Rye Jazz Festival returns for third year

The third jazz and blues festival in Rye includes Claire Martin, Joe Stilgoe and Simon Spillett in its August Bank Holiday lineup

Historically, Kent hasn’t been oversupplied with jazz festivals, so the Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival, gathering momentum in its third year, is a welcome new fixture in the UK jazz calendar.

This year's edition will take place in the picturesque East Sussex town from Thursday 21 to Monday 25 August.

Among its headliners are Claire Martin, Jason Rebello, Simon Spillett (pictured) and Joe Stilgoe, along with free events including performances at the Butter Market and on the Ypres outdoor stage.

The festival opens on Thursday 21 with various events at restaurants and pubs across the town, including guitarist Andy Williams and vocalist Sarah Jane.

On Friday the shows include vocalist Julia Biel (once billed as “Billie Holiday meets Bjork”) and her trio at the George in Rye and Latin cabaret ensemble Chico Chica at the Mermaid Inn, with the first night of the Late at the Lounge series at the newly opened Jazz Lounge continuing into the small hours.

Pianist Jason Rebello will play at the Jazz Lounge on Saturday 23 with singer Joy Rose, with music from his back catalogue as well as his latest album, Anything But Look. Saturday’s entertainment also includes the free Fat Tuesday 2nd Line Band on the streets of Rye, Chris Ingham's celebration of Hoagy Carmichael at the Mermaid Inn, and Kitty LaRoar and The Lucky Victims at the George.

The Simon Spillett Quartet headlines Sunday’s festivities at the Jazz Lounge, and there's veteran self-styled “sex symbol” Earl Okin at the George and soul singer/songwriter Ola Onabule at St Mary’s Church. Monday’s line-up features vocalist Claire Martin with vocalist/pianist Joe Stilgoe at the George, London-based quartet Alice in Grooveland on the outdoor Ypres Stage, and saxophonist Derek Nash, who closes the festival at the Mermaid Inn.

Altogether, the festival features over 40 concerts in four days at various bars, hotels and restaurants in the town as well as on the Ypres stage. Other highlights include the duo of guitarist Antonio Forcione and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale, flautist Gareth Lockrane and his band Grooveyard (with Alex Garnett on sax), Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion blues band, former NYJO trumpeter Paul Higgs (playing from his album Pavane), the Renato D’Aiello Quartet, and bassist Herbie Flowers with Jazz Breakfast (featuring Neil Angilley, Charlotte Glasson and Chris Spedding).

Tickets for all events can be booked either online or directly with the venue, with a full programme and more information available at ryejazz.com or from festival director Ian Bowden, email: ian@ryejazz.com or tel: 01892 661906.

Sally Evans-Darby

Photo by Jerry Storer

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