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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Preview: Lancaster Jazz Festival - September 16-18.

(Preview by Steve T).
I think it was two years ago when FDT and I made it down for the Saturday sessions at Lancaster and what a fantastic day we had.
Bone maestro Rollins brought his Velocity Trio to the Round with miraculous Hammond monster Ross Stanley and brilliant drummer Pedro Segundo, but, in the Square, we got Paul Edis and his Sextet and the Starlight Quartet, who I've seen a couple of times and they're terrific too. 
Each of the three days begins with a Jazz Breakfast from 10am to noon at Robert Gillows, with music from guitarist Jon Moore and/or pianist/singer Sue Parish and the food is free, though donations are welcome.
On Friday evening the Festival shifts to the Lancaster Brewery which sounds like a fine venue for some live Jazz.
Phil Meadows leads the LRGC Big Band of local young musicians. Meadows, you may recall, composed Life Cycles performed by Jambone, Zoe Gilby and the Royal Northern Sinfonia at GIJF this year.
This is followed by Entropi, a standard quintet with a futuristic outlook making a name in recent times before Meadows returns with his trio to end a night with the pairing of electronics and acoustic bass promising an evening of contrasts.
Saturday is extremely busy with something going on somewhere from 10am ‘til midnight. The introduction of another venue means there are no breaks for band setups and, alternating between Sun Square, a covered stage in a pedestrian area surrounded by cafes, pubs and shops, and the Hall, which I don't know. There's a performance by local school children, expert advice on how to have a career in Jazz and still pay the bills (complete with free food), a harp trio, a bass led quintet from Leeds featuring guitar and tenor, a guitar led quintet mixing Jazz and Gamelan, a guitar/alto quartet featuring members of Melt Yourself Down, Led Bib, Beats and Pieces and Mars Project, a brand new trio from the Toon called F-C-T and a Jazz/electronic sextet from Leeds.
Headlining is Artist in Residence, London-based saxophonist, Cath Roberts with a specially commissioned one-off event featuring her regular quintet and special guests from around Europe and preceded by a Q and A session. This is one of only two events with a cover charge and is in the fabulous Round Theatre, one of the most intimate I've ever been to which puts the musicians right in with the audience.
The Jam Session, if it's the same, is in the pub next door which was most memorable for an elderly gentleman with a square yard of tile he used for tap-dancing, which is exactly the sort of thing that these things are all about.
What could be better after a Jazz Breakfast than our very own Geordie lass Zoe Gilby, with husband Andy Champion on bass, Mark Williams on guitar and Richard Brown on drums?
They're followed by a Lancaster-based Norwegian cellist, another Toon band making a name for themselves, Archipelago, a reeds trio, a piano trio with a penchant for hip-hop and a trumpet/tenor quartet suggestive of Sonny Rollins and John Zorn, which sounds absolutely amazing.
On Sunday afternoon, in the only other gig with a cover charge, nearby Kendal Brewery Arts Centre plays host to one of the current giants of American Jazz, Terrence Blanchard, who lit up GIJF with his electric band E-collective in the spring. This promises to be equally compulsive featuring emerging musicians and instruments unusual in Jazz including French horn, oboe and tuba.
Lancaster is a lovely city if you haven't been, a bit like Durham without the enormous Cathedral, like York I suppose, and there is loads going on with something for everyone with an interest in Jazz or experimental and innovative music in general.
Further details.
Steve T.

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