The Walsall Jazz Orchestra (WJO) will celebrate its 40th anniversary in style on Sunday 26 April with a special concert at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham. The ensemble, which continues to be led by founder and trombonist John Hughes, originated in 1975 as the Walsall Youth Jazz Orchestra (WYJO) becoming one of the UK’s leading youth bands (many renowned jazz musicians passed through its ranks). The WJO formed in 1994 around a nucleus of former WYJO musicians, some of which were in the very first edition of the orchestra.

The current ensemble is a 19-piece big band who have played at the Montreux International Jazz Festival and London’s Royal Festival Hall, as well as recording three albums: Watershed (1997); Devil in the Detail (2001) and Little Steps (2007). The WJO ethos is to focus on contemporary big band music and its repertoire places works by acclaimed musicians such as Pat Metheny and Chick Corea alongside original compositions by group members (most recently pianist Tim Amann and trumpeter Nick Dewhurst).

Birmingham Jazzlines plans to celebrate WJO’s achievements of the past 40 years with a concert – at CBSO Centre, Birmingham on 26 April – featuring past orchestra alumni, saxophonist Julian Argüelles and trumpeter Martin Shaw as guests. The WJO (minus Arguelles and Shaw) will also perform at Wasaley School, Birmingham (26 Jan); Bolehall Manor, Tamworth (9 Feb); The Feathers, Lichfield (15 Feb); Forest Arts Centre, Walsall (23 Feb); and The Feathers, Lichfield (24 May).

– Jamie Fyffe

For more info go to www.b13jazz.co.uk/wjo/

Laura-JurdRising star trumpeter and bandleader Laura Jurd, one of the founders of the Chaos Collective, releases a new album on 19 January, Human Spirit, and heads out for nationwide dates from 9 January. The new album, the follow up to her November 2012 debut Landing Ground, features vocalist Lauren Kinsella, trumpeter Chris Batchelor, trombonist Colm O’Hara, bass saxophonist Mick Foster, guitarist Alex Roth and Corrie Dick on drums, and fuses electric jazz with brass band and folk traditions.

Dates are: The Cube, Derby (9 Jan); The Forge, Camden (14 Jan); Hidden Rooms, Cambridge (15 Jan); Colston Hall, Bristol (16 Jan); Warwick Arts Centre (19 Jan); Harlington Centre, Fleet (20 Jan); The Verdict, Brighton (23 Jan); Jazz North East, Newcastle (27 Jan); TBC, Glasgow (28 Jan); The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen (29 Jan); and Wakefield Jazz Club, Wakefield (30 Jan).

– Jon Newey

For more info go to www.chaos-collective.com

Having dazzled jazz festival stages with his high-octane House Of Legends set for the last two years, leading British saxophonist Courtney Pine is set to get back to basics for his 16th solo album in a new duo project and extensive UK tour with acclaimed British-Bengali pianist Zoe Rahman.

The pair previously worked together on Pine’s 2011 Europa album and tour – which also saw Pine exclusively play bass clarinet – which he also uses throughout Song (The Ballad Book) their forthcoming album released on 23 February on Destin-E Records.

Speaking about the album, Pine commented:
"I have always wanted to record a collection of my favourite ballads and there is nothing like performing in a duet format for bringing out the intimacy of great songs.”

The duo set out on an extensive UK tour (with special festival appearance also to be confirmed) and will be playing at the following venues: Turner Sims, Southampton (20 Feb); Jazz For Labour, Barbican, London (27 Feb); St Mary’s Church, Kent (13 Mar); St George’s, Brighton (14 Mar); Kings Place, London (19 Mar); RNCM, Manchester (22 Mar); St Georges Hall, Bristol (9 Apr); St Mary’s in The Castle, Hastings (10 Apr); The Stables, Wavendon (22 Apr); Alnwick Playhouse, Northumberland (2 May); Woodend Barn Arts Centre, Banchory, Scotland (3 May); Town Hall, Middlesbrough (4 May); Arts Centre, Pocklington (5 May); Brewery Arts Theatre, Kendel (6 May); Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden (16 May); Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline (26 May); Key Theatre, Dunfermline (12 June); and Opera House, Jersey (31 Jul).

See the March issue of Jazzwise for an exclusive interview with Courtney Pine about the album.

– Mike Flynn

dangelico-guitar

Jazzwise has joined forces with D’Angelico, one of the greatest names in the jazz guitar world, to bring you the opportunity of owning one of their superb Standard series guitars. Modelled on the original Style B (pictured above) first introduced in 1937, the current Style B has been upgraded and redesigned for the 21st century player, with the addition of a floating pickup, a sweeter neck profile and a stylish stepped tailpiece. Not only does this big-bodied beauty look the business, but this guitar also responds in a very similar way to its earlier cousin, authentically replicating the timbral and tonal characteristics of a 1930s archtop with a feel that is very much of the period.

Our competition prize comes in a bespoke, plush lined, shaped D’Angelico hardcase with five latch locks and a solid nylon grab handle. To win this beautiful instrument, with a RRP of £1,100, just tell us which one of these well known guitarists us which one of these well known guitarists recorded the album Midnight Blueclick here to enter the competition.

The first correct answer picked wins the guitar. One entry per person, multiple entries will not count. Normal competition rules apply; closing date is 1 February 2015.

bunch-of-5

Acclaimed saxophonist and bandleader Alex Garnett (above centre) is set to release his second solo album, Andromeda, on Whirlwind Recordings on 26 January 2015, with its official launch on 16 January at the 606 Club, Chelsea as part of an extensive UK tour. The follow up to his widely-praised 2011 solo debut, Serpent, the forthcoming album also features Garnett’s new Bunch of 5 band that includes the fiery hard-bop inspired US tenorist Tim Armacost alongside a powerful rhythm section of pianist Liam Noble, bassist Michael Janisch and drummer James Maddren.

With a reputation as a fearsome soloist on his weekly appearances with the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars band, Garnett is also widely respected as a session musician and sideman who’s worked with
Wynton Marsalis, Pete King, Scott Hamilton and Van Morrison. With Andromeda Garnett and Armacost very much capture the energy and excitement of classic twin-tenor frontlines of the past with the pair sparking off one another on many incendiary solos. The original material on the album is inspired by a variety of sources, including Garnett witnessing a life-changing Benny Golson gig in the 1990s, his interest in astronomy, the demands of fatherhood and his long-standing love of comedy – all combining to create a fresh take on the timeless hard-bop sound.  

Jazzwise is pleased to exclusively offer a track from the new album to download free – a burning take on the classic Irving Berlin song ‘I’ve Got To Keep My Love Warm’

Click here to download the track as a high-quality WAV file

Garnett and his band set out on a UK tour in early 2015, playing the following dates:
Fleece Jazz @ Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Colchester, Essex (9 Jan); Herts Jazz @ Campus West, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City (18 Jan); *Official Album launch venue* 606 Club, 90 Lots Rd, Chelsea, London (19 Jan); Dempseys, Upper Kincraig St, Cardiff, Wales (20 Jan); St James Social Club, Swansea Jazzland, St James Crescent, Uplands, Swansea (21 Jan); The Coronation Tap, 8 Sion Place, Clifton, Bristol (22 Jan); Wakefield Jazz Club, Eastmoor Rd, Wakefield (23 Jan); The Cube Deda, Chapel St, Derby (6 Feb); and The Progress Theatre, The Mount, Christchurch Road, Reading (2 April).

See the video of ‘Her Tears’ below and click here to pre-order the album from the Whirlwind Recordings website


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