Straightahead summer in Swansea & Wigan - Claire Martin and Dave Newton are among the Wigan acts

Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams, the Karen Sharp Quartet and the JTQ are some of the main acts to appear at this month's Swansea International Jazz Festival in Wales. And coming up in July during the Wigan Jazz Festival classic jazz singer Claire …

Published: 6 Jun 2022. Updated: 30 days.

Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams, the Karen Sharp Quartet and the JTQ are some of the main acts to appear at this month's Swansea International Jazz Festival in Wales. And coming up in July during the Wigan Jazz Festival classic jazz singer Claire Martin OBE and pianist Dave Newton are among the headliners heading to Lancashire. Both these summertime festivals among a range of elements focus on a shared if not always overlapping interest in different interpretations of heritage bop, the Great American Songbook, straightahead and big band-derived approaches. Other styles also make their presence felt beyond this selection of some of the established names involved. Simon Spillett with his big band playing the music of Tubby Hayes hit both Swansea (24 June) and Wigan (8 July). Claire Martin, top left, and Dave Newton play Wigan on the festival's opening night

Dates for Swansea are 23-26 June. Further information

Dates for Wigan are 7-10 July. Updated Wigan info

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Tags: reviews

Julius Rodriguez, Let Sound Tell All, Verve ****

We recall keyboardist Julius Rodriguez a little from his work fairly recently on the Melanie Charles track 'Jazz (Ain’t Nothing But Soul) (Reimagined)' playing Rhodes. Going further back he's on Carmen Lundy's 5-star Modern Ancestors. Check the …

Published: 6 Jun 2022. Updated: 30 days.

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We recall keyboardist Julius Rodriguez a little from his work fairly recently on the Melanie Charles track 'Jazz (Ain’t Nothing But Soul) (Reimagined)' playing Rhodes. Going further back he's on Carmen Lundy's 5-star Modern Ancestors. Check the New York State US player of Haitian descent, also known as Orange Julius, on bassist Alexander Claffy's Good Spirits. Rodriguez is very present in the best sense with album personnel who include trumpeter Giveton Gelin, drummer Brian Richburg, Jr and upright bassist Philip Norris (name-checked on 'Philip's Thump'). Hip-hop fans may know the keyboardist from touring with A$AP Rocky (the rapper who is the partner of Rihanna). Opening with the romping 'Blues in the Barn' later there's a respectful, affectionate and true vocal on Stevie Wonder, Morris Broadnax and Clarence Paul's 'All I Do' first covered by Tammi Terrell and here featuring singer Mariah Cameron. Remember the name. 'Two Way Street' is the most jazz-head tune in bebop terms moving into the free when scampering sax eventually rips it up in tandem with drums. Nifty production layers convincingly to contemporise the sound. 'When Grace Abounds' sounds like something perhaps Joe Henry would be proud to have produced, particularly the way the organ layered underneath piano comes over. Rodriguez resists the temptation to make it all too much a chops fest but he's obviously a monster player. The magpie eclecticism of Let Sound Tell All is one of its great strengths because certainly this is a player who sees jazz in the big wide world not hidden away. SG. Julius Rodriguez, photo: Avery J. Savage

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