Gateshead International Jazz Festival is the largest UK festival held under one roof and it’s headline acts and themes for 2013’s event have been confirmed to include the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), Lighthouse, Phronesis, Christine Tobin, Ruby Turner and The Brand New Heavies. The festival will take place Friday 5th – Sunday 7th April 2013 at The Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE8 2JR. Tickets are on sale from today.
The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) – now enjoying a new and higher profile – will open the festival in Hall One in their first ever visit with special jazz guests. There’s also an opening set from the The Sage Gateshead’s own youth jazz ensemble, Jambone. Hall Two will be welcoming the Soweto Kinch playing material from his new double album ‘The Legend of Mike Smith’ with his new trio.
Saturday night’s Hall One concert presents two jazz suites inspired by the North East of England – ‘Northumbrian Sketches’, written in the 1980’s by Newcastle jazz musician/composer Ian Carr in its first ever North East performance, and ‘Songs to the North Sky’, written in 2012 by Tim Garland, resident in the region. Both will be performed by Northern Sinfonia orchestra of The Sage Gateshead, with jazz soloists Tim Whitehead and Henry Lowther plus award winning trio Lighthouse, featuring the award-winning pianist Gwilym Simcock.
The venue’s intimate Jazz Lounge, created for the festival, will host two afternoons of ‘*Jazz from the North*’ on the Saturday and the Sunday, with bands from the North of England, Scotland and also from the far North with the Verneri Pohjola Trio and Oddarrang, both from Finland and who have recently received a warm reception at the London Jazz Festival.
The connection with Nordic jazz goes further welcoming back Danish bass player Jasper Høiby and his band Phronesis on the Sunday who, since their 2010 appearance at the festival as part of a Loop Collective showcase, have taken Europe by storm. They are supported by the unique duo Little Radio (Iain Ballamy and Norwegian Stian Carstensen).
A sideways North East connection comes with the unique concert ‘Speed of Grace – a tribute to AC/DC’ by German jazz singer Jens Thomas with Verneri Pohjola whereby the music of AC/DC becomes late night chamber jazz.
The festival is always delighted to work with broadcaster/musician Alyn Shipton and this year he will work with the Sage to develop Jazz Words – an exploration of the relationship between jazz and poetry, notably the work of Philip Larkin and W.B.Yeats; ‘Larkin’s Jazz’ involves both jazz settings of his poems but also readings of Larkin’s writing about jazz and the playing of the works he describes. The event also includes Irish singer Christine Tobin’s highly regarded ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. Alyn Shipton will also present a live edition of Radio 3’s Jazz Record Requests from the festival.
Seminal French guitarist Bireli Lagrene will also be making a rare appearance outside London; whilst still a master of the Reinhardt legacy, his current band is a free-wheeling quartet reminiscent of 1960’s Blue Note, with saxophonist Franck Wolf, drummer Jean Marc Robin and Hammond organist Jean-Yves Jung providing the texture and groove.
A sensational double bill in Hall One is planned for the last night of the festival with Jools Holland regular Ruby Turner and 90’s superstars The Brand New Heavies, who are now celebrating a new album release.
The Sunday afternoon will also see and hear the Concourse of The Sage Gateshead filled to its iconic roof with the sounds of over 100 saxophone players in the culmination of the North East’s own version of Saxophone Massive, the now well established mass participation project for sax players of all ages and abilities playing under the guidance of the project’s originator and Gateshead International Jazz Festival’s regular Andy Sheppard and guitarist Chris Sharkey.
Big Jazz Family Bash will also be back on the Saturday for fun for all the family.
Ros Rigby, Performance Programme Director at The Sage Gateshead said: “I am really looking forward to welcoming some new artists to our festival such as the Finnish artists as well as some of the quirkier events like the AC/DC tribute which I’m sure Gateshead’s own Brian Johnson would enjoy!”
Gateshead International Jazz Festival is produced by The Sage Gateshead in collaboration with SERIOUS.
You can see a video of highlights from 2012’s festival here…