Review: Pershore Jazz Festival

Fred Stone reports on a little-known but well-programmed swing and mainstream festival on the banks of the River Avon

In August we attended the Pershore Jazz Festival held, as usual, in the grounds/buildings of Pershore Horticultural College. This is a small festival featuring mainly British artists without any very big internationally known names, although Jeff and Anne Barnhardt and the Bohem Ragtime Band represented the USA and Hungary respectively. It is all very friendly with the venues (four) being within two/three minutes’ walk, at the most, of each other.

Camping and B &B are available on site, the drinks are priced, I suspect, at student prices and their kitchens supply hot food, all at reasonable prices so nobody gets ripped off here. One price per day covers all the sessions from mid morning until about 10.30-11.00pm.

Some of the artists this year were Digby Fairweather's Half Dozen, Craig Milverton, Amy Roberts’ Magnificent Seven, Thomas "Spats" Langham with Hot Fingers, John Hallam, Jamie Brownfield/Liam Byrne Quintet, Pete Allen, Remi Harris, Graham Smith (the festival organiser) and our favourite, Mellow Baku (pictured) and Mellow Tone.

Baku's group comprised Ben Cummings (t), Alan Bateman (tb), John Hallam (reeds), Tom Kincaid (p), Rachel Hayward (g) Tony Sharp (b) and Nick Millward (d). This lady (also known as Mellow Avstreih) just gets better and better, with terrific phrasing, changes of notes/tune and a wonderful way of singing jazz.

This festival ought to be far better known and all the details of what goes on at Pershore Jazz can be found on their website:

Photos by Barry Kesterton

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