14 June 2024Summer Jazz Camp Scotland returns to inspire a new generation

Aspiring jazz musicians can develop their skills with top instrumental tutors in an idyllic location in Scotland’s South Lanarkshire hills from 8th to 12th August. 


Now in its second year, Summer Jazz Camp Scotland aims to take jazz players from age 12 to 22 to the next level in their musical journey. Participants will be under the guidance of a team led by internationally respected trumpeter Ryan Quigley and hugely experienced drummer Andrew Bain, the current Head of Jazz at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.


Located at Wiston Lodge, a Victorian hunting lodge near the attractive Clydesdale town of Biggar, the summer camp is designed to cover all aspects of jazz music, from the fundamentals of jazz theory to advanced techniques in big band and ensemble playing.


Joining Quigley and Bain are three internationally acclaimed performers, recording artists and teachers, saxophonist Helena Kay, pianist Tom Gibbs and double bassist Brodie Laird-Jarvie.


An established player with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Helena Kay also leads an outstanding quartet and works with pianist Zoe Rahman, violinist Seonaid Aitken and trumpeters Yazz Ahmed and Sean Gibbs. Tom Gibbs teaches on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland jazz course and has recorded with New Yorkers, drummer Ari Hoenig and guitarist Gilad Hekselman and Brodie Laird-Jarvie is a graduate from Amsterdam Conservatoire. He has also worked with saxophonists Tommy Smith and Brian Molley and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.


“It’s a highly qualified and talented group of tutors who have a wealth of professional experience and can give students the tools they need to become confident and expressive musicians,“ says Quigley whose touring and recording credits include work with Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, Michael Buble, Ron Carter, and Burt Bacharach as well as many of Europe’s leading orchestras.


Quigley believes that jazz is a powerful tool for personal and artistic growth and he and his team will be striving to give all students the passion and self-belief that will allow them to improvise, collaborate, and perform with ease.


“Above all, we want students to enjoy playing jazz and to feel a sense of achievement in their own playing and in playing with other musicians,” says Quigley.


The summer camp venue, Wiston Lodge is an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow but, says Quigley, it is miles away from the distractions of city life.


“We know from last year that it’s an inspiring environment,” he says. “The accommodation is ideal and the food is all about balance and nutrition. Everything is set up so that students get the most out of the experience.”


The five-day course costs £650 and includes all meals and accommodation onsite. A deposit of £150 is required and the full balance is due by 30th June. Bookings made after the 30th June must be accompanied by the full fee for the course. Deposits are non-refundable.

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03 June 2024Multi-instrumentalist Fraser Fifield announces live dates

Multi-instrumentalist Fraser Fifield has announced June gigs with guitarist Graeme Stephen and further concerts with harp and fiddle duo Catriona McKay and Chris Stout later in the year.


Fifield and Stephen, whose partnership goes back some twenty-five years, play the Waverley Bar, Edinburgh on Thursday June 20 and the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool the following evening.


Fifield, McKay and Stout will perform the music from Fifield's latest album, One Great Circle, in Findhorn on November 16 and in the Cowdray Hall, Aberdeen on November 17.


One Great Circle is the third in Fifield's series of albums that put his low D whistle playing at the forefront of the music. The musicians who accompanied Fifield on the second album in the series, Secret Path (Paul Harrison on Wurlitzer piano and Tom Bancroft) join Fifield at the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh on Sunday July 14.



27 May 2024Election holds up Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The Parliamentary Awards have been postponed until early October due to the General Election being called on July 4th.


Due to take place at Alfie's Jazz Club in Soho the night before the election, the awards are organised on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appeciation Group but with Parliament going into recess, all such groups have been dissolved and will be reconstituted in the next Parliament after the election.


Chris Hodgkins, who coordinates the awards' selection panel, says that everything is on hold and he is currently unable to announce the nominations. 


"Normal service will resume after the election," says Chris. "Once the APPJAG is reconstituted we'll be able to make an announcement regarding nominations and the awards will be able to go ahead."

04 May 2024Pianist Euan Stevenson releases album inspired by his hometown

Pianist Euan Stevenson’s Earthtones Trio releases Sound Tracks, a digital album of Stevenson’s commission for Chamber Music Scotland and Classic Music Live Scotland, on May 22.


The Falkirk-born, Surrey-based pianist, who also co-leads the jazz group New Focus, is hoping the album will encourage more organisations to commission local composers to write music inspired by their hometowns. “It gives audiences a fillip also to hear new music that they can relate to,” he says.


Earthtones Trio features RSNO principal flautist Katherine Bryan and cellist Betsy Taylor alongside Stevenson on piano and is augmented by BBC Big Band drummer Tom Gordon on percussion for Sound Tracks.


A suite of nine contemporary classical music pieces Sound Tracks was inspired by the people, places and landmarks of Falkirk and themes include home, adventure, conflict, and nostalgia. The album is available from iOcco Classical. 

01 May 2024Top saxophonist Bobby Watson set for Glasgow Jazzfest

The outstanding alto saxophonist Bobby Watson is among the artists announced for Glasgow Jazz Festival, which runs from Wednesday 19th to Sunday 23rd June in various venues across the city.


Kansas-born Watson, who has carried the spirit of the legendary bebop master Charlie Parker into Art Blakey’s jazz academy, the Jazz Messengers, and on into his own distinguished career as a bandleader, brings his quartet to St Luke’s on Saturday 22nd June.


Among those also appearing at the festival are saxophonist Helena Kay, spiritual jazz troupe Mama Terra, pianists Fergus McCreadie and Ben Shankland, Average White Band founder, singer-guitarist Hamish Stuart, Scottish singer kitti, folk music-influenced duo Norman&Corrie, vibes player Orphy Robinson, and jazz-electronica act Jazz Massive.

29 April 2024Playtime brings more jazz to the Outhouse in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Playtime jazz sessions have announced a new season of concerts. Beginning with the house quartet of saxophonist Martin Kershaw, guitarist Graeme Stephen, bassist Mario Caribe and drummer Tom Bancroft playing the music of Miles Davis on Thursday 2nd May, the concerts run fortnightly into July.


Violinist Greg Lawson and accordionist Phil Alexander, of Moishe’s Bagel and the new trio Triptic, join the house quartet to play the music of new tango creator Astor Piazzolla on 16th May. They’re followed by a celebration of Chicago-born saxophonist-composer Henry Threadgill, with guests, trumpeter Robert Henderson, trombonist Anoushka Nanguy and drummer Chun-Wei Kang.  


Guitarist and founder of the Celtic jazz band Lammas, Don Paterson appears on 13th June and singer and songwriter Michelle Willis follows on 27th June, with saxophonist Rachel Duns completing the series on 11th July.


Now in its tenth year, Playtime was founded by Kershaw and Stephen to create opportunities to play new music, with sessions initially taking place weekly. Joined by Caribe and Bancroft they have gone on to play tributes to most of the major figures in jazz as well as performing new compositions by all four musicians and on occasion playing completely improvised music.


“The loft space in the Outhouse has proved very conducive to sharing music in intimate sessions,” says Tom Bancroft. “As a group we’ve played in other venues, and in other towns and cities, and we’d like to do more of that. But the familiarity of the Outhouse is a big plus for us and audiences seem to enjoy it, too.”  

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