The headliners for the 2017 Gateshead International Jazz Festival have been announced for the festival's 13th edition, which runs from 31 March to 2 April, with a hugely diverse genre-hopping line-up. Setting the tone with a grand meeting of voice and orchestral jazz sounds will be singer Clare Teal and bandleader/arranger Guy Barker who combine forces with a 17-piece Hollywood Orchestra to celebrate the 100th anniversary of legendary jazz vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. Another vocal collaboration at the festival sees acclaimed UK jazz singer Georgia Mancio and US pianist Alan Broadbent bring their rarified new songs to the festival as featured on their forthcoming Songbook album.
The strong Brit-jazz contingent also features prodigiously talented trumpeter Laura Jurd who brings her electro-jazz four-piece Dinosaur to the festival with special guest Norwegian tuba master Daniel Herskedal. Saxophonist Trish Clowes appears with her new guitar-and-Hammond powered My Iris band on a double bill with influential saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and resurgent pianist Nikki Yeoh. Pianist Neil Cowley brings his wonderfully expansive interstellar Spacebound Apes project with his powerful Trio of drummer Evan Jenkins and bassist Rex Horan.
Jazz's increasingly dance and electronica influenced sounds take centre stage for an exciting double-header with Blue Note-signed Manchester piano trio GoGo Penguin and iconic bassist/producer Squarepusher (aka Tom Jenkinson) and his live band Shobaleader One (featuring a trio of masked jazz virtuosos). More bass-heavy funk-edged sounds come from charismatic Kamasi Washington double-bassist Miles Mosely, who steps out with his own LA band, while celebrated Cameroonian bass maestro and angelic vocalist Richard Bona also appears with his dazzling Afro-Cuban jazz Mandekan Cubano Project. Further fiery Cuban jazz sounds come from Quincy Jones-mentored pianist Alfredo Rodriguez, while the pan-global grooves are also featured in prolific Mercury Prize-nominated saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings' South African jazz ensemble who also visit the festival. Revered Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko returns to the UK with his stunning international quartet of rising star Finnish pianist Alexi Tuomarlia, heavyweight US bassist Reuben Rogers and pianist Gerald Cleaver for a rare festival appearance.
Further transcontinental talents on the programme include a triple whammy of big bands with Germany's BuJazzO, Netherlands Youth Jazz Orchestra and the UK's National Youth Jazz Orchestra in a mighty jazz collaboration. There's more Dutch sonic delights from the 10-piece Instant Composers Pool who hop over the channel for a rare but welcome appearance with devilish improv star drummer Han Bennink, all paying tribute to the group's founding pianist Misha Mengelberg who's now unable to perform.
Southport's Jazz on a Winter's Weekend returns for an impressive 13th edition between 2-5 February 2017.
Hosted at the seaside town's Royal Clifton Hotel & Spa, the festival brags a broad programme boasting a bevvy of international acts and top names from the UK. Scheduled highlights include appearances from Australian piano trio Trichotomy, New York saxophonist Seamus Blake's Trio, Liverpool-based sextet The Weave and visitations from top-tier vocalists Clare Teal and Liane Carroll.
Jazzwise magazine marks its 20th anniversary in 2017 with a colossal celebration of contemporary UK jazz from the past two decades at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club from 13-18 March. Jazzwise launched with the April 1997 issue and subsequently aimed to redefine jazz magazine publishing, lift it out of its then tired impasse and take it forward into the post-millennium age.
Jazzwise has now become the UK's biggest selling jazz monthly and Europe's leading English language jazz magazine, in both print and digital editions, with a string of important magazine awards and a second-to-none roster of the UK's most authoritative jazz writers. The Jazzwise 20th Anniversary Festival has been curated by Jazzwise's Jon Newey and Ronnie Scott's Paul Pace.
13 - 14 March John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension With a very special two-night appearance by John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension, featuring keyboardist Gary Husband, bassist Étienne M'Bappé and drummer Ranjit Barot playing a rare club gig that will be one of their only shows in 2017.
15 March Soweto Kinch Our Dec 16/Jan 17 cover star appears with his new quartet featuring rising talents, pianist Reuben James and bassist Nick Jurd, on a set drawing from the saxophonist's rhythmically-charged new album Nonagram.
16 March Julien Siegel Jazz Orchestra & Nick Smart's Black Eyed Dog A specially-commissioned double bil, featuring brand new 19-piece Julien Siegel Jazz Orchestra with a stunning line-up of UK giants from Henry Lowther to Jason Yarde and Percy Pursglove, plus Nick Smart's Black Eyed Dog, which includes high-calibre players including pianist Kit Downes, saxophonist/bass clarinettist James Allsopp, guitarist John Parricelli and guest singer Claire Martin – with Remembering Nick Drake: an evocative interpretation of the legendary folk/ jazz singer songwriter.
18 March Phronesis(plus special guest Julian Argüelles) & Tim Garland Another remarkable double bill featuring Phronesis with special guest Julian Argüelles, and Jazzwise Album of the Year winner, Tim Garland's One featuring Jason Rebello, Ant Law and Asaf Sirkis.
Other major names are to be announced shortly, as well as opening artists and performances Upstairs at Ronnie's. This special anniversary week follows Jazzwise's widely acclaimed 15th anniversary week at the club in 2012 and will coincide with the publication of a bumper April 2017 20th anniversary edition. Watch Jazzwise for the latest names to be added. Tickets are now on sale via the Ronnie Scott's website.
Confront Recordings maintain their recent run of form by issuing the debut album from American cellist Seth Parker Woods. The four-cut collection, asinglewordisnotenough, constitutes a raw summit of electronically-emboldened mutant murals, with Woods in kinetic form as he takes on compositions scored by George Lewis, Edward Hamel, Michael Clarke and Pierre Alexandre Tremblay.
Woods performs these pieces at midday today, as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Saxophonist Trish Clowes returns with her new group project, My Iris, early next year releasing an album of the same name on 13 January on Basho Records and several tour dates. The four-piece group includes guitarist Chris Montague, Hammond player/pianist Ross Stanley and drummer James Maddren, drawing inspiration also from the concept of an iris opening and the kaleidoscopic range of sounds the band are exploring, not to mention the Wayne Shorter song 'Iris'.
Completing Clowes' busy January will be the fifth edition of her contemporary classical-meets-jazz and improvisation Emulsion Festival – which takes place at MAC (Midlands Arts Centre), Birmingham on 27 January. The one-day event features performances by My Iris, the Emulsion Sinfonietta plus an opening set from some of Birmingham's leading improvisers. Clowes is hoping to expand the event through a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to bring in additional guests – such as saxophonists Iain Ballamy and Joe Wright – and commission more new music alongside works already written specially for the festival by Hans Koller, Percy Pursglove and Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian.
My Iris tour dates are: Pizza Express Jazz Club, London (album launch, 17 Jan); The Gateway Education & Arts Centre, Shrewsbury (18 Jan); Arts Centre, De Montford University Campus, Leicester (19 Jan); Wakefield Rugby Club, Wakefield (20 Jan); Hidden Rooms, Cambridge (26 Jan); MAC, Birmingham (27 Jan).