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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New course replaces Glamorgan summer school

Organisers of the cancelled Glamorgan Jazz Summer School have arranged a one week course at Trinity College of Music in Greenwich, London, from July 27 to August 1.

Course directors Dave Wickins and Buster Birch will be joined by a number of tutors who previously taught at Treforest, including Pete Churchill, Geoff Simkins, Chris Batchelor, Dave Cliff, Liam Noble, Steve Watts, Alison Rayner and Dave Hassell.

The college is located within the Wren-designed King Charles Court at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, and limited accomodation is available near the town centre.

See www.trinitysummerschool.co.uk for details.

In March the University of Glamorgan announced it was dropping the jazz course, which had taken place in Wales for more than thirty years, from its annual summer school because of funding issues.

It said the jazz course was one of several which didn't meet the university's objectives of "widening access and student progression" onto its Treforest campus.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Doubts remain over St Donats future

Staff at St Donats Arts Centre in the Vale of Glamorgan are concerned that the Arts Council of Wales has yet to reinstate its £45,000 grant following a successful appeal against a decision to withdraw funding.

Despite an independent panel deciding that the ACW had made a wrong decision to withdraw the centre's grant, the council decided to call for further reports at a meeting last week.

The centre near Llantwit Major has hosted a string of jazz gigs by international and local artists as part of its varied programming, including Georgie Fame and the late Humphrey Lyttelton among its attractions over the last year.

St Donats chairman John Clarke said: "We are shocked that the Arts Council has not automatically restored our funding but instead has called for further reports from its officers and a review of the options.

"This continues the uncertainty which is highly damaging to the Arts Centre whose funding still runs out in July.

"The Arts Centre has been under threat of closure for the last three months and that threat remains a very real one whilst the Arts Council’s bureaucracy grinds on."

Vale of Glamorgan Assembly Member Jane Hutt said: "I regret that the Arts Council for Wales has not immediately reinstated the full funding base of St Donats Arts Centre following their successful appeal.

"As Vale AM, however, I am pressing for what I hope will be fruitful discussions about the future funding of the Centre and that appropriate funding sources will be identified".

The Chairman and General Manager are seeking urgent talks with senior officials of the Arts Council of Wales with the aim of immediately reinstating the centre's grant.

See www.stdonats.com for more details.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Jazz Connection playlist 28 April 2008

Here's what I played on the Jazz Connection on Radio Cardiff 98.7 on Monday 28 April:

Humphrey Lyttelton – Bad Penny Blues
Tony Kofi Quartet – If I Spoke My Mind
Dee Dee Bridgewater – Afro Blue
Jones O'Connor Group – A Crow for Every Crow

Jukka Eskola – 1974
Dylan Howe's Unity 4 – Law Years (Rehearsal)
Joe Williams – Get Out Of My Life Woman
Neil Cowley Trio – Scaredy Cat
Lee Jones – One Little Blue Note
Watcha Clan – Balkan Qoulou
Alboran Trio – Autumn Mist
Humphrey Lyttelton/Elkie Brooks – Do Your Duty
Dr Feelgood – Oyeh!

Hear the show online at www.jazz-connection.co.uk

The next show is in two weeks time on Monday 12 May - send your CDs and gig info to me at Room G089, BBC Wales, Cardiff CF5 2YQ.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Amigos in residence at Shore Pebbles

Swansea-based gypsy jazz group The Amigos can now be seen in Cardiff every other Wednesday at the Shore Pebbles restaurant in Womanby Street.

The band, led by Gary Phillips, encompasses a range of styles from gypsy jazz to Cajun, bluegrass, country, French and Russian tunes.

The next gigs take place on Wednesday 30 April, 14 May and 28 May - admission is free.

See www.amigos-wales.com for more about the band who have a number of residencies and festival gigs in Swansea and west Wales.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

St Donats hopes for grant reprieve

Staff at St Donats Arts Centre in the Vale of Glamorgan have won a key battle in their campaign against plans by the Arts Council of Wales to cut their funding.

An independent panel has ruled in favour of the venue's appeal against the scrapping of their £45,000 grant.

The centre, which has hosted a string of gigs by international and local jazz artists, is hopeful that the ACW will accept a recommendation to reinstate the grant at a meeting on April 25.

It's understood the panel did not support an appeal by the Welsh Jazz Society over the loss of its £50,000 ACW funding, but the society is also hopeful that the council itself will reconsider their case.

Jazzin' Llangollen - May 9 to 11

Jacqui Dankworth, Dave Stapleton and Kidsamonium are among the attractions of the second annual Jazzin' Llangollen weekend from May 9 to 11.

Festival organiser Huw Warren will also be perfoming with Italian Singer Maria Pia de Vito.

The main programme will be based at the Royal International Pavilion with other events taking place throughout the town.

See www.royal-pavilion.co.uk/jazz for further details.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Jazz Connection playlist 14 April 2008

Here's what I played on the Jazz Connection on Radio Cardiff 98.7 FM on Monday 14 April:

Gil Evans Orchestra – Crosstown Traffic/Little Miss Lover
The Megatons – Shimmy Shimmy Walk
Georgie Fame – Do It The Hard Way
Sensorium – The Wailers of Auchtermuchtie
Da Bone and Saxy Debbie – Night Train
Guajiro Mirabal – Mi Corazon No Tiene Quien Lo Llore
King Django - Buccaneer Bay

King Django interview
King Django - Catch That Train
Art Blakey – Alamode
Julie London – You and the Night and the Music
Nicolas Meier – A Rose in the Pyrenees
Salsa Celtica – Ya Llego

Top Shelf Jazz - Nagasaki
Heavy Quartet – Petite Fleur

Listen to the show at www.jazz-connection.co.uk - don't miss the next show on Monday 28 April.

Send your CDs and gig info to my new office address - Room G089, BBC Wales, Cardiff CF5 2YQ.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Point under threat

The Point music venue in Cardiff Bay is reportedly under threat of closure following a complaint by one of its new neighbours about noise levels.

The converted gothic-style stone church built in 1900 has hosted a wide range of gigs in recent years, including jazz acts such as Roy Ayers, the James Taylor Quartet and Acoustic Ladyland, plus local artists like the Heavy Quartet and Dylan Fowler.

Its importance as a music venue has been heightened by the closure in 2007 of the nearby Coal Exchange.

The venue is appealing against a notice served by Cardiff County Council last November over the issue of noise.

If they lose the appeal in May the owners face a fine of £20,000 which it's feared could result in the closure of the venue.

An online petition has been set up at

For more about the venue, see

See the BBC News website for more on this story.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Edition Records label launched

Cardiff-based pianist/composer Dave Stapleton and photographer Tim Dickeson have launched a new label for jazz, contemporary composition and improvised music.

Edition Records aims to promote new original voices in contemporary music and to provide a platform for established artists to document their work and release pioneering new recordings.

Dave says: "Edition will also be seeking out the best European music, as yet unreleased in the UK, so that we can offer the best possible selection of new contemporary music."

They're also pledging to celebrate the record as artifact in the age of the download by incorporating stunning visuals and graphics in each release.

Edition's first release will be Dismantling the Waterfall, an album of short improvisations by Dave Stapleton and fellow pianist-composer Matthew Bourne, linked by the seventeen lines of a poem by Julie Tippetts.

Future releases planned include albums by Kevin Figes, Paula Gardiner, Keith Tippett, Julie Tippetts, Geoff Eales, Neil Yates and Ben Waghorn.

See www.myspace.com/editionlabel for soundclips and more.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Brecon Jazz memories plus Jazz on the Road

Brecon Jazz is inviting people to share their memories of festivals past as the event celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Organisers are asking fans, visitors, musicians, volunteers, residents and anybody else who's been involved in the past, to send us their memories, photographs and general nostalgia.

Maybe you were there for the first festival in 1984? Or maybe you have a funny story to tell? And if you're a musician who has played the festival, what is it that you remember about the experience?

You can get in touch via
www.myspace.com/breconjazz, join the official Facebook group, or send an email to info @ breconjazz.co.uk

Meanwhile around a hundred junior groovers from schools in Llanelli will get a taste of jazz over the next few weeks when flautist Eddie Parker leads a series of workshops.

Organised by Brecon Jazz and sponsored by HSBC, the Jazz on the Road workshops at Coedcae Comprehensive School and Bryngwyn Secondary School will build up to a performance for friends, family and teachers on July 12, and a chance to perform at the Brecon Jazz Festival itself in August.