Great article…

…in today’s Guardian on the direction of jazz. And one with which this year’s Margate Jazz Festival is so in tune with, featuring artists cohabiting the pop and jazz worlds, classical music and jazz worlds and ethnic music and jazz worlds.

On this day…

…in 1951, bass player and composer Stanley Clarke was born in Philadelphia. His School Days album proved to be a seminal album in the then emerging development of jazz fusion. As was Return to Forever, which he played on under Chick Corea. You can hear School Days here and Return to Forever here. If you would prefer to hear (and see) him live, he’s playing tomorrow (2 July) at the Love Supreme Festival near Brighton and on (4 July) Monday at The Jazz Cafe in London.




Talented composer and pianist Will Butterworth has just told us that he will be joined by Seb Pipe on alto sax, Nick Pini on bass and Dylan Howe on drums to play at MJF16. They will be performing “The Nightingale and The Rose”, a part-composed part-improvised suite inspired by Oscar Wilde’s children’s story of the same name.

The suite employs beautiful melodies and rich and dark harmony to retell Wilde’s story of love and sacrifice, and comes to a dramatic crescendo as the final song of the nightingale is performed. The group uses these melodies as starting points for improvisation.

In further exciting news, Will told us that although it will be officially released on the Jellymould label in February 2017, a special preview version of a CD recording of the suite will be available for sale at MJF16.


…in 1931, pianist Andrew Hill was born in Chicago. He belonged to the same Blue Note set as Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Eric Dolphy, Kenny Dorham and Joe Henderson, but remained more of a jazz insider’s jazz man. Never the less, he recorded 10 albums under his own name including his 1964 work Point of Departure. The album’s complex compositions and fearless and unpredictable improvisations, were a pointer to the future of jazz then, and maybe even now. Hill died 20 April 2007 at home in Jersey City. This YouTube link will take you to a full version of Point of Departure where Hill can be heard playing alongside Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Eric Dolphy on alto sax, flute and bass clarinet, Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone, Richard Davis on double bass and Tony Williams on drums.


…in 1964, flautist and alto sax and bass clarinet player Eric Dolphy passed away having slipped into a diabetic coma while touring with Charles Mingus’s band in Berlin. Mingus described him as “a complete musician.” Dolphy’s style is described in his Wikipedia entry as “deeply emotional and free but strongly rooted in tradition and structured composition.” Judge for yourself from this YouTube rendition of Out To Lunch, Dolphy’s most acclaimed album, which sees him play alongside longtime collaborators trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson as well as bass player Richard Davis and a very young (just 18) Anthony (Tony) Williams on drums.

MJF Award Winners

The leading acts from the past two Margate Jazz Festivals were both honoured at  last night’s Parliamentary Jazz Awards dinner held at the House of Commons. Singer Emilia Mårtensson was awarded Jazz Vocalist of the Year and saxophonist Evan Parker was given a special award  for his lifetime contribution to jazz in the UK. Anyone who saw Evan in action at the Turner Contemporary during the 2014 Margate Jazz Festival will appreciate his description during the awards as “the greatest living exponent of free improvisation” and a “mesmerising presence on stage performing astonishing feats of respiratory endurance and technical multitasking”.  Unfortunately we don’t have a clip to show, but click here to see Emilia mesmerising her audience at last year’s Margate Jazz Festival:


On this day…

…in 1936, Carla Bley was born in Oakland, California. Bley has been a leading figure in modern jazz—especially free jazz— since the 1960s, collaborating not only with other well-known jazz figures such as Paul Bley, Gary Burton, Charlie Haden, Michael Mantler, John Scofield and  Steve Swallow but also with musicians better known for work in other genres such as Jack Bruce, Nick Mason and Robert Wyatt. In this clip, Bley performs one of her mellower pieces.

On this day…

…in 1945, pianist and composer Keith Jarrett was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Jarrett trained as a classical musician but started to become interested in jazz in his mid-teens. He was still a teenager when Art Blakey hired him to join The Messengers. In the following year he joined The Charles Lloyd Quartet. In 1970, Jarrett started playing under Miles Davis but gradually found himself concentrating more on his own work. In 1975, Jarrett recorded his most famous album, The Köln Concert. Over 3.5 million copies of the live album, recorded at the opera house in the German city of Cologne (German: Köln), were sold, making it the best-selling jazz solo album to date. The following clip is Part I of The Köln Concert.

2016-2017 Jazz Festival Calendar

Here’s a quick look ahead at the major jazz festivals taking place in the next year. Including our own, of course.


May 12-June 15 Portland Jazz Festival

May 26-29 Jacksonville Jazz Festival

June 11-July 31 Paris Jazz Festival

June 24-July 3 Vancouver International Jazz Festival

June 25-26 Saratoga Jazz Festival

June 30-July 9 Montreal Jazz Festival

July 1-3 Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Glynde Place, Sussex

July 1-10 Copenhagen Jazz Festival

July 8-10 North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam

July 16-20 Nice Jazz Festival

July 21-23 Malta Jazz Festival

July 29-31 Newport Jazz Festival

July 29-Aug 15 Jazz in Marciac

Sept 16-18 Monterey Jazz Festival

Sept 23-25 Margate Jazz Festival

Nov 11-20 London Jazz Festival


March 31-April 1 Cape Town International Jazz Festival

April 26-May 1 Cheltenham Jazz Festival

April 27-29 Reno Jazz Festival

April 28-May 7 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival