Wednesday, 27 February 2013


The headliners for the second year of the festival under the aegis of the Orchard Group and the directorship of
 Pablo Janczur have just been announced. For the second year running there is an important role for artist- in -residence Huw Warren

The artists announced so far are:

The Impossible Gentlemen
Gwilym Simcock,Mike Walker, Steve Rodby Mark Walker.

Courtney Pine

Mavis Staples

Acker Bilk

Blue Spirits Trio
John Etheridge - guitar, Pete Whittaker - Hammond, Mark Fletcher - drums

Django Bates

The Orient House Ensemble
Frank Harrison - piano, Yaron Stavi - double bass, and Eddie Hick – drums

Jason Rebello Group
Troy Miller - drums, Karl Rasheed-Abel - bass, Paul Stacey - guitar, and Joy Rose – vocals

John Surman Trio
Chris Laurence – double bass and John Marshall - drums

Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra

Julian Siegel Quartet
Liam Noble - sax, Gene Calderazzo - drums, Oli Hayhurst - bass

Laura Jurd Quartet

Laurence Cottle Trio
Mornington Lockett - sax and Ian Thomas - drums

Martin Taylor and Alan Barnes

Nils Petter Molvaer Trio


Roller Trio

Tim Kliphuis Trio & David Newton

Zoe Rahman Quartet

Iain Ballamy - sax, Huw Warren - piano, June Tabor - vocals
 DJ Snowboy

Friday, 31 August 2012


Birthday wishes to saxophonist Gerald Albright who celebrated his Birthday yesterday (August 30). Gerald was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles and began studying the piano at an early age. His love for music really took off when he was given a saxophone by his piano teacher. He polished his skills on the instrument throughout high school and went on to attend the University of Redlands where he received a B.S. degree in Business Management, minoring in Music. Gerald has worked with an extensive list of top artists over the years including Patrice Rushen, Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Jr., The Winans, Olivia Newton-John, The Temptations, and Maurice White and has toured with Les McCann, Jeff Lorber, Teena Marie, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins and many others. Gerald released his current album, 24/7, along with guitarist Norman Brown in June. The first single from the album, called "In The Moment" is currently number one on the Smooth Jazz Top 20chart. Albright and Brown have been performing together on their 'Summer Jam Tour' with the next performance scheduled for September 1 in Charleston, SC.

Friday, 24 August 2012

'Grace and Mercy' Sept. 25 By Jonathan Butler

Jonathan Butler releases 'Grace and Mercy' Sept. 25 Guitarist Jonathan Butler is set to release his latest album, Grace and Mercy, on September 25. The native South African singer and songwriter says, “This album really speaks about optimism, faith, belief and hope, especially in the light of what everybody has been experiencing in the last two or three years. There’s been a lot of people losing their homes, their jobs, enduring the challenges that life brings. I’m hoping this album will bring hope to people." Butler's successful career includes seventeen charted albums on Billboard and solid music sales on two continents. His next performance will be in Pretoria, South Africa on September 1 and he will join the Dave Koz and Friends at Sea Cruise setting sail on September 26.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Agboola Shadare is one of NIgerians Finest Jazz gutarist.......The journey started in Africa on the 9th of May, 1970, when Agboola was delivered in Kano City. Originally from Ilesa, in Southern Nigeria, Agboola's parents moved up north in search of opportunity. Set in a conservative, Islamic north of Nigeria, Agboola's talents could not have been expected to blossom.

By His grace, it did! At the age of twelve, the young Shadare's, in spite of the religious upheaval in Kano, horned his skills in the church, beginning as a drummer. Within six years, Agboola's talents had become obvious. By 19, he had started mastering more instruments, particularly the guitar, which he dedicated much of his time to understand.

The guitar became his signature, having establishedhis own style and nitch as a multi talented instrumentalist.

Between 1993 and 1994, Agboola interacted with the group Treasure Band, appearing in several concerts, bewildering his audiences with his talents. But the maestro's roots in Christian beliefs would surpercede any other considerations. Talented as he was, playing for God's glory was paramount in his career. Between 1994 and 2002, he played with House On The Rock Musical Ministries, led by Pastor Paul Adefarasin.

When Agboola released "Dream Dawn," he quickly registered himself as the first Nigerian artist to produce a contemporary jazz album. A trend was established; a trail was blazed.

Recognition followed. In 2000, he was nominated for the highly-rated Nigerian Musical Award, where he won the BEST CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR AWARD. Shortly after, he started his own band, called the "Motivation Band."

Agboola Shadare is a songwriter, composer and producer. He has produced for popular Nigerian artistes such as Gbenga Owoeye-Wise and Mike Aremu. Shadare has released two solo albums - Dream Dawn, Glory and Strings of Christmas.
Agboola could have arrived, but he was far from satisified. He wanted to be known on the global scale.

Agboola currently resides in the United States of America, and has performed alongside gospel music giants such as Ron Kennoly, Yolanda Adams, Kennoly Brothers, and Bob James.

Here comes the first smooth jazziest to bring African rhythm to the world! Welcome Agboola Shadare.

Influences in life: “Jesus Christ, My Late Mom, George Benson, Earl klugh, Wes Montgomery, Norman brown, Gerald Albright, Kirk Wahlum, Jonathan Butler, Fred Hammond, Papa Ranger.”

Sunday, 8 April 2012


THE Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) dance orchestra played jazz scores by Glen Miller, Benny Carter, Benny Golson among others. Directed by the late Fela Sowande and Steve Rhodes at various times, the band was training ground for soloists and musicians with the talent for arranging. Former leader of Uhuru Professional Dance Band, Stan Plange always refers to his tutelage with the NBC Dance orchestra as most rewarding in that the experience taught him to arrange for the big band sound for which Uhuru was immediately recognisable.

The NBC Dance orchestra had several soloists including Appollos Fiberesima, E.C. Arinze, Chris Ajilo and the young Michael Falana, who, in fact pioneered modern jazz trumpeting on the instrument long before the emergence of Fela Ransome-Kuti.

Falana’s solos, most of which were muted came across beautifully in the mould of Miles Davis –– in terms of tonal conception. And because he had a lot of imagination most of which reflected in his phrasing, Falana was often allowed to extend his solos beyond what the scores allowed. But it was around 1962, when he began to record with such small groups featuring Joe Nez on vocals in highlife songs as Okwereke dikara; and You cheat me vocalised by Godwin Omabuwa of the Casanova Dandies that Falana’s trumpet began to come into full focus.

Falana recorded jazz-inspired highlife with Ghana’s Arthur Benny on guitar –– with saxophonist Olu Idienuma of Roy Chicago’s Rhythm Dandies on the one hand; and also recorded with the same guitarist playing with Etim Udo on alto saxophone on the other. Check out his trumpet solos on You cheat me and Okwerekedi-kara, which were recorded in 1962. They remain classics that can compare with Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown and Thad Jones.

JAZZ however took on total patronage in the hands of Fela Ransome-Kuti who came from London in 1963 to form a quintet. With base at Cool Cats Inn, Olaiya’s former residency, the band played every Monday night as Fela doubled on piano and trumpet with the late Emmanuel Ngomalio on fiddle bass; Don Amechi on guitar; and John Bull, drums. The late Sid Moss, Taiwo Okupe, Zeal Onyia, Steve Rhodes and others came in as guest artists on regular basis. But perhaps the most regular of them was Sid Moss who was sometimes made to rehearse with the band. He was a blues player with the influence of Oscar Peterson eloquently displayed in his phrasings and solo lines.

The Fela Ransome-Kuti quintet transformed into the Koola Lobitos with completely new personnel; and bass player Ngomalio who had now become a pianist went solo and performed at Eko Le Meridien while guitarist Don Amechi travelled abroad for greener pastures. The drummer, John Bull died in mysterious circumstances.

However, before the exit of the quintet, another jazz aggregation came into existence in 1964. Called The Jazz Preachers, the group featured Art Alade on piano, Ayo Vaughan who was a solid member of the NBC Dance Orchestra, played bass; Zeal Onyia was featured on trumpet; Chris Ajilo, tenor saxophone; Bayo Martins and Femi Asekun, drums.

The appearance of the Jazz Preachers provided a contrast to the strict modern jazz of the Fela Ransome-Kuti quintet. While the quintet thrived on well rehearsed tunes such as But not for me by Cole Porter, Errol Garner’s Misty, Milt Jackson’s Bags groove, Charlie Parker’s Billie’s Bounce, The Jazz Preachers, often claiming to “get together and blow,” played such classics as C Jam Blues and Perdido. The texture and structure of their jazz clearly showed that they were playing the mainstream type, which brought Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Count Bassie, Ben Webster, Glen miller and all to the limelight.

However, the band soon disbanded but was taken over by the pianist and singer Art Alade, who, in fact, used it to accomplish a number of sessions. Before his death, he was popular on the university circuit, especially Yaba College of Technology where he had a good understanding with the college’s Jazz Club President, Greg Odua who is now a sports analyst and broadcaster with Africa Independence Television (AIT). Together with Zeal Onyia and Etim Udo, Art did a number of shows at the Yaba College of Technology campus.

THE eighties ushered in a dynamic jazz experience with the coming into existence of Jazz 38. Perhaps the first female jazz singer in Nigeria was Mud Meyer who sang in the mould of Billy Holiday and Bessie Smith –– from the ‘50s to the ‘60s with various bands in Nigeria. But Fran Kuboye brought in a dynamic experience with a warm voice like Ella Fitzgerald and the new generation of female singers. With her husband Tunde Kuboye on bass guitar, Fran took jazz singing to a new level of creativity in Nigeria, later reaching its peak at this venue when the likes of Ngomalio and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti began to sit in and blow in the ‘80s. That was jazz at its best. After came Jazzville in Iwaya area of Lagos, founded and managed by Muyiwa Majekodumi. The period also had the weekly Jazz et al session at the former Bread & Butter at Allen Junction in Ikeja Lagos; where The ITAN Band and later Colours led by Bisade Olugunde performed.

The ‘90s saw the emergence of Kayode Olajide and the Weavers, playing at Art CafĂ©, Ikeja and the French Cultural Centre, Ikoyi on regular basis. Olajide provided an interesting menu for jazz devotees who loved jazz with African interpretations, playing flute, alto, tenor and soprano saxophones.

Peter King has always been there, fusing jazz with highlife and rock; but he was featured for almost two years monthly with his College Band at Ojez Club, Iwaya from 2002 to 2004 – on a programme called Jazz Alive. And his stint really kept jazz alive.

One of the female singers who has continued to keep jazz alive in Nigeria is Yinka Davies. Even though she has not performed on a particularly regular basis, whenever she finds herself in a jazz setting, for her, it is often a challenge.

There is now a crop of young jazz musicians most of whom have travelled to South Africa in search of more challenging jazz activity and opportunities. Guitarist Ayo Odutayo is one of them. A handful of Jazzists are taking the Nigerian Jazz Music to the next level. Popular among the vetereans are:

Saxophonists: Herbert Kunle Ajayi, Mike Aremu, Ayo Solanke, Jerry Omole, Dotun Bankole etc.

Trumpeters: Nathaniel Bassey, Uche Jombo etc.

Pianists: Wole Oni, Braithwaite Franklyn etc.

I shall be getting up close and personal with these people and other up coming Jazists so keep your fingers crossed.

Credits to Guardian Newsletter.


My passion and love for the Jazz genre of music motivated my research into the history of jazz in Nigeria, I wanted to know all about its evolution and development, including the key players. My response to this urge gave me the idea for the creation of this blog
The argument about the origin of jazz has lingered on for a long time. But the first documented jazz form is the ragtime or dixieland jazz which was first heard on the streets of New Orleans in Louisiana USA.
But Pre jazz time has shown to have emanated from the slaves who worked on the farm lands. As we know the slaves were from Africa, predominantly west Africa. Their drumming, echoing, hand clapping and call and response pattern was syncopative in nature (the backbone of jazz is syncopation). Therefore it can be said that the elements of jazz originated from the African slaves. Ragtime was stereotyped as "black" music, because of its origin.
IT was not until 1963 when the Fela Ransome-Kuti quintet committed itself to the music head-on that we began to have groups existing essentially for the purpose of playing the music. Hitherto, bands mixed jazz with other music forms–– to give audiences varieties of entertainment treats and dance steps.
Bobby Benson, Willy Payne, Sammy Akpata, Consul Anifowose –– all played jazz in the same session with highlife, fox trot, jive, mambo, chacha, waltz and the like.
Bobby Benson called his outfit ‘Jam Session’ out of his love for jazz –– even though it was obvious that his band was not an ad-hoc one for the purpose of jamming. Jam sessions were fashionable in jazz in those days as the vehicle for bringing musicians of varying capabilities together to blow and pull their musical resources together in the same showcase. It was also an opportunity for grandstanding and demonstrating their individualities side by side. The Bobby Benson Jam session was a permanent outfit, a solid one which featured the likes of Zeal Onyia, a great trumpeter, along with Eddy Okonta and Chief Bill Friday. It also had Jibril Isah, one of the greatest saxophonists in West Africa in those early days.
Benson just loved the term ‘Jam Session’ –– that was why he named his outfit after it. Besides, his very signature tune was a jazz classic called Soft Winds, which the ensemble played with relish to open their night stands and shows. Benson played blues guitar even though he was a great saxophonist.
Willy Payne, Sam Akpata and Consul Anifowose played jive and jazz along with their repertoire, but the band that intrigued me in this direction in the ‘50s was the one led by Tunde Amuwo, a saxophonist with great swing and jazz feeling. His signature tune was a freewheeling big band sound called Eleven-Eleven, which even gave members of the band solo opportunities.
As the years passed, musicians such as Chris Ajilo and Sammy Lartey from Ghana got together to play jazz, apart from the fact that most of Ajilo’s repertoire with his Cubanos were jazz-inspired. He operated a combo, which gave young musicians such as guitarist Don Amechi, and saxophonist Lekan Animasahun and others the opportunity to express themselves freely.

Stay glued to this blog for the completion of this research.