Six new trustees join the Jazz North board

Jazz North is excited to announce the appointment of six new trustees joining its dynamic board; musicians Perrilena Alleyne-Hughes, Richard Henry, Jilly Jarman and Dennis Rollins, Web Developer and CMS specialist Jeni Tehan and Communications Consultant Jon Beck. The new trustees will help Jazz North shape the future of the organisation as it navigates a new landscape for live music.

Dennis Rollins said, “I’m extremely excited to be appointed as a Trustee Board Member of Jazz North. As a musician and educator, I’m looking forward to being a part of a team dedicated and focused in making a difference to the lives of young musicians.”

Trustees will join at an important time for the organisation, which has worked hard to support musicians and promoters throughout the pandemic, moving many of its career development activities, networking meetings and one to monitoring sessions online, and offering financial support packages and emergency funding advice to musicians and promoters.

Simon Ryder, Vice Chair said, “I am delighted that we have been able to appoint six Trustees of such high calibre who will bring a wide range of skills, perspectives and lived experience to further strengthen our board at this pivotal time for the jazz sector. We understand that the challenges we all face right now will have long term consequences for musicians, promoters and venues and our new Trustees will help to transform our work.”

CEO Lesley Jackson said “Alongside the challenges created by the pandemic, we also recognise that the jazz industry has a long way to go to become a truly diverse and inclusive sector. I am looking forward to working with our new Trustees to develop new plans and initiatives that will grow our reach, develop new partnerships and ensure that we are an organisation that stands up to inequality, invests in diversity and makes real change.”

The appointments, which will double the size of the Jazz North Board, were made after Jazz North adapted its recruitment process and enlisted the support of Black Lives in Music to help promote the vacancies. The new appointees join the other members of the Board of Trustees: Chair – Debra King; Simon Ryder; Alexander Douglas; Dafydd Williams; Craig Chapman and Neil Dutton.

Jazz North's new trustees July 2021

(top left-right) Dennis Rollins MBE, Jeni Tehan, Jilly Jarman (bottom left-right) Jon Beck, Perri Alleyne-Hughes and Richard Henry

Biographies

    • Dennis Rollins MBE is an award-winning trombone player, bandleader and educator, who has established a reputation as an artist of excellence and has lent his unique and stylish talents to some the world’s top jazz and pop personalities including Courtney Pine, Maceo Parker, Jamiroquai, US3, The Brand New Heavies, Blur, Monty Alexander, Pee Wee Ellis and Jean Toussaint. Working as a solo artist, he has recorded five critically acclaimed albums. Three with his award-winning band Badbone & Co and two with his progressive jazz organ-trio, Velocity Trio. Dennis is currently composing music for his sixth album release with his brand new FUNKY-FUNK! groove ensemble. https://www.dennisrollins.com/
    • Jeni Tehan is a freelance web developer and Director of Delicious Creative, specialising in Drupal website development and maintenance. Alongside 20 years of web development, her professional experience also includes audio and video production, public relations, copywriting, and graphic design. Born in the USA, Jeni moved to Liverpool in 2006 and, as Trustee of Liverpool Pride, she helped to organise and deliver the city’s first official LGBT+ Pride Festival in Liverpool in 2010. An enthusiastic hobbyist musician with a passion for jazz, ska, and reggae, Jeni plays guitar, keyboards, and tenor saxophone.
    • Jilly Jarman is a music director, composer, jazz musician, and a multi-instrumentalist who works with schools and youth, adult community groups on songwriting and performance projects. She uses improvisation as a way for the individual voice to be heard and celebrated within a cooperative group setting. She is founder and Creative Director of BlueJam Arts in Penrith, Cumbria and enjoys collaborating with other artists and organisations. Currently she is establishing a network of Improv Choirs in England and Scotland, recording her songs with a new electronic jazz trio, and devising gamelan, samba and jazz performances for when music comes live again. http://www.jillyjarman.co.uk/
    • Jon Beck is a passionate jazz fan, amateur musician, and founder and Managing Director of Anthemis Consulting Ltd, a healthcare communications consultancy. Before founding Anthemis Consulting, Jon served on several of Unilever’s global brand teams where he worked on product innovation. Prior to moving into industry, Jon held postdoctoral fellowships in the field of physiology in the UK, US, and Canada and was an honorary lecturer at Manchester University. Jon is an experienced charity trustee and is currently Vice Chair of East Cheshire H​ospice where he helped develop a five-year strategy culminating in new services. Jon was chair of Bollington Festival, a charitable, volunteer led festival, for nine years.
    • Perri Alleyne-Hughes is a singer-songwriter, choral arranger & composer, writer, and actor. Perri was the Musical Director for Sense of Sound Singers leading the choir in collaborations with artists as diverse as Damon Albarn (Blur), Brian Eno, Massive Attack, Paco Pena, and Neil Campbell, and through major competitions on BBC TV and radio. She is a retired secondary school teacher of Maths and Biology and later, Performing Arts. She had several other leadership roles within school over the years including Year Head, Numeracy Across the Curriculum Coordinator, (Acting) Head of Maths and was the only black role model available to her students for the majority of her teaching career.
    • Richard Henry was born in Sheffield and is a specialist bass trombonist and versatile multi-instrumentalist who is very much in demand for both live and recorded projects in pop, jazz, theatre, film, and classical contemporary music. Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, Hermeto Pascoal, Carla Bley, Stephen Warbeck, George Michael, Little Mix and Dame Shirley Bassey are just some of the artists Richard has worked for, demonstrating a wide range of trombone playing styles. He is Professor of trombone at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (jazz dept), Bass trombone – London Jazz Orchestra, Musician at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Member of the Chineke! Orchestra. https://richardhenrytrombone.com/

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Jazz North award 14 bursaries – 75% new to our support

We are delighted to announce the awardees of our open bursary, a recent one-off initiative to respond to the ongoing challenging situation for the jazz industry in the north.

From 81 applications, 14 bursaries were awarded to a range of artists, promoters, and educators across the area. A total of £6381 was awarded to help the jazz sector in the north negotiate the next few months of their professional activity.

“We are especially excited to reach a broad range of people from Cramlington to Liverpool and Darwen to Hull, with 75% of recipients new to Jazz North support,” explains Jazz North’s Programme Manager Heather Spencer. “Activities ranged from recording and vital equipment purchases to record labels and education projects.”

The Recipients

Mali Hayes

Manchester singer-songwriter, Mali Hayes, will deepen her production and song writing skills by undertaking mentoring with female producers and sound engineers, “which is something I’m very passionate about highlighting, as there aren’t many females within those roles,” says Mali. “I’m really looking forward to be able to broaden my knowledge on those fronts, which I hope will give me more skills and confidence when it comes to collaborations in the future, and as I continue to work with my band to get ready for live gigs to continue!”

Out of the Blue Jazz Orchestra

Out of the Blue Jazz Orchestra will be remotely recording a new funky jazz tune, Get Groovin’, written and scored by 18-year-old Ted Ford, band member and alto saxophone player. The track will also feature guest soloist, Alex Clarke.

New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings

Newcastle’s Wesley Stephenson will expand his catalogue of releases with an album of solo prepared piano by Leeds’ Johnny Richards entitled Build A Friend for the New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings label.

Abbie Finn

Drummer Abbie Finn will use the bursary to purchase a zoom camera so she can produce videos of herself and her trio performing for promotion. Abbie will also get some low volume cymbals so she can practise more at home.

Jonathan Scully

The bursary will allow Jonathan to buy equipment which will enable him to put on safe, outside gigs in areas with no electricity supply, accessing audiences which wouldn’t otherwise benefit.

Mark Webb

“Covid has been tough on all of us gigging musicians, and this grant will enable me to purchase a flugelhorn so I can hit the ground running when live music returns.” – Mark Webb

Paul Rigby

“The bursary will be helping others young and old to perform in the comfort of their own home via virtual performance projects. Here’s an example of BWD Big Band produced and edited by yours truly.” – Paul Rigby

Marco Woolf

“As I started to explore how I wanted to use stories in my live shows, I began telling a few stories featuring different characters, but it was always the ones featuring this woman, Francine, that garnered the most responses by far. Francine is an elderly African woman who, when looking back at her life, is considering the weight of her decision to migrate for the sake of her children’s futures. I began a deeper exploration of this elusive and deeply engaging character, resulting in the collection of songs which I formed into an album.

I had planned to complete the recording process and release this album last year however due to the COVID-19 crisis, I was unable to. This Jazz North Bursary will allow me to finish the album for release and set me up for the exciting projects that are to follow!” – Marco Woolf

Racoon Dog Soup

The band, Racoon Dog Soup is currently in the process of recording three experimental tracks for their first substantial single release Moon and Stars, in May 2021. The band aims to create an online buzz around the release, with artwork and an animation to go alongside the single, striking the local and national jazz scenes with their new sound.

Yilis Suriel

Yilis will be using the time allotted by this bursary to develop new strategies, skills, and ways of making music: “I will learn how to use and perform with Ableton Live and Midi pad. This will not only enhance my musicianship but it will also greatly increase what I am able to offer as a soloist, composer, and band member.”

Samadhi

Samadhi will be benefitting from Jazz North’s Open Bursary for the use of music equipment. To develop their ensemble further, Samadhi plans to purchase new recording and amplification equipment that they can use both in the world of online music, and in person playing whenever possible again.

Lubi Jovanovic / Jazzland Sessions

With the gradual re-opening of society, the economy and the music industry in particular from the 17th May, I have organised 10 socially distanced live jazz gigs in Leeds featuring local musicians and all within a one month period from 21.05.2021. to 23.06.2021. Under the banner ‘Jazzland Sessions’, they feature two live bands per show and will take place at  Brudenell Social Club Community Room. Artists include Vipertime, Svarc Hanley Longhawn, Skwid Ink, Malcolm Strachan Sextet, Jeff Hewer Quartet, Another Workout, JASMINE, Wandering Monster, Ben Haskins Quartet, Grifton Forbes Amos Quintet, Nico Widdowson Trio, The Mabgate Organ Trio, Awen Ensemble, The Mabgate Organ Trio, Book, George Hall’s UGETSU and Plantfood.

Thank you to Jazz North for the Open Bursary grant which will help hugely with design/promotion costs.” – Lubi Jovanovic

Full info on all shows from www.brudenellsocialclub.co.uk

Hyde Park Book Club Records

The bursary will really help Hyde Park Book Club Records promote upcoming records from Vipertime and Ben Haskins. “The support will really help us get this great music out to more people,” says Jack Simpson from Hyde Park Book Club Records.

Jez Matthews / Jazz at the Lescar

Jazz at the Lescar plans to select the best music from gigs and live-streams that it will be running in 2021, “to put together a compilation album that provides a lasting snapshot of the amazing and varied music being created and played now by musicians from the UK, and in particular the northern, jazz and improvised scenes,” explains Jez Matthews.

“We hope that this will give musicians and audiences a chance to connect with each other; that musicians deprived of gigs and tours can showcase their music, and that audiences can hear the music that is being created during this difficult time for everyone.”


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Secret Night Gang – making their own way

Helena Summerfield interviews Manchester-based Secret Night Gang (SNG), a soul jazz band started by two friends, saxophonist Callum Connell and vocalist Kemani Anderson, who came up through the Manchester education system. They have just been signed to Brownswood Recordings and one of their tracks has been picked up for use in Grand Theft Auto.

LISTEN to SNG  secretnightgang.bandcamp.com/track/the-sun

Helena: Am I right in thinking that you were about 14 when you started writing music together?

Callum: Yeah, I was about 14 but we’d actually known each other for a lot longer before that. We first met playing football. We played for a couple years together every week at Manchester City soccer dome and then we lost contact for about three years.

Kemani: Ironically enough, we ended up going to the same high school. For a good year, I didn’t even know that he went to the same high school as us. It wasn’t until about year eight, where we started playing steel pans that we started to recognise each other. We never looked back since and developed a love for music properly from the age of 14.

Callum: The first musical thing that I did was singing in a choir in primary school. We used to go to churches around Manchester singing in different choirs and at Christmas. Then when I went to high school, I started to play piano and steel pans. They were the first things that I started to play.

Kemani: I was brought up in the church and was heavy influenced by gospel music. But I remember being a six, seven-year-old kid sitting in the back of his dad’s car listening to Smooth FM and soul tunes, like ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ and ‘Part Time Lover’ and that was my real exposure to music from a young age. My mum’s a singer and my brothers are also musicians, so it all contributed to that love for music.

Callum: I loved playing classical music, classical piano. Then I didn’t want to play classical music anymore because there was a school jazz band, and everyone got to play in that because that was the way you got to do a concert – playing an instrument that was used to play in a jazz band. Unfortunately, I was only playing classical piano. So that’s when I then picked up the saxophone and I was taught by Helen Pillinger. She developed me into the person that I needed to be by getting me into the records and into the music. She was a really big influence on me and my learning. She brought me into all the jazz courses that were going on in Manchester and got me involved with the right contacts. My musical career started developing and I started playing saxophone to a really good level.

Kemani: I did steel pans in primary school and carried that on for about eight years from year two to year 11, about eight or nine years. But then in that space of time, I also developed a love for singing. I sang in church for a few years and it was cool, but I was hearing all these other artists like Luther Vandross and Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway who weren’t necessarily doing gospel music, they were doing soul music, which still resonated with me. I have always wanted to make music like that, or in tribute to that. Meeting Callum exposed me to all kinds of music. I remember the first concert that we properly did was at Band on the Wall and ever since that day, I knew that this is what I wanted to do.

Helena: This brings us nicely to your band. Can you tell me a little bit about SNG?

Kemani: It all started in the summer of 2018 when me and Callum went to Love Supreme Jazz Festival. We saw some of our favourite artists like Earth Wind and FireGeorge Clinton and the Funkadelics and Level 42 and we were just so inspired. We wanted to write music after we had seen all of that. It was a life changing weekend. Then a week later, we go to Jam Street and meet another founder of the band, Stuart Whitehead. We had a discussion and he showed us previous things that he’d done and we digged it, we liked the vibe that he was on.

Callum: Me, Kemani and Stuart used to have a rehearsal room next to the old Tranmere Yard in Old Trafford. We used to go there super late at night. We’d all been to college or whatever else all day and we’d turn up at about 9 / 10 o’clock at night, and we’d rehearse until the early hours in the morning. Then Stuart’s son came home one day and was like, “Dad, I’ve joined a gang like yours”, and Stu asks what it’s called, and his son says, “the Secret Night Gang”.

Kemani: And Stu says, “That’s fantastic.”

Callum: So, that’s where the name came from because that’s essentially what we were doing. We were writing albums and writing music, the three of us together in the rehearsal rooms late at night, and it stuck with Stu’s son and that’s where the name ended up coming from. No one knew that we were writing music, no one in Manchester knew, it was all kept a secret for quite a long time, Everything’s come out now and great things have happened for us this year.

Helena: Who else is in the band? Can you talk me through the lineup?

Callum: Kemani Anderson on vocals, myself Callum Connell on saxophone, Stuart Whitehead on bass. We switch between Aaron Wood and Elias Atkinson, on trumpets. Mikey Wilson, the legendary Mikey Wilson is on drums, Jack Duckham on guitar and Kemani is playing a lot of keyboards at the moment for live stuff. But also featuring on the album will be John Ellis and Al Scott.

Helena: It’s a who’s who of Manchester music that, it sounds amazing.

Callum: Running the whole project and our producer and engineer is Yyonne Ellis.

Helena: Fantastic. And I hear exciting news about the band getting signed to Brownswood Recordings.

Callum: Yeah, that’s right. We’ve released two singles and the second single, The Sun, Giles Peterson picked up and absolutely loved it and played it out on BBC Radio 6. The whole eight minutes as well, which is quite remarkable to get an eight-minute-long track played nowadays. After that we started having talks and Giles offered us a deal to be part of their team and work with them and we couldn’t say no really! Giles is an absolute legend on the scene and for me, the London scene wouldn’t be what it is today without him, because he’s helped so many people form this new London jazz scene, and it’s blowing up across the world. It’s nice to see great artists coming out of London now and touring the world.

Helena: I’m glad you guys are there representing Manchester and our northern jazz scene.

Kemani: Always, every day.

Helena: And can video game addicts catch your song The Sun on a game?

Kemani: Yes, they can, oh yeah.

Callum: We had talks with Rockstar Games and they loved ‘The Sun’, our new single. Giles Peterson put it in his Worldwide FM GTA (Grand Theft Auto) playlist so you can listen to the playlist on YouTube or if you’re playing the game, Grand Theft Auto, you can go on Worldwide FM and listen to our new single.

Kemani: It’s the very last song of the playlist.

Helena: Save the best ‘til last. Kemani and Callum laugh.

https://www.facebook.com/SNGmanchester

https://sngmanchester.weebly.com/


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How Jazz North Introduces changed our lives!

Photograph © Olivia Da Costa www.instagram.com/oliviadacostaphoto

Rory Ingham is the frontman of Bonsai (formerly The Jam Experiment) who formed at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. The band won a place on Jazz North’s Introduces in 2014 and they are still the only under 19 band picked for the scheme that provides young northern jazz artists their first high-profile showcase performances. Here Rory tells us how being picked back then has impacted his career…

“Bonsai won the inaugural Jazz North Introduces Scheme in 2014; this had an immense impact on all of us – both the future of the band and as individuals.

The application itself inspired us to write new tracks and record them in the studio. It also pushed us to finally create a band name and have some professional photos taken. It gave us a goal! So naturally we were delighted when we found out we’d won. We were instantly booked to play at four major UK jazz festivals, as well as being awarded a photoshoot, three days rehearsing with a mentor of our choice, and the opportunity to record a concert resulting in high-quality footage.

Initially, winning the award helped us to believe we had something valuable to offer, showing us that we should continue to create music together. And so we did, preparing to play our first series of high profile concerts.

Playing our very first major jazz festival gigs as a small band was our passport to access new audiences and expand our following. These festivals were always attended by many club promoters, which meant that we were immediately exposed to potential bookers from all around the UK. The accolade of the award itself was incredibly important for our profile.

We were featured in top jazz magazine Jazzwise, giving us a ‘look-in’ with promoters who were booking festivals and club dates. Not only could we go on to play at these festivals, but because of our recent victory, we were graced with the presence of large audiences interested in hearing us.

The Electronic Press Kit was our ticket to book our own festival and club dates, which led to more touring in the UK and then eventually into other parts of Europe, such as Rome, Budapest, Berlin, Prague, and Krakow. With Jazz North offering to help put together this EPK, it allowed us all to learn what was required of us if we were to go on to be successful in booking our own shows.

On a personal note, playing the jazz festival gigs allowed me to meet the promoters booking them, and in turn develop friendships and further relationships with promoters, press, and record label managers.

Winning the award also came with three days mentoring with our chosen artist – Mike Walker. This had a profound impact on the group’s development and process. Mike opened our ears to new ways of thinking about music as individuals and as group, learning more about listening, communicating, and serving the music unobstructed by our ego’s. This not only raised the standard of our performances, but also allowed us to be more honest with each other in rehearsal, in the name of the music.

Now, described by London Jazz News as “one of the most talked-about and critically acclaimed young bands on the UK scene”, Bonsai have a Parliamentary Jazz Awards nomination for Best Newcomer, have been the featured artists in Jazzwise’s ‘Taking Off’ series, and have been interviewed and performed on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio London. Bonsai have an album out (Bonsai Clubon the prestigious record label Ubuntu Music and over 100 shows under our belt, and all thanks to the springboard that Jazz North initially provided to us with their Jazz North Introduces Award!”

Rory Ingham
January 2021


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Jazz North Introduces Yaatri

Yaatari musicians standing in a northern forest

Jazz North is giving one emerging band the chance to showcase their music at six leading jazz festivals in the north. Yaatri, based in Leeds, are the latest beneficiaries of Jazz North Introduces, a scheme which will offer them high-profile exposure at festivals in Lancaster, Marsden, Liverpool, Gateshead, Manchester and Durham, alongside career support and promotion.

The band was selected from a wide range of applications after impressing a selection panel of festival directors, professional musicians, promoters and educators who prioritised musical excellence in musicianship, creativity, innovation and potential. “The music of Yaatri is technically accomplished but with a sensitive musical spirit,” explains panel member Neil Campbell, Artistic Director of Liverpool International Jazz Festival. “The band’s compositions are performed with great subtlety and taste and boast wonderfully distinctive and beautiful vocals. Compositionally it seems to me there is a clear sense of purpose in the bands fusing of atmospheric jazz with rhythmic and melodic ideas from Indian classical music.”

A genre crossing quintet, Yaatri blend complex composition and ethereal soundscapes. The influences of the emotive quality of the Scandinavian jazz tradition, the momentum of the rhythms of India and the energy of rock and roll, give their music a strong sense of purpose and journey. Yaatri are:

Liam Narain DeTar – Guitar
Bethany Herrington – Vocals
Felix Bertulis-Webb – Keys
Jona Tromp – Drums
Joe Wilkes – Bass

Applications for Jazz North Introduces were open to bands at an emerging stage in their career, with a commitment to living, working or studying in the north of England.

Yaatri will also receive a package of help as part of the Jazz North Introduces scheme, including payment and expenses for the gigs, professional mentoring, a photo-shoot and assistance in creating an electronic press kit.

More about Yaatri can be found on the band’s website here.

Jazz North’s partners in Jazz North Introduces are:


Jazz North Introduces
Festival Showcases:

    • Lancaster Jazz Festival – September 2019
    • Marsden Jazz Festival – October 2019
    • Liverpool International Jazz Festival – February 2020
    • Gateshead Jazz – March 2020
    • Manchester Jazz Festival – May 2020
    • DJazz Festival – June 2020


Previous Jazz North Introduces artists

Jasmine
Jazz North Introduces 2018-19

Slow Loris
Jazz North Introduces 2018-19

J Frisco
Jazz North Introduces 2017-18

AndChuck
Jazz North Introduces 2017-18

Wandering Monster
Jazz North Introduces 2015-16

Artephis
Jazz North Introduces 2014-15

The Jam Experiment
Jazz North Introduces 2014-15

The Stretch Trio
Jazz North Introduces 2013-14


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