Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Brecon Jazz 2010

Sarah Dennehy and her team brought to Brecon a program which help create an atmosphere of hopes realised from pretty well every style of ‘jazz’ on earth – from Acker B to Rachel Z via Pee Wee, BVSC et al. The relaxed feel to the Christ College environs with seating, shade under a 200 year old oak tree thoughtfully hired in for the occasion couple with good food and drink at reasonably prices from sustainable sources. This certainly gave the boat a good shove for a weekend of joy well away from the briney. In the land of song a man with a lamb burger in one hand and a pint of the foaming in the other is king, or at least Prince of Wales. Incidentally if you wish to purchase any prints from wales please visit ellisvisuals. I stayed out at Glasbury again, frighteningly close to the River Café where I managed to relax for a few minutes one evening.I’ve never been to a gig at 11.00am in all my born days as it simply did not compute – still can’t believe it happened, until I look at the pictures of Scott Hamilton and his band playing wondrously well to a full market hall at the said time. A great start to the day where later Idania Valdes and Papi Oviedo from Buena Vista Social Club brought sweet scents from Havana, beauty, rum and cigars carried in an enthralling concert anticipating the appearance of the Omara Portuondo – a singer who says so much in a single glance.

Peter King

Peter King

Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela
Keith Tippett
Keith Tippett
Julie Tippett

Julie Tippett

Erik Truffaz

Erik Truffaz

Pee Wee Ellis - Funk Brother

Pee Wee Ellis - Funk Brother

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton

Idania Valdes Casuro

Idania Valdes Casuro

Papi Oviedo

Papi Oviedo

Hugh Masekela and the Chicago's Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Hugh Masekela and the Chicago's Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Manchester Jazz Festival 2010 – a selection from

Amongst the highlights of this year’s MJF was a live broadcast on BBC R3 of 3 compact sets presented at the Band on The Wall, the city’s iconic intimate music venue. The Arun Ghosh Quintet, Stuart McCallum and the Simcock/Walker/Swallow/Nuasbaum chappies all did their great things (not at the same time of course) to an enrapt audience in the house and I’m sure at home – speaking of which I missed Phil Bancroft’s excellent As Small as the World unfortunately.  This project explores what ‘Home’ means to us today.

Meanwhile back at BotW (and RNCM where SWSN Band the next evening) I’ve compiled a set of pictures from this evening and a selection from some other performances and sound checks. Steve Swallow is one of my favourite bassists (check out Carla Bley/Steve’s site) and a good sport, he didn’t mind too much when I showed him the picture of him tuning his lovely Citron signature bass looking like an orangutan – just  wish I could ape his playing….

'New Reed' - Arun Ghosh: Band on the Wall

'New Reed' - Arun Ghosh: Band on the Wall

Stuart McCallum: Band on the Wall

Stuart McCallum: Band on the Wall

Simcock/Walker/Swallow/Nussbaum: Band on the Wall

Simcock/Walker/Swallow/Nussbaum: Band on the Wall

Steve Swallow: RNCM

Steve Swallow: 'Tune up', RNCM

Mike Walker: 'Tune up.' - RNCM

Mike Walker: 'Tune's up too!' - RNCM

Gwilym Simcock: RNCM

Gwilym Simcock: RNCM

Adam Nussbaum and Steve Swallow: RNCM

Adam Nussbaum and Steve Swallow: RNCM

The Quartet: RNCM

The Quartet: RNCM

Outside Broadcast Vehicle BotW

Outside Broadcast Vehicle BotW

catch you next time...

catch you next time...

Stan Tracey Big Band – Wigan International Jazz Festival 2010

Stan Tracey’s performance with his big band – which features many of the leading British jazz players of course was a highlight of the 25th festival. The quartet’s concert at the cricket club next day with Clark Tracey, Simon Allen and Andy Cleyndert when they played on a very sticky wicket – monsoon season!

Stan Tracey

Stan Tracey

Stan T_WGN10© William Ellis-9

Stan T_WGN10© William Ellis-8

Dave O'Higgins

Dave O'Higgins

Alistair White

Alistair White

Mark Nightingale

Mark Nightingale

Clark Tracy

Clark Tracy

Alan Barnes
Alan Barnes
Stan Tracey

Stan Tracey

closeStan T_WGN10© William Ellis

Stan Tracey Big Band
Stan Tracey Big Band

Monty Alexander Trio – Wigan International Jazz Festival 2010

The Monty Alexander Trio always comes up with the goods – this manifestation of the group  with Hassan W. Shakour on bass and Obed Calvaire on drums were superb. Each player exuded warmth and joy in their  playing and wide smiles. The set had all the pace and rhythm you could wish for and included some of Monty’s arrangements of Bob Marley songs – ‘No Woman No Cry’ and ‘Redemption Song.’

I was lucky enought to see Bob on his first tour at the Hardrock Manchester  and his last when he was still able to lift an audience of 5,000 with his great spirit, music and love.

The trio succeeded in bringing that atmosphere of rejoicing in life breathing through each tune – and for a while Wigan hovered over Jamaica like a sweet smelling rain-filled cloud. The siver lining was provided by Montyy’s heart-felt rendition of ‘Sweet Lorraine’ – promising to return to Wigan to marry the lady – we are sure he will!

MTYALEX_WGN10_MG_5772©William Ellis

'I'll come back to Wigan - and marry sweet Lorraine'

‘I’ll come back to Wigan – and marry sweet Lorraine’

MTYALEX_WGN10_MG_5860©William Ellis

MTYALEX_WGN10_MG_5733©William Ellis

Bobby Shew with WYJO – 25th Wigan International Jazz Fesival 2010

Wigan has a thriving jazz scene which surprises many people – including their self-effacing selves (is that grammatically about right?) and has produced an award winning youth jazz orchestra which has played all over the world, performing with many leading musicians (and drummers) – more . The jazz festival is without doubt one of the premier jazz events in the U.K. and has over the years hosted more than it’s fair share of top artists. People like (in no particular order) Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, Dave Brubeck, Jimmy Smith, Maynard Ferguson, Roy Hargrove, Benny Golson, Al Foster, Eddie Henderson, Johnny Griffin, Ray Brown, Count Basie Orchestra and of course pretty well every great British player has taken the road to Wigan Pier (sorry, I had an Orwellian nightmare lastnight).

Stan Tracey and his Big Band appear on Wednesday – he has a new CD release very soon I’m told.

Bobby Shew has long been a favourite at Wigan and was making a very welcome return to play at the festival’s new main venue which is spacious and atmospheric. It’s pretty well perfect I must say – a bar at the back of the hall would have made it so purely so people could turn round and shush those concientiously propping it up as they quaff. Barfly’s develpoped a wonderful ability to simultaneously speak louder as the night wears on – if only to make themselves heard above the irritating self righteous shushers and the music. Happy nights at the Mill on the Pier come to mind!

I particularly enjoyed Bobby’s straight-from-the-heart flugel playing. He’s still hitting the stunning highs too and had some warm anecdotes to tell between tunes, including one about a wonderful seven years on the stand with Blue Mitchell who he spoke of as his brother – riotous party nights in LA known as ‘Blue and Shew.’

Bobby Shew

Bobby Shew

Bobby Shew

WYJO and Festival Director Ian Darrington MBE

WYJO and Festival Director, Ian Darrington MBE

Boby Shew with WYJO Directed by Ian Darington
Boby Shew with WYJO Directed by Ian Darington
Ben Darrington playing what it was made for - a ''73 Jazz

Ben Darrington - jazz played on his mojo'd ''73 Fender Jazz

Trumpeters often ask, what is this? How did it get here?

Trumpeters often ask, what is this? How did it get here?

- he's remembered!

- he's remembered!

Bobby Shew with WYJO Directed by Ian Darington

Bobby Shew with WYJO Directed by Ian Darington

Bobby Shew seen in his Flugel Horn

Bobby seen in his Flugel Horn

Scottish National Jazz Orchestra – Wigan International Jazz Festival 2010

As you know I just love Scotland and this band is one of the reasons why. Lead by Tommy Smith and featuring the very wonderful Brian Kellock with a stellar line-up of players, including The Very Talented Mr. Quigley this is a band that really motors. A high-octane ‘Tribute to Woody Herman’ set the mood for a compelling first set. Tommy Smith’s arrangement of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ was brilliantly colourful.

SNJO perform 'Rhapsody in Blue' arranged by Tommy Smith

SNJO perform Gershwins 'Rhapsody in Blue' arranged by Tommy Smith

Alan Benzie (Scottish Young Musician of the Year winner) keeps an eye on Brian

Alan Benzie (Scottish Young Musician of the Year winner) keeps an eye on Brian Kellock

Actually Alan's turning pages - at the right time

Actually Alan's turning pages - at the right time

Alyn Cosker on drums

Alyn Cosker on da drums

Tommy solo

Tommy Smith

SNJO_WGN10_MG_5449©William Ellis

A Very Goodnight from Wigan

Glasgow Jazz Festival 2010 – A wee taste!

The Very Talented Mr. Quiqley

The Very Talented Mr. Quiqley

The Very Exuberant Mr. Quigley!

The Very Exuberant Mr. Quigley!

Mira Opalinska International Quartet make their way to the stage

The Mira Opalinska International Quartet enroute to the stage

Mira Opalinska

Mira Opalinska

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Mose Allison

Mose Allison

John Nugent and Bob Sneider sit in - Brian Kellock's arm too - quiet late, I'd been drinking Irn Bru responsibly.

John Nugent and Bob Sneider sit in - Brian Kellock's arm too - quiet late, I'd been drinking Irn Bru responsibly.

Fiona and friends

Fiona and friends at the Thistle after gig jam on Friday

Joe Temperley solo

Joe Temperley solo

Glasgow Jazz Festival is the one that I have attended for the past 20 years – and this year’s was right on the button as usual with a mouth-watering program of homegrown and international artists who inspire and excite in equal measure. Young players are given the big stage at the Old Fruitmarket (my all-time favourite venue) and they fill it beautifully. All the artists, young and mature show a complete committment to their art as they keep the music moving forward on a journey with instinct as their guide.

The venues always feel so warm and relaxing, seeming to enfold the musicians in an atmosphere of bonhomie drawing the very best from all those on stage – and the audience. The new after-hours venue at the Thistle worked well, Ryan Quiqley’s crack about the room was very funny – it was the kind of place you play twice – once on the way up, and once on the way down. Thankfully the large (with bar of course) room soaked up the energy and great music played and by the Sunday night it was a club you didn’t want to leave.

Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra - MD Stewart Stewart Forbes

Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra - MD Stewart Stewart Forbes

Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra at Glasgow Jazz Festival 2010

Wynton Marsalis: Glasgow

Wynton Marsalis

Walter Blanding Jr.

Walter Blanding Jr.

Joe Temperley

Joe Temperley

Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra - Sax and cases

Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra - Sax and cases

Conference

In conference before the concert

Walter Blanding Jr.

Walter Blanding Jr. runs through a piece

In Concert

In Concert

Wynton Marsalis - Away to New York on the last night of a highly successful Eutopean tour

Wynton Marsalis - back to New York

This was my 20th Anniversary Shoot (and I’m only 29!) at the wonderful Glasgow Jazz Festival, where I have photographed many of the leading figures in music – Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, B.B.King, Horace Siver, Max Roach, Don Pullen, Bobo Stenson, Roy Hargrove and many more . The great Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra lead by Wynton Marsalis closed out another great festival on Sunday evening. We chatted briefly as I made the portrait of Mr. Marsalis and I was able to congratulate him on the announcement of his family being uniquely honoured in receiving a National Endowment for the Arts award.  It was lovely to meet up with Joe Temperley and photograph him as he warmed up his bari. The Orchestra then played the last night of their European tour to an enrapt audience at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. They were tighter than a tight thing, performing Ellington compositions so eloquently  I’m sure the Duke would have loved it madly too.

I have now linked up two excellent blogs which are featuring the Glasgow Jazz Festival – London Jazz Blog by Sebastian Scotney and Euphbass by Jennifer Pollock