Location: WHELLEY EX-SERVICEMEN'S CLUB, VAUXHALL RD, WIGAN, WN1 3LU
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Phew! It's all over for another year. From the sell-out Jools Holland show that opened the proceedings to the magnificent Reunion Dreamband directed by John LaBarbera on Sunday night, we managed to pack an great deal into the four days - not just celebrity shows, but emerging talents, youth bands, schools events, and the addition of the Jazz Lounge which provided flexibility of programming. Many thanks go to the artists, our sponsors, the venue staff, the volunteers, and of course all those who attended events. The review of this Festival and planning for the future are next on the agenda. In the meantime, our Jazz Festival page has a photographic reminder of many of the events.
On Sunday 25th and Monday 26th June, Wigan Jazz Club took on it's biggest challenge to date, one that is probably unique for a volunteer run organisation. Offered the chance to present the world's greatest big band, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat band, in their only UK concert ever, the bold decision was taken. A venue large enough to make the gig viable was needed - Royal Northern College of Music had the facilities we needed - and Wigan Music Service, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles and Yamaha came on board. Everyone held their breath as tickets were about to go on sale, and to our delight and astonishment the show sold out in hours! Such was the demand that a second show was added, and this too became a full house. A lot of hard work and organisation was required in the weeks leading up to the shows, but it certainly proved to be worth it.
The band put on two superb performances for the fans who had come from all over the country to see them, mixing new material with favourites such as Hunting Wabbits and The Jazz Police. Every single member of the band seemed to be on top of their game and the shows were even better than we'd dared hope. What a way to launch the Wigan International Jazz Festival.
Lots more pictures from Monday's gig can be found here.
Sunday June 25th was unique in the history of Wigan Jazz Club. For the first time ever we presented two different shows in two different venues. The first of these was our regular Jazz Club session at Whelley Ex-Servicemen's Club, with four of Britain's finest jazz musicians - the superb Alan Barnes, playing with Dave Newton, Dave Green and Matt Skelton. Alan was at his best, combining superb musicianship with entertaining anecdotes and observations, and the Trio provided the high quality support that his playing deserves. The full picture set can be viewed here.
The second concert of the day was the first of two exclusive appearances by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band - our biggest ever undertaking - at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music (see above).
All shows at Whelley Ex-Servicemen's Club (12.30 start, admission prices £12 non-members/£11.50 concessions/£10 members) except where stated. Advance booking available via Just Add Tickets (see below).
NB Members discounted prices are only available to current members. The annual subscription from September 2017 is £10 single, £15 couples. Anyone wishing to join for the first time can do so at the next concert, or by post - see our Join Wigan Jazz Club page for full details.
Most of those attending Jazz Club events pay cash on the door, but for those who would prefer to pre-purchase tickets in advance we are teaming up with ticket agency JUST ADD TICKETS to provide this facility. To book online just go to our What's On page and click on the Just Add Tickets logo. Club membership can also be obtained at Just Add Tickets.
Wigan Jazz Club are supporting a special concert at Leigh Miners on Sunday 14th January at 7.30pm. It features SWINGTIME BIG BAND with two very special guests trumpeters - ANDY GREENWOOD and LOUIS DOWDESWELL. Andy is the former WYJO player who is now a star player in many of Britain's best bands, on TV shows and in the West End. Among Louis' claim to fame are as lead trumpet on the BBC Michael Buble Christmas special and recently in Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band - check out his YouTube channel! Tickets for this event will be on sale at £15 - details to follow.
Our May Jazz Club concert saw the welcome return of bass maestro Ben Crosland, with his trio of Rod Mason (sax), Jez Platt (keyboard) and Dave Tyas (drums). The result was a set of the highest quality, combining skilled solo and ensemble playing in a programme that was varied and entertaining. Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra made up the other half of this double bill, lead by MD Dave Little. The band underlined the progress they have made this year with an excellent set.
The full picture set for this show can be found here.
Our April Concert produced a packed audience for a return appearance by Jez Murphy's SWINGTIME BIG BAND, with vocalist EMMA HOLCROFT, in a programme celebrating the centenary of jazz legend ELLA FITZGERALD. The band have established a formidable reputation, with some of the North West's top players and a repertoire that never disappoints. Special guest performers were the children of Hope School, Wigan, who delighted the audience with their rendition of Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens and What A Wonderful World. Click here to view the full photo set.
Our regular end-of-the-Month concert for March was a very special event, featuring a unique ensemble of musicians from the earliest days of WYJO right up the present day. Some are professional musicians, others play for fun and several have not played at all for some time! Ian Darrington assembled the band, and put together a programme of charts which were milestones in the development of the band. Despite only limited rehearsal time, the players rose to the occasion and produced a performance worthy of the WYJO name. Several of the pieces featured the saxophone of the musician who had travelled furthest to appear - early WYJO member David Humphreys, from Brisbane, Australia. The full photo set can be found here.
Our March Special Concert took place on Saturday 11th March in the beautiful setting of St Michael & All Angels Church, Swinley and featured a truly special guest - trumpet legend Bobby Shew. Bobby is a long-standing friend of jazz in Wigan and for this show he was joined by Dave Newton on piano, Tom Farmer (bass) and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums) for the first set, and by Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, directed by Dave Little, for the second. It was literally standing room only in the packed venue, and the audience were treated to a superb show by Bobby and all concerned. The full picture set can be viewed here.
Our February Jazz Club session gave our audience the opportunity to see and hear for themselves just why guitarist Remi Harris has been making such a name for himself on the jazz scene. With a hot club rhythm section of acoustic guitar and double bass, Remi demonstrated his virtuosity on a variety of acoustic and electric guitars, playing both original compositions and arrangements of music from a wide spectrum of his guitar heroes - from Django Reinhardt to Wes Montgomery to the electric blues of Peter Green. Remi explained the various styles and demonstrated a detailed knowledge of the history of jazz and blues guitar. The enthusiastic reaction of the large audience was thoroughly deserved and we look forward to seeing Remi again soon (hopefully at the Jazz Festival).
Our own Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra provided the second set, under their MD David Little. Once again they demonstrated the superb progress they have made, with a programme that many prodessional bands would have found daunting. They, and we, are looking forward to their forthcoming appearance with trumpet legend Bobby Shew (see below).
Our first club session of 2017 featured the Echo 42 Big Band with their 'Salute To Swing'. This Yorkshire-based band were lured over the border by the promise of Wigan pies, and they certainly earned them. It was pleasing to see a bigger audience than before Christmas, and they were rewarded with a varied and entertaining programme which featured their two vocalists. The full picture set for the show can be accessed here.
Our traditional post-Christmas/pre-New Year event proved to be a great success, generating the biggest audience of the year. Members, parents and friends filled the club, and added to the seasonal atmosphere. Wigan Youth Big Band opened the proceedings, ably directed by Andy Morel, who also took charge of the younger Wigan Schools Swing Band - both bands showing that the next generation of players are already reaching a high standard. Dave Little directed Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra in the last set, and they played a programme of a very high quality, underlining just how much progress Dave has made since September. Wouldn't it be great to see the club this full for every concert!
The full photo set for this show can be viewed here.
Our November guests at Wigan Jazz Club were a group of musicians of the highest calibre - the Brandon Allen Sextet, featuring not one but three top soloists. Brandon was joined by fellow saxophonist Sammy Mayne and trombone maestro Mark Nightingale, backed up by three more virtuosos - Tim Laphorn on piano, Sam Burgess on bass and Ian Thomas on drums. Brandon's arrangements of standards and less well-known songs gave these talented musicians the opportunity to display their individual and ensemble playing, which those who attended were privileged to hear. The full photo set for this show can be viewed here.
Our October Jazz Club featured the postponed concert from earlier in the year, featuring the Al Wood Sextet playing the music of Gerry Mulligan and Benny Carter, followed by the first appearance of the 2016-17 version of Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra. Al was ably assisted by Richard Iles and the rest of the quintet and together they produced a superb and entertaining set. As always with any of Al's projects, the standard was of the highest quality. They were followed by WYJO, with a band featuring a number of new members replacing those who have moved on. The quality of the performance showed how much progress they have already made, and heir director Dave Little gave the audience an insight into how this is done by devoting part of the set to an 'open rehearsal'. Once again the annual regeneration of the Orchestra is taking place and it was a pleasure to see and hear them in their spiritual home.
The full photo set can be viewed here.
Our late September Jazz Club featured a big band with a reputation of being one of the top bands in our area. Although many of the players were familiar to regulars in our audience, this was the first time that Mark's band had appeared at Wigan Jazz Club. With a well-chosen programme, many of which were big band classics, the band were able to display their individual and collective talents. The result was an afternoon of top notch big band jazz. The full picture set can be viewed here.
Our first Jazz Club of the new season at Whelley was a double-bill featuring Mike Smith's GINGER TUNES QUINTET with special guest JAMIE BROWNFIELD and THE MANGERS BIG BAND. There was superb music from both bands and an excellent audience too. Unfortunately we do not have as many photos available as usual but those we have can be viewed by clicking here.
As a curtain raiser to our new 2016-17 season, our guest was Danish vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mads Mathias, in the intimate setting of the Turnpike Centre at Leigh. The full picture set can be viewed here.
Photos from the 2015 - 2016 season can now be found with our other archived photos - click here to see them. The montage below offers a reminder of another year in the history of Wigan Jazz Club. The montage below offers a reminder of another year in the history of Wigan Jazz Club.
Those who are already on our emailing list should have received our first two Jazz Notes elctronic newsletter. If you wish to be added to this list please contact Ian McLoughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org .
LINKS & CONTACTS
Our Links & Contacts is currently being updated.
You may have noticed that for some time we have been carrying a new logo at the bottom of each page. NorVol is the name of the organisation established as a result in the 2012 changes in Arts Council funding. The Northern Voluntary Jazz Promoters' Network, to give it its full name, already has more than twenty member organisations which promote contemporary jazz in the North - from the Scottish border down to Cheshire and across Yorkshire and The Humber (including Wigan Jazz Club). NORVOLJAZZ aims to grow the jazz audience and help members to prosper by sharing best practice and improving marketing and access to jazz for all. Membership is open to any volunteer supported organisations involved in jazz promotion in the Northern region of England.
NorVol's website is now complete - it includes a gig calendar covering all member organisations (ours are on there) and a venue guide. You can check it out by clicking here.
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