Tag Archives: jazz

Jazz beside the Sea: a look ahead to the Herne Bay Jazz and Swing Festival 2021

Herne Bay comes alive with three days of live jazz 20-22 August, bringing a wealth of stars both international and local to the seaside town as the Herne Bay Jazz and Swing Festival makes a welcome return.

Familiar to BBC television viewers who like their dancing on a Saturday night, vocalist Tommy Blaize brings a touch of Strictly sparkle to the festival, whilst Ian Shaw presents what promises to be a fascinating homage to two titans of twentieth-century music – David Bowie and Joni Mitchell. Pasadena Roof Orchestra and BBC 2’s Big Band Special regular, Louise Cookman, is also performing.

A wealth of events on the Sunday includes Kent Youth Jazz Orchestra and the 606 Club’s in-house band trombonist (and the Music department’s very own trombone tutor), Geoff Mason, brings his quartet following a recent album release; both appear as part of a series of gigs on the King’s Hall Roof Terrace.

Geoff Mason playing at London’s 606 Club

The Herne Bay Pier Stage also plays host to a plethora of gigs, ranging from former Soft Machine guitarist John Etheridge’s Organ Trio to London-based alto saxophonist Rachael Cohen, who cut her teeth with the NYJO of Scotland and the Tommy Smith’s Youth Jazz Orchestra,  and of whom the Guardian intriguingly observed that she plays with ‘a softly deviant approach reminiscent of Lee Konitz…’

The whole festival weekend closes with pianist Eliane Correa leading her Latin fusion orchestra, La Evolución, bringing a vibrant three days to a suitably festive conclusion.

Ahead of the festival, the Seaside Museum is hosting Jazz in Herne Bay, an exhibition opening on 14 August which promises a fascinating sonic and visual exploration of the history of jazz in the area, which will run until 12 September.

Full details and tickets here online here: jazz enthusiasts can head to the seaside with enthusiasm this August…

In Conversation: saxophonist Phil Veacock

This week’s episode of our In Conversation series features saxophonist with the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Phil Veacock, in discussion with director of the University Concert and Big Bands, Ian Swatman.

From reflecting on early inspiration playing the recorder and school leading into playing the clarinet, Phil looks back on being inspired to take up the saxophone on seeing 2-Tone bands playing on Top of the Pops; playing with The Larks and turning down a recording contract; illicit vegetable snaffling in east Kent; joining the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, playing on Wogan and Chris Evans’ Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush and the ‘Hootenanny’ revels; and, during COVID restrictions, finding alternative work as a delivery driver for the Charlton Bakehouse bakery.

Enjoy this lively and fascinating chat over on our YouTube channel, where the hour-long conversation is divided into chapters covering various aspects of Phil’s reflections.


Scholars’ Spotlight: David Curtiss plays Phil Woods

Our Scholars’ Spotlight series of filmed short recitals by Music Performance Scholars and Award Holders resumes tomorrow, with second-year saxophonist reading Physics, David Curtiss.

The continuing series, filmed without an audience in Colyer-Fergusson Hall, highlights many of this year’s students, and this week’s screening at 1.15pm sees David perform the wonderfully colourful, jazz-infused slow movement from the Sonata for Saxophone and Piano by the great Phil Woods.

Join us at 1.15pm when the film airs, or catch-up with it anytime afterwards.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: a jazz recital for Christmas now online

It’s not Christmas without a performance in the Music Department of Santa Baby, and we’re delighted to bring that annual tradition round again this month, albeit in a slightly different format.

Although we can’t bring you the traditional Christmas Swingalong, we hope you enjoy this short jazz session, featuring third-year singers Elle Soo (reading Social Anthropology) and Robbie Frederick (Comparative Literature and Drama) in a handful of festive favourites, concluding with the evergreen seasonal duet, Baby It’s Cold Outside.

A little festive cheer for us all…


Filmed in Colyer-Fergusson Hall; with thanks to Thomas Connor, Luke McCann and George Morris.

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: where there’s a Will…

The latest from the stables of the Virtual Music Project is the second of two recordings of the Virtual Dance Orchestra’s version of Duke Ellington’s classic tune, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (most appropriate for the current climate…) featuring current fourth-year baritone, Will Clothier, from the School of Archaeology and Conservation.

When not studying or off working on a rhino conservation site in South Africa, Will sings in the University Chamber Choir, and was recently seen treading the stage as the King of Hearts in the Music Department’s production of Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Dream Play. From his home in Leeds, Will sent in a recording, and this morning we’re very pleased to present a leaner mix of the piece, featuring a stripped-down version of the virtual big band behind Will’s voice.

This version follows hard upon the previous incarnation, featuring alumna Steph Richardson singing with a fuller virtual dance band; the next challenge is to combine the two voices to create a virtual duet – stay tuned…

Virtual Music Project: two-piano Doxy

The latest addition to the burgeoning Virtual Music Project features alumnus and pianist, Jim Reid, trading pianistic tricks and turns with Your Loyal Correspondent in a virtual two-piano rendition of Doxy by jazz giant, Sonny Rollins. Originally written by Rollins in 1954 and recorded alongside Miles Davis, and famously included on  Davis’ album as band-leader,  Bags Groove, three years later,  Doxy has since become a classic of the repertoire.

More from the Virtual Music Project later in the week…

All that jazz: General Tomfoolery is back in action…

Dust off your dancing-shoes, you’re going to need them this year; the 1940’s dance orchestra, General Harding’s Tomfoolery, has emerged phoenix-like from the ashes and is back playing once more.

The ensemble performs from original sheet-music bequeathed to the Music department back in 2005 by George and Maureen Morgan; the collection belonged to George’s group, the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra, which was active throughout the 1950s to the 1970s playing around the county. This wonderful legacy form the core repertoire for the department’s ensemble, which breathes life anew into the vintage parts.

This year, the group is joined by guest singers with an international spirit, second-years Elle Soo (from Singapore) and Robbie Frederick (from Spain). Elle will be familiar to followers of the University Big Band, with whom she sang last year and continues to do so this year; both Elle and Robbie are bringing alive classic tunes including Lady Is A Tramp and Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

The ensemble will be in action as part of Nostalgia Night on Friday 22 November, performing pieces including Moonlight Serenade,  and then taking to the foyer-stage at 1.10pm for A Christmas Tomfoolery, on Weds 11 December, as a prelude to the ‘Christmas Swingalong’ later that day.

It promises to be a vintage year – make sure you catch them playing this year; details on our What’s One pages here.

Well-met by Moonlight: vintage jazz next week

Fresh from the success of its lunchtime concert last term which had people on their feet dancing in Colyer-Fergusson Hall, General Harding’s Tomfoolery, the vintage jazz orchestra, is back in action next Friday night.

The 1930’s style dance band will unveil a whole new repertoire on Friday 19 May, as well as favourites from its previous gigs; together with the close-harmony singers, The Minervettes, the players will unveil an evening of vintage swing classics alongside forgotten gems from the Golden Age of Dance Bands in Moonlight Serenade: an evening with GHT.

The ensemble has continued to delve deeply into the treasure-trove of archive repertoire that was bequeathed to the music department back in 2005 by the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra, a dance band active throughout the South East from the 1950s to the 1970s. Original band-parts crackle with renewed vigour as tunes such as The ContinentalOn The Street Where You Live and Pennsylvania 6-5000 dance off the music-stand in rehearsals, alongside tunes from slightly off the beaten path, such as Button Up Your Overcoat and Zambezi. And of course, Glenn Miller’s signature tune, Moonlight Serenade, will be a part of the programme that night too…

Tickets are only £5 a pop for what promises to be an energetic trip to a bygone era – dancing-shoes are essential, cloche hats optional! Find out more here.