Preview: Norwich Jazz Weekender

The Jazz Weekender brings two days of top quality jazz to the Fine City of Norwich, including sets from Claire Martin, Enrico Tomasso and Kit Downes' new project, The Enemy

The Jazz Weekender, organised by Simon Brown of Norwich Jazz Club, makes its second appearance this summer. The weekend in question, 29 and 30 August, will feature 14 shows, from big band swing to a Balkan-inspired piano trio, Cuban classics and songbook standards, a celebration of George Shearing and an innovative new band led by one of Norfolk's finest jazz exports. The Jazz Weekend will bring some fine music to this fine city.

Brown says "The term 'jazz' can mean different things to different people. I hope that from amongst the 14 shows we're staging at this year's event, music fans will find shows to enjoy that align with their sense of the genre - and maybe even discover something new." Twelve concerts will take place in the club room of OPEN, a city centre music venue. Two Sunday night shows, by vocalists Georgina Jackson and Gabrielle Ducomble (pictured right), will be hosted cabaret-style in the Redwell Bar of the Maddermarket Theatre, a five-minute walk from the main venue.

Local favourites DixieMix kick festivities off at midday on Saturday with their trademark mix of Dixieland and good humour. Bebop comes courtesy of the Damon Brown Quintet, with Leon Greening on piano and Matt Skelton on drums. Skelton also appears as part of the Dave Newton Trio with bassist Jeremy Brown, in the company of singer Claire Martin. Sarabanda, an Anglo Cuban sextet, close the Saturday programme with salsa and son. Partisans will bring their own brand of contemporary jazz with a rockier, experimental edge.

The Majamisty TriO, from Norwich's twin town of Novi Sad, makes its Norwich debut with one of the Weekender's most intriguing shows. The trio, led by pianist Maja Alvanović, draws inspiration from Erroll Garner, European classical music and Balkan folk, adding touches of mystery and quirkiness to create its own sound. Simon Brown's own quintet, with guest vibist Roger Beaujolais, will present the George Shearing tribute, Back To Birdland.

The weekender also sees the return to Norfolk of four of its own young jazz musicians. Guitarist Nick Fitch will perform with his 4tet: Tom Dunnett will bring the Dunnett/Baxter Big Band, which he co-leads with fellow trombonist Tom Baxter; Freddie Gavita plays trumpet with Fletch's Brew. Pianist and composer Kit Downes (pictured left) will be bringing his new trio, The Enemy, featuring bassist Petter Eldh and drummer James Maddren.

The full line-up is as follows (all shows at the OPEN club room unless otherwise indicated):

Saturday 29 August -

1200 DixieMix 
1400 Nick Fitch 4tet
1600 Majamisty TriO
1800 Damon Brown Quintet
2000 Claire Martin with the Dave Newton Trio
2200 Sarabanda

Sunday 30 August -

1200 The Dunnett/Baxter Big Band
1400 Back To Birdland
1600 Enrico Tomasso (pictured right by Bruce Lindsay)
1800 The Enemy
2000 Partisans 
2200 Fletch's Brew

Sunday 30 August at the Maddermarket Theatre

2000 Georgina Jackson and the Chris Ingham Trio
2200 Gabrielle Ducomble

Tickets for individual concerts are priced at between £9.00 and £15.00 in advance (reduced rates for under-25s). Saturday or Sunday Day Passes are £60.00 in advance. More information is available at the Norwich Jazz Club website.

Bruce Lindsay

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