Preview: South Coast Jazz Festival

The second South Coast Jazz Festival brings another strong line-up from the British jazz scene to the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea

Following on from last January’s inaugural event the South Coast Jazz Festival, which aims to highlight the rich and diverse voices at the pinnacle of the UK’s thriving jazz scene, is set for a second outing. The 2016 festival will take place from 21-24 January.

Once again vocalist Claire Martin OBE and saxophonist Julian Nicholas have joined forces, combining their love of the south coast with their professional jazz profiles to organise the South Coast Jazz Festival. The festival will be hosted at the Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, just 15 minutes from central Brighton.

The 2016 festival has been upgraded to a four-day event. Among the weekend's concerts there will be performances from some of the major female vocalists on the contemporary British jazz scene: from Norma Winstone (with The Printmakers), Anita Wardell and Christine Tobin to Imogen Ryall (with the Jack Kendon Quintet) and the co-curator and star of the 2015 BBC Proms, Claire Martin.

The current jazz scene is also represented by the Arun Ghosh Quintet, Nikki Iles (with The Printmakers), post-bop influenced Alex Garnett's Bunch Of Five and the Jack Kendon Quintet. Pianist Gareth Williams and bassist Dave Green will take a backward glance at the history of jazz, with a tribute to Bill Evans and Scott LaFaro. Journalist and broadcaster Kevin LeGendre will give a talk, titled Jazz For Beginners, about the impact of jazz on other musical genres.

For 2016 there will be an emphasis on workshops and education, both at the venue itself and in participating schools, bringing opportunities to the local community to work with Williams, Wardell, Martin and Nicholas in a variety of settings. A composition commission for a young choir and an extended Jazz For Juniors project will focus on the festival’s commitment to supporting jazz in the wider community in an inclusive and innovative way.

Festival-goers can expect music that ranges from a "super-swinging jazz dance spectacular" with Pete Long’s Ellington and Ella (featuring Claire Martin, pictured left) to performances from contemporary British musicians such as saxophonist Mark Lockheart (with The Printmakers) and guitarist Phil Robson (with Christine Tobin).

For further information and to book tickets (which are available for individual concerts and events), go to the South Coast Jazz Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay

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