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The Jazzlines Month - August 2013

Summer tends to be a quiet period for jazz promoters with a year-round programme; it’s a time of summer schools and festivals.

Jazzlines does, however, have its own summer school for young musicians wanting to learn about jazz, running from 19 to 23 August 2013. Participants from last year’s course have really had an impact since last August. They have met once a month on a Saturday afternoon, working with tutors, Sara Colman and Percy Pursglove. They performed with great success at the Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival at the beginning of July and, more recently, at an evening session at mac.

The participants from this year’s course will be presenting a short showcase on Friday 23 August in Symphony Hall Cafe Bar at 4pm; entry is free and everyone is welcome.

The Friday Jazzlines Free Gigs in Symphony Hall’s Cafe Bar are taking a break, as in every year, for the month of August. We’re still presenting two events in the open air in Brindleyplace though – Oozells Square by IKON to be precise. They will run from 5.30pm to 6.30pm and the first one features the Bryan Corbett Quartet. Bryan is back and is fully fit, and indeed playing really well. The second one is on Friday 23 August again from 5 to 6.30 and will feature the Lydia Glanville Quartet. Lydia played a fine set at the Cafe Bar earlier this year and her music should work well in the open air. On both occasions we will move inside if the weather lets us down.

The Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival and the Birmingham International Jazz Festival have been and gone, but just recently, on 2 and 3 August, I spent a very enjoyable two days at the Manchester Jazz Festival. This summer, I have had the privilege of attending two excellent festivals in beautiful settings, the first Jazz a Luz up in the High Pyrenees, the second at Molde on the Norwegian fjords. Read my thoughts on both over at the Jazz Breakfast. The Manchester Jazz Festival, by contrast, struck me as being a model of how to create a music festival in an urban setting without sacrificing the feel of a festival.

The festival is based around a teepee, a very tall and intimate tent, right in the heart of the city in Albert Square by the city’s Town Hall. I heard six performances in total in the teepee, three on the Friday and three on the Saturday, and was impressed by the standard of the music, the excellent feel of the venue and the size of the audiences. For me the band Dice Factory was the highlight of these sessions; it’s a band led by saxophonist Tom Challenger which featured one of our Jazzlines Fellows, Dan Nicholls, on piano. Dan is preparing to go off to West Africa to study African music from that area in the autumn, but with Dice Factory he was part of a very tight rhythm section that underpinned Tom’s sax solos.

Another hightlight of the teepee programme was the appearance of the Birmingham based John Fleming Quartet which really engaged the large audience with a good mixture of original tunes and jazz standards. The band featured Jazzlines BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellow, drummer Jonathan Silk. Jonathan is also preparing to travel later this year, in his case to USA to study with leading American jazz composers.

We return to Symphony Hall Cafe Bar on 6 September with a jazz funk group featuring Robbie Moore on Hammond Organ. This acts as a warm up for the later funk session in the Town Hall: Funknight with Brand New Heavies, PB Underground, Colman Brothers and Sam Redmore.

Finally, the BBC has announced that there will be in 2014 an inaugural Young Jazz Musician of the Year as part of the Young Musician of the Year competition – more info here.

– Tony Dudley-Evans, Jazz Adviser