Preview: Southport Jazz Festival

Jazz on a Winter's Weekend returns to Southport for the 13th time, from 2 to 5 February 2017, with a varied international line-up

Southport's Royal Clifton Hotel will play host to Jazz On A Winter's Weekend in early February, with a programme of 12 concerts, a gala dinner and a vocal workshop for aspiring jazz singers. It's the 13th edition of the weekend festival, the first to be organised by incoming festival director Neil Hughes.

Leading UK performers include Clare Teal (pictured right) with the Swingtime Big Band, Derek Nash and Alan Barnes. They will be joined by Australian piano trio Trichotomy, New York's Seamus Blake Trio and French trumpeter Fabien Mary's quartet (pictured below left).

Hughes has said that he will continue with the ethos of past editions of Jazz On A Winter's Weekend, which has proved popular with fans: "I have incorporated the flavours that Southport has become well known for - international artists, challenging and contempory jazz, some big band music and of course the best in British with a lovely north-west smattering."

The Royal Clifton Hotel features two concert halls, as well as a spa and dining room, ensuring that jazz fans have plenty to do over the weekend even if the winter weather is inclement.

There are two new features for 2017: an "early bird" gig on Thursday evening starring Liverpool's The Weave and a gala dinner on Saturday night with entertainment provided by Liane Carroll, one of the UK jazz scene's best-loved singers. Carroll will also be leading the vocal workshop.

Altogether, according to Hughes, fans can expect "A rich tapestry of smooth vocals, swinging small groups, exciting big band arrangements and with a definite nod to the international scene. Pianos, guitars, horns aplenty, woodwind maestros and a sneaky trombone and clarinet in there too. Just beautiful music delivered by passionate professionals for your enjoyment." 

The programme is as follows:

Thursday 2 February 
The Weave

Friday 3 
Jam Experiment
Clare Teal with the Swingtime Big Band

Saturday 4
Liane Carrol vocal workshop
Seamus Blake Trio
The Train & The River
Liane Carroll Gala Dinner
Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet
Fabien Mary Quartet

Sunday 5
Ben Cox Band
Birmingham Conservatoire Ellington Big Band
Alan Barnes Octet
Iain Dixon-Mike Walker-Les Chisnall Quintet

Weekender tickets giving access to 12 concerts are £150. Tickets to the vocal workshop cost £25 and tickets for the gala dinner (which takes place at the same time as the Derek Nash concert) are £40. Day tickets are also available.

For further details and ticket bookings go to the Southport Jazz Festival webpage.

Bruce Lindsay

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