Beyond Albedo are an improvisatory retro-futuristic synth-jazz 4 piece. They create interstellar soundscapes and danceable beats, in new and experimental directions. (round 7)


Heavy triphop dark jazz with twisted lyrics, sliding vocals and eerie harmonies making for a powerful, dark and layered sound. Dealing with subjects such as self-reflection, inner demonsand truths, the band creates a trance-like atmosphere influenced by Massive Attack, Goldfrapp and Aphex Twin. (round 7)


Drawing on ‘60s avant-jazz and hard bop, but with a modern, European sensibility, their open-hearted, quirky compositions and dynamic, ‘anything-goes’ improvisations are played with swinging groove, referencing Ornette Coleman, Tom Waits, and The Pixies: a joyful racket full of rewards for the adventurous listener. (round 7)


Nishla’s original songs have a delicate, quirky but deceptively simple air about them – she hasa quietly commanding presence and a relaxed but assured delivery that wins over audiences instantly. Her often dreamy and melancholic aura is offset with her energetic and imaginative band of Manchester’s finest young contemporary improvisers. (round 7)


A fast-rising young band playing in a variety of styles directly connected to their inspirations: traditional jazz, prog rock, neo soul, R&B and folk – memorable melodies, infectious grooves and a keen, finely-tuned sense of tight ensemble playing. (round 7)


Commissioned for Bolton Worktown Festival to celebrate Bill Naughton’s play Spring and PortWine, Rafe’s Dilemma mixes jazz, electronica and rock to tell the story of a family on the edge. Using spoken word, improvisation, synthesised soundscapes and carefully crafted songs, the material explores our emotions towards families through music, with an electric perspective. (round 7)


Led by resident Hungarians Bela and ‘Laky Franz’ with their fellow LCoM alumni, SogoRock (meaning ‘brother-in-law’) resists classification: the band blends elements of jazz, fusion, funk, rock and gospel along with the musical heritages of each player with an open spirit and impeccable musicianship (round 7)


RNCM alumni combining outstanding musicianship and spry energy with organic yet sophisticated compositions; light-footed grooves that call on late-‘60s/early-‘70s Miles Davis, prog rock and electronic music. (round 6)

Emma Johnson's Gravy Boat

Lyrical, contemporary swing with an emphasis on accessible melodies and a warmth of sound, played by young instrumentalists who met at Leeds College of Music and have since formed a strong and joyful bond, immediately apparent in their sound. (round 6)


Hauntingly beautiful and uplifting, blending personal stories and an interest in musics from across the globe via Manchester, Lis uses pop-song formats to convey the intense darkness and light arising from humanitarian subjects such as war, loss and love. (round 6)

Manchester Jazz Collective

A collaboration of northern players creating large-scale compositions and defying stylistic categorisation, thanks to their varied palettes and democratic approach: rich orchestrations rub shoulders with middle-Eastern harmonies, Afro-jazz and heavy metal. (round 6)

Mark Williams Trio

Influences from rock, metal and fusion, with added electronic effects, give this guitar trio from Newcastle an edgier and more modern sound, yet with melody and improvisation still at its core. (round 6)

Paul Taylor

A solo recital from this Newcastle-based pianist, composer and improviser, whose trademark performances are rhapsodic journeys that lead listeners through twists and turns, complex harmonies and classical vignettes, with a restless capacity for invention. (round 6)


Saddle up for a ride into a heady, energetic world of samba reggae, punk-jazz and Afro-beat via the steppes of Cumbria and Newcastle; tackling loss of cultures, community and a changing society with good vibes, animalistic behaviour and raw energy. (round 6)


A Manchester duo combining acoustic strings and classical composition practices with loops and improvisation, conjuring up pieces that evolve and borrow from jazz, minimalism, folk, world and electronic dance music. (round 6)


Their sound spans European avant-garde and spiritual blues; exploring improvisation, at times peaceful and spacious, at others frenzied and angular, this Leeds trio offers a collective approach to the classic format. (round 6)


Faye MacCalman fronts a Newcastle sax-bass-drums trio drawing on garage rock, minimalism and free improvisation: riffs, silence, noise and grooves create a collage of hard-edged blocks of sound that evolve over the performance. (round 5)

Birkett & Fisk play Venuti & Lang

A violin and guitar duo celebrating the under-explored work and associated repertoire of two prime exponents of early ’20s/30s jazz: authentic, rhythmic and uplifting, with a warm rapport and infectious energy. (round 5)

Dan Whieldon Quartet

Pianist Dan leads a new band performing his pieces: contemporary European in style, rich in harmony, refined and elegant, their melodies eloquently voiced by the lyrical flugelhorn of Richard Iles. (round 5)

Deep Cabaret

Taking fragments from leftfield pop, African, folk and jazz, channelled through a sextet of instruments rarely heard in jazz (hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, overtone vocals) and setting found texts from across science, literature and history. (round 5)

Early Nite

Otto Willberg’s fiery take on the sax-bass-drums trio format, favouring short and snappy tunes in the spirit of punk: free improvisation delivered with humour, melody and fun. (round 5)

Perpetual Motion Machine

Double guitars of Sam Dunn and Jamie Taylor, along with doubled-up saxes, add verve to this high-energy sextet blending jazz and rock - but eschewing fusion - with carefully chosen repertoire including Bowie and Peter Gabriel. (round 5)


An electrifying new duo in which Sam Healey’s roaring sax lines soar above Craig Hanson’s drum patterns, electronic soundscapes and samples, manipulated live in the moment: a striking, expansive sound with a buzzing energy at its core. (round 5)

The ElecTrio

Dan Goldman has made a speciality of the Fender Rhodes, centring it at the heart of the blistering, funky driving sound of this tight, magnetic band: progressive, yet with a nod to its historical roots in 70s/80s fusion. (round 5)


Vocalist Alice Higgins with an intimate trumpet-guitar-string bass group playing fresh swinging perspectives of the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Michael Jackson, as well as their own songs in a warm, relaxed vein. (round 5)


Ubunye (‘one-ness’) unites singers hailing from Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa (now Huddersfield-based) with gospel and R’n’B players from Yorkshire, in an inspirational blend of jazz, Isigqi - traditional Zulu music - and Afro-pop. (round 5)

Ushaw Ensemble

Paul Edis’ was commissioned by Ushaw College and Durham Cathedral to compose for septet – pitching improvisers alongside Northumbrian pipes and violin – melding his forte in modern jazz with traditional music from the north east. (round 5)

Family Band

From the Ornette Coleman tradition, simple, repeated riffs and themes build and allow these skilled improvisers the freedom to feel, rather than think. (round 4)


Highly danceable funk/soul/hip-hop with dynamic vocals, a tight horn section and an in-the-pocket rhythm section, making for a sparkling show. (round 4)

The Pat McCarthy Quartet

A warm and melodic repertoire of standards and original songs in a modern vein, presented with style and class. (round 4)

Inclusion Principle

Powerful inexorable rhythms, electronic beats and acoustic percussion, soaring sax lines, dramatic changes, reflective moments: ultimately sharing an enjoyment of sound. (round 4)


Contrasting backgrounds in jazz, contemporary classical and rock generate extended improvisations, from dream-like to fast and dense free jazz. (round 4)

Maja Bugge

Beautiful, meditative soundscapes blending everyday sounds, melody and improvisation and working with the natural ambience and acoustics of the performance space. (round 4)

Johnny Hunter Quartet

Cool but fiery playing within and with the jazz tradition; Sonny Rollins influences, Middle-Eastern flavours - tons of energy and top playing. (round 4)


Razor-sharp polyrhythmic play, exploratory improvisation and raw, high-energy live performance, blurring the boundaries between free improvisation and highly-structured composition. (round 4)

The Jamie Brownfield Quartet

Equally adept at mainstream, modern and traditional styles, this fresh, exciting quartet embrace New Orleans street beat, swing & reggae. (round 4)

Firebird Quartet

Sophisticated contemporary jazz underpinned by solid, pure swing and rooted in the melodic jazz of the ‘60s and ‘70s and of the present day. (round 4)

Graeme Wilson Quartet

Idiosyncratic yet memorable original tunes, with unusual meters and structures, from a band of close-knit players with various enthusiasms for folk and rock ballads, free jazz and the dance floor. (round 3)

Tipping Point

Toying with musical languages to evoke playfulness, mindfulness, darkness and extremes of emotion, this new band journeys from reflective ambience to intense aggression, using telepathic improvisations, angular melodies and unorthodox sounds from eerie to comic. (round 3)

John Bailey Quintet

Bailey’s compositions draw heavily from C20th classical music to evoke reflective, atmospheric landscapes, using harmony and melody to unlock emotional responses in the listener, and are interpreted by a prestigious ensemble. (round 3)

Grew Quartet

Spur of the moment performances exchanging a traditional approach to melody and structure for new expressions of reflection, lyricism and playfulness, dissolving rhythms and reforming them to create stimulating tensions. (round 3)

Bugalu Foundation

An irresistible, dance-friendly fusion of jazz, funk and soul, with the beats of ’El Barrio’ – Spanish Harlem – and the Hispanic traditions of Latin America. (round 3)

The Lindsay Hannon Plus

Raucous barrel-house blues or spacious ballad: genres are thoughtfully juxtaposed, each song a journey in itself, creating an electric atmosphere. (round 3)

Matt Holborn Quartet

Recent graduates from LCoM inspired by the music and legacy of Django Reinhardt, and with a love of anything that swings: fun, new and exciting whilst still maintaining its hot club traditions. (round 3)

Cameron Vale

Exciting and challenging music woven with a danceable energy, memorable melodies and complex riffs: jazz, metal, electronica, Afrobeat and Klezmer, all played with ferocious energy. (round 3)

Blind Monk

The spirit of Thelonius Monk with rock’n’roll attitude: a gracious nod to the great piano-less trios with an added dose of Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and Persian traditional music: simple themes and powerful blowing. (round 3)


Manjula (meaning melodious) delves deep into rhythms and melodies from Portuguese, African, Latin jazz and Indian cultures to create a beautiful, experimental fusion of global sounds. (round 3)

Pan Jumby

Nesbitt, an exceptional and unflagging advocate for the art and culture of the steel pan, leads a blend of modern calypso, Caribbean rhythms, Rumba and Cha Cha, channelled through the versatile vocabulary of jazz. (round 3)

Iain Dixon / Les Chisnall

Two artists at the height of their game performing a surprising range of music from C20th classical (Messiaen, Walton) to songs made famous by Kathleen Ferrier and Gracie Fields. Ideal for intimate spaces with acoustic piano. (round 3)

Adam Fairhall

Exploring the full range of vocabulary, from ragtime to free, often overlaid and highly percussive, yet with his forward-looking personality and lyricism always shining through. For venues without pianos, Adam can bring his own ‘ship’s piano’, (round 2)

Dread Supreme

A band with roots in Jamaican music and British and American Jazz, and a commitment to breaking down musical barriers and defying categorisations with integrity, spirit and musicality. (round 2)

John Ellis Trio

Manchester’s much-admired musical polymath takes improvisatory twists and turns through township, soulful songs and local folk heritage. (round 2)

Mike Walker & Stuart McCallum

An intimate collaboration between two musicians with international reputations, playing 5 guitars between them and performing originals and standards re-imagined and re-sculpted into fresh music, characterised by focus and restraint. Quiet but compellingly lyric (round 2)

New York Brass Band

A powerhouse party band from the mean streets of York via New Orleans, pumping out Marvin Gaye, George Michael and funky, gritty northern originals. (round 2)

Nicola Farnon Trio

A close-knit, swinging outfit playing jazz and Latin standards, and making optimum use of their combined instrumental skills with integrity and joy. (round 2)

Simon Read Octet

A recent graduate from LCM, and influenced by the octets of Julian Argüelles and Dave Holland, Simon fronts a Leeds-London band through buoyant, rich horn arrangements. (round 2)

Svarc Hanley Longhawn

A refreshing take on this classic trio format, with a broad sound palette ranging from ethereal, brooding moods to electrifying grooves. (round 2)

The Initiative

A multi-genre collective of Lancaster’s most original musicians, ramping up the pace and unpredictability with beatbox and rap-fuelled excursions into the world of anti-jazz... (round 2)

The Jazz Worriers

Delving into jazz history and combining new compositions and arrangements with assured ensemble playing and burning solos, the JWs have created a show that is musically exciting and wittily presented. (round 2)

The Slowlight Quartet

Combining a love of great melodies, catchy chords and exciting rhythms, this Newcastle band has an open approach to embracing a myriad of contemporary jazz styles. (round 2)


A genuine fusion of Indian, Arabic, Flamenco and jazz styles with compelling band interplay and mesmerising atmospherics. (round 2)

Zoe Gilby Quartet

Newcastle’s leading jazz vocalist performs a repertoire of wide-ranging contemporary songs (Tom Waits and Kate Bush) and gritty and sophisticated original compositions. (round 2)

Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra

Drawing from Fela Kuti, Sun Ra, James Brown & Albert Ayler for inspiration. Afrobeat rhythm and language meets 70's space jazz and 60's free jazz. (round 1)


Influences as diverse as ‘prog rock’ and free improvisation, but with jazz always at the heart. Expect tight arrangement peppered with insistent rhythmic ferocity contrasting against more introspective moments. (round 1)

Billy Moon

Matthew says  “It’s all about writing simply – choosing only the right notes and letting the music speak for itself – without complexity and without fireworks. They’re kind of songs boiled down to their essence, very melodic but with depth…” (round 1)


Djangologie are a ‘hot club’ style band comprising the traditional line up of violin, two acoustic guitars and double bass. We not only play genre standards but a large selection of our own compositions composed in the style. (round 1)

HSQ Plus

Four experienced sax players plus guests, playing classic and contemporary jazz arrangements. (round 1)

Jamil Sheriff Trio

Contemporary flavour jazz trio with a focus on improvisation and interplay. Jamil’s music moves from driving blues inflected melodies to sensitive, cleverly arranged melancholic moods, all underpinned by a beautiful sense of melody. (round 1)

Engine Room Favourites

Harking back to the AACM school of music pioneered by Art Ensemble of Chicago, Leo Smith, and Anthony Braxton. A style which has never been really followed up by European musicians until now. (round 1)


Out of the ashes of the coalition’s austerity measures comes a new collective performing stripped-back versions of some of the music from Richard’s Miniature Brass Emporium, as well as new original material. (round 1)

Shatners bassoon

Influenced by Tim Berne, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, Tyshawn Sorey and a range of rock and electronica. Playing with musical clichés and conventions to produce music that negotiates a path from the beautiful to the sinister, humorous and surreal. (round 1)

Space F!ght

Space F!ght explores loop based communication between acoustic and electronic instruments. Carefully designed micro level grooves driving the performance and exploring the crossover of commercial, contemporary and noise music. (round 1)

Stuart McCallum & The Real Strings

Expanded by the use of samples triggered from a laptop and The Prism String Quartet, Stuart’s music embraces simple and memorable melodies, bass lines and drum beats with electronica and improvisation, enriched by elegant orchestral writing. (round 1)

The Weave

Warm, melodious and largely friendly homegrown tunes. There is a deeply rooted, direct, honest and often-humorous charm that is the hallmark of Liverpool music across the genres. (round 1)