Jazz in Wales

News about gigs, festivals, famous names, new artists and more compiled by DJ Andy Roberts in Cardiff, Wales. Send your updates to andy @ jazzinwales.co.uk

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Last call for Blue Attic

Cardiff student band Blue Attic play their last ever gig this Wednesday 31 May at Cafe Jazz, Cardiff, before they go their separate ways.

They're being presented by Cardiff Student Jazz Society which gave them their first ever gig at the old Toucan Club on St Mary Street 18 months ago.

Expect a night of rowdy blues and good time soul from these stars of the future: Ricky Pearson (Vocals), Chris Rand (Saxophone), Dafydd Dabson (Guitar), John Whitley (Keyboard), Billy Brown (Bass) and Aled Lloyd (Drums).

It will also be Cardiff Student Jazz Society’s last gig of the academic year but they hope to be back in action in the autumn.

Thank you Hay!

I'd like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Mel Price and the people of Hay-on-Wye for inviting me to DJ at the Fringe Festival Party on Saturday.

I can honestly say it's the best reaction I've ever had from an audience who would have happily partied all night long if we hadn't had to pull the plug as required at 2am.

Thanks also to the night's other performers at the Parish Hall - rock band Haywire, cabaret artiste Stanley Forbes and writer Michael Smith.

See www.hayfringe.co.uk for more about the festival.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Stan Tracey at the Hay Fringe

Jazz meets poetry at the Hay Fringe Festival on the Powys/Hereford border on Monday 29 May.

Pianomeister Stan Tracey and writer Michael Horovitz join forces as the Jazz Troubadours for a late night event, 10pm till midnight, at the Parish Hall in Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye - admission £12 or £10 concessions.

You may also like to know that I've just been booked to DJ at the Hay Fringe Festival party at the same venue this Saturday 27 May - 9pm till late, admission free.

Other attractions include cabaret from Stanley Forbes, The Giro Playboy author Michael Smith, local bands and more.

By request I'll be playing an upbeat set of funky jazz and soul, with maybe a touch of Latin and ska, depending on how the audience react to my choice of tunes!

For more details, visit www.hayfringe.co.uk

Bluesy Susie at the Jazz Packet

We had a great night with Bluesy Susie, the latest attraction at the monthly Jazz Packet session at the Riverfront arts centre in Newport (Thursday 25 May).

Bluesy Susie and the band engaged the audience not only with their virtuosity and versatility, but their warmth and enthusiasm for the music, ranging from jazz and blues to a touch of soul, funk, even flamenco and gypsy jazz.

They're great sports for allowing me to appear as guest vocalist on All Of Me - not least because they were expecting me to play saxophone!

For more about the Cwmbran-four piece, see their website at www.bluesysusie.co.uk which includes details of Susie and Craig's educational work.

Next month (Thursday 29 June) we'll have M.E.L, the young band from Abergavenny who are a popular feature of the street entertainment at the annual Brecon Jazz Festival.

Thanks to everyone who came along and made it another packed house - after a summer break the Jazz Packet will return on the last Thursday of every month from September.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Worldport Festival line-up revealed

Susheela Raman, Tony Kofi, Salsa Celtica, DJ Shantel's Bucovina Club and Sophie Solomon are coming to Cardiff for the annual Worldport Festival.

Events take place from Thursday 29 June to Sunday 2 July in a range of venues across the city.

There's an opportunity to get involved with tango lessons before the Subitango show at The Gate arts centre, and a Brazilian dance night with DJ Cliffy at the Toucan Club.

Several events are free of charge, at the Norwegian Church, Wales Millennium Centre foyer and St David's Hall level 3.

For full programme details, see www.worldport-festivals.com and tune into a special edition of my Jazz Connection show on BBC Radio Wales on Tuesday 27 June for preview tracks.

Monday, May 22, 2006

African Dance Party in Cardiff

Tired of the lack of Tropicality in your lives?

Friday night is African Dance Party night at the Riverbank Hotel in Cardiff from 9pm till 3am.

For £5 you can come and dance to some of the best music known to humankind.

Contact Tim Short on 07957 305957 for details.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Billy Jenkins - The Big Fight

Forget the small-time rivalry and crushing predictability of Battle of the Bands - get set for a full scale border confrontation at Monmouth in September.

Originally conceived by anarcho-guitarmeister Billy Jenkins, The Big Fight has been staged in various European locations and now comes home for THE big national showdown.

Take a boxing ring, a referee, timekeeper, glamour girl and teams of three improvising musicians representing Wales and England, and you get a maelstrom of musical and theatrical creativity juxtaposed with one of the all-time grudge matches in British history.

Choose your sides, support your champions, and barrack the opposition in this no holds barred, mean and dirty face-off of nine bouts.

A surreal symphony; three movements of exquisite new music carefully refereed to avoid any foul playing - no gouging, no musical quotations.

In the red corner, representing Wales:
  • Dave Stapleton - Piano
  • Lyndon Owen - Saxophone
  • Simon Pugsley - Trombone

  • In the white corner, challenging for England:
  • Billy Jenkins - Guitar
  • Rod "Roomdarkener" Mason - Saxophone
  • Paul Hession - Drums

  • Showtime 7.30pm on Friday 15 September at The Blake Theatre, Almhouse Street, Monmouth - tickets £5, suitable for all ages.

    Presented by Music in Monmouth - more details coming soon at www.billyjenkins.com

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Paul Jones - Composer in Residence

    Pianist and composer Paul Jones has been awarded a prestigious commission to write an extended work for the Wales Jazz Composers Orchestra, and to be its composer in residence.

    The group features artists such as Huw Warren, Paula Gardiner and Lee Goodall, and was conceived to be a platform for new writing.

    The piece, entitled "In Syllables", will be premiered at the HSBC Brecon Jazz Festival, and is the first large-scale work commissioned for the WJCO.

    The commission stems from the success and musical exploration found in Paul's work with Cardiff-based jazz quartet the Jones O'Connor Group, who have been gathering critical plaudits and the admiration of fellow musicians nationwide.

    Paul says the band adheres to the concept of working collectively and organically, casting aside the idea of a leader, adding that this holistic sensibility is central to his vision of working for a big band.

    "The piece, In Syllables, utilises a number of structures not readily associated with jazz, including, at one point, a fugue," says Paul.

    "For the WJCO, I wanted to use these styles to combine formal composition with improvisation and to emphasise the way in which jazz is all about group interaction within a given framework."

    The commission is jointly funded by the Arts Council of Wales and Performing Rights Society Foundation.

    For more information, see

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Jazz Connection - back on air

    Just a reminder that my Jazz Connection show returns to BBC Radio Wales this coming Tuesday 9 May, 7 till 8pm.

    Ian Shaw talks about his new CD Drawn To All Things - we'll be featuring a couple of tracks from it and giving a couple of copies away in a competition.

    We'll look ahead to this week's gigs in Wales, playing tunes by visiting stars Jacqui Dankworth, Baka Beyond and the Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet.

    New CDs from Killer Shrimp, Dr John, and Aziza Mustafa Zadeh will also be featured, as well as the Dave Stapleton Quintet, the Cardiff-based group whose debut album When Life Was in Black and White has attracted much acclaim since we first featured it on the show last summer.

    Anyone with CDs for airplay can send them to:

    Andy Roberts
    The Jazz Connection
    BBC Radio Wales
    44 High Street
    NP20 1GF

    For more details - and to hear the latest show anytime online - see the website at

    Jazz at Speakers Corner, Colwyn Bay

    Speakers Corner is a wine bar/juice bar/arts centre in Colwyn Bay that's looking for jazz bands to play on Saturday nights throughout the summer.

    It's described as a small and intimate bar that holds about fifty people - the line up so far is as follows:

  • Saturday 13 May - Laura Hassell Quartet
  • Saturday 20 May - Frank Grime Quartet
  • Saturday 17 June - Andrew Fawcett and Dan Whieldon
  • Saturday 24 June - Huw Warren Trio

    You'll find Speakers Corner at 2 Penrhyn Road, Colwyn Bay.

    If you're interested in playing there, contact Jonathan Morris on 07813 748 048 email j @ tensegrity.co.uk