A look ahead to the 2019 Marsden Jazz Festival

PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 October 2019

Street parade (c) David Preston

Street parade (c) David Preston

Copyright David Preston

A small Yorkshire village will again become a world-class music hub this month.

Cassie Kinoshi (c) Bunny BreadCassie Kinoshi (c) Bunny Bread

Marsden, high in the Colne Valley just a few miles west of Huddersfield, is an unlikely destination for a three-day jazz jamboree. But its annual jazz festival, from October 11 to 13, will feature over a hundred hours of music spread across 20 different venues. The largest of these accommodates just 200 people, meaning every gig has an intimate atmosphere. Which sums up the appeal of the event.

The quality of the setting has been recognised by the annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards with the festival as a whole nominated in the Jazz Venue of the Year category. Award winners will be announced in December.

Much of the festival programme is free, while there are special children's events, music workshops (organised with Leeds College of Music), and a street parade with battle of the bands to follow.

Ticketed events will feature the cream of British jazz, with highlights including a special commissioned work from the London-based guitarist Shirley Tetteh and performances from the 2019 Mercury Prize-nominated SEED Ensemble, Kansas Smitty's House Band, Snake Davis Trio, and the Crissy Lee Big Band.

Children's workshops at Marsden Jazz Festival (c) Liz BakerChildren's workshops at Marsden Jazz Festival (c) Liz Baker

Artistic director, Barney Stevenson, says: 'The festival has become such a big part of village life and it's great to see how proud of the event the local community is. It's a celebration of music at all levels; alongside the showcase gigs, there's also a high quality of free music in the various pubs and clubs.'

Tetteh, who combines jazz with left-field pop, will provide one of the undoubted high points with the commission, while SEED Ensemble, led by another of London's leading young players, Cassie Kinoshi, are starting to make waves, as their nomination for this year's Mercury Prize affirms (the announcement of the 2019 winner had not been made as we went to press).

The festival's main venues are the Parochial Hall and the Marsden Mechanics Club, both of which only hold an audience of 200. Each venue has a different approach and feel. The Mechanics is a club stage, with a mix of standing and seating and an emphasis on moving around, while the Parochial Hall is a wholly seated concert stage. Both Tetteh and SEED Ensemble will headline in the Mechanics.

Stevenson, who has been in post since 2013, added: 'I can't quite believe we have managed to secure these guys to play in such an intimate venue. That's what I love about the festival; the incongruity of musicians of this calibre playing in such a small, highly rural Yorkshire village.'

There will also be a fair smattering of Yorkshire talent on show.

Leeds will be well represented in the form of the electro experimental duo Altimeter (Chris Sharkey and Chris Bussey) and afrobeat-funk 12-piece Mansion of Snakes, while North Yorkshire-based singer Francine Luce will be performing as a duo with one of the UK's leading bass players Andy Champion.

Altimetre plus Luce and Champion will be among the featured acts on the cutting edge New Stream stage at the village's British Legion Club, along with high-energy Newcastle trio Taupe, Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos, and a UK-Holland-Switzerland triple bill of emerging acts.

Stevenson adds: 'It's absolutely vital to represent what's going on in Yorkshire. Some brilliant, exciting music is being made in the county at present and Leeds is a real epicentre, so we want to reflect that. The programme is looking really exciting this year - we can't wait.' u

Full details and tickets can be found at: 
marsdenjazzfestival.com

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