- SOUTHPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL
by Patrick Trollope
SOUTHPORT Jazz Festival this year was held on the 19th to the 22nd of June. Despite the fact that the weekend the event was not as big as those of the last few years, it was just as much fun. Musicians came from America and also from Europe. Unfortunately due to unforeseen restrictions by the organisers of the event we cannot bring you any photographs from the main night-time shows at the Arts Centre and also at the Southport Floral Hall Complex. Despite the set backs, we have got some 200 images for you all to view from the Saturday and Sunday events around the town.
Saturday started well with the sun beaming its hot rays down on to the Lord Street as the bands started to play.
"It feels like New Orleans", one visitor said, as he laid back in a deck chair at the bandstand. Performing was the West Lancs Big Band, who played music from Glen Miller, Duke Ellington and Woody Herman. This local band is a regular at the show and the audience really enjoyed themselves; many stood listening for the whole show at the bus stops rather than catching their buses. After they finished, Tom Sykes’ Quartet took over performing T Sykes’ own material and also throwing in some well-known swing and Latin music written by other composers throughout the years. In the Scarisbrick, people came in from the sweltering sun and cooled with a beer and the sounds of The John Rotherham Trio, who played to a packed out bar, modern jazz music. Others made their way to Cambridge Walks Arcade to be treated to a fabulous Latin Swing band called Jazzology. The music in the arcade was enhanced by interesting acoustics, thanks to the glass roof and the high-sided walls. As the band played, on occasions shoppers danced in and out of shops. As the sun began to fade and the shadows took over from the baking rays, the streets started to empty into the restaurants. In the Cedar Tree, the Bartley & Padfield Duo played all types of jazz to a comfortable audience of diners. In the Coronation Pub, Skokiaan took to the floor and livened the place with the overwhelming sound of African Jazz, that up lifted even the most tired of the many jazz enthusiasts who descended on the pub. Next door’ish, the Dave Saul Duo were treating the diners in the New China City Restaurant to an exhilarating set of Dave’s own Jazz compositions set for piano and base. Over the other side of town in O’Neill’s Irish Bar, on the Saturday, Dan Forshaw Band got the place jumping. After performing at many prestigious events including the Manchester Opera House and in Granada Studios, this band just gets better and better. Their singer Scarlet Rutherford complements the band's music not only in looks but also in talent and made this band stand out from the other bands that night. This was a well-balanced band with a good sense of rhythm and feeling. Back over in the Scarsbrick Hotel, the soothing sounds of Frank Garner could be heard, as he played the piano in the Cocktail Bar. Sunday crept up too soon, as most wanted the night to go on and on.
Starting off on Lord Street, for a second day running, was the Jazzology band, and still just as entertaining. This venue was an interesting contrast from the more acoustically sensitive Cambridge walks. On the Pier, in the Pavilion, Savoy Jazzmen performed some of the best-known New Orleans style jazz music from the 50’s. In the Coronation as the staff served to the sundry lips, cool beer, Azucar played lively Latin, Salsa and Samba. In the Scarsbrick Hotel, the bar was packed out again, as the amazing Deeside Dixies played. As all this were going on the local Youth put on a concert in the Arts Centre, with SYJO. (Review on other page) One of the groups who do not come from the North- West was the Jazz Co-Tec Dancers. They performed amazing dance tricks in a packed out Café Bar Flava. They said to us,
"It is a fantastic event and we fully enjoy the experience of performing here. We have been coming to Southport for quite some time and we love the atmosphere and the audiences always give us fantastic feed back."
If you missed them, you must go and see them in London or at next year’s festival. As the events of the day came to a close the restaurants took over and some of the day’s dancing events moved over to Roberta Lees. Roberta Lees held a Samba Latino Night, which was conducted under the watchful eyes of the North’s leading dance teachers, "Paris - ooh la-la"; there was free food for over 80 people who attended. Also on Sunday night the town was treated to another jazz event, "Jesus and Jazz", which comprised a free open air bar-be-que, a bouncy castle and music, as well as a play performed on Lord Street outside Christ Church CofE; all executed by that Church’s congregation.
The whole action packed weekend has been a welcome boost to the resort, greatly enjoyed by many from near and far. We‘re all looking forward to next year!
here for photographs.
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