August and September

We are in a quiet spell as far as visiting artists are concerned. There are plenty of free gigs around and about at pubs and other venues during August and things do pick up during September, which I touch on below. Details of more September gigs may be released and I mention some as a taster.

South Hill Park’s Bracknell Jazz on the 5th August has Martin Speake as guest with the resident trio. Martin began playing the sax in 1974 when just 16 years old. He now has an impressive pedigree on the UK and international scene built from the 80’s when he was a joint founder of that innovative group Itchy Fingers. Martin always has something interesting to perform and plays his originals and compositions by the known greats with intensity, warmth and intelligence. Highly recommended.

Anthony Kerr is up there when it comes to practitioners on the vibes and I am sure will produce a swinging session at Marlow Jazz on the 16th August.


Some gigs happening early in the month.

Jazz in Reading’s new season starts on the 2nd at Progress, with the Nigel Price Organ Quartet featuring Brandon Allen on sax, Ross Stanley on organ and Matt Home – drums to complete guitarist Nigel’s line up. Having seen Nigel numerous times, I never tire of hearing him play and his fellow band members help deliver gutsy, driving stuff.

Bracknell Jazz has the sax favourite Art Themen on the 9th. I think I saw Art for the first time when he performed with Stan Tracey in the same Recital Room at South Hill Park in the 1970s. It was Stan’s Under Milk Wood suite with the actor Glyn Houston as narrator. Art has played many times at SHP, particularly at the Bracknell Jazz Festivals of the 70/80s, but I think this is a welcome return for quite a number of years. Art will deliver his usual top quality performance of a variety of standards and originals in a warm and relaxed manner.

Jazz violinists do not fall off the trees and we can all name the famous Stephane Grappelli, but will probably struggle to a few more. However, we should all know Omar Puente who has graced the UK scene for quite a good number years, having arrived from his native Cuba in 1997. I have seen him more than a few times with Courtney Pine and others. A guest spot with Nigel Kennedy at Scarborough Jazz festival stands out in my mind. Also, leading his own band at Swanage Jazz festival where he delivered an energetic, entertaining and enthusiastically received set. As you would expect, his music is highly Cuban in flavour, but he has many influences and I guarantee a memorable evening at Goring Gap Gig on the 9th.

Local vocalist Gina Squires has organised a gig at Norden Farm on the 10th in aid of the Macmillan Wellbeing Programme in Berkshire and has an excellent band lined up featuring Tim Whitehead-sax and Paul Morgan-bass with other fine players.

You can find all these events listed on the Jazz Gig Calendar with links to the venues for tickets.

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Jazz n Stuff