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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Preview: Southport Jazz Festival @ Royal Clifton Hotel - February 2 - 5, 2017.

(Preview by Steve T).
This is an annual event in Count [Tony] Eales calendar, which should be recommendation enough in itself. I've almost made it a few times and even had tickets for Jean Toussaint doing Trane a couple of years back, but something came up. No chance of missing this one; there's plenty for everyone and some specific stuff of real interest to me.
The Weave start things off on Thursday evening; a Liverpool sextet - two trumpets, guitar, and rhythm section.
The Jam Experiment (sax, trombone, guitar and rhythm) kick off Friday, followed by the Swingtime Big Band with Emma Holcroft and Clare Teal, which, unsurprisingly has sold out, but the day ends with another big attraction in the shape of Trichotomy, Australia’s own forward-thinking, experimental piano trio who've achieved wide acclaim.
The sax, organ, drums trio of Seamus Blake starts things off on Saturday morning, featuring the omnipresent (and brilliant) Ross Stanley and James Maddren respectively.
This is followed by a highly intriguing proposition: Jeremy Price (bone), Andy Panayi (sax) and Jez Franks (guitar). 
The Train and the River is most famous for featuring on the film of the Newport Jazz Festival of 58. In the liner notes to an album by original artists Brookmeyer, Giuffre and Hall, Roy Carr observes it should have been a recipe for disaster but wasn't, and I'm really excited to hear what these three Birmingham Conservatoire heavyweights will bring to it.    
There's another major British Jazz vocalist in Liane Carroll, for anyone unlucky enough to have missed tickets for the Swingtime Big Band, followed by a standard sax quartet, a recipe for superlatives, and a late bash with another quartet, this time fronted by trumpet and guitar, which sounds equally mouth-watering.
Sunday starts with singer Ben Cox and his band, including rising bass star Flo Moore. This is followed by more from Birmingham Conservatoire and this time their Ellington Orchestra, with special interest to me as a massive Duke fan and because number one son has depped at a rehearsal.
Alan Barnes is guaranteed to be a highlight of any festival and here he's again joined by his sublime all-star octet who lit up the whole of the North East from Ushaw College at Christmas.
Closing the festival is the Dixon, Walker, Chisnall Quintet (sax, guitar, piano)  and, while it's perhaps unfair to single out one, I have a bit of an interest in the guitar and consider Mike Walker one of the greatest guitarists anywhere right now, with an influence on every emerging UK Jazz guitarist, whether they realise it or not.
With apologies for the length of this preview, I feel it's justified by the inordinate quality of the line-up, which any Jazz Festival in any major city would be justifiably proud of.
Tickets for weekend, day or individual sessions are available from: 
www.southportjazzfestival.com or by phoning 07759 994800.
Steve T.

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