Location: WHELLEY EX-SERVICEMEN'S CLUB, VAUXHALL RD, WIGAN, WN1 3LU
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On the day that BST reverted to GMT it seemed fitting that the weather combined strong sunshine with bitter winds, but those who were sensible to make the trip to Whelley were rewarded with a concert for all seasons. Pianist/vocalist Wendy Kirkland brought her 'Piano Divas' show to Wigan and the quartet treated us to a programme inspired by some of the great and pianists, old and also more recent. The musicians were Wendy (piano & vocals), husband Pat Sprakes (guitar), Mike Green (bass) and Caroline Bowden (drums), and they combined to produce two sets that sent us out into the autumn cold with smiles on our faces and a song in out hearts.
The full photo set for this show can be viewed by clicking here.
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 is £10 single, £15 couples. Anyone wishing to join for the first time can do so at the next concert, or by post, or online at justaddtickets.co.uk - see our Join Wigan Jazz Club page for full details.
For our regular last-Sunday-of-the-month Jazz Club session we welcomed a big band who were making their first appearance in the area. Strictly Smokin' Big Band, based in the Newcastle area, provided a varied programme with arrangments that were fresh and exciting. Featured vocalist Alice Grace handled the material sympathetically and stylishly. We hope this will be the first of many expeditions what MD Michael Lamb called 'the south north'. The full picture set can be viewed here. To learn more about the band visit their website .
To launch the 2018-19 season of Wigan Jazz Club, we were delighted to welcome back John Ruddick's Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra. MYJO has a long-established and well-deserved reputation for big band jazz of the highest quality, producing generation after generation of talented players. As ever, the band presented a varied and entertaining programme, featuring high quality ensemble playing and superb soloists. We are grateful that they made the difficult journey up the M6 to get our new season off to a great start. The full photo set for this show can be viewed here.
The 33rd Wigan International Jazz Festival took place from July 12th-15th, at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre. Our own Jazz Festival page has photos from the four main evening shows. The Festival, now run by The Music Continuum, has its own dedicated website at wiganjazzfest.co.uk, where you will find details of next year's Festival as they are confirmed.
The Festival Finale - Jeremy Sassoon's Ray Charles Project (Sunday)
Our final guests of the 2017-18 season were the Al Wood Quintet - with Al on saxes, Trevor Vincent (trumpet), Martin Longhawn (piano), Garry Jackson (bass) and Tim Carter (drums). The programme featured, but not exclusively, the music of Gerry Mulligan, and proved to be the perfect soundtrack to a sunny summer afternoon. The full picture set can be viewed here.
Our club session on Sunday May 27th featured the cream of young jazz musicians drawn from throughout Greater Manchester. Under the expert direction of Richard Iles, they performed ten pieces of music for jazz orchestra, commissioned for the Greater Manchester Commissions Project, composed by some of the UK's established and highly respected big band composers. They were joined by guest soloist Malcolm Edmonstone on piano.
The full picture set can be viewed here.
Ben Crosland has assembled a truly star-studded group, drawn from some of Britain's finest jazz players, for his current project - 'The Ray Davies Songbook'. Ben on bass was joined by Dave O'Higgins (saxes), John Etheridge (guitar), Steve Lodder (keyboards) and Nick France (drums), giving a jazz treatment to some of the best known Kinks songs (as well as some rarities). In lesser hands such a project might be ill-advised, but Ben's brilliant arrangements played by this stellar lineup gave us an afternoon to remember.
The full set of photos can be viewed here.
It is always a special occasion when Dave Tyas brings his SK2 Jazz Orchestra to Wigan, and March 25th proved to be no exception. The band specialise in playing the music of Stan Kenton - no mean task, but one that this ensemble assembled from some of the North's finest players carried off triumphantly. With a programme featuring a well-balanced blend of familiar Kenton favourites and other less frequently performed pieces, Dave and his band proved that their reputation is well-deserved. It was pleasing to see a packed room of our members and other Kenton fans who had travelled to Wigan for this special show. The full photo set can be viewed here.
Our February line-up comprised two contrasting quartets - one well-established and the other less so - but with the common factors of superb playing, well-chosen repertoires and great entertainment. The Munch Manship Quartet played the first set, with much playing better than ever, ably assisted by Dave Lynane on bass, Dave Hassell on drums and the very impressive Paul Kilvington on piano.
After the break we welcomed back the young trumpet star Jamie Brownfield, with Tom Kinkaid on piano, Ken Marley on bass and Jack Cotterill on drums. Their varied set combined standards, some lesser known pieces and some original compositions. There was even an outbreak of dancing in the audience during some of the up tempo pieces! Saxophonist Mike Smith (of Ginger Tunes fame) joined the quartet for the final numbers.
The full picture set for both bands can be viewed here.
Our opening show of 2018 featured a double bill of two contrasting ensembles, both of whom produced a set of the highest quality. Pianist Dan Whieldon with Gavin Barras on bass and Caroline Bowden on drums were joined by Richard Iles on flugelhorn in a programme of original compositions. After the interval, Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, directed by David Little, demonstrated just how much they have progressed. Their set combined excellent ensemble playing with some superb soloing.
The full set of photos from the concert can be accessed here.
Our traditional post-Christmas celebration of the youth bands of Wigan took place on Thursday 28th December. In front of our biggest audience of the year, Steve Buckley directed the two younger bands, showcasing the young musicians who will hopefully provide ready-made replacements for WYJO in years to come - both ensembles played with enthusiasm and skill which belied their age. Dave Little then directed the current WYJO lineup, showing the standard of playing that we have come to expect over the years and which has provided so many of the UK's professional musicians. The full photo set can be found here.
Wigan Jazz Club went Dutch on Sunday 26th November, when we welcomed a young trio from the Netherlands for the first set. KAPOK, with their unique lineup of horn, guitar and percussion, proved to be both excellent musicians and entertaining performers. The second half of the programme featured the BwD BIG BAND (from Blackburn with Darwen) with the familiar face of one-time WYJO drummer Paul Rigby as MD. The young band impressed with both their ensemble playing and soloing, and gave us an eclectic mix of music. Click here to see the full photo set for this event.
Sunday 29th October may have been the date when we said goodbye to British Summer Time but our guests for the monthly Jazz Club certainly left the audience with a warm glow. The Managers Big Band, led by twin brothers Ben and Jay Shepherd, were making their second WJC appearance, having made an excellent impression in September last year. Based in Bolton, the band is made up of predominately young musicians drawn from throughout the North West, and their eclectic programme proved to be accessible to the sizeable audience, and played with a high standard of musicianship. Their two sets included music ranging from Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton to James Brown and Walt Disney! The full photo set for this show can be accessed by clicking here.
Our first midweek concert of the new season was on Wednesday 18th October, at Wigan Cricket Club, and featured a welcome return visit from South African tenor star DAN SHOUT, with the DAN WHIELDON TRIO - Dan Whieldon (piano), Gavin Barrass (bass) and Dave Walsh (drums). Dan was making his third appearance at Wigan, and his well-chosen programme featured a varied selection of pieces with a South African flavour, as well as several standards. This was only the second show with the Dan Whieldon Trio, but the four musicians produced two sets that sounded if they had been working together for much longer. The full photo set can be viewed here.
PAUL PASHLEY OPENS OUR NEW SEASON
Sunday 24th September saw the first Jazz Club concert of our 2017-18 season, and it proved to be a great start. Our guests was the vocalist who made a name for himself on TV's 'The Voice' - Paul Pashley. Together with his excellent band, Paul gave us a confident, classy performance - the programme included an eclectic mix of the traditional and the new, and met with an enthusiastic reception from our audience. Full photo set can be viewed here.
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 have teamed 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.
Photos from the 2016 - 2017 season can now be found with our other archived photos - click here to see them. The selection below offers a reminder of yet another year in the history of Wigan Jazz Club.
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