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 17, 2007

Brecon Jazz on TV

There's a chance to see highlights of Brecon Jazz 2007 on the Welsh TV channel S4C starting this weekend in a series of hour long highlights programmes:
  • Saturday 18 August - 9.10pm
  • Friday 24 August - 10.30pm
    (digital only - maybe a repeat of Sat 18)
  • Saturday 25 August - 9.20pm
If you're outside Wales you can see S4C on Sky Digital channel 134.

For further details see the website at www.s4c.co.uk/jazz/e_index.shtml - hope you can read the text better than I can!

A series of themed Brecon Jazz programmes will be shown later in the autumn on the digital channel www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour

theJazz grabs a third of a million

Bosses at national digital radio station theJazz say they're delighted with their first set of listening figures.

According to the quarterly RAJAR survey, theJazz attracted 334,000 listeners across the UK in the three months from April to June 2007.

This was the period in which theJazz introduced presenters and programmes to the mix of continuous music with which the station had launched on Christmas Day.

The station is heard by 1% of the population with each listener tuning in for an average of seven hours a week.

Darren Henley, managing director of theJazz, said: "This is a great start for our new station. We are already the UK's biggest jazz radio station - and we're the fastest growing DAB Digital Radio station."

You can hear theJazz on DAB digital radio, Sky channel 0113, Virgin cable channel 961 and live online at www.thejazz.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Steve Waterman Big Band Jazz Course 2008

Steve Waterman will be holding his third Residential Contemporary Big Band Course in April 2008 at the Diplomat Hotel in Llanelli.

On Thursday April 3rd Steve will be holding one-to-one classes prior to the main Big Band Course which runs from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th April.

It's billed as another opportunity to be part of a unique course focusing on contemporary big band music hosted by one of Europe’s finest jazz soloists, composers and educators, covering ensemble, improvisation and sectional playing.

The course is aimed at intermediate to advanced adult players of trumpet, trombone, saxes, bass, piano, guitar, drums and percussion. Cost is £280 inclusive and places are limited.

For details email lorraine @ swjo.co.uk or phone 01446 713301.

See the website at www.swjo.co.uk

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Jazz Connection returns!

It's a pleasure to reveal that my Jazz Connection radio show returns on a brand new community station called Radio Cardiff.

The date and other details are to be confirmed, but it's likely I'll be doing a show every other Monday evening once the station goes on air in September.

Broadcasting from the heart of the bay, Radio Cardiff is largely run by volunteers and will reflect the multicultural mix of the Welsh capital.

You'll be able to hear the station on 98.7 FM in the Cardiff area and live online at www.radiocardiff.org

In the meantime I'm still producing the BBC Jazz in Wales website as part of my day job - all material I receive will be considered for use on both the website and the radio show.

Thanks to everyone who supported my six summer series on BBC Radio Wales - hope you'll tune into the new show!

More details as and when I get them.

Brecon Jazz 2007 - official response

Organisers of the 24th HSBC Brecon Jazz festival have acclaimed it as one of the finest in the event's history as thousands of visitors converged on the mid Wales town to enjoy more than eighty concerts.

Festival Director Jim Smith said: "Attendances at concerts and Stroller events was high throughout, and our first Artist-in-Residence Joe Lovano was a major success, and we will certainly look to do that again next year.

"Joe was a great personality to have around throughout the weekend, and he gave his time generously to help and inspire young Welsh musicians.

"There were so many other stand-out concerts, including Jessica playing in the UK for the first time in 10 years, Curtis Stigers, Jazz Jamaica – so many. There was a storming set by Jools Holland and Lulu, and because the festival has such a special place in Jools' heart, we have now asked him to become one of our Patrons.

"And wherever you went there were fond tributes to the great George Melly, whose name will always be linked so closely to Brecon Jazz."

Outgoing Brecon Jazz Chairman Walter Dickie said: "This year has been tremendous, with a first-class musical programme, and much greater local community activity through the Brecon Fringe.

"It was also so welcoming to see the colour and musical entertainment return to the streets of Brecon. The event is as strong as it’s ever been as we approach next year's Silver Jubilee."

Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Welsh Assembly Government Heritage Minister, visited the festival on Sunday: "Brecon Jazz is now one of the best established and most popular festivals in Wales.

"It's an unique festival which attracts excellent performers from around the world. The festival is also a fixture in the Welsh tourist calendar, and has been nominated as one of the finalists in the National Tourism Awards for Wales for Best Major Event.

"I would also like to pay a personal tribute to the contribution Geroge Melly played, not just as an artist, but in putting Brecon Jazz on the map. He was sadly missed this year, and will be in years to come."

Organisers are now making special plans to celebrate the 25th Brecon Jazz next year - keep checking www.breconjazz.co.uk for updates.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Brecon Jazz 2007 reviewed

Revellers paid tribute to the late George Melly as the 2007 Brecon Jazz Festival got underway on Friday night.

Cardiff's Adamant Parade Band led a traditional New Orleans style funeral dirge to the tune of Just A Closer Walk With Thee which turned into a joyous parade - surely what George would have wanted.

Jools Holland was the Friday night headliner but with tickets for the concert sold out long ago there was still plenty on offer elsewhere around the town.

Festival regulars the Root Doctors led by the irrepressible Mike Harries could be trusted to deliver a crowd-pleasing gumbo of New Orleans funk, soul, jazz and more.

A hard act to follow, but the Dave Stapleton Quintet did just that. The Cardiff-based pianist delivered a powerful but controlled set of melodic European contemporary jazz which - if they want - has great potential to reach out to a rock audience at Glastonbury or Green Man.

Spacious numbers from the forthcoming album The House Always Wins showed that the band is more than capable of building on the nationwide acclaim they won for their debut When Life Was In Black And White.

Outside the main venues, the prospect of the return of street music on Saturday and Sunday was eagerly anticipated, but the festive atmosphere was already present in the pubs and clubs taking part in the Brecon Fringe.

There, bands like Red Eyed Fly put the emphasis firmly on rockin' rhythm and blues. Indeed, it's hard not to marvel at the wild-eyed antics of frontman Mike Bird and see that the spirit of Melly lives on!

All this and Burlesque Betty's Brecon Review for the even more adventurous visitor...

For the rest of the weekend I mainly took a Stroller's point of view, though the Chris Barber Big Band on Saturday night and Ray Gelato on Sunday night were both, as expected, polished acts of the highest quality.

Ray may have suffered a little competition for audience numbers from a string of swinging bands in the Beacons Stroller venue with The Jive Aces and Ocean's Seven keeping the jivers jumping throughout Sunday evening.

My own band Wonderbrass had a warm reception in our Sunday afternoon gig in the Captain's Walk - whenever we're told we're a pleasure to watch I always reply that it's a pleasure to play.

And it was great to see music back on the streets, especially Slim Lightfoot's upbeat slide guitar blues - just enough to build up the atmosphere without becoming too big an obstacle to negotiate our way between the venues.

As always, it's impossible to see everything, so feel free to add your comments and reviews of Brecon Jazz 2007.

See some festival photos on the BBC Mid Wales website.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Llanelli Music and Jazz Festival - August 26

Jeff Hooper and Steve Waterman headline a one day festival at the Diplomat Hotel, Llanelli, on Saturday 26 August.

Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams join Jeff and Steve in a sixteen piece big swing band, supported by the Steve Waterman Octet, in the main concert starting 7.30pm with tickets priced £15 and £10.

But there's free music from midday from artists including Aled Rees, Descarga Cubana, the Morriston Big Band and many more.

For details call Derek Lawton on 01446 713301 or the Diplomat Hotel on 01554 756156.

See also