NEWS: DJAZZ Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Robocobra Quartet

Having made a splash with a successful first edition in 2017, DJAZZ – The Durham City Jazz Festival – is making its return on the weekend of Friday 1st until Sunday 3rd June, with another line-up focusing on emerging talent and exciting new voices in the jazz world, prizing innovation and cutting-edge sounds over more tried-and-tested combinations.

Spread across seven different venues, from the historical Durham Miners Hall, Redhills to the 25-capacity micro-venue being set up in The Barber of Neville (not to mention DIY institution Empty Shop, with DJAZZ marking the final performances in the venue in its current incarnation), the festival offers a £10 weekend ticket to encourage visitors to encounter new music and ideas in surprising locations.

There’s a host of interesting names and collaborations planned for this year’s programme, the biggest of which must be an appearance from the alto saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch, whose work leading the Soweto Kinch Trio has brought him acclaim for pursuing a uniquely vigorous hybrid of modern jazz and hip-hop forms.

Other exciting new acts appearing across the three days are Dublin’s pleasingly hard to define Robocobra Quartet, whose latest album Plays Hard To Get pushes their collage of punk, spoken word, brass arrangements and avant-garde forms to new heights; the Leeds-based trio J Frisco, whose fluid sound embraces ambient and electronic sounds; the Cath Roberts-led improvisational quintet Sloth Racket and a duo appearance from Faye MacCalman and John Pope (best known as two-thirds of Archipelago, amongst many, many other projects).

This, hopefully, gives you a flavour of the appealingly diverse and broad-minded tastes of the DJAZZ bookers. Co-founder Heather Spencer is clear that “it’s impossible to ignore the gender imbalance within jazz and we work really hard to tackle that head on,” while Carlo Viglianisi promises, “you’ll hear everything from New Orleans street bands and gypsy jazz through to hip-hop and electro. You’ll definitely catch the best examples of jazz as you think you know it, and jazz as you don’t know it.”


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