Preview: Wigan International Jazz Festival




The 30th Wigan International Jazz Festival takes place from 9-12 July, with British stars and tributes to legends of jazz including Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Clifford Brown and Duke Ellington

This year's Wigan International Jazz Festival takes place at the town's Robin Park Arena. There's a mix of jazz artists old and new, with a particular emphasis on celebrating some of the great names of jazz through a range of special tribute concerts. There will also be free events in the town centre and Mesnes Park.

Festival director Ian Darrington said "This is a landmark year for the festival as we reach the 30th anniversary and I would encourage music lovers to check out the programme."

Celebration concerts are the mainstay of this year's festival. Among the highlights, Andy Prior (pictured) and his big band will open the festival with a Thursday evening concert devoted to songs associated with Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller; Pete Long will present his Echoes Of Ellington band with Georgina Jackson on vocals; saxophonist Robert Fowler leads his Gerry Mulligan Concert Band and pianist James Pearson joins the Skelton Skinner All Star Big Band for a concert celebrating Oscar Peterson. The Alan Barnes Quintet will play the Friday lunchtime concert, with compositions by Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Don Byas and Barnes himself.

The three day programme will also feature concerts from young up-and-coming bands including the Johnstone, Jarvie, Lowrie Trio from Scotland, the Simon Reed Octet featuring Laura Jurd on trumpet and Dan Shout's In With A Shout, a septet combining musicians from South Africa and north-west England led by saxophonist Shout.

The packed programme on the evening of Saturday 11 July features three bands. The Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra will open the concert, to be followed by Stan Getz With Strings, with Paul Booth on tenor sax, and Clifford Brown With Strings with trumpeter Ryan Quigley. Early risers can look forward to three morning talks. On Friday morning at 9.00am Alan Barnes will be the speaker for Breakfast With Barnes. Saturday morning features Ian Darrington whose 9.00am talk is titled, somewhat enigmatically, I Didn't Know People In Wigan Did This Kind Of Thing. On Sunday things get under way a little later, at 9.30am, when Pete Long will talk about The Genius Of The Duke.

Rover tickets for the festival weekend will cost £110: tickets for individual talks are £6.00 each, tickets for individual concerts range from £12.00-£20.00. For further information and ticket bookings visit the Wigan International Jazz Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay


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