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

Friday, August 18, 2006

James Taylor Quartet in Monmouth

Acid Jazz organmeister James Taylor brings his Hammond grooves to Monmouth's Savoy Theatre on Saturday 16 September.

It's a quick return to Wales for the JTQ who were among the Saturday night stars of this year's Brecon Jazz Festival.

Tickets are £12 - call the box office on 01600 713701.

It's clearly going to be a big weekend of jazz in Monmouth -
click here for our earlier story about Billy Jenkins and The Big Fight at the Blake Theatre on Friday 15 September.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Brecon Jazz "a great success"

Organisers of the HSBC Brecon Jazz Festival are hailing the 2006 event a success, with more than 17,000 concert tickets sold and an estimated 70,000 visitors over the weekend.

Festival Chairman Walter Dickie defended the decision to cut back on street music in the town centre, despite some public criticism suggesting the move had resulted in a loss of atmosphere.

"This has been another fantastic year for one of the world's great jazz festivals," he said.

"This year we broke with tradition and moved the focus of the festival down to the theatre to avoid large crowds gathering and posing public order problems to the police.

"That has been successful and the police have reported a relatively quiet weekend," he added.

"Now this year’s event is over, we will sit down with the police, local council and other stakeholders to review all aspects of the 2006 event, and start planning for next year and indeed our 25th anniversary in 2008.

"We will look at the effect of our decision not to have a live music stage in the town centre, though we had a programme of street music throughout the town across the weekend.

"We will also look at how we may again work successfully with this year’s Brecon Fringe organisers to help them develop further activities in the town centre that will complement what the festival is doing in venues throughout the town.

"Great events need to keep moving and we will do all we can to build on the success of this wonderful national treasure."

Inspector Martin Tavener of Dyfed Powys Police said: "This year we have been able to avoid large build ups of people in the town centre, and we have had a relatively quiet weekend.

"Once again we have been able to work effectively with Brecon Jazz to create a safe and pleasant environment for the towns people and the many thousands of visitors to the area."

Meanwhile festival director Jim Smith has responded to contributors in the Brecon Jazz website's own forum who've complained about the lack of street music.

"We are taking all comments seriously and look forward to working with our key stakeholders and potential partners on addressing the Town Centre issues for the 2007 HSBC Brecon Jazz Festival," he said in a posting of his own.

"I deeply regret that we were not able to produce the full street music atmosphere of previous years but we now have time to digest the feedback through this site (as well as other comments we have received via post) and work towards trying to find a solution."

Read the full range of comments at www.breconjazz.co.uk

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fishguard Jazz Festival - Sept 15-17

BBC Jazz Award winners Tony Kofi and Gwilym Simcock headline another great weekend of jazz at Fishguard in west Wales from September 15 to 17.

Other attractions in the Pembrokeshire coastal town include Sirius B and Tarantula for jazz dance fans, traditional sounds from the Tudor Rhythm Kings and the Swing Stars, plus local world jazz favourites Mojas.

There'll also be a range of workshops hosted by Claude Deppa, Tony Kofi, Maggie Nicols and Zion Train vocalist Molara.

For more details contact Carmen Power 01348 874015 carmenpower @ hotmail.co.uk or see the website at www.aberjazz.com

Jazz in the Park, Pontypool - Sept 1-3

Georgie Fame, Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber, Elkie Brooks, Jacqui Dankworth and Dennis Rollins are among the top attractions at this year's Jazz in the Park in Pontypool from September 1 to 3.

More than thirty concerts are planned in three venues in Pontypool Park, featuring popular local and UK acts such as Steve Waterman, Bluesy Susie, the Heavy Quartet, Wonderbrass, Pedalmania and the Cass Casswell Big Band, plus Jazz Connection from Holland.

Tickets for the headline concerts cost just £3, while admission to the rest of the festival is by official programme costing £3 - to book, phone the Congress Theatre, Cwmbran, on 01633 868239.

For more about the festival, call 01633 628 937 or check the website at www.torfaenjazz.org.uk

Brecon Jazz reviewed

Another year, another Brecon Jazz Festival with a cornucopia of delights. The streets were eerily quiet this year but inside the venues everyone was enjoying themselves.

My personal highlights this year included a crowd-pleasing funky set from Courtney Pine with special guest Omar Puente (pictured right).

The Great Tenors - Benny Golson (left) and Johnny Griffin - lived up to their billing, and the jump jive sounds of Blue Harlem (vocalist Imelda pictured above) showed the delights of the Stroller programme.

Singer Liane Carroll - one of my tutors at this year's Glamorgan Jazz Summer School - gave a wonderfully versatile performance in Theatr Brycheiniog, giving material from Tom Waits, Steely Dan and Laura Nyro the jazz treatment as well as a new twist to standards like Caravan.

Ian Shaw joined Liane for a duet on You've Got A Friend - look out for a broadcast of the concert on BBC Four in the coming weeks.

Finally, my own band Wonderbrass had a great time closing the festival in the Captain's Walk on Sunday night with around three hundred revellers baying for more - even a power cut during the first number didn't stop us.

See some more photos on my Jazz Connection website.

Hope to see you next year - click the button below to add your comments on this year's Brecon Jazz Festival.

See also:

  • BBC News - Complaints after street jazz ban
  • Jazzwise - Crowds queue for Courtney Pine
  • BBC Mid Wales - Brecon Jazz Memories
  • Thursday, August 10, 2006

    The Root Doctors are back!

    The legendary Mike Harries and his Root Doctors are back in action at Nos Da, the former Riverbank Hotel in Cardiff.

    They'll be performing on Wednesday 16 and 23 August, doors 8pm, music from 9pm, admission £3.

    The band is also making a festival appearance at Jazz in the Park in Pontypool over the weekend of September 1-3.

    Look out too for the new Root Doctors CD Do The Jelly-Jelly, recorded live at the Riverbank in 2005.

    Call Mike on 029 2059 3426 or email rootdoctors @ tiscali.co.uk for more details - or if you want to book the Root Doctors for your venue or function.

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Don Weller in Wales

    Tenor titan Don Weller is coming to Wales and the West Country for a short tour backed by the John Gibbon Trio:

    Sun 13 August - Castle Hotel, Brecon - 6.30pm
    (part of the Brecon Jazz Festival Stroller programme)
    Mon 14 August - Daffodil Club, Cheltenham
    Tues 15 August - The Cripple Creek, Raglan
    Weds 16 August - Lampeter House, near Narberth
    Thurs 17 August - Cafe Jazz, Cardiff
    Fri 18 August - Sebastopol Social Club, Pontypool

    And a little later in the year:

    Weds 18 October - St James Social Club, Swansea

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Brecon Jazz on TV

    Welsh language channel S4C and BBC Wales will be recording some of the main attractions at this year's Brecon Jazz Festival for a series of TV specials.

    S4C will be first off the mark with an hour long programme on Saturday 19 August at around 9pm - you can see it on digital satellite channel 135 across the UK.

    Artists being recorded for this show include Stan Tracey and Bobby Wellins, the Three Pianists (Brian Kellock, Keith Tippett and Kirk Lightsey), Iris Williams, Nia Lynn, Benny Golson and Johnny Griffin, Peter King, Courtney Pine, Gwilym Simcock, and the Wales Jazz Composers Orchestra.

    It's followed on Sunday 20 August with a Gospel New Orleans programme at 8pm on S4C featuring the Spirit of New Orleans, the South African Gospel Singers, and the Welsh youth choir Aelwyd CF1.

    Meanwhile BBC Wales will be recording a jazz pianists special to be presented by Julian Joseph and a concert by Liane Carroll, both for broadcast later in the year on the digital channel BBC Four.

    Until then, don't forget my Jazz Connection Brecon festival preview on BBC Radio Wales this Saturday 5 August from 6.30 till 8pm.