A Tale of Brecon and Jazz

Brecon is known for many things: a great place to hike, and a fantastic small village to visit in Wales. But one of things that few people know about it is that it is home to an annual Jazz Festival that has seen some of the greatest jazz musicians that have ever graced the music scene, such as Lionel Hampton and Gerry Mulligan.

© Crooked Window

© Crooked Window

The Brecon Jazz Story in Photographs by Gena Davies, is being published by Crooked Window to coincide with the thirtieth Brecon Jazz on the weekend of 9th – 11th August, 2013.Through the author, Gena Davis’s eyes – The story shows the changing character of the high-profile festival since it began in 1984.

Internationally-renowned musicians are captured as well as the festival’s much-loved carnival atmosphere. The ancient Welsh market town of Brecon, its unique location, with  Cathedral, elegant Georgian streets and Brecon Beacons National Park setting, are a prominent feature. The book will be for sale, with a display of Gena Davies’s photographs, in a special Pop-Up Shop and Gallery at 7, Street, Brecon, 8th – 11th August,11am – 5pm.

© Brecon Jazz Festival

© Brecon Jazz Festival

Some of the most famous names in jazz and many of the finest jazz musicians from around the world have enjoyed playing at Brecon. The special atmosphere features parade bands and street music and there is, in addition, a distinctive and extensive fringe festival. This selection of evocative photographs from the archive of Gena Davies is a salutary reminder of why Brecon Jazz is widely celebrated.

A veteran of nationally-broadcast quiz shows including Brain of Britain and Mastermind, Gena Davis became fascinated in photography from an early age. It was with complete disbelief that she heard about plans for a jazz festival. ‘I just couldn’t believe that it was serious,’ she recalls. ‘It didn’t fit in with what I knew of Brecon. I decided to walk into town to see what was going on and took my camera with me.’ She has never looked back, has photographed the festival since then and has created an astonishing record of it.

David Moore, the book’s editor, has an interest in art from Wales and in jazz. He has fond memories of every jazz festival in the twenty years he has lived in Brecon. As a former curator of Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery, he organised many festival exhibitions. The book has been imaginatively designed by Sue Hiley Harris.

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