This article was sent to me by Geoff Matthews of Southport Melodic Jazz Club
This, the first major UK contemporary jazz festival in the UK jazz calendar, has grown in size and reputation each year since its launch in 2005 and has always attracted top national and international jazz musicians. The 2010 programme of 11 concerts, 3 workshops, 3 talks, 3 jazz-art exhibitions and a master-class is particularly strong. More than 2500 concert seats will be filled during this busy and very enjoyable weekend. The Royal Clifton reports all bedrooms full and other nearby hotels are also enjoying bookings from visitors from all over the UK and beyond.
The good news is that local fans can still book remaining seats for some individual concerts. There is still a lot to choose from but prompt booking is essential as the organisers are expecting another sell-out.
There are three featured vocalists. On Friday afternoon, the beautiful and talented newcomer Alice Zawadzki sings with that young and dynamic Manchester band ‘6PAC’ and the late spot goes to the sophisticated singer-songwriter-pianist Joe Stilgoe [yes, he is Richard Stilgoe’s son]. Sunday afternoon sees the current top UK male jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss on stage with his trio.
Fans of jazz piano are in for a real treat with some of the best in the business at the festival. Robin Aspland plays on Friday evening with ‘The New Couriers’. From Croatia, the amazing David Gazarov appears on Saturday afternoon in trio with Oscar Peterson’s long time drummer Martin Drew and supreme double bassist Andrew Cleyndert who recently accompanied Barbara Streisand on the Jonathan Ross Show. Britain’s most popular jazz pianist David Newton takes the Saturday late spot with his quartet and guest saxophonist Alan Barnes.
Big Band fans can enjoy a concert on Sunday morning from The Royal Northern College of Music jazz orchestra with guest guitarist Mike Walker joining them for a programme of the music of Steely Dan.
Other concerts are already fully booked. Concerts are around 2 hours with an interval and prices range from £12 to £18. There are just 5 ‘Weekender’ tickets left (£120) which get you into all events.