Jazz Connection is back - October 8
Just an update on my radio activities - my Jazz Connection series returns to the airwaves on Monday 8 October at 8pm.
It'll be on a brand new community station called Radio Cardiff which launches that very day.
If you're in the Cardiff area, tune in right now on 98.7 FM where you'll hear the test transmissions - mostly a range of funky soul tracks and occasional idents. You'll find Radio Cardiff in between Radio Cymru (96.8 FM) and Radio One (99.5 FM). If you're outside Cardiff, elsewhere in south Wales or maybe even the west country, I'd be interested to know if you can still pick up the station.You might be able to hear the show live online if the station website is ready in time - check www.radiocardiff.org for details.
Jones O'Connor Group: Album Launch
Cancelled: Last Night at the Coal Exchange
A star-studded charity fundraising jazz concert to mark the closure of the Coal Exchange in Cardiff scheduled for September 26 has been cancelled.Organisers from the charity Mencap Cymru say it's been called off due to "unforseen circumstances", but it's understood that sales of tickets priced £25 had been going slowly, despite a bill that included Ian Shaw, Catrin Finch, Claire Martin and Geoff Eales.See lastnightatthecoalexchange.trinitystreetdirect.comGeoff, who had put the programme together, is still scheduled to visit his native Wales with his trio for the following gigs:Sat 6 October - Cardiff - The Gate Arts CentreTues 30 October - Treorchy - Parc and Dare Theatre Weds 31 October - Swansea - St James Social Club
(quartet gig featuring Michael Coates)See www.geoffeales.com for further details.
Jazz 4 Jed
Four days and nights of concerts and workshops will be held in Cardiff from November 8 to 11 to mark the launch of the Jed Williams Memorial Fund.
Jed was well known in a number of roles, primarily as artistic director of the Brecon Jazz Festival until his death in 2003. He was also a founder of Jazz UK magazine, the Welsh Jazz Society and its long-running venue in Cardiff, the former Four Bars Inn, now Dempseys.
The memorial fund is being set up to provide assistance for young jazz musicians from Wales in furthering their musical careers.
Wayne Krantz, Peter King, John Etheridge and the Heavy Quartet are among the artists taking part in the festival, with others to be confirmed.
For further details, see www.jazz4jed.org.uk
See also my Jazz in Wales tribute to Jed Williams
Cafe Jazz hit by traffic ban
Audience numbers at Cafe Jazz in Cardiff appear to have dropped following the introduction of traffic restrictions on St Mary Street, now closed to all traffic except buses and taxis for a six month trial period.With this in mind, I've sent the following email to John Gibson, the Cardiff Council officer responsible for monitoring the situation:---------------Dear Mr Gibson,
I'm writing to express my concern at the effect the closure of St Mary Street to traffic is having on custom at the Cafe Jazz music venue.
I host a bi-monthly bellydance evening and noticed that door takings at the event on August 23 were down by half on the events in March and June.
My event attracts people from all over south Wales, as far away as Swansea, Abergavenny and Chepstow, and even Bristol. However, the people travelling from away have expressed concern at how far from the venue they have to look for street parking now that access to St Mary Street has been restricted. Train services don't run late enough for them and they are unwilling to pay the extortionate rates charged by multistorey car parks in the area. I myself have noted how much easier it is to park on the street in central Bristol, paying just a pound or two into a meter for the evening.
Other promoters and customers of Cafe Jazz have commented that audience numbers on other nights of the week have fallen since the restrictions were introduced. Many of us fear that if you don't reconsider relaxing the ban before the end of the trial period, Cafe Jazz could be forced to close its doors.
This would be a disaster for the city - to lose one of its most significant live music venues. I believe it's the only venue in the city offering live music on all five weekday nights, and its focus on jazz, blues and world music makes it particularly distinctive. Another nearby jazz venue, Dempseys on Castle Street, is also suffering from the traffic restrictions in the same way.
In conjunction with the Welsh Jazz Society (which programmes its events), Cafe Jazz has done more than any other venue in south Wales to encourage homegrown musical talent. Indeed, UK-wide magazines such as Jazzwise and Mojo have recognised Cardiff as being the centre of a burgeoning jazz scene. Bristol doesn't have an equivalent venue or vibrant jazz scene, let alone our neighbouring cities of Swansea and Newport. Even the Brecon Jazz Festival would be poorer without the bedrock of Welsh jazz talent - and indeed the informed, appreciative audience - that Cafe Jazz supports.
In order to safeguard the future of this culturally important venue, can I propose that the traffic ban be relaxed in the following ways as soon as possible:
- St Mary Street be reopened to all traffic from 7pm to 7am Monday to Thursday
- Legal parking be restored to the east side of St Mary Street/High Street
- Legal parking be restored along the section of Westgate Street opposite Yates wine bar where an additional bus stop/taxi rank was opened last year
I hope you and the elected members responsible will consider this as a matter of urgency before we lose a vital piece of Cardiff's culture. I'd appreciate a response to my suggestions.
----------------------Mr Gibson's email address is email@example.com - this was given to me by the council's Connect to Cardiff public information service.If you're a resident of Cardiff, you can also email your local councillors via the website at www.cardiff.gov.uk - worth bearing in mind that 2008 is election year for them!
Huw Warren autumn dates
Huw Warren has the following forthcoming gigs:Sept 21 - Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold - John Parricelli + Huw Warren Trio (Huw Warren, Owen Evans, Zoot Warren) 0845 330 3565 www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk
Sept 22 - Snowdon Inn (Y Fricsan), Cwm Y Glo, Gwynedd - John Parricelli + Huw Warren Trio - 01286 870 289
Sept 28 - Galeri Caernarfon - "Infinite Riches in a little Room" Huw Warren solo - 01286 685 222 www.galericaernarfon.comHe's also touring with Taith Amser in early October (www.myspace.com/taithamser) and with Mark Feldman, Drew Gress and Tom Rainey in mid October.
See www.huwwarren.com for more about his work.
Brazz in Concert with Julian Martin
The Brazz brasserie/bar at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay is staging a new series of monthly music evenings featuring Welsh jazz musicians. Friday 28 September is Brazz at the Musicals, with the Julian Martin Trio featuring Andrew Fawcett on tenor saxophone. It'll be a set of Songs from the Shows, jazz arrangements from Hollywood musicals like Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music, Kiss me Kate and more.
On Friday 26 October the theme will be The Music of Gershwin when the Julian Martin Trio will be joined by Osian Roberts on tenor sax.Both events start at 8pm and admission costs £35 per person including a 3-course supper, 2 glasses of wine, the musical programme, service and VAT. The charge for Brazz Cardholders is £30.To book call Brazz on 029 2045 9000 or email cardiff @ brazz.co.ukMeanwhile the regular Live Jazz at Brazz sessions continue on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month 6.30-8.30pm - no booking required.
Jazz in the Park 2007 reviewed
For the eighth year running, Jazz in the Park was a treat for Pontypool residents and visitors alike.
Once again, there was a good mix of major stars and local favourites, including big names like Humphrey Lyttelton, Jacqui Dankworth, Alan Skidmore and Ruby Turner.
Despite better weather, the festival seemed a lot quieter than last year - see the BBC South East Wales website for my full review and photos of the weekend.
Dave Stapleton in Jazzwise
Cardiff-based pianist Dave Stapleton is interviewed by Stuart Nicholson in the September edition of Jazzwise magazine, being hailed by the writer as a "driving force on the new Welsh scene".Nicholson also gives a four star review to the new Dave Stapleton Quintet CD The House Always Wins, released on September 10.The album is being promoted at the following gigs:Weds 5 Sept - Vortex Jazz Club, London - launch eventFri 7 Sept - Dempseys, Cardiff - DSQ OrchestraFri 14 Sept - Symphony Hall Foyer, Birmingham - DSQSat 15 Sept - Wales Millennium Centre Foyer, Cardiff
- Dave Stapleton/Ben WaghornSun 16 Sept - Crown and Sceptre, Abergavenny - DSQFri 12 Oct - Foyles, London - Dave Stapleton/Ben WaghornWeds 24 Oct - Tour of Serbia inc Belgrade Jazz FestivalSee www.davestapleton.com for more info.