Big name American headliners, exclusive performances, intriguing crossovers and global artists from Scandinavia through Romania, Brittany and Catalonia to Brazil that reflect jazz music’s global reach, are all prominent features of this summer’s event in the beauty of the Brecon Beacons.
New for 2015 is an additional venue, Brecon Elim Church, with a 200 capacity and a pedigree in staging concerts of its own, where the Western Power Kid Zone will engage local children in making music. Plus there will be a Brecon Jam late night opportunity for musicians to unwind and show off their improv skills.
breconjazz.coms the venue on Saturday August 8 for the iconic Dr. John, who brings to Wales his critically acclaimed Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch show – a tribute to New Orleans music legend Louis Armstrong. The six-time Grammy Award-winning musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee is known throughout the world as the embodiment of New Orleans’ musical legacy, making this Satchmo performance one not to be missed. It will also involve a horn section of local musicians in Brecon for the festival.
Headlining Sunday night at Brecon Jazz is Robert Glasper who is fast bringing jazz to a whole new generation. The pianist, bandleader, composer and producer, Robert combines the language of the jazz mainstream with an edgy command of the urban music, bagging a Grammy for Black Radio 1 on Blue Note, and setting a new benchmark for jazz in the 21st century. At Brecon this August, Glasper returns to the acoustic piano trio format that characterised his early breakthrough.
And that is just for starters….
The Phronesis star is very much in the ascendant, with a reputation for spell-binding roller-coaster live performances and the Anglo-Scandinavian trio’s second MOBO Awards nomination for Best Jazz Act.
Courtney Pine makes a welcome return to his beloved Brecon, presenting Song (The Ballad Book) in an intimate, stripped back performance
Pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Dave Holland have been major stalwarts on the jazz scene for years, with over a dozen Grammy Award nominations between them.
GoGo Penguin’s album V2.0 was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2014, and this 21st century piano trio will treat us with their unique and exciting acoustic-electronica sound of skittering break-beats, telepathic interplay and a penchant for anthemic melody.
There is the serene beauty of the Grammy nominated trio of jazz voice Norma Winstone MBE, Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German reeds player Klaus Gesing, presenting music from their highly acclaimed ECM album Stories Yet to Tell.
Special performances include multiple award-winning composer, pianist and lifelong Dudley Moore fan, Neil Cowley returning to Theatr Brycheiniog with a special homage to the pianist, comedian and film star in what would have been his 80th birthday year in a show entitled The Other Side of Dudley Moore.
Former Perrier Jazz Vocalist of the Year winner, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julia Biel blends vocals reminiscent of the greats of jazz’s golden age with a poetic yet conversational lyrical style, a uniquely sharp perspective on contemporary life and love, and accessible chorus-led songwriting, The Independent describes Julia as “the best British vocalist to emerge in an age…”
MOBO award winners Sons of Kemet are four of the UK jazz scene’s brightest stars, whose electrifying live performance of rhythm from a tuba, saxophone and two drum kits spans jazz, rock, dub, Caribbean folk and traditional African diasporan history.
A feature of Brecon Jazz in recent years has been the World Wide Wales series, international collaborations set up by the festival artist-in-residence and accomplished Welsh musician and composer Huw Warren. This year Wales Meets Brazil with the grooves of São Paulo born percussionist and composer Adriano Adewale in a trio with bassist Dudley Phillips.
The Timo Lassy Band features one of the leading artists on the vivid Helsinki jazz scene, composer and sax player Timo Lassy who arrives in Brecon with his quintet ensemble.
Barcelona’s Andrea Motis & Joan Chamorro bridge the musical generations with a catalogue of five albums and plaudits around the world, like this from John Fordham: “Motis has the kind of pearly, barely exhaled voice, paced with canny improv swerves and casual timing, from which jazz celebs are made.”
Best of Wales
Brecon Jazz has always been keen to promote Welsh jazz talent, and this year is no exception. Wales’ own Huw V Williams presents HON, an exciting new project by the double bassist and composer who is the latest recipient of the Jazz4Jed bursary in honour of Brecon’s great artistic director Jed Williams.
Huw’s original music is played by a phenomenal collective of London’s finest young improvisers featuring Laura Jurd on trumpet, Alam Nathoo on tenor saxophone, Elliot Galvin on accordion and Pete Ibbetson on drums. (more)
The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama has always been a terrific source of talent, and the Cardiff-based college once again presents some of the best contemporary and curative jazz performance in Wales from students and new graduates. Junior Jazz are the young musicians attending the Junior Jazz Summer School at the RWCMD, some of them veterans at the age of 10!
In a regular series at Brecon’s Guildhall, The Guildhall Welsh Jazz Club Concerts curated by Brecon Jazz Club in association with Jazz Heritage Wales, Café Jazz Cardiff, North Wales Jazz, AberJazz (West Wales) and the Association Jazz Kreiz Breizh this year have as their theme The Jazz Guitar, with a Sunday line-up that includes Major Swing (Brittany) with guest Remi Harris; Martin Taylor Solo; and Deirdre Cartwright Band & Friends. These are sold as individual tickets, or as part of a special £35 Sunday Stroller ticket.