BBC Jazz Awards CD Competition
A double CD featuring nominees for the BBC Jazz Awards 2006 has been released by Specific Jazz - I'm giving away a couple of copies on my Jazz Connection radio show.
It features 24 tracks including tunes by Georgie Fame, Clare Teal, Dennis Rollins, Acoustic Ladyland, Tim Garland, Jools Holland and many more.
You can enter the competition right now by visiting the Jazz Connection website - closing date Tuesday 11 July.
The BBC Jazz Award winners will be revealed at an event in London on Thursday 13 July - for ticket availability and other details see bbc.co.uk/music/jazzawards2006.
MEL at the Jazz Packet in Newport
Just a reminder that MEL, the young jazz/pop band from Abergavenny will be my special guests in The Jazz Packet session at the Riverfront arts centre in Newport tonight, Thursday 29 June. Best known for thrilling the crowds at the annual Brecon Jazz Festival, they'll be missing from this year's event due to the cutting back of street music - so tonight's show is even more unmissable!It's the last Jazz Packet session before we take a summer break, but we'll be back in the autumn with Martha Skilton, another young star from Abergavenny, appearing with her quartet on Thursday 28 September.For more information, see www.newport.gov.uk/riverfront
Andrew Fawcett's Italian Connection
Vale of Glamorgan based saxophonist Andrew Fawcett is embarking on a short tour of Wales and England with Italian pianist Davide Logiri.
They met in the summer of 2004 and have continued a fruitful collaboration with each visiting the other's home country three times.
Together with bassist Gianluca Alberti, they've recorded an album called The Chase, featuring tracks laid down in a Milan studio along with some live cuts from a gig at The Gate arts centre in Cardiff.
The trio will be performing with guest drummers at the following venues:
Weds 2 Aug - Swansea - St James Social Club Thurs 3 Aug - Cardiff - Cafe Jazz Fri 4 Aug - London - Bull's Head, Barnes - with Mike Tracey Sat 5 Aug - Northampton - Black Cat Sun 6 Aug (1.30pm) - Nottingham - The Lion, New Basford Sun 6 Aug (8pm) - Stratford-upon-Avon - White Swan
For more about the project, see the artists' respective websites at www.andrewfawcett.co.uk and www.davidelogiri.eu
Cowbridge and Worldport this week
Just a reminder of two great events happening in south Wales this week.
The Cowbridge Jazz Festival gets underway tonight (Weds 28 July) with visiting stars like Digby Fairweather and Trudy Kerr along with Welsh favourites such as The Amigos, Mojas, Andrew Fawcett's Kind of Blue, and the Bridgend Dixielanders.
And the annual Cardiff Worldport Festival starts tomorrow (Thursday 29 July) with another eclectic line-up including Tony Kofi, Salsa Celtica, Balkan beats from DJ Shantel, and the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.
For full details see their respective websites - you can also hear tracks from the top attractions on the latest edition of my BBC Radio Wales show at bbc.co.uk/jazzconnection
Roy Ayers - good vibes in the Bay
Roy Ayers, the godfather of acid jazz, plays The Point in Cardiff Bay on Tuesday 11 July courtesy of a new crew of live music promoters.It's a kind of magic, who brought Polar Bear to Cardiff University in May, will present shows at The Point more or less every fortnight.Future attractions include Soweto Kinch, Candi Staton, Nouvelle Vague and UK soul princess Terri Walker.Tickets for Roy Ayers cost £16.50, and all tickets will be available from Spillers Records (029 20 224 905), Ticketline (029 20 230 130) and The Point (029 20 460 873).See www.thepointcardiffbay.com for further details.
Susheela out of Cardiff Worldport
Susheela Raman has had to cancel her Cardiff Worldport concert at The Point on Thursday 29 June for medical reasons.She's suffering from a swelling of the vocal chords, with complete rest the only treatment, resulting in the cancellation of all her engagements for June and July.In a statement, Susheela says she deeply regrets any inconvenience that this causes but is hopeful that her fans will understand. All tickets purchased for this show will be refunded.
A free Worldport opening night party at The Point featuring Global Mix DJs plus special guests will take place on Thursday 29 June instead.Meanwhile the gig by Tony Kofi+1 at Cafe Jazz, Cardiff, the same night starts at 9pm rather than 7pm as advertised in the festival brochure. See www.worldport-festivals.com for the full festival line-up.
Ian Shaw up for BBC award
Ian Shaw has been shortlisted in the Best Vocalist category of the BBC Jazz Awards 2006.
The singer from St Asaph won the prize in 2004 but faces stiff competition from Clare Teal and Jacqui Dankworth.
One of Ian's proteges, vocalist Polly Gibbons, is nominated in the Rising Star category.
Alan Barnes, Bobby Wellins, Acoustic Ladyland, Dennis Rollins, Elaine Delmar, and Spring Heel Jack are among the other names in the frame for the awards.
The winners will be named at a ceremony in London in July - for further details, see the BBC Jazz Awards website.
Quiet Nights at the Toucan Club
*** NB Since I wrote this article the Toucan Club has closed its doors - there are no plans at present to reopen the club at this or any other location *** Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars is a new weekly session of bossa nova, Latin jazz and samba on Sunday nights at the Toucan Club in Cardiff.Portuguese guitarist Chico and friends provide the music from 8pm with free admission - there'll also be a chance to sample the Toucan's new tapas menu.And keeping with the Portuguese vibe, this Sunday (11 June) you can see Angola v Portugal in the World Cup on a big screen - kick off 8pm.For more details go to www.toucanclub.co.uk or phone 029 2049 1061.
No street music for Brecon Jazz
It's been confirmed that there'll be no street music at this year's Brecon Jazz Festival.
Organisers have taken the decision for reasons of public safety, according to a report on BBC Radio Wales.
The festival faced the possibility of a £20,000 bill from Dyfed Powys Police to close the streets to traffic for the event from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 August.
Last year, for the first time in the event's 22 year history, the force charged the festival £10,000, said to be half the actual cost of policing the festival.
The programme of street music has already been scaled down in recent years, partly due to road improvements in Wellington Square restricting the scope for temporary staging.
However, free music will be provided on the nearby Watton Field in what Brecon festival organisers say is a trial measure to be reviewed after this year's event.For more on this story, see the BBC News website. Click here to listen to festival director Jim Smith and musician Derek Lawton talking about the changes on BBC Radio Wales.
Chris Hodgkins Trio on tour
The director of Jazz Services picks up his trusty trumpet once again for his annual summer tour of Wales.The Chris Hodgkins Trio - with Alison Rayner on double bass and Max Brittain on guitar - will be playing tunes from their album Present Continuous at the following venues:
Mon 12/Tues 13 June - Copper Beach Inn, AbercraveWeds 14 June - Café Jazz, CardiffThurs 15 June - Talbot Hotel, TregaronFri 16 June - Sebastopol Social Club, PontypoolSat 17 June - Washington Gallery, Penarth
Born in Essex, Chris grew up in Cardiff where he first got into jazz as a teenager, going on to co-found the Welsh Jazz Festival in 1974 and four years later the Welsh Jazz Society.After touring the UK, Europe and visiting the US with his acclaimed band, in the 1980s Chris turned his attention to administration, including his award-winning work at the helm of Jazz Services. For more about the organisation see www.jazzservices.org.uk - you can hear an interview I recorded with Chris shortly before his 2004 tour on my Jazz Connection website at bbc.co.uk/jazzconnection