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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jazz in Haverfordwest

Trumpeter Janusz Carmello will star in the first in a new series of monthly jazz sessions at the Pembroke House Hotel, Barn Street, Haverfordwest, on Wednesday 12 March.

Declan Connolly of Span Arts said the Spanjazz club would be a showcase for the best local jazz talent and visiting stars.

"Span Arts has always supported jazz with a long running series of jazz nights at The Plas Hyfryd Hotel in Narberth and occasional star concerts at The Queens Hall," he said.

"We believe that the time is right to develop a programme of jazz in the county town with a policy of any jazz as long as it swings.

"We are looking for a sponsor who would like to help this club to develop," he added.

"A small amount would enable us to book high profile guests from time to time and provide a showcase for young local talent.

"Today, arts funding is hard to find, and it is a labour of love to present jazz, but it can have a commercial benefit for the business. We can offer media coverage and a chance to take clients on a fun night out."

In April the featured band will be tenor saxophonist Dominic Norcross from Narberth and his quartet.

Potential sponsors can contact Declan on 01834 869323.

See www.span-arts.org.uk for more about the jazz sessions. You can contact the hotel on 01437 779622 or see www.pembrokehousehotel.com

Jazz at Ten Feet Tall

Ten Feet Tall is another new venue in Cardiff offering jazz, funk and soul among its attractions.

It's the former Topo Gigio/Fontana di Trevi premises in Church Street, now being relaunched on March 7 by the owners of Buffalo Bar.

Friday nights feature Hot Source in the subterranean bar - DJs playing classic funk, future jazz, roots and Motown.

See www.myspace.com/thisis10feettall or phone 029 2022 8883 for more details.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mumbles Jazz & Blues Festival

The BBC Big Band and the Hamish Stuart Band are among the attractions of this year's Mumbles Jazz & Blues Festival near Swansea.

It takes place over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, Friday May 2nd to Monday May 5th.

Tickets are on sale at the Mumbles Tourist information Centre (opposite boots the Chemist) and at Swansea Jazzland.

Full programme and ticket information can be found at the festival website

There are special discounts for Swansea Jazzland members (only available at Swansea Jazzland) www.swanseajazzland.co.uk

Don't forget also the Swansea Jazzland Sunday Lunch at Swansea Rugby Club on March 9th, 1pm till 3.30pm. It includes a two course hot buffet meal and the Dave Cottle Trio plus special guest.

Tickets available from Swansea Jazzland on Wednesdays (not available at Swansea Rugby Club) or phone 07802 912789 to reserve your table.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Burum on tour

Contemporary jazz interpretations of traditional Welsh folk tunes can be heard in a forthcoming tour by the sextet Burum.

Led by trumpeter Tomos Williams, the group also features Ceri Rhys Matthews on Welsh bagpipes, Daniel Williams on tenor sax, Dave Jones on piano, Chris O'Connor on bass and Mark O'Connor on drums.

They'll be performing numbers from their album Alawon at the following venues:

  • Thurs 6 March - Swansea Dylan Thomas Arts Centre
  • Fri 7 March - Pontypridd Clwb y Bont
  • Thurs 13 March - Dolgellau Ty Siamas
  • Fri 14 March - Caernarfon Galeri
  • Sat 15 March - Holyhead Ucheldre Centre

  • See www.burum.org for more about the band.

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Jazz nights in Prestatyn

    La Freccia Italian Restaurant at Ffrith Beach, Prestatyn, is introducing live jazz twice a month on Monday nights.

    The Hotfoot Jazzmen will be the resident band with occasional guests on March 31, April 14 and 28, May 12 and 26, and June 9 and 23.

    Admission is free to diners - call the restaurant on 01745 859 530 for details.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Harlem Hot Feet - March 7 and 8

    The Jiving Lindy Hoppers, The Harry Strutter Hot Rhythm Orchestra and Tony Jacobs appear in a touring tribute show to New York's famous Cotton Club.

    You can see Harlem Hot Feet at the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen, on Friday 7 March and at the Riverfront, Newport on Saturday 8 March.

    The show celebrates the exuberance and energy of Harlem in the 1920s and 30s by recreating the exciting dance routines and paying tribute to the vocalists of the Jazz Age.

    Carmarthenshire Theatres are offering a 2 for 1 deal on full priced tickets for the Lyric performance, and a free shuttle bus serving nearby villages - call 01267 232632 for details.

    For information about the Newport show, call the Riverfront on 01633 656757.

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Jazz Connection playlist 18 February

    Here's what I played on the Jazz Connection on Monday 18 February on Radio Cardiff 98.7 FM:

    Rebirth Brass Band – Take It To The Street
    Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis – Afro-Jaws
    Clare Teal – All For Love
    The Numbers Racket – Swingin' Like a Wreckin' Ball
    Colman Brothers – El Nino (Big Band Mix)
    Reem Kelani – Galilean Lullaby
    Dave O'Higgins Quartet – You Must Believe In Spring
    Interview - Monty Coffin, Welsh Jazz Society
    Imperfect Tenth – Birdland
    Gabo Brown and Orchestre Poly-Rythmo – It's a Vanity
    Portico Quartet – News From Verona
    Buddy Rich Big Band – Hello I Love You

    You can hear the show online via my Jazz Connection website which includes all previous playlists.

    The next show is on March 3 at 8pm - keep sending me your CDs and gig info for use on the air.

    Click here to read more about the funding threat to the Welsh Jazz Society.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Porthcawl Jazz Festival - April 11-13

    Chris Barber, Jacqui Dankworth and Geoff Eales are among the stars of this year's Porthcawl Jazz Festival from April 11 to 13.

    Another highlight will be the Stan Tracey Quartet featuring Bobby Wellins performing their famous Under Milk Wood suite with narration by Philip Madoc.

    There'll be support from local artists across the weekend including Jim Barber, Graham Watkins, Keith Little and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Big Band.

    See www.porthcawl-jazz-festival.com for full details.

    Calcutta Club seeks bands

    The Calcutta Club is a new upmarket bar/club/restaurant just opened in Womanby Street in Cardiff - it's the building previously occupied by Sugar, Club CF1, and the Dog and Duck.

    They're looking for small jazz bands or acoustic acts to perform in their Live Lounge on Wednesdays and Thursday nights - they're aiming for the 25+ age bracket rather than indie kids so they don't want anything too rough and ready.

    Having seen the place I think it would suit duos and trios best - anything more than a four-piece would struggle for space.

    For info, the owners are the family who own the Juboraj Indian restaurants - they've named the venue after the famous polo club.

    If you're interested in performing there, phone 029 2023 5533 after 5pm any evening and ask for Babru or Saj, or email your details to babru @ thecalcuttaclub.com.

    Let me know if you get a gig there and I'll give it some promotion on air and online.

    Heavy Quartet in Knighton

    Cardiff's adventurous Heavy Quartet are headlining a gig at Knighton Community Centre in Powys on Saturday 23 February.

    The Brecon Jazz festival regulars will be supported by the Bluesy Wolf Band, which is made up of local sixth formers.

    Doors open at 7.30pm with the first band on at 7.45pm. Tickets cost £8 for adults, £5 concessions and £4 for under 18s. Advance tickets at a discount price of £7 are available from The Bookshop, Broad Street, Knighton.

    There'll be a bar and soup supper available, and free parking.

    For more details call 01547 520224.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    George Melly's Last Stand on BBC Two

    There's another chance to see a moving documentary about the final months of George Melly's life on BBC Two on Sunday 17 February at 10pm.

    Melly, one of the founding patrons of the Brecon Jazz Festival, died in July 2007 at the age of 80.

    The programme follows the larger-than-life jazz legend on his final tour, determined to entertain to the very end despite his increasing frailty.

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    theJazz to close

    National commercial digital radio station theJazz is to close by the end of March, less than a year after its official launch.

    The closure is part of a £9m package of cuts announced today by the station's parent company GCap.

    theJazz proved to be an instant hit, attracting more than 330,000 listeners in its first three months.

    But GCap chief executive Fru Hazlitt said that digital audio broadcasting (DAB) wasn't an economically viable platform, and that the company's future lay in broadband and traditional FM stations.

    To soften the blow, theJazz managing director Darren Henley says jazz will be added to the remit of sister station Classic FM.

    "We remain committed to supporting jazz music and the musicians who make it," he says.

    "From February 25, Classic FM will broadcast two hours of jazz music between midnight and 2am, seven days a week. This programme will be available on FM as well as DAB and will therefore reach a far wider audience.

    "In addition, these programmes will be available to listen to any time of the day or night, up to seven days after broadcast via Classic FM’s listen again service. You can access this service online at www.classicfm.com/listenagain.

    "We will also be adding a rolling jazz music stream to www.myclassicfm.com which will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service allows users to ban and rate tracks, giving them control over what they hear."

    See www.thejazz.com for more about the station - for further details about the closure decision see the GCap website.

    However, hopes that the station could survive have been fuelled by the response of Global Radio, a company currently considering a takeover bid for GCap.

    Global Radio chairman Charles Allen was quoted by www.ft.com as saying that if his company's bid for GCap proved successful, he would not pursue the cutbacks in digital services.

    "If the industry leader is pulling away from digital, the fear must be that the BBC will fill that gap as it did with digital television and it becomes something which will be damaging to the whole industry.

    "So this is something for the whole industry to talk about."

    Friday, February 08, 2008

    Funding threat to Welsh jazz

    There's concern for the future of the Welsh Jazz Society as National Lottery funding for the arts is diverted to the 2012 London Olympics.

    The Arts Council of Wales has announced that it is withdrawing funding for the society, which is the umbrella organisation for jazz in Wales.

    audio Hear Monty Coffin, chairman of the Welsh Jazz Society

    Julie Morgan, MP for Cardiff North, has raised the issue in the House of Commons, claiming it could have serious repercussions for the whole jazz music scene in Wales.

    "I asked the Minister, Phil Hope, whether he would look into the issue of all the voluntary groups that have suffered from the diversion of funds to the Olympics," she said.

    "I told him that I understood that the Welsh Jazz Society, which is run by volunteers, is losing funding as a result of cuts to the Arts Council of Wales from the lottery.

    "The Minister re-emphasised that the Government was protecting the funding of voluntary organisations from the Big Lottery Fund and that Arts Councils and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have announced additional funding through mainstream programmes.

    "I very much hope that jazz in Wales will not suffer in this process and I hope that the Arts Council is mindful of the organisations throughout Wales, often run by dedicated volunteers, who put on music week in and week out to satisfy the needs of a significant numbers of fans.

    "We want to keep all that jazz."

    The Welsh Jazz Society intends to appeal against the decision and is urging all its friends and contacts in the jazz community to support the fight for survival.

    Funding is also under threat for a number of venues that host jazz, including St Donats Arts Centre in the Vale of Glamorgan.

    The venue is asking supporters to write to Dai Smith, chairman of the Arts Council of Wales, Museum Place, Cardiff, to express their disappointment with the decision.

    Meanwhile, the award-winning composer and musician Huw Warren has responded to the news saying it would be sad to lose any funding for jazz in Wales, while calling for the creation of a broader-based Welsh Jazz Services type of organisation, encompassing all varieties of jazz in all areas of Wales.

    Click the Comments button below to read Huw's full response, and to add your own views.

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Reem Kelani in concert

    Palestinian vocalist Reem Kelani will be performing with a five piece band at Taliesin Arts Centre in Swansea on Sunday 24 February.

    Her music encompasses classical Arabic, jazz and folk styles, focussing on traditional songs, or songs based on poems, as a means of affirming the existence of a Palestinian cultural identity.

    The band for this performance includes some leading lights of the UK jazz scene: Ian East (saxophone, flute), Jon Blease (drums), Pete Billington (double bass), Samy Bishai (violin), and Zoe Rahman (piano).

    Tickets cost £12 or £10 concessions, and the concert starts at 7.30pm - further details at www.taliesinartscentre.co.uk

    See www.reemkelani.com for more about her work.

    Monday, February 04, 2008

    Jazz Connection playlist 4 February

    Here's what I played on the Jazz Connection on Monday 4 February on Radio Cardiff:

    Hugo Strasser – Black Night
    Gwyn Jay Allen ft Roy Hargrove – Now You Has Jazz
    Dave Stapleton Quintet – Second Life
    Richard 'Groove' Holmes – Listen Here
    Neil Cowley Trio – His Nibs
    Sheila Landis – Who Will Buy?
    The Blessing – Another Brother’s Mother
    Geoff Eales – Round Midnight
    Gotan Project meet Chet Baker – Round Midnight
    Red Eyed Fly – My Purgatory
    Mike Markey and Nick Jones – This Old Band
    Angelo DeBarre Quartet – Django's Tiger

    Hear the show right now via my Jazz Connection website.

    The next show is on February 18 - don't forget to send me your gig info and CDs for airplay.