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, September 29, 2008

Chris Hodgkins on tour

Jazz Services UK director Chris Hodgkins returns to Wales in November 2008 for a short tour with his quartet.

They'll be previewing material from the forthcoming album Boswell's London Journal, a suite inspired by the 18th century diary of the young Scot and his friendship with Dr Samuel Johnson.

The quartet is made up of Chris on trumpet, Alison Rayner double bass, Max Brittain guitar, and Diane McLoughlin on soprano and alto saxophones.

The dates are as follows:

Mon 3 Nov - Copper Beach Inn, Abercrave
Tues 4 Nov - Washington Gallery, Penarth
Weds 5 Nov - Cafe Jazz, Cardiff
Thurs 6 Nov - Pembroke House Hotel, Haverfordwest
Fri 7 Nov - Sebastopol Social Club, Pontypool

Chris Hodgkins was a driving force behind Welsh jazz, being a founder of the Welsh Jazz Festival in 1974 and the Welsh Jazz Society in 1978, before relocating to London.

See www.chrishodgkins.co.uk for more about his life and music.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brecon Jazz 25 Years: Legends from the Archive

There's another chance to see some classic moments from Brecon Jazz on the digital channel BBC 2W tonight (Wednesday 24 September) at 9pm.

The hour long programme includes performances from Gerry Mulligan, Joe Pass, Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Wynton Marsalis and George Melly, all recorded by the BBC over the festival's 25 years.

Viewers outside Wales can see the programme on Sky Digital channel 991.

Please note that due to rights reasons this programme won't be available via the BBC iPlayer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jazz Connection playlist 18 September 2008

Here's what I played on the Jazz Connection on south Wales community station GTFM on Thursday 18 September:

Joe Zawinul – Brown Street
Brigitte Beraha – So Simple
Keith Little Trio – Sugar
Billy Cobham & Asere – Gypsy Soul
Surinder Sandhu – Avi's Theme
J.A.M. – Master of the World
Wonderbrass – Hamba Nami
Louis Jordan – Let The Good Times Roll
New Mastersounds – Idris
Rebirth Brass Band – Take It To The Street
Omer Klein – Netanya
Maurice El Medioni - Tu N'aurais Jamais Du
Paula Gardiner – Hot Lament Album Feature
EST – Premonition: Earth
Dominic Norcross Quartet – A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
Soil & "Pimp" Sessions - Mars

The next show goes out on Thursday 16 October from 7 till 9pm - let me know if you have any gig info or CDs for airplay.

You can hear GTFM on 107.9 FM in south Wales or online at www.gtfm.co.uk

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jazzin' up the class with Humie

Cardiff gospel singer Humie Webbe will be inspiring Britain's music teachers to get the most from their pupils as part of the UK's first Jazz in Education day on October 25.

The workshops taking place in central London are part of an initiative to introduce youngsters to the concept of improvisation.

"Few classroom teachers have an understanding of teaching jazz," says Humie. "Classical teachers are competent readers but some are lost without the dots.

"It's all about getting them (the pupils) to use their ears. This is something I've found they struggle with."

Earlier this year Humie led a jazz choir of 80 children at the Hay Festival, and hopes to repeat the feat at Brecon in 2009.

Read this Times Education Supplement article for more about the Jazz in Education day.

If you'd like to register for the event, please call Humie on 07939 375 383 or email education @ jazzservices.org.uk

It costs £80 (£70 for MU/ISM members) but teachers working in LEA-maintained schools in Wales may be eligible for funding from the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) through its professional development funding programme.

Please contact the Professional Development Team for further guidance on 029 20 550 350 or email cpd @ gtcw.org.uk

Jones O'Connor Group tour

The Jones O'Connor Group are preparing for a Jazz Services tour starting next month, including a gig at the London Jazz Festival.

Here are the dates:

29th October - Queens Hotel, Monmouth

2nd November - Milestones Jazz Club, Hotel Hatfield, Lowestoft

7th November - Theatre Harlech, Harlech

8th November - Pembroke House Hotel, Haverfordwest

19th November - Lescar Hotel, Sheffield

21st November - Ten Feet Tall Club, Cardiff

22nd November - Ray's Jazz at Foyles Book Shop, London (CD promo gig 6.00 pm)

22nd November - London Jazz Festival: The Octave Bar, Covent Garden

28th November - The Be-Bop Club, Bristol

See www.jonesoconnorgroup.co.uk for more about their work.

Bilk and Ball Back to Back - October 17

British trad jazz legends Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball join forces for a concert at Theatr Elli, Llanelli, on Friday 17 October.

Tickets for the Back to Back concert cost £15 to £17 and are available from the box office on 0845 226 35 08/09/10.

For more about Acker and Kenny see their websites at www.ackerbilk.co.uk and www.kennyball.co.uk

Friday, September 05, 2008

Jazz in the Park cancelled

Flooded marquee - photo by Richard Saunders

Stormy weather has forced the cancellation of this weekend's Jazz in the Park in Pontypool, due to start tonight.

Two of the marquees were reportedly under four inches of water after the Afon Llwyd burst its banks.

Torfaen Council staff and festival organisers were working hard to recover the staging and equipment before the weather got any worse.

More than fifty concerts were due to take place from September 5 to 7 in four venues around Pontypool Park, with headliners including Stan Tracey, the Grand Union Orchestra, Ubizo and Alan Barnes along with a host of Welsh jazz acts.

Sally Church, Torfaen Council's Head of Leisure and Community services said: "It is with great regret that we have had to cancel this long awaited and anticipated event.

"The organisers have done all they can but the weather has unfortunately beaten us. People who have bought tickets can get a refund from the Congress Theatre."

The box office can be contacted on 01633 868239.

It would have been the ninth annual Jazz in the Park, the second biggest jazz festival in Wales after Brecon.

See www.pontypooljazzinthepark.co.uk for further details.

Thanks to Richard Saunders for the photo.

Jazz FM back in south Wales

Radio station Jazz FM is being relaunched in October on digital satellite, the internet, and DAB in selected areas including Cardiff and south Wales.

Popular shows like Dinner Jazz and the Late Lounge will return alongside presenters Peter Young, Sarah Ward, Claire Anderson and Steve Quirk.

There'll also be new programmes and features such as Mike Doyle's Fierce Angels and Anthony Davis's individual take on the jazz scene.

The station promises a broad range of jazz across the board from smooth to standards, classic soul, blues, bebop, swing, trad, big band, Latin, nu-jazz, fusion and electronica.

Jazz FM will go live on Monday 6 October via www.jazzfm.com and Sky Digital channel 0202.

Later in the month it'll appear on Freesat channel 730 and on DAB in London and the South East, Cardiff and south Wales, Birmingham and the West Midlands, Manchester and the North West, and Glasgow and south west Scotland.

See www.listenincolour.com for more details and a taste of what to expect.

Jazz FM was originally launched in London in March 1990 as the capital's first new commercial radio station for 17 years, with a second station opening in north west England in 1994. It was also launched on digital TV and radio as the new platforms emerged.

The stations had a chequered history as a series of owners tweaked the formats in search of commercial success until 2004-5 when GMG Radio rebranded them Smooth FM, now Smooth Radio, relegating their jazz output to the early hours.

A campaign by fans wanting to hear more jazz on the radio led to the launch of digital station theJazz by rival group GCap in December 2006, but despite attracting audiences of 400,000 within months of launch the station closed in March 2008 as part of a cost-cutting programme.

Meanwhile GMG Radio had kept the name Jazz FM for a service of internet streams and has now hired another group - The Local Radio Company - to relaunch the station on a three year contract with a full schedule of presenter led programmes.

See Wikipedia for a fuller history of Jazz FM.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

New Paula Gardiner album

Bassist Paula Gardiner releases her new trio album Hot Lament on 22 September 2008 on the Edition label.

Paula also plays acoustic guitar and flute on the CD, recorded with Lee Goodall (saxophones, flutes, percussion) and Mark O’Connor (drums, percussion).

Paula Gardiner has been an inspiring presence on the Welsh jazz scene for many years. As well as heading up the Jazz course at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Paula is the Honorary President of the Swansea-based organisation Women in Jazz.

Hot Lament is Paula's first album as a leader for many years - it's described by Edition as "vibrant and forceful, a sheer masterclass in the Art of the Trio".

Paula is currently on tour as part of the Dave Stapleton Quintet, next appearing at Jazz in the Park, Pontypool, on Sunday 7 September.

editionrecords.com for more details.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Humph's Last Stand - Sept 12

Humphrey Lyttelton's 2007 Brecon Jazz Festival appearance - his last concert recording for TV - can be seen on the digital channel BBC Four on Friday 12 September at 10pm.

It follows a programme at 9pm celebrating his life and career - Humphrey Lyttelton: The Jazz Musicians' Jazz Musician.

Humph died in April 2008 at the age of 86 following surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.

The programmes will be shown again at 12.40am and 1.40am later that night.

See bbc.co.uk/music for details of jazz related programmes from the BBC.

Black Mountain Jazz is back

Abergavenny's Black Mountain Jazz club returns at its new venue, the Kings Arms in Nevill Street, on Sunday 5 October.

The Brigitte Beraha Trio will be the opening attraction as part of a UK tour promoting their album Flying Dreams - admission £5.

That's followed on Sunday 19 October by the long-awaited visit of the Dan Stern Group featuring Andy Sheppard.

This gig featuring one of the UK's leading saxophonists is likely to sell out in advance. Tickets are £10 and are available now from Mike Skilton on 01873 832043.

All future BMJ events will take place at the Kings Arms and start at 7.30pm.

See www.black-mountain-jazz.org.uk for the latest details and to sign up to their mailing list.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Jazz in the Park, Pontypool - Sept 5-7

The ninth annual Jazz in the Park festival takes place in Pontypool this coming weekend, Friday 5 to Sunday 7 September.

You'll find around fifty concerts taking place in four venues around Pontypool Park - three marquees and the Active Living Centre.

Headliners include the Stan Tracey Big Band, the Grand Union Orchestra, Alan Barnes, Ubizo with Alan Skidmore, and Dr Teeth.

There'll be support from some of the leading lights of the south Wales jazz scene, including the Root Doctors, Nia Lynn, Burum, the Jones O'Connor Group, Gareth Roberts and others.

Tickets for the headline concerts cost £7 each, with Stroller tickets at £3 for Friday, £4 Saturday or Sunday, or £9 for the weekend.

Call the Box Office on 01633 868239 or check the website at

See the
BBC South East Wales website for my photos and review of last year's event.