Spring jazz festivals, home and away
We preview some of the leading jazz festivals in the 2012 spring season, in the UK and abroad:
The rather ambitious, wide-ranging and nicely situated Jazz Sous Les Pommiers festival (12-19 May) in Normandy has announced so far Pink Martini; Kurt Elling and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra; Don Byron New Gospel Qnt (pictured); Archie Shepp and Joachim Kühn duo; Ibrahim Maalouf; Christophe Marguet Sxt, w. Steve Swallow, Chris Cheek and Cuong Vu; and Ninety Miles, w. Nicholas Payton, David Sanchez and Stefon Harris. More info in March at jazzsouslespommiers.com.
Reporting last year's Coutances event in Jazz Journal, Derek Ansell said: "The 30th edition of the Jazz Sous Les Pommiers festival was one of the best yet, with weather and the god of logistics smiling on the event and the punters present in big numbers. Whereas in the UK jazz festivals tend to revolve around mainstream combos, fusion, girl vocalists and popular names in the tradition, the Coutances style focuses on modern, contemporary and avant-garde jazz with a splash of major popular names such as Ron Carter and Jamie Cullum. Good music, good weather, good organisation, a typical French city setting with a cathedral on top of a hill and all within easy striking distance of southern England. Who could ask for more?"
The Sage Gateshead hosts the 8th Gateshead International Jazz Festival from Friday 23 March to Sunday 25 March, with bookings so far including Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca; Porkchop and Pee Wee Ellis; Peter King Quartet; Curtis Stigers; Marcus Roberts; Ambrose Akinmusire; Andy Sheppard with Trio Libero; Courtney Pine's Europa; Pat Thomas's Black Top, w. Steve Williamson and Orphy Robinson; Alyn Shipton and Gwyneth Herbert celebrating Peggy Lee; Zoe Rahman; Tord Gustavsen; and Neil Cowley w. string quartet. More at thesagegateshead.org.
Reporting last year's Gateshead event in Jazz Journal, Fred Grand said: "Gateshead International Jazz Festival is now in its seventh year and its relatively short history is inextricably linked to The Sage music centre. A compact and user-friendly event, GIJF dishes up in a single weekend almost every flavour that our music can offer and is now firmly established at the forefront of the UK’s regional events."
The Jersey Jazz Festival, a leading mainstream event in the 1980s and 1990s, is back (30 March to 1 April), with Dennis "Badbone" Rollins and Velocity, the Simon Spillett Quartet, the Linley Weir Trio, the Blam Quartet and more. A £199 package is available including return ferry from Weymouth, three nights at the 3* Mayfair Hotel, breakfast and evening meals, access to all Jersey Jazz Festival events, and Jazz Sunday Brunch. Extra nights and flight packages are available on request. To book: 01534 759 529. More from jerseyjazzfestival.com.
The 6th Norwich Jazz Party organised by Jerry Brown runs from Saturday 5 May to Monday 7 May and among its feast of mainstream performers are: Harry Allen, Alan Barnes, Bob Wilber, Bucky Pizzarelli, Eiji Kitamura (once dubbed Japan's answer to Benny Goodman, pictured), Houston Person, Ken Peplowski, Rossano Sportiello, Roy Williams, Scott Hamilton, Warren Vaché, Dave Cliff, Dave Green, Enrico Tomasso, Jim Galloway, John Allred, John Pearce, Karen Sharp, Nicki Parrott, Rebecca Kilgore and Steve Brown. More at norwichjazzparty.com.
Reporting last year's Norwich event in Jazz Journal, Peter Gamble said: "Now in its fifth year the Norwich Jazz Party once again captured the imagination of committed mainstreamers who flocked to the Norwich Airport Holiday Inn for three days of the music they know and love. Organiser Jerry Brown is to be congratulated on putting together a first-class programme that featured plenty of familiar faces and enough fresh ones to pre-empt any suggestion that mainstream is standing still."
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