Preview: Swanage Jazz Festival

The comprehensive weekend programme of jazz on the Jurassic Coast offers over 60 gigs by established favourites and leading newcomers from the UK scene

The 2016 Swanage Jazz Festival runs from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 July and gives fans the opportunity to enjoy music with a stylistic range from New Orleans to contemporary fusions, performed by the UK jazz scene's leading names and new faces. The event takes place in a beautiful seaside location on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset, with an efficient but relaxed organization run by jazz fans including artistic director Fred Lindop. This year's festival venues include two marquees overlooking the seafront - marquee 1 hosting the traditional jazz programme and marquee 2 welcoming the modern jazz performers. Swanage Methodist Church and the Con Club will also host major concerts, with a range of smaller venues acting as settings for the many free events.

The Kofi-Barnes Aggregation (Tony Kofi pictured right) kicks off the weekend's concerts in marquee 2, which also plays host to bands from established favourites such as the Mark Nightingale-Alistair White Quintet, the Bobby Wellins-Geoff Simkins Quintet, the Dave O’Higgins Quartet (O'Higgins pictured below left) and Art Themen's New Directions Quintet. The Jazz Repertory Company presents its Tribute To Jazz At The Philharmonic featuring trumpeter Ryan Quigley, guitarist Nigel Price and pianist Dave Newton. The Buck Clayton Legacy Band plays music associated with Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges, the Skelton-Skinner Septet performs transcriptions of small-band recordings by Ellington and Count Basie and the Andy Panayi Trio presents Tenor Madness, a tribute to Sonny Rollins.

Other bands performing over the weekend include the Tim Garland Quartet, the Janette Mason Trio and Big Screen, a trio formed by Dave Newton, bassist Tom Farmer and drummer Matt Skelton and inspired by jazz in the movies (Sebastiaan de Krom will be deputising for Skelton at the festival). Chris Batchelor’s Pigfoot reworks some of the trad jazz canon in its own contemporary fashion. Among the younger generation are clarinettist Arun Ghosh's Quintet, trumpeter Henry Spencer's Juncture, singer Zoe Gilby's Quartet and the highly-rated trio of guitarist Remi Harris.

The festival's large classic and swing programme includes Keith Nichols’ Blue Devils; the Buck Clayton Legacy Band led by Alyn Shipton; John Burgess’ Alex Welsh Remembered; Shooting Stars, a modern Dixieland band led Richard Exell, with Amy Roberts; and the musically brilliant and very funny Budapest Ragtime Band. Dave Brennan's Jubilee Jazz Band gets things moving on Friday afternoon with a Steam Train Jazz Dance at Harman's Cross village hall. Dance fans can travel to the event on a steam train which leaves Swanage station at 2.00pm.

Full details can be found on the Swanage Jazz Festival website.

Weekend Stroller tickets and Day Passes are available (the Steam Train Dance must be booked separately).

Tickets can be booked at the festival's ticket page (which includes a postal booking form if preferred) or by phone on 01929 422215.

Bruce Lindsay

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