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20 June 20002

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Jazz Festival 
Article and photographs by Patrick Trollope.

Southport Jazz Festival this year was on of the biggest jazz festivals this year in the North West.   We hit the streets of Southport to see what was going on.

The event Started on Thursday the 13th and the bands started to play at the Wayfarers Arcade at 11am.   The band that came on was Simon Taylor Quartet, with bebop to cool jazz on the air all around the Arcade.  The line up of that one was Simon Taylor on his Alto Sax, Gareth Parry on guitar, holding the beat was Eric Scar on drums and Julio on bass.   The latest event on Thursday was at the Cafe Bar Flava, well that one was really Friday  as it kicked of at Midnight with Sense of Sounds playing into the darn light.  The group was billed as the most innovative groups of the UK.

Friday started off at 11am with the Dan Forshaw Quartet playing jazz funk and they got Wayfarers Arcade jumping!  At the band Stand at 12.15ish despite the ever changing weather Dave Saul and his Quartet  provided at top act as shoppers enjoyed the classical jazz reverberating around the shops.  Both the Glasshouse and Bar Flava carried the jazz well into the following day.  Jazz-Co-Tech Dancers with their intricate footwork dancing the night away at Flava and a Cuban feel to the Glass house as Sal soul mixed Soul and Samba as the dance show girls drove the guys mad with their groovy moves.  We got a special on stage shot for you all of keyboard player Chris Jerome from the Courtney Pine Concert.  They gave a spellbinding performance to a packed out audience.  One of the audience said "This band we wanted back from last years performance.  They are one of the most talented modern day jazz group going and no festival would be the same with out them!  A fantastic show of unraveled performance."  

Saturday....  The big day! Well on the cards England or .... Now who was it we played?   Any way their was no competition for the jazz fans as they flocked onto the streets together with the England Fans.  The atmosphere was electric and it carried on through out the day and well into the night!    Kicking the event off was Modjango, a father son group playing the hottest sounds of club jazz.  Taking over from them should have been Freddy Smith's Big Band, but due to events out of their control the group could not come.... SO... a Polish band stepped in and the hole of the Wayfarers Arcade with a sound like no other.   This group even though they were amatory got all ages dancing and entertaining the crowds. Some people came in and told me "We don't like jazz normally but these are fantastic."  The group I think, as they could not speak English, and I cant speech polish was called CarKat, sorry but that don't look correct..  Any way they were fantastic and really friendly.  Even the shop staff said "they are the best yet" and on Sunday they still said "Yesterdays band was the best!"  So watch this space jazz lovers this polish band is set to come back next year!   On the band Stand traditional jazz rang out from the well known Southport/Formby based West Lancs Big Band.  Playing traditional classics from Glen Miller to Woody Herman.

In the arts center a film about the greatest ever jazz musicians with the rare footage of Django Reinhardt. At the Albert a funky group played to bar customers with David Wald's Wald Glover Brickel Trio.   Also taking place were the John Gordon's "Gypsy Jazz" at the Scarisbrick Hotel, with John Gordon putting his band through their paces, playing a range of traditional jazz pieces by Django Reinhardt. 

Hot Club lead by Tom Sykes (A well known local musician and a teacher with the Sefton Music Support)  Lead the bar goers in to a real treat to round off the football win!  With Hot Club music of Reinhardt and Grappelli cutting though the highly charged air.   

It was a real smorgasboard of events....  The evening was just as mad.   I had a job keeping up with all the events that were going on!

We covered most of the venues I could get to, but soon my legs were failing, so sorry I missed some off....  

Anyway The night plowed on with the start at 6:30 in New China City with local musicians taking the lead as Dan Forshaw and fellow musician entertained the diners as waiters in traditional Chinese costumes watered on the tables.  

At the Cedar Tree all was cram and mellow as Dave Saul a talented pianist was accompanied by bass player John Thorn.  

In the Floral Hall the ball room was taken over by BBC Radio 2's favorite act "King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys"  With fantastic stage man ship these boys got the audience dancing with swing jazz and Blues giving a colorful and pleasurable evenings music.  As BBC2 said "The hardest act to follow since the parting of the red Sea!"  O'Neils was packet out and I could not get in!  The music sounded brilliant though.    In Southport's Art Center the Pete Cater Big Band, playing an interesting mix of Swing with contemporary and modem to produce an amazing results.  Danys Baptiste Quartet played to the Mayor of Sefton and also head of Tourism Tom Walsh and his wife.  This group has the UK's foremost... Denys Baptiste, hence the name of the group!

Pilot was on at the Victoria, with an 8 piece funk band using 60's music to entertain the punters.

DBK In Pizza Express Daren Dutson-Bromley on his guitar and Patricia King with her soft voice preformed some cramming music.

Skokiaan, well this group should have been on a stage.  From Liverpool this group blended uplifting jazz with the sad blues to produce a sound like no other.  Click here to lesion to a piece from their CD.  Warning it takes a long time to load!   This group could not get off the sage and at the end after much puzzled looks from the band, they gave in to the demands of the drinkers to play ever more.  

In the Cafe Bar Albert Langue legendary trumpeter played to diners with his Dixie Stompers.  

The Prince of Wales Hotel had Laura McDonaled who is one of the most gifted female jazz artists ever with her Quartet and also backing them up was the Tommy Smith Quartet.  Both fantastic.  

The Clifton Hotel also not to be out done had the John Rotherham Trio.   This group had to battle though the competing pop music emanating from a wedding party next door. 

Sunday....  The traditional band hit the Wayfarers Arcade at 11am on the dot with a glass raising performance by the Bourbon Street Roof Raisers.   This band kept on going with the magnificent sounds of New Orleans here in the hart of Southport.  A fantastic show that again got shoppers tapping their tows and some dancing.   In the band stand Albert Langue who is an honoree citizen of New Orleans as a result of his exploits through out the world was here in Sunny, well for most  of the day any way, Southport.   He is one of the most talented and renowned international trumpeter to cap it he is also the winner of the Louis Armstrong and Boris Vian prizes and he was here!  Interestingly he is now 80+ and still can play as good as ever.

SYJO was on hand, showing us what Sefton's young people have to give to the jazz community!  (If you missed this on Sunday take a look at the arts festival info.  They are the warm up cat before  Humphrey Lyttelton, so you have yet another chance to see them)     

The Coronation was also rocking to the rhythm of jazz again, after the Ireland Football match.  Tom Sykes again came up with the goods with Sykes/Joseph Latin Combo.  

Despite the ever changing weather people flocked to the band stand at 2.30 to see the Los Mama Rumberos, a local band, playing Afro Cuban music with dance display by Manchester based Copa Cabaña's Katie and Andre.  Just as I was about to interview them the heavens opened up again!   After the dance display despite the rain the public soon joined in again and also danced on the flags.    Then their was a quick hop over to the packed to Cafe Bar Flava as the Jazz-Co-Tech Dancers took their twists and acrobatic skills back on the dance floor!    

The night was rounded up with top acts like Stacy Kent, Snake Daves Band with special guest Jim Diamond and the Jazz Jamaica All Stars.

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Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2002.