Beaufort Jazz

Great music – and you are invited!

Jazz survey – a request from Tom Sykes

Beaufort Jazz regular Tom Sykes is conducting some research about online jazz activity as part of his PhD studies. It’s a fairly simple questionnaire which probably takes about 10 – 15 minutes and helps identify how best to promote jazz to its audience in this online age.

Many know that Tom has been a keen supporter of Beaufort Jazz evenings since we started many years ago and how he has helped to keep live music alive in the North West. It would be greatly appreciated if readers were able to complete his survey which is detailed below

Dear Jazz enthusiast

You are invited to take part in a survey being conducted by Tom Sykes as part of his PhD research (at the University of Salford) into the distribution of Jazz in the digital age.

If you agree to take part your contribution to this study will be to complete a short online questionnaire, which should take no longer than 15 minutes. As an incentive and thank you for taking part, once you have completed the questionnaire you will be invited to receive a free CD.

The survey will contribute towards a larger European research project on jazz a nd national identity, Rhythm Changes details of which can be found by clicking the link in blue above.

If you are happy to take part in this survey please click on this link here and complete the form before the 31st of October.

Thank you for your help.

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October 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

October review

Difficult as it is to believe it’s now 18 months since we moved from the Orangery to the Ellerbrook Suite. How time does fly. For one of our last Orangery evenings we enjoyed a visit from Samuel C Lees and his band, who were on that occasion accompanied by Eva Gray on vocals.

samuel c lees beaufort jazz 2011

Samuel C Lees trio

Having traveled from the other side of Manchester we endeavoured to give them a warm welcome and made sure that they had a decent slot in which to perform. We were well rewarded with a very enjoyable evening from some fine musicians. It was pleasing that they had taken the effort to search us out and we hoped that they would return someday.

After a year and a half there was some considerable satisfaction when we were able to announce that Samuel C Lees would be our featured musician for October. It wasnt entirely straightforward for Sam as unfortunately both his brother on bass and Paul on rhythm guitar could not make the date. Undeterred Sam called upon John McMahon and Steve Renshall to accompany him for the evening.

Not that you would have known that this line up had been assembled at short notice as the trio preformed a number of Gypsy Jazz standards as well as some of Sam’s own compositions from his CD –  All About Time.  Worth a mention was the composition There you have it which features on the CD accompanied by the splendid Daniel John Martin on the violin.

Beaufort Jazz end of evening jam 2011

End of evening jam

As the set drew to a close there were many requests for an encore. It turned out to be Minor Swing and  it has to be said that it was as good a version as any we have heard in a long while. All three musicians deserve great credit for this set. It would have been easy to rearrange – but instead a hastily arranged trio gave us a first class performance. Well done. The evening once again finished with the usual jam with a set from Ted Hanley inbetween.

Next month the featured artist will be Wheesh Cunningham and there will be more information in the next few days.

Footnote – eagle-eyed readers will notice that Guitar Retreats posted a couple of comments here on the blog to announce that Sam was giving a Gypsy Jazz workshop in Cornwall this weekend. Whilst it was posted a little late for many to take advantage of it might be worth noting for the future.

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August and September Review – announcing Samuel C. Lees

September’s Beaufort Jazz evening found us temporarily relocating to the Stones restaurant for the arrival of our featured musicians – Steele and Friends. We just about managed to squeeze the sizable audience into various nooks and crannies that make up this unusually shaped restaurant and settled down to hear some fine music.

It was an evening when we said hello to many newcomers and of course remembered George Eaton who had been a very popular Beaufort stalwart over the years. We were reminded of George’s guitar playing and his ability to repair guitars, a skill which had helped many a Beaufort regular.

We were very pleased to welcome even more new faces with a special mention to Sven who found his way to our evening in search of the West Lancashire Big Band (who play first Sunday of the month). Young Oliver debuted on the main stage and hopefully he will be able to join us again in between his studies at Leeds University.

Once again we had two first class musical evenings with excellent featured bands and very enjoyable jamming. August seems quite a while ago when The 3 Musikateers gave one of their trademark live performances.  A combination of excellent musicianship clever arrangements and a vibrant stage act just about describes one of their evenings.

Steele and Friends changed the pace for September by revisiting the days when jazz trios were the norm. Covering many of the old standards Doris Steele was in fine form on vocals despite having a bad arm and having to wear a makeshift sling.

For our next Beaufort Jazz evening we are delighted to welcome Samuel C. Lees. This exciting and entertaining  Gypsy Jazz guitarist needs no introduction to Beaufort regulars and it is splendid news that he is able to join us as our featured musician on Monday October 3rd. A full announcement will appear in the next few days.

September 17, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , , | 1 Comment

Steele and Friends – to feature Monday 5th September

Doris Steele accompanied by Pete Shannon and Brian Cuddy

Steele and Friends

When we welcomed Bob Clarke at the end of last year it turned out to be a journey into Jazz history. Bob’s numerous anecdotes arising from his  various collaborations with Jazz greats made for an enjoyable evening, albeit a very cold one as his gig fell right in the middle of that brutal weather spell. In a similar vein we now welcome veteran vocalist Doris Steele who also has some stories to tell about her years in Jazz.

It was at the May Beaufort Jazz evening when we first met Doris who took to the stage with Pete Shannon on upright bass and Brian Cuddy on keyboards. Afterwards Doris chatted with a few Beaufort Jazz regulars and entertained us with her account of meeting Duke Ellington in Southport.

Many hoped that the trio would return and thankfully we can announce that they will be opening featured performance for Monday 5th September. Appropriately called Steele and Friends the trio first met about twenty years ago when playing for the Ronnie Moore Big Band when it used to play at the Wigan Athletic Supporters Club. Still friends after two decades we are very pleased to welcome them to Monday’s Beaufort Jazz evening.

Pete Shannon tells us that it will be an evening of Jazz standards with favourites such as A Train and Rag Waltz included in the set. So why not join us for what will be a “friendly” evening of Jazz. As usual the evening will start promptly at 8pm with doors open about 7.30 pm. The usual jam session will follow with hopefully The  Orangery also being available for jamming. New musicians and audience members are always welcome – just turn up on the night. Entrance is only a pound with the usual raffle to help bolster funds.

Look forward to seeing you on Monday.

September 3, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , | Leave a comment

Interesting Django article

A short post for all keen Django students. The article below has been made available for online reading by the Taylor and Francis Group. It is an interesting take on Django’s musical experiences in America with some inevitable anecdotes about the man himself.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17494060903454537

It is not known how long the article might be online, so if the above link does not work it could be because access has been restricted to subscribers only. Many thanks to the Taylor and Francis Group for making this publicly available and hopefully it will help them generate revenue from new users.

Please observe the copyright terms and conditions.

August 25, 2011 Posted by | Django | , , , | Leave a comment

Gig update – Introducing Steele and friends

Its worth noting that Dobbies Garden world in Southport will be holding more of their Jazz in the afternoon gigs with Beaufort regulars once again scheduled to play. Tom Sykes will be appearing on the 29th September at 5.30 in the afternoon  as part of a trio playing jazz standards. Tom will be on piano with Phil Shotton on sax and John Watkinson on bass guitar completing the line up.

The venue is the garden centre restaurant and the gig is wrapped around a high tea. A previous visit to the venue to catch the Nicola Farnham gig at the Southport Jazz Festival proved to be very enjoyable. The restaurant is surprisingly comfortable and the acoustics much better than anticipated. Worth a trip.

The next Beaufort Jazz night will be on Monday 5th September when the featured band will be the Jazz Trio – Steele and Friends. If you hadn’t have guessed, the Steele in question is of course the veteran singer Doris Steele –  with Brian Cuddy on keyboards and Beaufort regular Pete Shannon on upright bass. More information to follow nearer the event.

As usual the featured performance will be followed by the  jam sessions. If you have just found us on the web and live in the North West – why not join us? We always make new musicians and members of the audience welcome – so just turn up and say hello.

August 22, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements, Event Announcements | , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Eaton

We have just received the sad message below regarding George Eaton  – a long-standing Beaufort Jazz stalwart. Many will know George as being a keen photographer who helped document the history of Beaufort Jazz with his photos. 

——

I have been asked to pass on the sad news that one of your regular attendees at the (Beaufort) jazz club, George Eaton, who sadly passed away last week.

George was a guitar enthusiast who was well known and liked by many guitarists throughout the North West. I know he had been ill for some time and could not attend the jazz club recently as much as he would have liked, but I believe he was there at the last meeting, which seems quite fitting.

He will be greatly missed by his friends and family, particularly by his friend Terry Sullivan who used to accompany him to the Gypsy Jazz Night whenever he could. It was Terry who asked me to contact you.

Please could you let anyone who knew George know.

Regards, Bill Leach

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Samois – time to reconsider?

Django Festival Samois

Festival goers take a moment to relax at Samois

A recent article in Songlines caught the eye as it raised concerns about the Django Reinhardt Festival held each year in Samois-Sur Seine. The thrust of the article was that Gypsy Jazz, the music made famous by Django, was slowly being edged out by more mainstream jazz. It’s now argued that the festival which bears the Django name no longer plays his music.

More often referred to as just “Samois” the festival as always been considered as the definitive tribute to Django. Musicians travelled across Europe to play and ensure the Django legacy was kept alive. Much of the appeal was the informal nature of the festival combining staged events with the opportunity for visitors to jam together.

The situation seems to have alienated many Django fans and musicians, to the point that many no longer attend the event. For such a narrow genre as Gypsy Jazz the threat is great. Without a flagship festival it is feared that the music will slip further from the public gaze and eventually rely on the odd advert or film score for wider appreciation.

Equally if the Gypsy Jazz musicians no longer attend there will be less impromptu jamming. Without this annual opportunity to collaborate with like-minded musicians, there is the concern that Gypsy Jazz will lose some of the energy and inspiration which attracts new talent. If the music doesn’t evolve the fear is it will eventually disappear.

Perusing the festival programme suggests that the music is now much more diverse than you might expect at a Django Reinhardt festival. Seemingly a little out of place, George Benson the king of smooth jazz headlines the bill. Wikipedia offers a possible explanation for his inclusion when it claims that “Benson uses a rest-stroke picking technique similar to that of Gypsy Jazz players such as Django Reinhardt”. Further examination suggests that the programme is less guitar orientated than in previous years with other instruments now taking centre stage.

There are still some traditional names with David Reinhardt the grandson of Django billed to appear. There are also artists such as Titi Robin who brought his unique fusion of gypsy and world music to Samois following his widely acclaimed performance at the Wychwood Festival earlier in the year. For some die-hard Gypsy Jazz fans, even Robin may be pushing the boundaries, which for them leaves the inclusion of mainstream jazz artists well outside original intent of the festival.

It would seem that the organisers of Samois have taken the view that diversity strengthens rather than weakens the festival. That it is acceptable to include music which has contributed to and spun off from Gypsy Jazz, no matter how tenuous the link might be to some.

It is one of those situations which raises as many questions as it provides answers. The festival relies heavily on the local residents of Samois who started the festival 32 years ago in memory of their famous resident and still volunteer in number to keep the festival running each year. Normally such an enthusiast led festival is sure-footed and true to the original cause. Volunteers only get involved because they care. To now find such disparity between what is offered and what the traditional supporters expect of such a niche festival is unusual to say the least.

The concern recently escalated with the launch of an online petition calling for a return to the Gypsy Jazz format of yesteryear. Judging from the online comments, it has struck a chord with many. One theory put forward by the petitioner is that commercial interests have taken precedence over the cultural heritage of the festival. As it is difficult to get any financial or management information about the festival it is hard establish what the motivation for change might be.

The idea of that the festival has been rebranded by stealth for financial gain is a worrying thought for many who have signed the petition.They see the original Django festival now diluted to such an extent that it is rapidly losing its original audience, something which could prove difficult to reverse if left unchecked. If this was allowed to happen the festival would then be almost totally reliant on its new audience for revenue.

Others see the way forward to have two separate festivals. There is a proven demand for the original Gypsy Jazz festival and however controversially, 2011 did at least demonstrate that Samois can also attract high calibre mainstream jazz musicians, which must be encouraging for the concept of a new jazz festival. Two festivals may be the solution and if successful could considerably enhance the local Samois economy. Most importantly for traditionalists it would ensure the legacy of Django lives on in Samois with a return to an authentic Gypsy Jazz festival.

It’s not clear what the future holds. The online petition is still accumulating signatures and there seems to be little feedback to date from the festival organisers. What is clear is that something precious and unique has been called into question by its core supporters. That in itself should cause the organisers to reflect.

Artists of the stature of Reinhardt probably only arrive on this earth once in a generation. It shouldn’t be too much to hope that a small festival in the heart of France can recapture its audience and celebrate his genius. Gypsies and music lovers worldwide are hoping for a successful outcome.

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Django | , , | Leave a comment

3 Musikateers – our featured band for Monday 1st August

3 Musikateers

3 Musikateers

Much of the enjoyment of keeping this website up to date is getting the monthly phone call which announces the featured band or musician for the forthcoming Beaufort Jazz evening. Quite often it is the familiar name of a Beaufort regular – other times it is a completely new name

When the call arrived this month it was the latter, yet as the conversation developed it became clear that whilst the group was new, the musicians were very familiar to audiences in the North West. Gaynor Sutcliffe and Simon Brady long time members of legendary live band the Swing Commanders have been joined by Clitheroe bassist Bob Buller to form our featured band for August 1st – the 3 Musikateers.

With such a musical pedigree it’s perhaps not surprising that the 3 Musikateers are able to offer a formidable repertoire which not only covers Gypsy Jazz but also classic jazz standards and bluegrass. Needless to say these excellent musicians are a superb live act with  words such as “vibrant” and “entertaining” being regularly used used to describe their polished performances. Expect each member of the 3 Musikateers to play a variety of instruments during the evening as they deliver standards in their own unique style.

As these musicians play regularly in various line ups we have had the usual problem of trying to arrange a suitable date. Its our very good fortune that we have managed to get them for August’s featured performance and once again we expect a full house. It promises to be another one of our unique and special evenings which have become our trademark.

Doors will open at about 7.30 for a prompt start at 8pm. As usual entry is a paltry £1 (yes only £1) to cover the costs of evening. A warm welcome awaits for anyone joining us for the first time.

Look forward to seeing you on the 1st!

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bob Clarke photos

Following Bob Clarke’s featured set at the end of last year we had many requests to see some of the famous photos that he had acquired over years. You might have been lucky enough to see the original photographs at the gig , but if not here they are – kindly scanned for us by Bob’s Grandson.

It’s a bit of a treat for violin fans as Bob is pictured with Stephane Grapelli and Joe Venuti. It’s not clear when or where these were taken. Hopefully there might be a bit more information in the future so we can expand this post. As far as we know it is the first time these have been seen online – so enjoy this snapshot of Jazz history.

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Beaufort Jazz Review

A slightly different review this month with a few more photos. If you missed last Monday it is a great pity as it was a splendid evening from start to finish. The featured guitarist was the eagerly anticipated John Wheatcroft. Needless to say, John didn’t disappoint as he covered the usual standards and even found time to include some of his own compositions. During  the set; vocalist Cathy Dignam was invited on stage to sing  and her mellow vocals brought the set to a most pleasant conclusion. Very enjoyable.

Following their recent trip to Samois, Swing Manouche found time to join us for the evening. It was good to hear them again and hopefully they will be able to attend again next month.  Likewise it was good to welcome back Hot Club of Knotty Ash, Ray and of course the ever-present Ted Hanley. Also many thanks to Mickey Dunne and John McCormick who it has to be said gave excellent support to John Wheatcroft.

Having a slightly later finish allowed us to time to have one of Beaufort’s famous jams to round of the evening. Tom Sykes and Adam Palma joined the other musicians on stage for a rousing finish. It was good to see that once again we had many new faces in the audience. Hopefully they will join us again next month for another Beaufort Jazz evening.

It seems a good while since we were entertained by Douce Ambience in June. Paul Draper swapped his usual sound deck for upright bass in order to accompany Rachel and Rob for the evening. They played one of their characteristically melodic sets to a very appreciative audience. Later in the evening we had the pleasure to welcome back Doris Steele who was accompanied by Pete Shannon on bass with Brian Cuddy on keyboards.

Next Beaufort Jazz night will be on Monday 1st August and the featured group will be 3 Musikateers. Beaufort regulars might not recognise the name as they are a relatively new group. Having said that the musicians will be known to many in the North West as they currently play in quite a well known and long established  line up. A full announcement will be made in the next few days when all will be revealed.

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bickerstock starts Saturday 6th August!

BickerstockA very short post to announce that the annual Bickerstock free music festival starts on Saturday the 6th August at 12pm. This is the 9th year this small friendly festival has been running and it is hoped that this year will even more successful.

There are some changes this year, the most notable being that the camping will be on a separate field from the festival with a minibus service available from the campsite to the festival field.

The line up is to be announced shortly, and we would expect that as in previous years it will feature many Beaufort regulars. For more information please check the Bickerstock website. There is also a contact number 01695 727722 for enquiries.

Enjoy

July 6, 2011 Posted by | Event Announcements | , , , | Leave a comment

John Wheatcroft to feature Monday 4th of July

John Wheatcroft

John Wheatcroft

It’s now just over a year since we moved from the Orangery into the Ellerbrook Suite and during that time a number of people had hoped that John Wheatcroft might be available to perform the opening featured set on one of our Beaufort Jazz nights. John’s hectic schedule as a busy musician and Head of Guitar at London’s prestigious Guitar-X meant that this was always going to be a difficult one to arrange. So we were obviously delighted when we got a call from John to agree a date and are very pleased to announce that he will play our opening featured spot on Monday 4th of July.

Beaufort regulars and guitar fans will need little introduction to John’s superb guitar playing, however if you have not seen John play his style is described as “integrating modern jazz with the timeless Django swing”. As well as Django, John’s many musical influences include Birelli Lagrene, John Scofield, Allan Holdsworth. and even the great Charlie Parker.

Having performed with such musicians as Billy Cobham (Miles Davies) Frank Gambale (Chick Corea) and Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), John has recently toured the world with John Jorgenson and Carl Palmer (ELP). His playing has been widely acclaimed and John Jorgenson was moved to comment “John Wheatcroft has an incredible arsenal of knowledge on the guitar and puts it together in a very appealing style” Gary Potter- no stranger to Beaufort Jazz regulars. was equally impressed ” John Wheatcroft is an incredibly versatile guitarist with an astonishing technique”.

On the evening John will be accompanied by Mickey Dunne on guitar with John McCormick on upright bass.

If you are an occasional reader of this blog and havent got round to visiting us at Beaufort Jazz then this will be an excellent opportunity for you see an exceptional guitarist perform. Just make sure that you arrive in good time to get a seat as this gig is likely to be very popular.

As usual the evening starts promptly ay 8pm with doors open about 7.30pm. Entrance is the usual £1 with the customary raffle to help bolster funds. Newcomers (both audience and musicians) are always most welcome.

Look forward to seeing you on the 4th!

June 24, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Douce Ambience to feature Monday 6th June

Douce Ambience

Douce Ambience

Suddenly a month has gone in hardly no time at all and it will be our next Beaufort Jazz evening on Monday 6th of June when Douce Ambience will play the opening featured performance. Beaufort regulars will no doubt recognise Douce Ambience as Rachel Cooper on flute and Rob Curson on guitar. They will be accompanied on the evening by Paul Draper on upright bass. 

Rob and Rachel have often jammed on Beaufort evenings but this will be their first time on the featured spot. If you have not caught them in the past their performances are typically Gypsy Jazz inspired with Rachel performing many of the solos on flute with Rob providing the rhythm guitar. It’s an unusual combination of instruments but it works very well and will no doubt give us a fine evening of music. If you are new to Beaufort Jazz and havent manged to get down to one of our evenings its worth making the effort to catch Douce Ambience on Monday.

As usual we start at 8pm with doors open at 7.45pm. Our venue is of course the Ellerbrook Suite in the Briars Hall Hotel.

Entry is a meagre £1 which helps to fund the evening.

Look forward to seeing you on the 6th!

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , | Leave a comment

Beaufort Jazz May review

The Sharp Four Quartet Beaufort Jazz May 2011

The Sharp Four

Once again the Beaufort Jazz night was quickly upon us and the monthly featured band was the eagerly anticipated “Sharp Four Quartet”. As their name suggests they didn’t hang around and quickly went into the set with Caribbean Carnival and Swing 42 with a nod to Stevie Wonder in between. Jim Bannister was in particularly fine form on guitar as the quartet covered Wes Montgomery’s Road Song and the classic Horace Silver number – Song for my Father with Tom Sykes taking the opportunity to alternate between keyboards and his more usual violin during the set to great effect. Very enjoyable.

The Sharp Four are a fine group of musicians and if you havent managed to catch them performing in the Northwest why not try to make their performance in Chester at that excellent venue Alexanders on June 5th. You will not be disappointed.

A monthly jam night such as Beaufort Jazz can produce some unexpected and memorable moments, which has to be said is part of the enjoyment of being in the audience. You know that you will enjoy the evenings staple of Gypsy Jazz but then there is always the possibility of something a bit different. And so it was last Monday when Pete Shannon put together a trio of himself on bass with Ted Hanley on guitar and Brian Cuddy on keyboards. During the set an unamed vocalist was invited to join them on stage for three priceless numbers.

We didn’t know it at the time but the singer was Doris Steele, veteran of many polished Jazz performances over the years. After the set Doris told us how in the early 70s she met Duke Ellington when they were both performing at the Floral Hall in Southport. Duke was understandably impressed with Doris’s vocals and immediately invited her to join him on tour in America. Unfortunately, family commitments meant that Doris was unable to take him up on his invitation – but the offer remained open and Doris hoped to visit America following year. Sadly Duke became unwell and passed away and the opportunity was never fulfilled. What America missed Beaufort Jazz gained and hopefully Doris will join us again in the near future.

The later part of evening was given over to our traditional Gypsy Jazz jam sessions and its impromptu collaborations. Hot Club duo of Steve Cronin and Bill Cox were joined on stage by Alan Stratton on bass and with a very welcome appearance of Alan Shaw on guitar. Dave Evans fronted a quartet including Beaufort regulars Phil Bernia, Mike Dexter and Rob Curson to give us the Hot Club classics Minor Swing and Sweet Georgia Brown.

As a finale Trez Fez took to the stage to conclude the evening in their usual melodic style. We understand that Trez Fez will have  DVD available in the near future of their recent sell out gig at Heysham Jazz. More information to follow shortly.

The next Beaufort Jazz evening will be on Monday 6th of June and the featured band will be announced in the next few days.

May 8, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Southport Jazz Festival – events announced

Southport Jazz festival logoThe line up for the Southport International Jazz Festival has just been announced with the event programme now available online. Please feel free to click on the blue text which will allow you to view and download the programme. For the first time the Festival will take place over 5 days from May 25th to the 29th with a gig on the Wednesday night at The Shrimper on Fylde Road. As usual there are a number of very familiar faces appearing at the Festival who have played at Beaufort Jazz evenings over the years…..

Funkus Monkus Noon Town Hall Gardens – Thursday 26th May

Twin Frets Noon Town Hall Gardens – Friday 27th May

Petrus 2.30pm Town Hall Gardens – Friday 27th May

Sunday Brunch with Vernon Fuller 11am Lords Café Bar – Sunday 29th May

Modjango 2.30pm The Inn Beer Shop – Sunday 29th May

Swingology 5pm Town Hall Gardens – Sunday 29th May

All gigs are taken from the event programme but you would be wise to double-check before travelling. In bad weather last year some of the outdoor events in the Town Hall Gardens were moved indoors to the Prince of Wales Hotel – but this wasn’t very well publicised with just a small insignificant notice on the railings to entrance on Lord Street. So if you are in Southport and it is raining it’s worth checking to see if the event is happening indoors somewhere.

Enjoy!

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Event Announcements | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sharp Four Quartet to feature Monday 2nd of May

One of the benefits of the Beaufort Jazz monthly featured spot is that we can  invite groups who we might not normally get to see during the evenings informal jam sessions. The Sharp Four Quartet are probably a good example and we are very pleased that they will open the next Beaufort Jazz evening on Monday 2nd of May.

The Sharp Four have been together for 5 years and have made their name by incorporating “a wide range of styles” into their performances. A typical gig will have a mixture of  latin, groove, mainstream and swing. We havent managed to get a sneak preview of their set list however we have been told we might expect a little bit of Wes Montgomery and Chick Corea during the evening. Something definitely to look forward to.

The current line up of the Sharp Four is Jim Bannister guitar, Tom Sykes on keyboards and violin, Bill Lythgoe bass with Chris Leyland on drums. As usual please give them a very warm Beaufort Jazz welcome. For newcomers, the event will be held in the Ellerbrook Suite at the Briars Hall Hotel in Burscough and will start promptly at 8pm. Doors open at 7.45 with the entrance fee a mere £1 to cover costs. Look forward to seeing you.

Many will remember the excellent gig from the veteran violinist Bob Clarke on that bitterly cold Beaufort Jazz evening in early December. A number of regulars managed to chat with Bob and get to look at his personal photo collection of some of the great musicians he has worked with over the years. We did manage to get a few of these photos posted on this blog – with the hope of a few more to follow. Now thanks to Bob and his grandson (who has scanned them) we have some more photos of Bob with Stephane Grappelli and Joe Venuti. In the next few days we will be posing these with hopefully some video of Bob’s gig. Enjoy.

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beaufort Jazz review

Djangobop Beaufort Jazz Mar 2011

Djangobop

Holidays and other incidentals have got in the way of writing reviews on the last two Beaufort Jazz evenings, so a quick post here is overdue. Apologies for it being a little briefer than usual. The March evening featured the ever popular Djangobop. Normally performing as the duo of Matt Wells and Dave Stearstree the group was expanded by the addition of Paul Murphy on third guitar and John on upright bass. Djangobop are familiar friends to Beaufort Jazz evenings and their set was thoroughly enjoyed by a full house in the Ellerbrook Suite. Once again it was a pleasure to welcome the many new faces in the audience.

A special thanks to George White who kindly deputised for Paul Draper on sound.

Sheps Rhythm Aces Beaufort Jazz

Mike Dexter and Howard Shepherd

An unexpected March guest was the veteran banjo player Howard Shepherd who was partnered by the ever versatile Mike Dexter on guitar. Performing as Shep’s Rhythm Aces the duo have been together for nearly twenty years, though we think it was their first appearance at a Beaufort Jazz evening. It was one of those spontaneous and highly enjoyable moments which can only be found at jam nights like ourselves. The older members of the audience will no doubt have recognised Howard from his numerous musical appearances on the 70s TV series “The Comedians”.

Many Beaufort regulars were in attendance. In particular it was good to welcome back Bill Cox and Steve Cronin who have been ever present members of the Hot Club of Knotty Ash over the years. They formed in impromptu trio with Tom Sykes on violin.

La Paire Llamedos Beaufort Jazz 04 11

La Paire Llamedos

Mike Dexter appeared in yet another guise as our featured act for April. Appearing with Les Cook as one half of La Paire Llamedos. Unfortunately this was sadly missed due to the aforementioned holiday. Reports however confirmed that this was another excellent Beaufort evening with yet another good turnout.

The next Beaufort Jazz evening will be on Monday the 2nd of May and we are very pleased to announce that the featured band will be the The Sharp Four Quartet. More information to follow in the next few days.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

La Paire Llamedos to feature – Monday 4th April

La Paire Llamedos Beaufort Jazz march 2011

La Paire Llamedos

As we promised, our next Beaufort Jazz evening will feature two musicians who are likely to be fairly unique and not something to be heard every day of the week. La Paire Llamedos are the musical talents of Les Cook on Hawaiian steel guitar and Mike Dexter providing a Hot Club style guitar accompaniment. This intriguing collaboration goes back over seven years and has entertained many audiences with their original arrangements of Hawaiian and Django classics.

The set is probably the most diverse we will have heard in a good while with Gypsy Jazz classics such as Nuages and Minor Swing featuring alongside early twenties Hawaiian stnadards. The duo not surprisingly claim “a very varied repertoire”

Mike is well-known to Beaufort regulars and Les Cook is one of the foremost authorities on the steel guitar and Hawaiian music in the UK. We think it will the first visit to Beaufort Jazz for Les so please give him a warm reception. For the performance Les will be playing an original 1920s National Hawaiian steel guitar and a hand-made Hawaiian style Maccaferri copy.

The performance begins promptly at 8pm with doors open at 7.45pm. As usual the entry fee is £1 to cover the costs of the evening and there will be the usual raffle to bolster funds.

Look forward to seeing you on the 4th!

March 29, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , | Leave a comment

Gig update – Petrus, John Wheatcroft and introducing the Swan “Live Lounge”

A brief post to keep you updated with gigs where Beaufort Jazz regulars are playing.

Paul Draper is organising the new Live  Lounge at the The Swan Inn in Aughton on the last Friday of every month. It is a new evening, part organised – part open mic to showcase local musicians. Last week was only the second evening and featured Trez Fez with Tom Sykes guesting on violin. It’s a very pleasant location in the lounge adjacent to the main restaurant, with what has to be said are surprisingly good acoustics. Staring at 8pm it’s definitely one to put into your diary.

Tom Sykes will also be appearing with Les Bolger and Danny Mannix at Dobbies Garden World at 5pm on Thursday 28th April. There is a small entrance fee and high tea will be included. The same musicians will also be appearing with John McCormick as Petrus at the Southport Jazz Festival. They are scheduled to appear on Friday 27th May at 2.30 pm in the Town Hall Gardens. This is always a very popular location and Petrus played here last year for same festival.

Finally we also hear that John Wheatcroft is performing at Parr Street on the 12th of April with the band Metamorphic. Parr Street is one of the iconic music clubs in the North West and John is one of the finest guitarists in the region – so it is likely to be a special occasion.

The next Beaufort Jazz night is on Monday 4th April and the featured musicians will be La Paire Llamedos. Unique is an overused word nowadays, however this group is just that and completely different from anything you will have heard. A full announcement will appear in the few days.

Enjoy

March 27, 2011 Posted by | Event Announcements | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Djangobop to feature – Monday March 7th

Matt Wells Djangobop beaufort jazz mar 2011

Matt Wells Djangobop

After one century ends another begins -and so we start our second century of Beaufort Jazz evenings on Monday March 7th. when the featured musicians will be the excellent Djangobop. Having supported Beaufort Jazz evenings for a number of years its very good news to announce that this popular guitar duo of Matt Wells and Dave Stearsrtee will be playing the opening featured set for the evening. They need little introduction to Beaufort regulars and many will remember Matt’s last visit when supported Bob Clarke last December.

Matt and Dave have been playing as duo for the last five years and they best describe their music as Django with” just a hint of more contemporary jazz”. Their association goes back even longer – over twenty years to be precise and during that time they have worked with many musicians across a whole range of genres, an experience which has clearly helped them to develop their unique style. The duo also take pride in the performance by “keeping the presentation to that of mid 40’s France”.

Dave Stearstree Djangobop beaufort jazz mar 2011

Dave Stearstree Djangobop

On the night the duo will be joined by Paul Murphy on third guitar and by the addition of a bass player. It promises to be another thoroughly enjoyable featured set from some talented musicians. It will also be another outing for the new sound system which Paul Draper has been using for about the last three or four Beaufort evenings. The general view seems to be that this has been a great success with the music sounding better than ever. As usual the evening will start promptly at 8pm in the Ellerbrook Suite. Doors open at 7.45 pm so please do try to arrive in good time for the start of the performance.

If you are thinking of visiting us for the first time, please remember that Beaufort Jazz now uses the Briars Hall Hotel as its new venue. The Beaufort Hotel (our original home – hence our name) closed a while ago and is now a nursing home. To the best of our knowledge they don’t host Jazz nights, so probably not worth a visit.

Look forward to seeing you on the 7th!

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , | Leave a comment

Century celebrations review – 100 and still going strong

Daniel John Martin and Gary Potter beaufort jazz feb 2011

Daniel and Gary in full flow

In the run up to last Monday emails were composed, texts sent and phone calls made – all to ensure that as many  as possible were invited to the 100th Beaufort Jazz evening. Our aim was very simple – that we would get 100 to come to our 100th. As it turned out, 120 of us managed to cram into the Ellerbrook Suite for what was definitely a standing room only occasion. Most encouraging was that we saw many new faces who had taken the trouble to search us out.

Our much awaited featured musician was Daniel John Martin, the Paris based violinist who was to be  accompanied on this landmark evening by Micky Dunne and Karl Webb on guitars with Tony Doyle on bass. Daniel came as a veteran of many Gypsy Jazz jam nights and took us through the standards with considerable ease. Djangos Tiger and Minor Swing were amongst them and covered with great flair. One enthusiastic person has managed to capture a clip on video and has posted it on YouTube. It can be found by clicking here and whilst it’s a little shaky it does give a glimpse of what was a first class set.

We were very pleased that the occasion attracted new musicians. Keith and Neil were a vocal and keyboard duo who gave us a number of jazz classics before leaving the stage to another duo, Amanda and Dave who gave us yet more standards. Hopefully they will have all enjoyed the evening and will join us again for the next Beaufort Jazz night. Helen Maher then stepped up with an impromptu quartet which included John McCormick on upright bass and were quickly followed by the High Peak Trio, who as their name suggests must have travelled some way to be with us. Ted Hanley then took to the stage and we learned that he had only ever missed two Beaufort Jazz evenings. A record to be  proud of especially as Ted has to make his way from East Lancashire each month. 

Gary Potter and Adam Palma beaufort jazz feb 2011

Gary Potter and Adam Palma jam together

Then it was not so much welcoming new musicians, but saying hello to those who had been away too long. Many will remember that Gary Potter was a regular at Beaufort Jazz for many years, after all, we were his local Gypsy Jazz jam in the North. Whilst he had not been able to attend in recent months, there was no stopping him from making the 100th celebrations. Supported by John Cordwell on rhythm guitar, it was if he had never been away. As a finale to the evening Gary welcomed Daniel back on stage along with Adam Palma to give us an energetic Sweet Georgia Brown. A fitting end to a fine evening. Well, almost the end, as there was still time for the traditional mass jam on stage which took us right up to our finish at 11.30.

The next Beaufort Jazz evening will be on Monday 7th March when the featured musicians will be he excellent Djangobop. A full announcement to follow in the next few days.

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment