NEWS: Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender @ Middlesbrough Town Hall | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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It may have been 40 years since the last major jazz festival in Middlesbrough, but the rather marvellous line-up that’s been put together for the Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender proves the genre’s alive and kicking right now.

Taking place at the recently revamped Middlesbrough Town Hall from Friday 19th-Sunday 21st October, the festival gives a nod to the Newport Jazz Festival at Ayresome Park event that took place in 1978. Festival organiser Ros Rigby has programmed a line-up of forward-thinking performers and classic purveyors of the style, with particular highlights including sets from Break Out Brass Band, the first all-female New Orleans style brass ensemble in the UK; the ‘math rock meets jazz’ sounds of Roller Trio; Mercury-nominated quartet Dinosaur, led by Laura Jurd; and the floor-filling rhythms of Beats & Pieces Big Band, whose innovative take on informal playing reinvents the traditional ‘big band’ sound. Also on a big band tip, there’s a set from the Big Chris Barber Band and what’s certain to be a real highlight, the Mingus Big Band, who will perform the music of one of America’s most acclaimed jazz composers, Charles Mingus.

The local contingent is well represented, with sets from much loved jazz vocalist Zoe Gilby, trumpeter Neil Dennis, the Teesside Youth Big Band and Ushaw Ensemble (led by pianist Paul Edis) throughout the weekend.


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