facebook twitter
printer friendly page

What the Papers Say

Keith Ingham
Sax Appeal
Zoe Frances
British Jazz Legends
Martin Taylor and Alan Barnes
Georgia Mancio
The Unity Stompers and Amy Roberts
Gary Plumley and Jim Mullens
Christ the King Jazz Band and Carisbrooke College Jazz Band

Isle of Wight County Press 26th July 2013

Jazz weekend brings in the crowds

THE man behind this year's Jazz Weekend, Jim Thorn, said it had surpassed all expectations.

All ten of the ticketed gigs last weekend attracted large audiences with the total turnout across the performances around 1,100 people.

Mr Thorn said: "In addition, many of the fringe and outdoor events played to really good crowds and we succeeded in our aim of bringing live music to the public free of charge.

"The jam sessions were really popular especially on the Saturday night in the Castle Inn, where at one point the musicians in the pub had 50 British Jazz Awards between them!"

He said the event looked set to break even from a financial point of view, which meant they could start planning for 2014 with confidence.

Yoppul 24th July 2013

Captivating gig full of highlights

Back for his second gig of the Newport Jazz Weekend after flying in from New York, the great Keith Ingham was joined on Saturday by powerhouse singer Aydenne Simone.

The Keith Ingham Trio was completed by Jon Thorne (bass) and Ken Black (drums), both Island residents who also played with Keith on Friday night. The tightness of the trio would imply that they had had more chances to play together than they do in reality, as was immediately displayed in an opener without Aydenne, It Don't Mean A Thing, plus later in Thelonious Monk's Misterioso.

Aside from his leading of the ensemble, Keith also had opportunities to shine alone, in a stride version of Monk's Well You Needn't and two Matt Dennis tunes. As well as providing a break from the more intense songs, Keith proved that one man and a piano is plenty to captivate an audience.

Isle of Wight County Press 26th July 2013

Sell out gig for Sax Appeal

THE weather wasn't the only thing steaming on a sultry afternoon at the Riverside Centre Newport on Sunday - there was the incomparable Derek Nash and his sax ensemble, Sax Appeal, adding to the heat.

This was a sell-out gig, and rightly so, as a stellar line-up including Derek himself, the Island's own Gary Plumley and jazz weekend artist in residence Alan Barnes cooked-up a sizzling two hours of spectacular non-stop saxophone music.

If it was boiling in the hall, it must have been crippling for the musicians on stage but that did not stop them delivering tunes of the highest quality. Band leader, Derek Nash ruefully remarked mid way through the set that the fans meant to cool-off the musicians had to be turned out to face the audience because the wind kept blowing their music sheets away.

But in between mopping themselves down with hastily procured towels, the band managed to take us on a musical journey with sounds inspired by the United States, Latin America and Derek's own north of England (his father, Pat Nash) was leader of the BBC Northern Orchestra.

Gary, as we have grown to expect, was sublime, delivering solos of the highest quality that had the knowledgeable crowd in raptures. But don't be fooled into thinking his was the only stand-out performance.

Isle of Wight County Press 26th July 2013

Jazz weekend debut a triumph

NEWPORT Jazz Weekend's second major gig featured a trio of vocals, saxophone/clarinet and piano playing some relaxed standards.

Zoe Francis is an up and coming jazz vocalist who has become highly regarded in the UK, and we were able to see why as she sang sixteen songs with just David Newton on piano and resident artist Alan Barnes on saxophone and clarinet to back her.

Her voice had a beautifully wispy and sultry tone that never faltered. As soon as the music began she was in character, emphasising cheeky lines and sighing with the romanticism of others, essential in songs such as Looking For A Boy and P.S. I Love You.

Alan Barnes added to the seductive feel of the songs with his smooth reed sound, although he seemed unsatisfied with reeds and tuning throughout. However, when he let loose on a solo, the audience heard him doing what he does best, from being boisterous on alto and tenor saxophones to his more wistful clarinet playing.

Isle of Wight County Press 26th July 2013

Audience left hungry for more

WITH a name like "Best of British Jazz Legends", expectations were understandably set high for the opening gig of Newport Jazz Weekend, but Friday evening's group of veteran musicians justified the title.

The ensemble encompassed a wide range of instrumental talent and experience that came together in a very natural fashion. They admitted they had little rehearsal time all together, but it made for a spontaneous feel that the best jazz often displays.

Digby Fairweather was the ringleader, indicating solos and entries with his cornet, all the while playing some astounding high notes, especially in solo Boo Woo.

Dave Shepherd and Roy Williams were also top class wind players, both with solos.

Shepherd played I'll Never Be The Same and All I Do Is Dream Of You, whilst Williams played My Heart Stood Still by Richard Rogers, all tonally beautiful pieces.

The final solo of the evening came from Keith Ingham, the pianist who emigrated to the USA 35 years ago and flew over just for the weekend. His rendition of the Dill Pickle Rag was truly a feat to behold, as he made the difficult piece look effortless.

Isle of Wight County Press 26th July 2013

Time to take note

ANYONE remember Amadeus - the hit 1980s film of the life of Mozart?

Confronted with the maestro's sublime music, the Hapsburg Emperor Joseph II complains to the dumbfounded young genius it has 'too many notes.'

What the tin-eared monarch would have made of Martin Taylor and Alan Barnes' guitar and clarinet playing at the Riverside Centre on Sunday night is open to debate but the chances are he would have had a nervous breakdown.

Their two-hour set was packed with music to savour, with Alan's clarinet playing recalling the sound of a 1930s speakeasy one minute and the next, the pair transporting us to France where the atmosphere of a lazy Gaelic afternoon was effortlessly evoked.

Alan and Martin, both multiple jazz award winners, recently released an album together 'Two for the Road.'

The Observer noted the album 'dazzled with effortless brilliance.' That brilliance was on display for two magical hours to a sell out crowd.

Isle of Wight County Press 26th July 2013

Tour finishes on a high

SWEET, soulful and spine-tingling, vocalist Georgia Mancio's gig at the Apollo Theatre was the perfect start to Saturday at the Newport Jazz Weekend.

Opening with Alone Together, from the Broadway musical Flying Colours, Georgia demonstrated a natural jazz tone that beautifully complemented guitarist Nigel Price and double-bassist Julie Walkington.

The poignant ballad, A Day in the Life of a Fool, stripped away the upbeat riffs of the opening number and revealed a simple, elegant melody with a soft bass line from Julie and hints of Latino jazz from Nigel on guitar.

Georgia's rendition of I Thought About You was delightful, with resident jazz artist Alan Barnes performing a guest spot on the clarinet, to rapturous applause.

Yoppul 26th July 2013

A Stompin' Good Time

Island jazz favourites, The Unity Stompers, plus special guests Sandy Suchodolski and award-winning jazz musician Amy Roberts, played to a packed Newport Minster on Sunday night.

Transporting their audience back to the 1920s with jazz classic, Makin' Whoopee, the seven-piece band's Dixieland feel lent itself to the venue's acoustics and gave each member a chance to show off their skill.

Amy Roberts joined the group on flute, making her mark with a finger-defying solo in Lady Be Good before switching to alto saxophone and clarinet for popular toe-tappers Ain't Misbehavin' and Sweet Sue.

The Unity Stompers' resident clarinettist, John Swaffield, matched Amy in a fast-paced, trill-laden performance of Indiana. Watching these two superb musicians duet was a treat indeed.

The second half proved just as exciting, with the St. Louis Blues, which combines standard twelve-bar blues with complex tango rhythms, giving the band a chance to let rip with some exemplary improvisation.

To slow things down, Amy and pianist Martin Dover led the way in an easy-listening rendition of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. Slow, simple and refined, there were no frills, just world-class musicianship.

Yoppul 25th July 2013

Island jazz star leads top quartet

As arguably the Island's biggest jazz star, excitement was high around Gary Plumley's first appearance at Newport Jazz Weekend. Put his skill with Jim Mullen's expert guitar playing and the Apollo Theatre was the place to be on Saturday afternoon.

Gary's playing produced gasps of wonder from his very first solo, when he reached the heights of his tenor saxophone's altissimo range whilst managing to maintain his consistently strong and pure tone. His solos were often frantic, demonstrating an understanding of complex harmonies and each different saxophone that cemented the audience's love.

Jim was equally confident and skilled throughout, with his guitar acting as a lead instrument - with equally frenzied playing - and a chordal accompaniment during other solos. He often remained stoic and still, but also displayed a sense of humour, even inserting a clip of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 into his solo in Nica's Dream.

Yoppul 22nd July 2013

Young jazz musicians strike a chord

Young jazz talent took to the stage on Saturday morning with gigs from Christ the King College Jazz Band and Carisbrooke College Jazz Band.

In Newport Minster, Christ the King College Jazz Band, under the expert leadership of Jeremy Gray, the college's head of music, started the morning's musical offering with a mixture of modern and traditional jazz.

Vocalist Natalie Aghajanian was simply stunning in an arrangement of Wilson Pickett's Midnight Hour, and a later rendition of Black Coffee was both professional and dynamic.

The band's saxophone section was outstanding, with Joshua Attrill on tenor sax leading many impressive solo spots and the section as a whole giving a slick and finely tuned performance throughout.

The hour-long gig's top tune was an arrangement of Mas Que Nada, with every single band member delivering a level of energy and musicianship that brands them the rising jazz stars of the future.

Isle of Wight County Press 19th July 2013

Jazz festival launched

ISLAND MP Andrew Turner and some of the top names in British Jazz were at Waterstones, Newport last night (Thursday, July 18) to officially launch the second Newport Jazz Weekend.

Guests enjoyed a buffet before the weekend was officially opened by the weekend's resident artist for this year, sax player Alan Barnes.

Top names at this year's event include cornet player, Digby Fairweather, pianists Keith Ingham and David Newton and the Island's own Gary Plumley who will be playing with sax ensemble Sax Appeal.

Isle of Wight County Press 19th July 2013

All that jazz at weekend

Derek NashA WEEKEND of top quality music, featuring some of the UK's top jazz acts, is in store at the second Newport Jazz Weekend, which begins today (Friday).

Stars such as cornet player Digby Fairweather, pianist David Newton and guitarist Martin Taylor will be appearing in the town during the weekend, which is sponsored by the County Press.

Other acts include Derek Nash's incredible saxophone ensemble, Sax Appeal, and the Island's own top sax player, Gary Plumley.

Singers include Georgia Mancio and Zoe Francis.

Performances will take place across Newport at a number of venues during the three-day event.

Email Phone: 07557 986 111    read our policy statement    
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook