been handpicked from a selection of Britain’s top musicians and educators, the atmosphere has been welcoming, supportive and creative and the five finalists are of high quality with the promise of great futures. It has to be noted that the BBC have brought something much needed to the table in a time of safe planning, budget cuts and tough times for the arts by giving the future of our scene a platform to demonstrate
Alexander Bone with Gwilym Simcock & Soweto Kinch that jazz is most definitely alive, kicking and in safe hands! After his recent success I took the opportunity to catch up with Alexander Bone, the winner of the first Jazz Award, who tells us about his musical upbringing and experiences in the competition. “Both my parents are musicians, so I grew up naturally surrounded by music. I first started improvising when I was around 2 years old by hitting keys on a piano and experimenting with different patterns and sounds. I went on to start jazz saxophone when I was 6, taught by my dad. My parents
inspired me the most, as I wanted to grow up to do what they did. I could always hear musical ideas in my head, so it felt like instinct to learn an instrument so I could play and express them.” At the age of 13 Bone accepted a place at Chetham’s School of Music under the tuition of Iain Dixon, Steve Berry and Les Chisnall. Knowing he would be too old to enter the competition next time around, and keen to take as much away from the experience as possible, he got together with his tutors to make a twelve minute video for the first round.
“Many of my fellow schoolmates have entered the classical version of the competition, and when I heard about a jazz version I leapt at the chance. I thought ‘why not?’” Twenty-three were selected to audition in front Simon Purcell, Iain Ballamy and Steve Watts in
so much freedom. I had loads of fun simply listening to their ideas as I was improvising, and it’s a great feeling when you hear your own ideas being developed by them. It really felt like we were playing together as a group. I think the most fun I’ve ever had was playing in the final. Just the experience of
2014 – A Year of Chaos! In a new wave of original British music making, the London based Chaos Collective have been growing in both stature and momentum. With two releases already under their belt in 2014 Hot House caught up with Laura Jurd and Elliot Galvin, two of the cofounders who set up the collective almost two years ago. “In February this year we released the second record on the Chaos label entitled Island Mentality,” Jurd begins. “It’s the debut offering from the Chaos Orchestra - a big band that plays original music written by members of the band. I set up the band a couple of years ago to try out some of my own big band pieces and it evolved from there. I’m very pleased with how the record came out and everyone played fantastically.”
Cardiff, where the filming began and the final five were selected. Saxophonists Sean Payne and Tom Smith, trumpeter Jake Labazzi and double bassist Freddie Jensen joined Alexander at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for a star-studded show hosted by Soweto Kinch and judged by Django Bates, Julian Joseph, Trish Clowes and Jason Yarde. This combined with the BBC camera team and the Gwilym Simcock trio could only make for a thrilling final. “Getting to play with the Gwilym Simcock trio was absolutely amazing. To play with a band that are so creative and able gives you
the whole competition was honestly a huge reward in itself!” With the hope of seeing what he can take away from the experience and wanting only to live by his motto of having fun within his music, Alexander Bone was handed the first ever BBC Young Musician Jazz Award on Saturday March 8th. You can see Bone and the other finalists broadcast on BBC Four on the 23rd May. “It all feels very unreal. It’s amazing, I still haven’t realised it fully and I don’t know if I ever will! I’m just focusing on the future now and seeing what happens next!”
Featuring a mixture of personalities, the music, written by Jurd, Simon Marsh, Alex Roth and special guest Mark Lockheart, offers a fresh approach in a crowded marketplace of young big band music and was followed shortly after by a debut release from the Elliot Galvin Trio. Entitled Dreamland the record offers another fresh approach, this time through a new piano trio featuring Tom McCredie and Simon Roth. “Elliot’s record is a smaller band for a start,” Jurd continues. “They’ve taken the classic line-up of the piano trio and presented in a very playful and exciting way. What I love about that album is that it has something for everyone. There’s so much in amongst the music - Art Tatum, contemporary classical music, disco, ferocious free improv - all hanging together brilliantly by Elliot’s compositions and the way the group play together.”
The rest of 2014 looks to continue how they have started with their bi-monthly series at the Vortex, Autumn’s three-day Chaos Festival (more information on that released soon) and the recording of Jurd’s second album featuring Lauren Kinsella and following on from her commission for last year’s EFG London Jazz Festival.
Both Island Mentality and Dreamland run hand in hand with Chaos Collective’s mantra of high quality original music doused in improvisation and imagination and complement Jurd’s debut record Landing Ground in what is shaping up to be a brilliant canon of Chaos music. Galvin explains their approach. “We’re trying to showcase some of the bands and musicians that we consider to be doing some really exciting stuff at the moment; stuff that doesn’t sit as naturally in the mainstream conventions of jazz.”
“It’s much more ‘stick it to the man’ than my previous music,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to unleashing it towards the end of the year and into 2015.”
Hot Tracks: NYJO Jazz Ensemble The NYJO Jazz Ensemble directed by trumpeter Gemma Buckenham is a new big band founded in May 2013 as part of the NYJO Academy. Running on Saturdays from 10am-1pm at the London Centre of Contemporary Music in London Bridge, the ensemble consists of
musicians between the ages of 10 and 19 performing a mixture of classic and contemporary big band repertoire. Musicians don’t need any jazz or big band experience before joining and more information can be found at www.nyjo.org.uk. Here’s what they’re listening to: 1. Splanky - Count Basie & His Orchestra 2. Take The A-Train - Duke Ellington & His Orchestra 3. Spain - Chick Corea 4. Chameleon - Maceo Parker/ Herbie Hancock 5. The Chicken - Jaco Pastorious Big Band 6. Sing, Sang, Sung - Big Phat Band 7. Blue Bossa - Joe Henderson 8. Something - Snarky Puppy feat. Layla Hathaway 9. Now’s The Time - Oscar Peterson 10. Riffin’ The Griffin - NYJO
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HIGHLIGHTS Jazz Services’ listings editor Sabina Czajkowska takes us through her picks for February’s listings. Read Gigs, the full month’s listings to the UK’s live jazz scene at www.jazzservices.org.uk John Etheridge with Vimala Rowe will play a charity concert in aid of Down’s Syndrome Association on 26th April at Normansfield Theatre in Teddington. A rare animal to spot, Polar Bear is to be seen at St John the Evangelist Church in Oxford on 3rd April. On the first Monday of every month at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London Xantoné Blacq presents musicians that are somehow special yet not on the forefront of the scene (but soon might be!). In March he introduced the audience to a fantastic vocalist Manuela Panizzo and on 3rd April the series will welcome Dee Byrne’s Entropi. Dee is a saxophonist/composer who runs a sophisticated and stylish quintet playing a wide range of sounds and colours in contemporary jazz. The series intends to present musicians who are visionaries and know everything that is happening with the music and the musicians back to front. Look out for next month’s presentation! Wakefield Jazz Cub at the Sports Club welcomes Liane Carroll Trio on 4th April, one not to miss! Get ready for some hot Cuban rhythms from Omar Puente Quartet who will appear at Friends Life Social Club in Dorking (Watermill Jazz Club) on 10th April. A new venue for regular jazz gigs has emerged: The Hepworth Wakefield is an art gallery where you can hear Sam Leak’s Aquarium on 17th April. Modern Jazz Quartet Celebration: Jim Hart/Matt Ridley/Steve Brown/Barry Green will appear at St James Social Club (Swansea Jazzland) on 9th and at Calstock Arts, Cornwall on 17th April. Next month the band will play in London,
at the lovely Lauderdale House in Highgate on 1st May.
Festivals Gateshead International Jazz Festival 4th – 6th April 2014 This year’s edition of the festival features a stellar line-up of British and international musicians. Django Bates with the Norrbotten Big Band, Courtney Pine, Polar Bear, Jean Toussaint Quartet, Jason Yarde & Andrew McCormack with the Elysian String Quartet, Spring Quartet featuring Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding & Leo Genovese and many more – check out listings or the website for full programme: www.sagegateshead.com String Quartet Festival @ Pizza Express Jazz Club, London 3rd – 6th April Curated by clarinettist/composer, Frank Griffith, this four day feast of strings and soloists will partner the eminent Brodowski Quartet – David Brodowski, Catrin Win Morgan (violins), Felix Tanner (viola), Reinoud Ford (cello) – with leading UK jazz performers. This special festival will celebrate the string quartet outside of its traditional concert hall setting. The Quartet will present much more than a simple string backing for a soloist or singer, interacting fully with the improvising musicians in special arrangements, some of which are written specifically for this festival. Check our listings for full programme. Porthcawl Jazz Festival “Jazz on the Sands” 11th – 13th April Headliners are: The Big Chris Barber Band, Digby Fairweather, Davide Logiri & his Quintet, The J Word Quintet, Cardiff University Big Band, Rhondda Symphony Orchestra, Kevin Grenfell’s Jazz Giants & Colourscape – check the website for further details: www. porthcawl-jazz-festival.com Kinoteka Polish Film Festival 24th April – 30th May Returning to the capital for a 12th suc-
cessful year, the KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival celebrates the best of Polish Cinema, music and visual arts. This year’s programme offers an inspiring, diverse choice of screenings, including UK premieres, exhibitions, concerts, interactive workshops and masterclasses. Jazz theme is stressed by a special gig at Café Oto in Dalston, London: “Trzaska Talks Movies” on 10th May. Acclaimed composer, saxophonist and clarinettist, Mikolaj Trzaska appears leading an international quintet playing songs from the soundtracks to the outstanding films of Wojciech Smarzowski including Rose, The Dark House, and Traffic Department. Trzaska is one of the most important figures in the Polish jazz scene in the broadest sense. One of the creators of the revolutionary Polish form of jazz called yass, he has been working with Wojciech Smarzowski for many years. His soundtracks have received exceptional recognition, both from fans and from music critics alike. Line up for this international gig features Johannes Bauer – trombone, Per-Ake Holmlander – tuba, Olie Brice – bass and Mark Sanders – drums. Darlington Jazz Festival 26th – 27th April It’s the festival’s third year and there will be over 20 bands playing throughout the weekend. Headliners include Mark Nightingale with the Durham Alumni Big Band and The Al Wood 9. There will also be a jazz improvisation workshop with Matt Roberts on 24th April. Check the website for details www.darlingtonjazzfestival.co.uk as well as all three festival venues: The Forum Music Centre www.theforumonline.co.uk, Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum www.darlington.gov.uk/Leisure/headofsteam and Voodoo Café www. voodoocafe.co.uk. Cheltenham Jazz Festival 30th April – 5th May One of the most looked forward to festivals returns this year with no less exciting programme than usual. Star studded line up includes international talent as well as British up and coming and established musicians. The younger generation will be represented by the likes of rising-star US trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, the inspirational vocalist ESKA, BBC Sound of 2014 nominee Nick Mulvey, and acclaimed New York-based fusion band Snarky Puppy. Among an impressive roster of British talent being showcased will be the much talked
about reunion of acclaimed big band Loose Tubes, one of the UK’s most renowned improvisers Paul Dunmall, much talked about Get The Blessing and Kairos 4tet and the boundary-pushing Julian Siegel Quartet. Check our listings for details and visit the website for last minute additions to the programme: www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Festival 1st – 5th May www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk www.thegrandvenue.co.uk This year the 5th Annual Jazz Festival in Rural Market Town of Clitheroe welcomes 37 bands - 325 musicians in 12 venues. There will also be Saturday Street Festival - Mainly jazz, plus a small Blues Stage. Highlights include Marley Chingus, Matt Holborn Quartet, Snake Davis and Dennis Rollins’ Velocity Trio. Come along for the workshops led by excellent musicians: Snake Davis: saxophone, Dennis Rollins: trombone, drumming for beginners with Paul Rigby and a Multi-Instrument Improvisation Workshop with Trish Ferrarin. Check our listings for essentials and the website for the full festival programme.
Check the Festivals section for workshops related to these events. GMF London Jazz Workshops & Music Festival 17th – 21st April Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG London www.kingsplace.co.uk The course is open to all keen musicians aged 18+ and there is no upper age limit. Please check the website for details. The festival is a great opportunity for learners to meet fantastic musicians and teachers, but it’s a treat to general audience too. Don’t miss performances by René Marie, Jeremy Pelt and the Global Arts Ensemble Chamber Orchestra, Musico Paradiso and the London Filmharmonic, Tina May, Bruce Barth Trio, Jim Mullen, Jean Toussaint, Dave O’Rourke and many more. Revray Jazz Workshops Led by Paul Baxter and Jenny Bray in East Riding of Yorkshire. One day opportunities – the next dates are 5th April, 7th June and 8th November. Participants have an opportunity to perform at the Burton Agnes Jazz festival. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07726996110 for more info.
Jazz Guitar 1 course Introduction to the essentials of playing in the jazz guitar style. 8 weeks on Sundays from 11th of May starting at 2.30pm two hour sessions, at City Lit Keeley Street, Covent Garden, London WC2B 4BA. To sign up please call 020 7831 7831, for more info ring 020 7492 2630. Advanced chord work and scales are explored within the context of jazz and blues standards. Topics to be explored: scales/modes, chords and chord shapes, improvisation, melody playing, harmonisation and substitutions, playing in various time feels, solo chord playing, creating a bassline etc. The follow up course Jazz Guitar 2 is in September, also Sundays. Improvisation workshop with Dom Moore On Friday night Dom Moore holds the Seven Jazz Leeds improvisation workshop at the Methodist Hall, Town Street, Chapel Allerton Leeds LS7 4NB. This workshop gives an opportunity for more experienced musicians to blow to their hearts content and learn something new. Cost £5 per session. Contact Dominic Moore dominicgmoore@hotmail. com. Next dates in April are: 4th & 25th, 7.30pm-10.00pm.
Events UNESCO Jazz Day Celebration Ode To The Human Spirit: SGI UK celebrate UNESCO Jazz Day featuring The Human Revolution Orchestra with special guests Marc Cary, Lianne Carroll and Randolph Matthews on 30th April at 8.15pm at Kings Place, 90 York Way London N1 9AG Tea Dances in Bulwell St John’s family centre on Snape Wood Road, Sellers Wood NG6 7GH, 23rd April 2.30pm - 4.30pm & 9th July 2.30pm - 4.30pm. Tickets will be £5 on the door, £4.00 in advance and for groups of 10 or more £3.50 per person. Contact Lyn on 0115 965 3531 for advance bookings.
Look Out for the Young & Talented! Northside Jazz series and £5 tickets for under 25s at Omnibus in Clapham, London Omnibus, a new arts centre in London’s Clapham is now offering a limited number of £5 tickets for young members of the public – check what’s on www.
omnibus-clapham.org Last month the venue hosted a group of young players that we all should be looking out for now - Misha Mullov-Abbado who has won the The Dankworth Prize for his composition New Ansonia. The gigs was part of the new series entitled Northside Jazz. Launched in November last year, the focus is on talented, young musicians who are either established or rising stars. Save the date: 6th April, Rob Luft Trio. 20 year old guitarist Rob Luft is a student at the Royal Academy of Music. He was praised by The Times for his performances with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra at Ronnie Scott’s in January 2012, and was tipped by Jazzwise Magazine as “One To Watch” in 2013. Bands Touring with Jazz Services Support this spring: Becki Biggins and Her Dream Team, Charlotte Glasson Band, Dave Mannington’s Riff Raff, Dave O’Higgins Quartet, Gabrielle Ducomble Band, Ivo Neame Quintet, Julian Siegel Quartet, Kate Williams Band, Kristian Borring Quartet, Maciek Pysz Trio, Michelson Morley, Nick Malcolm Quartet, Paul Stapleton & Simon Rose, Phil Robson’s Organ Trio, Rob Terry Trio, Roger Beaujolais Quartet, Shatner’s Bassoon, Vasilis Xenopoulos and the Wind Machine Ivo Neame Quintet Despite having received numerous plaudits for his contributions to some of the hottest groups to emerge from the UK in recent years – Phronesis and Kairos 4tet chief amongst them – it would be foolish to assume Ivo Neame is simply an exceptional sideman. A forward thinking and innovative pianist, composer and multi-instrumentalist, he has three critically acclaimed albums as a leader under his belt and continues to cement his reputation as a musician of true distinction whose playing is consistently elegant, exciting and engaging. Neame brings a formidable group to bear on the UK’s live jazz circuit with his upcoming tour, comprising a frontline of the excellent Tori Freestone on sax and flue, renowned vibraphonist Jim Hart and the star rhythm section of Empirical bassist Tom Farmer and the hugely in-demand Dave Hamblett on drums. The band will be recording a new live album at their King’s Place date of the 12th April, due to be released on Edition Records in 2015.
JAZZ ON THE ROAD JazzUK speaks to more bands hitting the road in April & May with the help of our National Touring Support Scheme. For information on the scheme and the bands involved, see the Jazz Services website. Vasilis Xenopolous - How long has this group been together? The group has been together for a year but I have been playing individually with the guys in several other jazz projects for a long time now, especially with guitarist Nigel Price. - What’s the latest project? This is my second personal album, The Wind Machine, which
is a quintet adaptation of some celebrated compositions for a larger jazz ensemble. It covers a wide spread of big band originals, from the classic sounds of Woody Herman and Count Basie to the more contemporary Buddy Rich and Thad Jones. The inspiration came from the album A Chip Off The Old Block by Stanley Turrentine, where the entire record is a tribute to the Basie songbook. All the music has been arranged for a quintet but yet the goal was to maintain the energy and interplay you get with a larger jazz group.
- What are your hopes for this tour and the future? I’ve been London based for the last 12 years and I had the joy of playing with some of the most celebrated jazz artists in the UK as well as appearing at the most important venues in London and the South East in general, so my aim is to take the best band I ever had so far in my career on the road and get some more exposure in several regions of the country that I don’t get to visit that often. - What can audiences expect from one of your gigs? Audiences should definitely expect some heavy swing and powerful performance from the first to the last piece of the set. We had the joy of doing a fair deal of performances before getting into the studio and as a result, the playing feels very tight and everyone gets to be more creative. - What’s the best thing about touring with this band?
Vasilis Xenopoulos 28
I would say the fact that we’re all five individual characters and players. Steve Fishwick is one of the most accomplished UK trumpeters and his unique melodic approach adds something different to the group. Nigel Price manages to switch from bebop to soul/ funk guitar at ease, while scaring every guitarist in the house with his technique! Bill Mudge does all the dirty work in the band, as he has to play bass lines, chords and solos with his Hammond organ, and last but not least, Pete Cater - the perfect choice for this ensemble -
knows all the big band drumming tradition inside out and also knows how to adapt it when he plays with a smaller combo. www.vasilisx.com
Roger Beaujolais - How long has this group been together? Since we recorded our first quintet album in 1998 - so almost 16 years - my quartet has had the same pianist (Robin Aspland) and drummer (Winston Clifford) but we had to get a new bass player in 2003 when Orlando LeFleming moved to New York. Simon Thorpe has been our bass player since then so is a relative newcomer. Officially we have only been a quartet for three years, but a lot of our gigs before that were as a quartet anyway since not many venues were able to afford the quintet. - What’s the latest project? I’m playing tunes mainly from my latest album Mind The Gap, the first album as a quartet which we released in June 2013. - What are your hopes for this tour and the future? As a band that has got tighter and tighter over the years through having the same line up and by doing regular gigs, mainly in the south of England, I’m hoping to widen my range of gigs and broaden my audience by showing the breadth of music we cover and the close rapport between us. The quartet works all year round and we already have many other gigs in for later in the year. I’m particularly looking forward to playing some of the jazz festivals in the summer including Brecon, Swanage, Marlborough and the Hop Farm in Kent.
Roger Beaujolais Photo © William Ellis
- What can audiences expect from one of your gigs?
- What’s the best thing about touring with this band?
They can expect a night of vibraphone-led, small band jazz that swings with music that has no pretensions other than to give people a good night out - no beard scratchers allowed! There’ll be some tunes they know amongst some others they may not, and they can expect a varied programme of the old and the new. They can expect a band that listens to each other and plays to and for the audience and they can expect to feel safe because, as the band has been together so long, they can be sure they’ll be in good, experienced hands.
I often work as a sideman so touring with my quartet is a more personal experience as I get to play more of my compositions and arrangements. It’s especially enjoyable to play them to new audiences, many of whom have never seen a vibraphone performed live. The vibraphone is still often seen as a ‘novelty’ instrument and promoters seem reluctant to book it too often. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard them say, “We had vibraphone last year” when I’ve phoned to get gigs... www.rogerbeaujolais.com
music and collaborating with local musicians.
- How long has this group been together? This group has been in existence for about four years in one shape or another. The core of the band is that which I brought together for my first album J’ai Deux Amours. I’d met Nicolas Meier about two years before that and always wanted to create something with him – and he actually ended up releasing the album on his MGP label. The wonderful accordionist Dan Teper is the latest member of the band and his sound is really key to the tango inflected Parisian style I look for. I’m really lucky that I get to work with such wonderful musicians – when there is stability in the band then the music and the sound can really develop. I know a lot about the expression and energy that each member of the band can create and often when I’m writing arrangements I have that specifically in mind. - What’s the latest project? I’ve just released my new album Notes from Paris – so the next thing is that we are going to take all the new music back out on the road. We have a lovely tour lined up and we will be playing a great range of arts venues and clubs across the country – some favourite places that we have played before and some new ones. I’m really excited
- What can audiences expect from one of your gigs? What we look to do is create an ambience which can transport the audience. We are taking a lot of songs which can have a specific resonance with people – for example the Piaf songs have a strong sense of time and place. But we are then taking those songs and really giving them a contemporary interpretation. And the reason for this is to be honest about who we are right now, as modern musicians, so rather than creating a pastiche of the past, instead we look for what is intrinsically beautiful about the original songs and then perform them as 21st century musicians.
Gabrielle Ducomble about sharing all the new material with people! - What are your hopes for this tour and the future? I hope we can convey our enthusiasm and love of the music to our audience – and what I always specifically hope is to be able to take people on a journey with me into the music. In the future I would like to record and perform my originals, and I absolutely love travelling, so I’m looking forward to playing in lots of different countries in the future, discovering local
- What’s the best thing about touring with this band? Well, touring with musicians who are also very good friends is the best, so the icing on the cake will be to relax after the gig with a glass of Bordeaux and some good cheese! www.gabrielleducomble.com