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

Monday, June 25, 2007

Harping on Jazz

Catrin Finch and the French group Naccara headline a special jazz concert as part of the Arpa Viva Cymru harp festival in Cardiff in July.

Harping on Jazz takes place at Cardiff City Hall on Thursday 26 July and also features harpist Helen Davies, trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, and Gert Sorenson on percussion.

The festival also includes two late night jazz concerts at the Novotel in Cardiff Bay, starring Park Stickney on Sunday 22 July and Hugh Webb on Tuesday 24.

For more details see www.arpavivacymru.org

Friday, June 22, 2007

Brecon Jazz - Jools sells out

Promoters of Brecon Jazz 2007 say tickets are selling fast, with Jools Holland's Friday night concert in the Watton Marquee being the first to sell out.

Festival Director Jim Smith says: "We have been really pleased with the ticket take-up so far, and really encouraged by the online sales, considering this only went live for the first time this year. Let’s hope it will be another vintage Brecon Jazz."

The Brecon box office opened in the middle of May, and a third of tickets sold so far have been via the website www.breconjazz.co.uk.

Headliners at this year’s Brecon include first-time Artist–in-Residence Joe Lovano, and there are eight UK exclusives, including two-time Grammy nominee Jessica Williams; saxophonist Andy Sheppard with pianist Rita Marcotulli; and the first major festival pairing of pianist Jason Rebello and saxophonist Gilad Atzmon.

To book tickets, find further information, or get the latest jazz news, go to www.breconjazz.co.uk or call 01874 611622 (Mon-Sat 10am – 5pm).

Read my own Brecon Jazz preview article on the BBC Mid Wales website where you can also hear interviews with Jim Smith, chairman Walter Dickie, and a sneak preview of Eddie Parker's African jazz workshops with local children.

Look out too for some Brecon Jazz specials on the digital TV channel BBC Four in the autumn.

Jazz in the Field - Bridgend - July 7

The Park Lane Big Band play jazz from the Miller/Ellington era right up to today's contemporary sounds in Jazz In The Field at Longacre Farm, Coity, Bridgend, on Saturday 7 July.

The event is aimed at raising funds for the local Riding For The Disabled centre, and you're welcome to bring a picnic, a blanket or a gazebo for the evening.

Gates open 6pm with the music from 8 till 11pm - tickets cost £10 for adults, £7.50 students and children, £30 for a family ticket (two plus two) with group discounts also available.

For details see
www.jazzinthefield.com or phone 01656 653502 or text the word 'jazz' to 07858 465 384.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bobby Wellins for Cafe Jazz

British tenor sax maestro Bobby Wellins is the main attraction of the July/August summer programme at Cafe Jazz in Cardiff.

He'll be appearing with the John Critchinson Trio as part of a double bill with the Italian Connection (Andrew Fawcett/David Logiri) on Thursday 9 August. Critch will be warming up with his own gig at Cafe Jazz the previous night.

Other highlights include Mornington Lockett on August 16, Berlin-based funk rockers Solid Airbag on July 19, Paraguayan harp/guitar from the Ramos-Scheider Duo on July 25, and The Amigos on August 30.

On July 26, Cardiff Jazz Society unveil the fruits of A New Generation, an educational project giving young students the chance to learn and perform with experienced musicians including Dick Hamer and Paula Gardiner.

Bellydance fans should look out for A Night in Tunisia on Thursday 23 August, when I'll be hosting an evening of Middle Eastern music with live dancers, musicians and top Arabic tunes on CD.

Cafe Jazz is Cardiff's premier venue for jazz, blues and more, with live music five nights a week on the ground floor of the Sandringham Hotel on St Mary Street.

Here's a reminder of the weekly line-up:

Mondays - Jazz Attic Jam Session
Tuesdays - Preservation Jazz Society - traditional/swing
Wednesdays - Various local acts and visiting stars
Thursdays - Various local acts and visiting stars
Fridays - Blues Dragon - late night blues

For full details see

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dynamite Dream with Maggie Nicols

Vocalist Maggie Nicols appears with her new band Dynamite Dream at the Memorial Hall, Newport, Pembrokshire, on Thursday 28 June.

Expect some original arrangements of jazz, rock, pop and soul standards along with their own compositons and some sensitive and exciting free improvisation.

The material ranges from Rodgers & Hart, Miles, Monk, Bill Evans, Hendrix and Joni Mitchell through to Lila Downs and the Aphex Twin.

Maggie describes the music as "...more universal than world, as explosive and ambient as a dynamite dream. It's music that comes from a deep place, moving, mesmerising, whether you're listening intently or up on your feet ... we are groovy, funky, edgy, smooth ... sensuous dissidence is a good description."

The band features Maggie Nicols on vocals and keyboards, Steve Howlett guitar, Ajijo bass and Sam Christie on drums, percussion, turntables.

Support comes from the raga and folk influenced Mirage, and there'll be world cuisine food available.

Doors open at 7.30pm - tickets cost £8 or £6 concessions, available on the door or in advance from Wholefoods of Newport.

Phone 01239 820673 for further details, or visit the gigs page at www.maggienicols.com to hear two tracks by Dynamite Dream for a taste of what to expect.

Caldicot Jazz Festival - September

Fans of traditional and mainstream jazz should look out for the annual Caldicot Jazz Festival, taking place in the Monmouthshire town from Saturday 29 September to Monday 1 October.

As usual, it's at the Caldicot Choir Hall in Mill Lane - here's the line-up:

Saturday 29 September - starts 4pm
New Old Fashioned Jazz Band
5 Go Swing
Heart of England Jazz Band

Sunday 30 September - starts 4pm
Caldicot School Band
Jazz Folk Band of Gold
Byron Jones Big Band

Monday 1 October - starts 8pm
Round the Horn with guests

More details from Roy Davies of the Round the Horn Jazz Society - phone 07708 023401 or email roy @ roundthehorn.co.uk

See the festival website at www.caldicotjazz.co.uk

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cardiff Jazz Festival - Saturday venue change

Please note that Saturday's programme of events at the Cardiff Jazz Festival has moved to a new location.

They'll now take place at The Social, Miskin Street, Cathays instead of Callaghans.

Keith Tippett's Tapestry album launch is at 8pm, followed by the Dolan/Nash Quartet at 10pm and the Jonny Bruce Sextet at 10.45pm.

See www.myspace.com/cardiffjazzfestival for full festival details.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Abersoch Jazz Festival - June 8 to 10

There's a feast of jazz on the Gwynedd coast this coming weekend as Abersoch holds its annual jazz festival.

Overseas attractions include Dixi from Norway, the Freetime Old Dixie Jass Band and the Oriental Jazz Band from Holland, Bria Skonberg from Canada, and Claire McKenna from the USA appearing with the Gambit Jazzmen.

Local favourites include Marcia Pendlebury, Huw Warren and the Gwynedd and Anglesey Youth Jazz Band.

See www.abersoch.co.uk/jazzfestival/ for full details.

Friday, June 01, 2007

All That Jazz at Glo Bar

Glo Bar in Churchill Way, Cardiff city centre, is rebranding its Friday nights of jazz and related activities.

Resident bands include the Jones O'Connor Group, Top Shelf Jazz, Freak Unique, and the What The Butler Saw burlesque troupe.

Meanwhile DJs including Andy Loveless, Andy Powell, Spud, Murph45, Clarence Bodiga and others offer a range of jazz, breakbeat funk, northern soul and more.

Admission after 10pm is £2, it's free before and to NUS card holders.

See www.myspace.com/globarcardiff for more details.

Lleuwen - jazz/folk CD and tour

The vocalist who won acclaim for her work on Huw Warren's album of Welsh hymns returns with a solo album fusing jazz and Welsh folk music.

Lleuwen Steffan first emerged as a member of the north Wales jazz band Acoustique, before moving to London where she performed in Ronnie Scott's, The Vortex, the 606 Club and in Paris.

The new album Penmon - named after her Anglesey home - marks a departure for Lleuwen, who is perhaps best known for her interpretations of other people’s work, notably the Duw a Wyr/God Only Knows hymn project with Huw Warren.

Her return to Wales has heralded the beginning of a new creative phase and provided the inspiration for this collection of mostly original tracks.

"Penmon has given me these songs … they are Penmon's songs," says Lleuwen.

The album also includes an arrangement of Y Darlun by T. Rowland Hughes as well as a track co-produced with Mr Phormula (Ed Holden) written to compliment the words of historical Welsh poet T. Gwynn Jones.

Penmon will be released in Wales on June 18th and throughout the rest of the UK on July 30th, with distribution by Proper. The album is also available from
www.sainwales.com or digitally through Itunes.

Lleuwen will be touring through the summer to promote the album:

June 16th - Galeri, Caernarfon
July 6th - Ty Siamas, Dolgellau

July 13th - Ty Newydd Sarn, Penllyn
July 17th - The Vortex, London
July 19th - Klinker, Nunhead, London
July 20th - The Salisbury, London
July 21st - Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau
July 27th - Pentraeth Hall, Anglesey
August 9th - National Eisteddfod, Mold
August 10th - Rainbow Enlightenment Festival, Chepstow
August 24th - Greenbelt Festival, Cheltenham
August 28th - Dempsey's, Cardiff

See www.myspace.com/lleuwen for more details - you can also read her profile at bbc.co.uk/jazzinwales