Jazz South is a programme launched in 2019 supporting the development of jazz across the south of England. Jazz South aims to celebrate talent, open up opportunities and create a jazz identity for the south. The programme plans include bespoke projects to support young musicians and artists at all careers stages, as well as events to spark connections and build networks between promoters, venues and jazz educators.
Jazz South is hosted and led by Turner Sims Southampton, an internationally renowned concert hall and live music-producing organisation.
The Granite Band
Kate has toured widely throughout the UK and Europe, and as far afield as Canada, Australia and the Far East. She has broadcast on radio and TV and has recorded more than 30 albums. Her vocal range embraces Contemporary Music, Opera, Cabaret, as well as Jazz and Popular Song. As a lyricist and songwriter she has worked with composers in the worlds of jazz and contemporary music, notably with her group The Skirmishers in the album Cuff Clout, a neoteric music-hall. Kate works with the contemporary classical group Lavolta, with The Uncommon Orchestra, The Westbrook Blake and with Westbrook & Company in Paintbox Jane, a jazz cabaret about the painter Raoul Dufy.
Kate Westbrook’s The Granite Band based in South Devon, is inspired by her love of Dartmoor and its granite quarries. This recent commission conjures up labour, love and death in the vast Dartmoor landscape haunted by the absence of the curlew’s cry. Kate’s astonishing vocal range, and strikingly original lyrics are matched by Mike Westbrook’s genre-busting score and the outstanding and inventive playing of this new group.
Recently formed in Hastings, Hexagonal play high energy music with African and jazz influences. Saxophonist Jason Yarde worked with McCoy Tyner, while pianist John Donaldson and bassist Simon Thorpe toured with South African musician Bheki Mseleku. Hexagonal’s first album celebrates the music of these two jazz piano icons.
Fourth Page was formed in 2010 almost by accident on a sunny Spring afternoon in Surrey. The very first notes the band ever played together that day ended up on their debut album, ‘Along the Weak Rope’, which was released later that year. Two more albums followed for Forwind and the legendary Leo label over the next couple of years (along with a lot of gigs in churches).
The band’s unique, entirely improvised approach to song form has drawn comparisons to everyone from Schubert to David Sylvian, Paul Bley, Talk Talk and John Martyn, but in truth Fourth Page sound like no-one but themselves. After a few years spent concentrating on other projects and collaborations (often with each other in various combinations) the quartet are back together.
This time the band’s sound is a little harder edged, more electric. Maybe this is a reflection of the harder edged times we live in at the close of the decade, but at the heart of Fourth Page’s music there’s still a luminous, fragile beauty.
Fourth Page is formed by Charlie Beresford (voice and guitar), Carolyn Hume (keyboards and piano), Peter Marsh (bass), Paul May (drums).
We Are Leif
Based in Bristol and led by the songwriting team of vocalist Louise Victoria and drummer, Mark Whitlam, We Are Leif deftly span the balance of jazz sensibilities with the groove and sound world more associated with Neo-Soul, R’n’B and Down Tempo genres.
Louise’s voice sits comfortably alongside the company of Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens. Musically there are nods in the direction of Erykah Badu and Jill Scott whilst retaining a classic Bristol sound, steeped in the history of bands like Portishead, Massive Attack and Lamb.
Iain Ballamy Quartet
ECM recording artist Iain Ballamy is an internationally recognised saxophonist and composer who has been variously described as urbane, original, freethinking and uncompromising.
Listed in the BBC’s publication ‘100 Jazz Greats’ between Count Basie and Chet Baker, Ballamy’s work is contemporary with both strong jazz and classical references and yet un-encumbered by formality and tradition.
Over three decades spent transcending musical genres and stereotypes and by forging strong and ongoing relationships with musicians around the globe, Ballamy has worked with many cutting-edge figures of today’s contemporary Jazz scene.
The Iain Ballamy Quartet is a new band based in the South West, featuring world renowned pianist Jason Rebello, the remarkable trumpeter and bassist Percy Pursglove, and the superb brush strokes drummer Mark Whitlam.
Sara Colman Band
The Sara Colman Band, based in Bristol, is a very special combination of musical personalities, instrumentation and style which culminates in a dynamic and emotional live experience. Inspired by her love of classic songwriting and instinctive improvisational energy, Sara’s musical journey brings her jazz sensibility into roots music territory. Her latest studio album ‘What We’re Made Of’ has received rave reviews nationwide.
Working in recent years with leading lights in British music including Laura Mvula, Liane Carroll and Mahalia, Sara Colman’s new band now features some of the most exciting musicians from the jazz world, bringing her original writing very much to life.
Inspired by her love of classic songwriting and instinctive improvisational energy, Sara’s musical journey brings her jazz sensibility into roots music territory. Her profound originals sit alongside stylish arrangements, the folk-tinged worlds of Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon, contemporary jazz, improvisation and the Americana of Bill Frisell.
Bristol Jazz And Blues Festival
Now in its seventh year, Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival returns with a fantastic programme of high calibre artists taking place across the city.
The festival has grown in size in popularity through the years with a programme designed to appeal to music lovers of all ages and tastes. Now the festival is one of the city’s biggest music events and is fondly loved by dedicated jazz and blues fans.