Preview: Herts Jazz Festival




The fifth Herts Jazz Festival promises its most exciting programme yet, with Claire Martin, Loose Tubes and Big Band Britannia as the headline acts

The festival, which receives support from Arts Council England, takes place on 18-20 September in the Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City. According to Clark Tracey, the festival's director, "Jazz lovers know that they will see the very best of British jazz in a comfortable and friendly venue where the focus is completely on the music and its enjoyment." The festival retains its popular format, with free sessions in the theatre foyer during lunch and dinner intervals and after hours alongside the main concerts in the auditorium.

Loose Tubes (pictured right by Allan Titmuss) will open the festival on the Friday evening. The 21-piece band, which features trombonist Ashley Slater, saxophonist Iain Ballamy and keyboard player Django Bates, will debut tunes from its up-coming album Arriving.

Big Band Britannia will close the festival on the Sunday evening with its first performance of a programme of music by Tubby Hayes and Stan Tracey, including a performance of some of Tracey's big band charts from his Under Milk Wood suite. According to the festival website, the band will feature "a veritable galaxy of UK jazz stars" including guest soloist Bobby Wellins.

Headlining the Saturday programme will be singer Claire Martin (pictured left). Martin will be appearing with Gareth Williams on piano, Arnie Somogyi on bass and Clark Tracey on drums. The festival also promises appearances by Dennis Rollins' Velocity Trio, the Leon Greening Quartet, Julian Arguelles Tetra and the Brian Kellock Trio among others.

The full lineup is as follows:

Alan Barnes Quintet featuring Tony Kofi
Big Band Britannia: the music of Tubby Hayes and Stan Tracey
Brian Kellock Trio
Bryan Spring Trio (free)
Chris Eldred Trio (free)
Claire Martin Quartet
Dennis Rollins' Velocity Trio
Fionna Duncan Trio
Herts Youth Jazz Ensemble (free)
Jim Mullen Organ Trio (free)
Julian Arguelles Tetra
Leon Greening Quartet
Loose Tubes
Maltese Connection
Nat Steele Trio (free)
Nikki Iles & Karen Sharp (free)
The Three Tenors

Weekend, Saturday and Sunday tickets are now available (Early Bird tickets for Saturday or Sunday are on sale until 15 July). Tickets for individual concerts will be on sale from 16 July. Allocated seats are provided at no extra cost.

Tickets can be obtained from the Herts Jazz Festival website, or by phoning the Hawthorne Theatre box office on 0300 3039 620. People who require wheelchair access are asked to contact the box office by phone.

Bruce Lindsay


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