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Jazz Articles

Courtney Pine

The British Jazz Scene - Meet the Best Jazz Musicians

British jazz was formed through the recordings and performances of US visitors to the UK. From the late 1940s British "modern jazz", significantly influenced by American bebop, began to emerge, led by John Dankworth and Ronnie Scott, while Humphrey Lyttelton others played traditional jazz.
From the 1960s British jazz took on more influences, including blues and world music. The best UK jazz musicians have gained international reputations, even though British jazz has remained a minority interest.

Courtney Pine

Courtney Pine, CBE was born in London in 1964 and the principal founder in the 1980s of the black British jazz band Jazz Warriors. Although known primarily for his saxophone playing, Pine is a multi-instrumentalist, also playing the flute, clarinet, bass clarinet and keyboards.
Pine began his music career playing reggae, touring in 1981 with Clint Eastwood & General Saint, before his debut album Journey to the Urge Within in 1986. The Jazz Warriors recorded two albums under Pine's leadership: Out of Many, One People, in 1987, and Afropeans, in 2007.
More recently, his music integrates drum and bass and UK garage with contemporary jazz styles. He runs his own band and integrates many contemporary UK jazz musicians in his performances.
He was awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2000, and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2009 for services to jazz music. He is now considered one of the modern British jazz masters.

Soweto Kinch

Born in 1978 in London, Soweto Kinch began playing saxophone at the age of nine after learning the clarinet. As a child he moved to Birmingham where he met Wynton Marsalis and became passionate about jazz, first concentrating on piano and later in his teens switching to alto saxophone as his main instrument.
Kinch participated in Tomorrow's Warriors, a music education and artist development organisation co-founded in 1991 by Janine Irons and Gary Crosby and played with Crosby's Jazz Jamaica All Stars collective. In 2001 Kinch, with bassist Michael Olatuja and drummer Troy Miller, supported Courtney Pine at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club and performed at the Royal Festival Hall and the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival and released his second album A Life in the Day of B19 in 2006.
He is now a radio presenter of Jazz Now, supporting and encouraging the best UK jazz musicians today.

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All-Time British Jazz Masters

Jazz is a musical genre that came to Britain from the USA around the 1920s. The earliest encounters were with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in London in 1917 which inspired a new breed of musicians who would later shape a British jazz movement.
Sir John Dankworth, CBE, born in September 1927 was a clarinet and alto-sax player as well as being a jazz composer who was inspired by the bebop revolution of the 1940s and from it created his own, unique voice, which moved British jazz from skilful imitation to genuine independence.
His jazz career began after studying at London's Royal Academy of Music where jazz was frowned upon. He attended the Paris Jazz Festival in 1949 and played with Charlie Parker and recorded with many respected jazz names, some of whom were full-time members of the Dankworth big band at one time or another. He also toured and made other live appearances, performing with some of the best jazz masters of the age, including George Shearing, Toots Thielemans, Benny Goodman, Herbie Hancock and many others.
Humphrey Richard Adeane Lyttelton, born in 1921 was an English jazz trumpeter and broadcaster. After the second world war, he met one of the catalysts of Britain’s post-war jazz boom, George Webb, and joined Webb's Dixielanders which was the beginning of his career.
He was a popular figure in the revival of traditional jazz and led his own eight-piece band, inspired by the trumpeter Louis Armstrong, who later applauded Lyttelton’s bluesy chords and sharp, distinctive staccato trumpet work. An expanded repertoire for the band, including works by Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie, helped develop the careers of many British musicians, including Tony Coe, Alan Barnes, Bruce Turner and others.
In the 1990s, Lyttelton featured in several Giants of British Jazz tours, as one of the best jazz masters of the time.
Born into a Jewish family in East London in 1927, Ronnie Scott was one of the most highly rated and universally recognised British jazz masters. He was a jazz tenor saxophonist who began playing in small jazz clubs at the age of 16. He toured with trumpeter Johnny Claes from 1944 to 1945 and with Ted Heath in 1946.
He worked with Ambrose, Cab Kaye, and Tito Burns and also worked with Johnny Dankworth. He, like a number of other British musicians of his generation, worked on the Cunard liners in order to visit New York City and hear jazz, where he was influenced by Charlie Parker and other bebop musicians.
From 1953 to 1956, Scott led a nine-piece band and quintet which included Pete King, with whom he later opened his jazz club, used for performances by the up-and-coming generation of domestic musicians.

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Jazz Festivals in the UK to look out for

There are several jazz festivals in the UK, covering every region, so there is no need to travel far. From the full camp-out experience of a musical festival at Glynde Place to the 10 days of eclectic music and events in the capital and in Manchester, there is something for everyone in the UK.
Here are some forthcoming jazz festivals to look out for: EFG London Jazz Festival The EFG London Jazz festival returns from 15 to 24 November 2019. The first shows announced reflect the festival’s ethos to be ambitious and exciting, fresh and innovative.
Over 25 years, the Festival, once part of Camden Festival, has transitioned to become London-wide and is now established as London’s largest city-wide music festival with 10 days of eclectic music and events, making it one of the world’s best jazz festivals. Each year the London Jazz Festival has its own character and momentum across clubs and concert halls.
One of the longest-running jazz festivals in the UK, the 30th edition of the Glasgow Jazz festival takes place between 22 and 26 June 2019. It offers not just traditional jazz, but free jazz, northern soul, world music, blues and hip-hop crossovers and has hosted some of the biggest names in jazz, blues, soul, funk, R&B and world music across the years. So far, headline acts include George Benson, Soweto Kinch and the Darius Brubeck Quartet.
Jazz guitarist George Benson will play at the Royal Concert Hall, while at the Old Fruit Market, you can get tickets to see the trio Fly.
The programme also includes established stars, new names and local jazz talent, a late-night jazz club, film screenings and more. From 22 – 31 July the 21st edition of the Manchester Jazz Festival will include 88 gigs at key venues and jazz clubs around the city and at the central Festival Pavilion in Albert Square.
This UK festival blends international headliners, original commissions and new talent over a 10-day programme including The Impossible Gentlemen, who launch their new album, Let’s Get Deluxe; the world premiere of Irwin Mitchell MJF Originals commission ‘New Seeing’, composed by Beats & Pieces bandleader Ben Cottrell; Tim Garland and his band Ant Law, Jason Rebello, Asaf Sirkis, Perhaps Contraption and Abstract Orchestra.

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World's Best Jazz Festivals

For jazz aficionados, there are jazz festivals taking place around the world including those hosting the world’s finest musicians, through to those focused more on local talent and a bit more laid-back. All are guaranteed to deliver great music. Here we have listed some of the best world jazz festivals throughout the year.
Celebrating its 15th year in 2019, Jakarta’s Java has become known as Asia’s best jazz festival. In 2019 the Festival took place between 1-3 March across 11 stages with artists ranging from legendary band TOTO, newcomer Raveena, 2019 Grammy Awards nominated artist known as H.E.R., R+R=NOW the supergroup containing Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin, and Justin Tyson, Parkdrive the Indonesian band whose reunion had been eagerly awaited, to special collaboration projects such as Barry Likumahuwa Tribute to Roy Hargrove, plus music projects from Sony, Warner Music and Yamaha.
In a city synonymous with jazz, you can hear the best of the best from New Orleans’ annual celebration. The organisers have added an extra day to mark the 50th anniversary of the festival celebrating New Orleans music and culture in 2019.
The event’s weekends run Thursday through Sunday, 25 – 28 April and 2 – 5 May, drawing fans from around the country and around the world. The main line-up of 114 acts include The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Katy Perry, Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band, Chris Stapleton, Diana Ross, Van Morrison, Al Green, J Balvin, Earth, Wind & Fire and other great names, making it one of the world’s best jazz festivals.
Celebrating its sixth anniversary between 8 and 12 May 2019, XJAZZ Festival launches the season of jazz festivals in Europe in Berlin. This festival emphasises further development of world jazz with influences from other music styles, including pop, funk, hip-hop, African rhythm, electronic, improvisation and more.
The festival is special because of this diversity of co-operation, bringing together different artists together and creating new projects. The headline acts include Nneka, Kate Tempest, Acid Pauli, Mocky, Brandt Brauer Frick, Meute, KOKOROKO, Sepalot, Gilad Hekselman, Niklas Paschburg, and more.

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Planning That Special Occasion When You are a Jazz Fan

Whether your special occasion is an anniversary of your birth or marriage, your engagement or your wedding day itself, when you are a jazz fan, you want to incorporate your love of the genre into a jazz-themed party. The music, costumes and décor are all open to interpretation and time period, which allows for planning a jazz-themed wedding or anniversary with an exciting atmosphere and a night to remember.
Here are some planning ideas for you to consider. Whether your jazz-themed party is to celebrate your wedding or your anniversary, you want a momentous and happy day that will be cool enough for your younger guests, yet sophisticated for older guests too. At your wedding, it is likely you and your spouse-to-be will have chosen your outfits, but you can also set a theme for your guests to have fun with.
The Jazz Age was the 1920s, when World War I was over, technology was advancing with cars and radio and life was good. This was the age of flappers, the modern woman whose signature style was extravagant beads, along with a slinky, loose dress and bell-shaped cloche hats. Women’s jewellery was influenced by Art Deco, with bold shapes and colours, symmetry and streamlined designs.
Men's suits became less formal, simpler and baggier. Bright colours and more casual clothing also became popular. Hats were also all the rage for men, with felt fedoras and tweed driving caps among the most popular. When planning a jazz-themed wedding, you can go as far as you want with your dress code, with just feathers and pearls to full on flapper outfits for the women and Zoot suits for the men.
If you want inspiration, The Great Gatsby is a movie set n the 1920s with all the fashion trends of the time. You can of course choose jazz from the 1940s and The Cotton Club era with the great jazz musicians Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Duke Ellington.
At the entrance to the venue, have an array of hats for guests to choose from, to lift their outfit to your theme. As guests arrive at the party, have someone click away with a camera to capture all the fun attire. Then, you can hold an impromptu contest to announce the “Most Snazzy, Jazzy Look” winner.

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