The NorVol Blog

Why another jazz blog? Jazz is alive and doing wonderfully by itself after all. There are tons of musicians performing great music all over the planet. But what we are losing is the audience and spaces to perform this important music.

So what can we do? The North of England is actually a pretty good area to see and hear jazz – we have more than 25 regular jazz clubs, a dozen jazz festivals, two jazz Music Conservatoires at Leeds and Manchester and many many fine musicians and bands big and small playing in all sorts of jazz genres and styles. Places like the Sage in Newcastle show that public funding can still provide great spaces for jazz.

But we need to do more to keep jazz live. The main clubs in the region are co operating through a network, NorVol Jazz, to promote the music in the North and encourage it to grow. More

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Jazz North, the northern jazz development agency, today announced the 6th roster of Ambassador Artists to be selected for the northern line scheme. Lucy Woolley, northern line project manager says:

“The northern line scheme aims to highlight both the quality and variety of jazz being composed and performed by artists all across the North. This year’s roster is no exception, reflecting the diverse talent living and working in the region”.

Jazz North will support these Round 6 artists with professional development and tour subsidy between September 1st 2018 and December 31st 2019.

Aaron Wood trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics / James Girling guitar / Ali Roocroft piano, keyboards / Alasdair Simpson bass guitar / Matt Brown drums
RNCM alumni combining outstanding musicianship and spry energy with organic yet sophisticated compositions; light-footed grooves that call on late-‘60s/early-‘70s Miles Davis, prog rock and electronic music.

Rebekah Reid violin, loop pedal / Polly Virr cello, loop pedal
A Manchester duo combining acoustic strings and classical composition practices with loops and improvisation, conjuring up pieces that evolve and borrow from jazz, minimalism, folk, world and electronic dance music.

Matthew Aplin piano / Tom Riviere double bass / Steve Hanley drums
Their sound spans European avant-garde and spiritual blues; exploring improvisation, at times peaceful and spacious, at others frenzied and angular, this Leeds trio offers a collective approach to the classic format.

Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat 
Emma Johnson tenor saxophone / Calvin Travers guitar / Sam Quintana bass guitar / Alasdair Wells drums
Lyrical, contemporary swing with an emphasis on accessible melodies and a warmth of sound, played by young instrumentalists who met at Leeds College of Music and have since formed a strong and joyful bond, immediately apparent in their sound. 

Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor piano
A solo recital from this Newcastle-based pianist, composer and improviser, whose trademark performances are rhapsodic journeys that lead listeners through twists and turns, complex harmonies and classical vignettes, with a restless capacity for invention.

Manchester Jazz Collective
Kyran Matthews, Jeff Guntren, Emily Burkhardt saxophones / Graham South, Nick Walters trumpets / Ellie Smith trombone / Rich McVeigh bass trombone / Andy Stamatakis-Brown piano / Paul Baxter double bass / Johnny Hunter drums
A collaboration of northern players creating large-scale compositions and defying stylistic categorisation, thanks to their varied palettes and democratic approach: rich orchestrations rub shoulders with middle-Eastern harmonies, Afro-jazz and heavy metal. 

Lis Murphy voice, violin / Mali Hayes voice / Kate Moran, Simmy Singh violins / Kath Ord viola / Sarah Dale cello / John Ellis piano / Mark Lewis double bass / Myke Wilson drums 
Hauntingly beautiful and uplifting, blending personal stories and an interest in musics from across the globe via Manchester, Lis uses pop-song formats to convey the intense darkness and light arising from humanitarian subjects such as war, loss and love.

The Mark Williams Trio
Mark Williams guitar / Paul Susans bass guitar / Russ Morgan drums
Influences from rock, metal and fusion, with added electronic effects, give this guitar trio from Newcastle an edgier and more modern sound, yet with melody and improvisation still at its core.

Jordie Cooke guitar / Frankie O'Keeffe voice / Faye MacCalman tenor saxophone / Matthew Forster tenor& baritone saxophone / Geoff Bartholomew trumpet / John Pope bass / Dave McKeague, Oscar Cassidy drums
Saddle up for a ride into a heady, energetic world of samba reggae, punk-jazz and Afro-beat via the steppes of Cumbria and Newcastle; tackling loss of cultures, community and a changing society with good vibes, animalistic behaviour and raw energy.

More information available at or Lucy Woolley, northern line Project Manager -

Author: Steve Crocker
Posted: April 11, 2018, 12:32 pm

To all those people who say to you "you must need your head examining to organise jazz ...."

Come and find out how!

Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton Leeds LS73PD 8pm

Author: Steve Crocker
Posted: April 10, 2018, 3:10 pm
From Chris de Saram

Newton/Tracey band to play their music, primarily the Bootleg Eric Suite - Friday 20th April at Wakefield Jazz. The Bootleg Eric suite was written to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Wakefield Jazz. One piece was composed and titled Bootleg Eric, a Wakefield character (Eric Parkin) who always made his own recordings of Wakefield Jazz gigs. The suite was recorded and the consequent album also named “Bootleg Eric”. The band and the music was revived at last year’s Swanage Jazz Festival. Eric Parkin died shortly before that performance.

We asked Dave and Clark to reprise the music once more to celebrate the anniversary of Eric’s death.   After more than 20 years few of the original band were still playing or available.  This is also a variant of the Swanage band - a very special Octet. This will be a rare experience and should not fail to move us.#

David Newton   -              piano (composer)
Cark Tracey         -              drums (composer)
Steve Fishwick   -              trumpet 
Mark Nightingale -           trombone
Derek Nash         -              alto sax
Paul Booth          -              tenor sax
Dean Masser      -              tenor sax
Arnie Somogyi   -              bass 

Author: Steve Crocker
Posted: April 10, 2018, 2:49 pm

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