Beaufort Jazz

Great music – and you are invited!

Beaufort Jazz continues

A very short post to confirm to all who might be reading that Beaufort Jazz continues this evening under the new stewardship of Paul Dennis. Tonight Paul has put together a band specially to launch the new era which will feature some new faces along with some more familiar Beaufort regulars.

The outgoing Paul (Paul Budgen) has asked for a special announcement to be made. It can be found by clicking here.

Hopefully Paul Dennis will continue to receive the support that has enabled Beaufort Jazz to survive thus far and that tonight will be a good turnout.

Enjoy

Advertisements

October 1, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , | Leave a comment

July photos

A very brief post to  upload some photos of last month when we welcomed Toe Rag as our featured guests.  It was another excellent evening giving us the opportunity to see musicians that we would not normally be able to catch locally in West Lancashire. Toe Rag are a fine outfit with a very different approach to Gypsy Jazz. If you have tickets for Kendal Calling (this coming weekend) then be sure to see them on the Riot Jazz stage.

Next month we are very pleased to welcome a trio of great musical distinction. Billed for the evening as Galway Ormesher and Owens these three musicians will be no doubt familiar to those who follow the local music scene, but this will be a rare appearance for them as a trio. More details to follow shortly.

July 21, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , | Leave a comment

Toe Rag to feature – full announcement

Toe RagHaving made a name for themselves on the Manchester music scene over the last few years we are delighted to welcome Toe Rag to West Lancashire as our featured band for Monday 2nd July. Starting as an informal university music project 3 years ago Toe Rag probably had little idea that their unusual take on Gypsy Jazz would prove so popular in the North West. The first indication that they had something special was in 2010 when they shared a stage with the legendary Blues singer Victor Brox who described their music as “really refreshing to hear”.  Coming from an artist who has worked with some of greatest names in music the compliment encouraged Toe Rag to take their music to a wider audience.

Following numerous appearances at Manchester’s premier jazz club Matt and Phreds, Toe Rag brought the curtain down on a successful 2011 by playing the New Year’s eve party at the venue. Earlier in the year they had played the Riot Jazz stage at the sell-out Kendal Calling festival and were promptly invited back to perform the same stage at this years festival, which as expected has also sold out well in advance.

Their travels eventually took them to Djangology where they joined the mass afternoon jam along with twenty or so other like minded musicians. Paul Dennis the founder of Toe Rag tells us “We really enjoyed jamming with Beaufort regulars at Djangology and are looking forward to featuring at Beaufort Jazz in July. Our Gypsy Jazz set will be a mix of standards and originals with some Charlie Parker numbers for good measure”

Normally an eight piece band, Toe Rag will perform our Beaufort gig with six band members including double bass, guitar, accordion and percussion. In addition to Paul Dennis on lead guitar, Beaufort regular Tom Sykes will feature on violin. Expect something a bit different.

As usual the evening will start promptly at 8pm so please arrive in good time to take your seats in the Ellerbrook Suite. Newcomers are most welcome with the entry being a miserly £1 payable at the table. It’s unlikely that you will find a better evening’s entertainment for such a modest sum so why not join us. The usual jam session will follow the featured performance.

Look forward to seeing you on the 2nd.

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , | Leave a comment

Announcing Toe Rag – Monday 2nd July

A very brief post in advance to let everyone know that we will be back in the Ellerbrook Suite at the Briars Hall for the forthcoming Beaufort Jazz evening on Monday the 2nd of July. Our featured band for the evening will be the Salford based Toe Rag who will be making the journey down the M62 to open the evening in their own very distinctive style.

One Beaufort regular described Toe Rag as “Gypsy Jazz with attitude” and definitely a band to catch if at all possible. It sounds like a very good recommendation so we are hoping for another full house in the Ellerbrook Suite to welcome these fine musicians.  A full announcement to follow in the next few days.

June 21, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , | Leave a comment

The Lost Cause Association to feature Monday 4th of June

Very Important Notice: Due to a wedding at the Briars Hall Hotel this Beaufort Jazz evening will be held in the Arts Centre at Burscough Wharf. Could Beaufort regulars please pass this message on to anyone who might not have Internet access.

The Lost Cause Association

The Lost Cause Association

The opening performance for our June Beaufort Jazz evening features a local trio who have played together over many years in various highly acclaimed bands. After touring the world playing a wide range of music they now find themselves back home playing their own style of Gypsy Jazz and Swing, We are delighted to introduce The Lost Cause Association as our featured guest musicians for Monday 4th of June.

These excellent musicians have a fine musical pedigree going back to the days when they performed mainly country style with the Kevin Daniels Band and then the Pete O’ Dowd Band which toured America, Ireland and France to wide acclaim. They then found time to appear in many different line line-ups with 60s Rock and Rollers including local legend Karl Terry. Since reuniting as trio The Lost Cause Association have concentrated on developing their own style of melodic Gypsy Swing.

Lead guitarist John Mooney recalls his early interest in Gypsy Swing from his father’s own musical career “I have an abiding passion for Reinhardt and swing music inherited from my Father, a great guitarist who played in a dance band run by Sam Wannamaker the film producer.”

The Lost Cause Association are John Mooney – lead guitar, Chris White  – rhythm guitar and Billy Stratton on bass. Please give them a warm Beaufort Jazz welcome.

As usual the evening will start promptly at 8pm with newcomers most welcome to join us. Entrance is the customary £1 to cover costs and we doubt anyone will get a better evening’s entertainment for such a paltry sum.

A word about our venue for this evening. The Arts Centre is a new leisure complex in the heart of Burscough which is rapidly establishing itself for Cinema, theatre, live music and comedy. Having been told about the wedding at the Briars (which is most unusual for a Monday) some urgent action was needed to find an alternative venue. The Arts Centre seemed a good choice has its own stage and lighting and as luck would have it, a room opposite which is perfect for jamming.

There will also be a bar and sandwiches available and it is likely that we will be able to play later than our usual finishing time. It is conveniently situated in the centre of Burscough on the junction of the A59 and the canal with good parking available on both sides of the canal. Directions can be found here. Obviously this is a temporary arrangement and for the July Beaufort Jazz evening we anticipate that we will be back in the Ellerbrook Suite at the Briars.

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , | 1 Comment

Diminuita to feature Monday 7th of May

Diminuita

Diminuita

Following last month’s Beaufort Jazz evening when we were entertained by Daniel John Martin we are very pleased to continue the international theme for the forthcoming month and welcome the Athens based swing trio Diminuita as our featured musicians for May. This is their first tour of the UK and we were delighted when they contacted us last November and we realised that their visit coincided with our May evening. Needless to say we were quick to extend the invitation to join us and open the evening as our featured musicians.

Those of you who get our monthly email will probably be suitably impressed with the long list of Diminuita’s considerable achievements. In addition to performing at numerous events and music festivals they also found time to help launch the first Reinhardt inspired festival in May 2010.  Held in Athens, the festival (named Djangofest) celebrated the 100th anniversary of Reinhardt’s birth and was such a success that it was subsequently repeated in 2011.

Diminuita was originally formed in 2007 and they have quickly made an impact in the world of Gypsy Jazz. In 2011 they found time to record their first official CD entitled a-rhythmology in addition to touring mainland Europe. Their style is described as being “natural and acoustic” with the emphasis on keeping the music true to its original intent. Much of their set list will no doubt be very familiar to Beaufort regulars –  but with the added spice of different arrangements and some of Diminuita’s own compositions. It doesn’t have to be said  – but this will be another fine evening at Beaufort Jazz.

Diminuita’s tour is as much as cultural visit as well as an opportunity to play in the UK as they hope to catch up with some sightseeing as they travel around the country. After so much effort in organising their itinerary we are obviously hoping that they will be rewarded with an excellent turnout on Monday and that we can give a warm Beaufort welcome to these generous musicians.

Diminuita are Giorgos Papadogiannis  – lead guitar, Effie Saranti – rhythm guitar and Kostas Arsenis on upright bass.

As usual the evening starts at 8pm so please make an extra special effort to arrive in good time to welcome our guests on stage. Look forward to seeing you on Monday.

May 4, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Monday

Monday was another fine night with a full house in the Ellerbrook Suite. There are a few photos and even with the limitations of a small compact camera it’s still possible to get a flavour of the evening. Many thanks to all concerned

Thanks also to Tony Owens who brought an excellent selection of Altamira guitars for us to admire and play. Tony is an old acquaintance from many years ago (long before Beaufort Jazz) and it was very good to see him again.  Since we last met up Tony has started his guitar business Go to guitars and is now a distributer for a growing number of brands. Good luck to him.

As announced our featured musicians for our next Beaufort evening on Monday May 7th will be Diminuita, a renowned swing trio from Greece. It is their first visit to the UK as part of their European tour and we are obviously very pleased that the first two dates they agreed were ourselves and Le Quecumbar. More details to follow shortly.

April 5, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Samuel C Lees and Trez Fez with special guest Daniel John Martin

Samuel C Lees

Samuel C Lees

Tomorrow night looks like being another memorable occasion as we once again welcome the delightful guitar skills of Samuel C Lees to Beaufort Jazz. Sam will open the evening with our own Trez Fez as a special event before they appear at Djangology on May 19th. If that was not enough we will also have a very special guest appearance from the excellent violinist Daniel John Martin. It goes without saying that there is a lot of musical ability in this line up.

When Sam last joined us he performed material from his widely acclaimed album All About Time, which has a mix of Sam’s own material, well-known standards and some very interesting arrangements of quite recent songs. Coincidently Daniel plays violin on some of the album tracks. One of the stand out moments of Sam’s last Beaufort appearance was a version of Minor Swing which is still talked about. A number of Beaufort regulars are hoping that we might tempt Sam in to giving us a repeat performance.

Since appearing at our 100th celebrations we are very pleased to welcome Daniel back as a special guest. Being based in Paris it is not often that he is able to appear in the UK so we are very pleased that he chooses to play our Beaufort evenings when he is in the country. The last time we caught up with Daniel he was performing at the Lantern Theatre with John Wheatcroft where they performed late into the night to a very appreciative audience.

Last but not least, Trez Fez will complete the featured line up for tomorrow bringing their own melodic style to the performance. As well as appearing at Djangology, we understand that Trez Fez will be performing a special charity gig in Ormskirk at the beginning of July. As many of us know, Trez Fez are very generous with their time supporting charitable causes and this is a gig that they have played and supported for a good number of years. Hopefully there will be an announcement about the gig on Monday and that the event can be well attended.

Needless to say this will be an excellent evening of music. As usual it is an 8pm start in the Ellerbrook Suite at the Briars Hall Hotel. Entry is only £1 to cover costs and new faces are always very welcome.

Look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Image © Samuel C. Lees, Grey Trilby and NGPhotography

April 1, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Djangology announced

A short post to keep everyone updated as there were quite a lot of announcements last night and it seemed a good idea to inform those who couldn’t attend.

The Preston Gypsy Jazz Festival was confirmed for Saturday 19th May and is to be called Djangology. The new website can be found by clicking here and gives full details of the day’s events.

Beaufort Jazz regulars Samuel C Lees and Trez Fez have been confirmed with Sam running the Masterclass event and Trez Fez hosting the afternoon jam sessions. These events will be held at the Legacy Hotel in Preston with a special late afternoon concert  and twilight jam held at the 53 Degrees venue in the University of Central Lancashire.

The jams will be free events open to players of all standards. So if you enjoy playing Gypsy Jazz  – just come along and join in. It’s that simple. If you want to know who will be playing in the concert – then check out the website, you probably won’t be disappointed.

As a special taster and publicity for the Festival, Sam and Trez Fez will open at the next Beaufort Jazz evening on Monday 2nd of April. We are very pleased to announce that there will also be a guest appearance from Daniel John Martin who will be flying in from Paris to perform. Daniel is one of the top Gypsy Jazz violinists in Europe and is well-remembered for his performance at our 100th celebrations. This is going to be an exceptional evening  – with hopefully a further surprise in the pipeline. Watch this space.

As if this wasn’t enough, we have the internationally acclaimed Diminuita opening for our May evening. So there you have it, three superb live Gypsy Jazz music events all happening here in the North West. Hopefully you will be able to join us.

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , | Leave a comment

Reviews, photos and announcing Texas Moon

Having not posted any photos for a while we thought it was high time to find time to publish a few. It turns out that we have three month’s worth of photos which due to time and space have inevitably had to be whittled down to those that appear below. Many thanks to Peter Walmsley who was kind enough to provide photos from the last evening when Swingology were our featured musicians.

The previous month featured the guitar duo of Matt Wells and Willy Fluss with their highly distinctive jazz fusion approach to Gypsy Jazz. Prior to that in December we had Trez Fez perform the opening featured performance in their usual melodic style. These were three fine evenings and hopefully the photos will do justice to the proceedings.

Moving on we are very pleased to welcome for the first time the guitar duo of Texas Moon who will be our featured musicians for tomorrow – Monday 5th March., Those of you who join us at our regular monthly gathering at the Derby Arms will probably recognise Peter Kenrick who is the pedal steel guitar half of the duo. On Monday Peter will be joined by John Clucas on guitar. Like many of our featured musicians, Texas Moon draw from many and varied musical influences to give something a little different. Another excellent evening is in prospect.

It’s not often that we are able to announce featured musicians beyond the current month as schedules quite often change. At the moment it seems that we have a settled schedule and can make an announcement for the following two Beaufort Jazz evenings…

Monday 2nd of April – Samuel C Lees and Trez Fez

Monday 7th of May – Diminuita

Sam and Trez Fez need very little introduction to Beaufort regulars and they will be performing a special and unique featured performance as a taster for their performance at the newly announced Preston Gypsy Jazz Festival (see below).

We are very pleased to announce Diminuita who are internationally acclaimed and will be touring the UK. Despite their hectic schedule they have found time to bring their music to our May evening. Having seen some of the emails it is clear these excellent musicians have made a great effort to perform our featured spot and hopefully they will be rewarded with a splendid turn-out and a very warm welcome. Please take a moment to check out their website.

On Saturday May the 19th there will be the inaugural Preston Gypsy Jazz Festival and as mentioned, Beaufort regulars Samuel C Lees and Trez Fez are scheduled to appear. We don’t want to give too much away at this stage as there will be a special announcement tomorrow night when the official line up and the name of festival will be revealed.

We start promptly at 8pm tomorrow and can be found at usual venue in the Ellerbrook Suite at the Briars Hall Hotel. As always the entrance fee is a paltry pound to cover costs. New faces are always welcome so if you play an instrument, please join us for the jam sessions – or why not just come and listen to some very enjoyable music.

Look forward to seeing you tomorrow

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements, Beaufort Reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swingology to feature tonight Monday 6th February

Swingology entertain at the Southport Jazz Festival 2010

Swingology

It seems a long time ago now when back in March 2010 we moved from the Orangery to the Ellerbrook Suite for our monthly Beaufort Jazz evenings. After a few months of discussion with the Briars Hall Hotel the move was agreed and Swingology stepped forward (at quite short notice) to open the evening with the new featured performance. After nearly two years we thought that a return was long overdue and are very pleased to announce that Swingology will be our featured guests for  tonight – Monday 6th of February.

It’s fair to say that there is no such thing as a typical Swingology gig which combines Gypsy Jazz with many other musical styles depending on the occasion. One particular memory springs to mind when at the 2010 Southport Jazz festival, Swingology entertained a large audience on a bright early summer day in the Town Hall Gardens. By the end of the set a good number of the audience had decided to get to their feet and spontaneously dance to the last couple of numbers.

We can’t promise any dancing tonight but we can be sure that it will be a first class evening’s entertainment. If you have missed Swingology at the Jazz Festival or at one of their appearances at Stamps then make an effort to join us tonight. The evening will start promptly at 8pm and the usual jam session will commence after the Swingology set.

Look forward to seeing you later.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , | Leave a comment

Matt Wells and Willy Fluss to feature Monday 2nd of January

Music and Wine - Beaufort Jazz Christmas 2011

Music and Wine

First and foremost – A Happy New Year to everyone. Hopefully you will have had an excellent Christmas and that 2012 will be a prosperous (and musical) year for all. As usual Beaufort Jazz continues with its tried and trusted policy of always being held on the first Monday of the month, so tomorrow night will be our first of the year.

To mark the occasion the evening will feature the duo of Matt Wells and Willy Fluss. These very talented guitarists have appeared many times together in the North West, but have somehow managed to miss out on our convivial monthly evening of Django inspired music. Considering that they first met some five years ago at a Beaufort Jazz evening, their appearance is long overdue and we are very pleased to announce them as our opening featured performance.

Many will know Matt as a long-term Beaufort supporter who is well known for being one half of the duo Djangobop. Regular visitors to the Southport Jazz Festival will instantly recognise the name of Willy Fluss as he has appeared on numerous occasions, normally with Vernon Fuller as Twin Frets. Together they cover a lot musical ground from Gypsy Jazz to Latin and Jazz fusion, so it’s certain that we are guaranteed an entertaining varied performance. Don’t miss them.

You may be reading this having stumbled on this webpage searching for some information on Gypsy Jazz or even possibly looking for live music in the Lancashire and Merseyside area. Then why not join us? If you play an instrument we always welcome new musicians to play in the jam sessions which follow the featured performance. If listening is more your style then just turn up and take a seat – it’s that simple. We start promptly at 8 pm and can be found in the Ellerbrook Suite at the Briars Hall Country Hotel near Burscough – so please come along.

We have some photos of last month’s Christmas evening which will be posted along with an overdue review. The photo at the top was one that was taken and it seemed to sum up the spirit of the evening quite nicely with music and wine flowing in equal measure!

Look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

January 2, 2012 Posted by | Beaufort Announcements | , , , , | Leave a comment

November review – announcing Trez Fez

It was hoped that this post could have appeared a little earlier than it has however better late than never as they say. Our November evening featured the diverse talents of Jazzamatazz with vocalist Wheesh Cunningham and Johnny Youngblood on keyboards. On the night they were joined by local percussionist Dennis who complemented the band as they performed some classic numbers from a bygone era.

It has to be said that they were in fine form offering something a little different than usual. Gypsy Jazz may be the reason for our monthly gathering but it is always very pleasing to welcome new musicians who bring a different style and ambience to the evening.

The photographs this month have been a little difficult to produce due to the demise of a much-loved camera. The compact replacement seems to struggle with the low lighting in the Ellerbrook Suite and it is difficult to get a sharp image. Hopefully the musicians who contributed to the evening will recognise themselves below.

As Paul announced at the end of the night – Trez Fez will open the next Beaufort Jazz evening on Monday the 5th of December. Whilst everyone associated with Beaufort Jazz will instantly recognise Trez Fez it is hoped that we can put a more detailed announcement up here in the next few days with some bits and pieces about Trez Fez and the background to the band.

As usual the evening will start promptly at 8pm so please arrive in good time for the start of the music. Despite the effects of inflation –  it’s still only £1 for entry. An absolute steal.

Look forward to seeing you on the 5th!

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Beaufort Reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

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.

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

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