The Bedford Jazz Festival 2016, run by Conscia Jazz, replaces the Bedford and Milton Keynes Jazz Festival 2015. Set to be larger than its predecessor, the festival will host around 25 acts, in four venues, over the course of the weekend. The Quarry Theatre will be home to the festival Main Stage, which will feature acts including guitar duo Stuart McCallum & Mike Walker, The Karen Sharp Quartet feat. Nikki Illes, Kansas Smitty’s, and many more. In addition, the Quarry will be hosting the headline act of the festival. Consica Jazz are pleased to announce will be New York based trumpeter and Blue Note artist Ambrose Akimusire, who will be bringing his Quartet to Bedford as the headline act on Saturday night.
The Bedford Jazz Festival 2016 is produced by Conscia Jazz www.conscia.org
Main Stage Pass – Saturday or Sunday
Saturday 19 or Sunday 20 March 2016 | £29 (£21 concessions)
This pass will give you entrance to all Jazz events at the Quarry Theatre on Saturday 19th March.
Stuart McCallum & Mike Walker
Saturday 19 March 2016 | 12 Noon | £10
Manchester guitarists Mike Walker and Stuart McCallum are both well known nationally and internationally – Walker for his work with The Impossible Gentlemen and McCallum with The Cinematic Orchestra. Their first meeting was nearly 20 years ago when Stuart was Mike’s student. This recent m
usical collaboration came about because of a chance jam at a mutual friend’s party and their musical and personal rapport was immediately apparent. Beholden, the duo’s debut album, and the first for new label Shell-Like Records, is a new and exciting chapter in the guitarists’ careers.
The Frank Griffith Quartet: Kind of Getz
Saturday 19 March 2016 | 1.15pm | £12.50
Stan Getz, arguably the most popular tenor saxophonist in Jazz created a rich and timeless legacy that still thrives today. USA tenor saxophonist, Frank Griffith, resident in the UK since 1996 and his trio which includes John Horler, piano, Alec Dankworth, bass, and Trevor Tompkins, drums, will present a full programme of songs associated with this icon of the tenor saxophone. These will stem from his 1940s hits with Woody Herman (Four Brothersand Early Autumn) as well as his timeless renditions of standards like Here’s That Rainy Dayand Yesterdays to the 1960s Bossa Nova craze with The Girl From Impanema, Desifinado and Corcovado. Also included will be his later collaborations with pianists, Chick Corea and Kenny Barron both of whom contributed contemporary material to Stan’s repertoire towards the end of his career.
Saturday 19 March 2016 | 2.30pm | £10
Empirical are the coolest UK Jazz Group, known for producing forward looking, risk taking, creative music. Nathaniel Facey (saxophone), Lewis Wright (vibraphone), Tom Farmer (double Bass) and Shaney Forbes (Drums). Each member has a uniquely equal role in the musical direction of the band, brought together through the core ethos of experimentation.
After meeting in 2007 whilst involved in the Tomorrow’s Warriors scheme, and following the release of ‘Empirical’ (Destin-e), the band settled on the current lineup in 2008. Their in depth tribute to Eric Dolphy, ‘Out ‘n’ In’ (Naim), led to a MOBO award in 2010 for Best Jazz Act. After the 2011 release, ‘Elements of Truth’ (Naim), Empirical won the inaugural Golubovich Jazz Scholars fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Through this award they collaborated with Benyounes String Quartet, and led to their 2013 album ‘Tabula Rasa’ (Naim). Their fifth studio album ‘Connection’ is to be released on Cuneiform Records in Feb 2016.
The Karen Sharp Quartet
Saturday 19 March 2016 | 3.45pm | £12.50
As one of the foremost saxophonists in the country and influenced by players such as Stan Getz and Ronnie Scott, Karen has developed her own sound and approach to jazz. She has won the tenor saxophone category in the British Jazz Awards four times in recent years and since her early “apprenticeship” with the late great Humphrey Lyttelton, Karen has become a highly successful and respected figure in the British jazz scene.
Karen’s band features the world class musicianship of Nikki Iles on piano, Dave Green on double bass and Steve Brown on drums – all multi-award winners in their own right. Steve and Dave have won British Jazz Awards on numerous occasions and Nikki is known worldwide for her inspiring playing and composing as well as her work in education; her latest trio album, “Hush” with Jeff Williams and Rufus Reid received rave reviews. The combined talents of these players together with the band’s unique chemistry has proved a winning formula at Jazz clubs and festivals across the country.
The Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet
Saturday 19 March 2016 | 8.00pm | £15 (£12 Students)
Born and raised in Oakland, California, Ambrose Akinmusire was a member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble when he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman. Akinmusire was asked to join Coleman’s Five Elements, embarking on a European tour when he was just a 19-year-old student at the Manhattan School of Music. After returning to the West Coast to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Southern California, Akinmusire went on to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles, where he studied with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard.
The Kansas Smitty's House Band
Sunday 20 March 2016 | 12 Noon | £12.50
The Kansas Smitty’s House Band have been quietly, or depending on where you’ve been spending your evenings, not so quietly, carving out a name for themselves as one of the driving forces in the London jazz scene. Their reputation, built on their incendiary live shows, has recently been cemented by the release of their full debut album and the opening of their own bar venue in East London.
Both bar and band have received praise across the jazz and mainstream press, with extensive coverage from The Evening Standard, and reviews in the Sunday Times and Telegraph. The Band’s debut record was nominated as one of the top jazz albums of 2015 by the Telegraph. The Sunday Times summed it up nicely, saying ‘Conservatories or cocktails? If jazz is to survive it will need more bands(like this one)’.
Huw Warren: Trio Brasil
Sunday 20 March 2016 | 1.15pm | £10
Trio Brasil is award winning Welsh pianist Huw Warren’s celebration of his lifelong love affair with the music of Brazil.
Re-interpreting familiar and less familiar Brazilian classics by Hermeto Pascoal, Tom Jobin, Joyce, Guinga, Egberto Gismonti, Pixinguinha and more… The incredible diversity of Samba, Baião, Forró, Frevo, Maracatu, Choro and lyrical song are all celebrated with an infectious groove heavy approach. D
azzling virtuosity meets deeply lyrical poignancy in music that can make you laugh, cry and want to dance.
Trio Brasil follows in the footsteps of his critically acclaimed Hermeto+ recording of 2009 on Basho records, which presented Hermeto’s music alongside new compositions from Huw.
Sunday 20 March 2016 | 2.30pm | £10
Pigfoot established themselves as radical interpreters of classic New Orleans jazz with their acclaimed 2014 recording ‘21st Century Acid Trad’. At their ‘Pigfoot Play’ residency at the Vortex in London, they have been extending their repertoire in all directions, with Verdi arias up against Elvis Presley hits, vintage Motown tunes and avant-trad excursions, all transformed by the band’s spontaneity, panache and wry humour.
The Pete Churchill Quartet ft Bobby Wellins
Sunday 20 March 2016 | 3.45pm | £12.50
Pete Churchill has been working as a composer, pianist, singer and teacher for over two decades. Originally trained in Canada he has been based in England since 1985. Recently completing almost twenty years teaching at the Guildhall School of Music, Pete is now Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London whilst running the jazz choir at Trinity College of Music.
His busy freelance career has included work as diverse as a year in the West End as a Musical Director of “Five Guys named Moe”, almost a decade and a half as the British accompanist for the legendary jazz-singer Mark Murphy and the conductor of the Kenny Wheeler Big band.