KIRKCUDBRIGHT JAZZ FESTIVAL
A Celebration of Trad New Orleans, Dixieland and Swing Jazz in South West Scotland.
THE 18TH KIRKCUDBRIGHT JAZZ FESTIVAL
will be held on 11, 12, 13 and 14 JUNE 2015
The 18th annual festival in this unique small Scottish town will endeavour to maintain the high musical standards set by previous festivals. Visitors will have the chance to enjoy top class and highly professional artistes, some on a first time visit, as well as some old favourites, ensuring that the festival caters for jazz lovers of all ages who appreciate quality as well as variety in their entertainment.
Held from Thursday, 11th to Sunday, 14th June 2015, it is a great time to visit this least populated area of Dumfries & Galloway, only an hour’s drive north of Carlisle. It is known as “the artists town” because, like St Ives in Cornwall, it has that special kind of light, particularly at sunset, which attracted and continues to attract may successful artists to live and work in the region.
The 2015 Festival has a programme of bands and groups, some new to Kirkcudbright, some making a welcome return and featuring international and national musicians, playing a varied selection of hot, swinging, toe-tapping music which should appeal to a wide audience.
From eight o’ clock on Thursday 11th to midnight on Sunday 14th June 2015, some seventeen bands, groups and solo performers will appear in venues throughout Kirkcudbright providing over eighty hours of musical entertainment.
Opening the festival in rousing style, stalwarts of the Scottish jazz scene, the Penman Jazzmen from Glasgow and Andrew Hall's Memories of New Orleans will feature on Thursday evening in the Town Hall and Church Hall. The Penman band, under the leadership of the late eponymous George, were last at this festival in 1999. Andrew Hall performed here in 2007 as a member of Bill Salmond's Louisiana Ragtime band but returns for this Festival leading his own band and drawing on his expereinces of living and working in New Orleans.
And there’s more to come when the above bands are joined on the Friday by The Kirkcudbright International All Stars featuring, from Germany, Uli Wunner on reeds, from Holland, Harry Kanters on piano, from England, Enrico Tomasso on trumpet and from Scotland, Kenny Milne on drums and Ken Macdonald on bass and the Savannh Jazz Band. Local group, Sulwath Syncopators, hosts a session when it will be joined by carefully selected guests and two Edinburgh groups fly the flag for Scotland - Jerry Forde’s New Phoenix Jazz Band and Jim Petrie’s Diplomats of Jazz.
And yet more, as bands from across the country join in on the Saturday. Amongst these are the Dave Donohoe Band, Mike Lovell’s Six-In-A-Bar, the Keith Stephen Hot Club Trio and Caroline Irwin, the Brownfield/Byrne Hot Six,Martin Bennett's Old Green River Band and, as this is a Scottish Jazz Festival, Rose Room featuring the talents of Seonaid Aitken on violin and vocals.
Many of the musicians from these bands will come together to form the Kirkcudbright All Stars Parade Band which, with parade marshals and “Brolly Dollies” will lead a decorated Brolly parade through the streets of the town at 11 am. Following the parade there will be a free concert in the Parish Church of gospel music and song from the International All Stars, joined by Gospel Diva, Denise Gordon, who has connections with St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean, on vocals.
One of the features of the festival will be the “jazz dine around” on each of the Festival evenings, with small groups providing music for diners in local restaurants, usually from 6 to 8 pm. The groups appearing this year are yet to be finalised but will include amongst others, guitarists Duncan McCallum and Dougie Harrison with Tom Kincaid doing solo piano spots. These events are very popular and bookings should be made directly with the restaurants to avoid disappointment. In addition, and also for diners, the Keith Stephen Hot Club Trio and Caroline Irwin will be at the Selkirk Arms while Jim Petrie's Diplomats of Jazz and the Internationa All Stars with Denise Gordon will play at the CocoaBean Factory on the Saturday evening.
On Sunday, commencing with the very popular Jazz Church Services in the Parish Church under the direction of Rev Douglas Irving with music by Sulwath Syncopators and Friends including members of the International All Stars with Denise Gordon and in Greyfriars Church with the Dave Donohoe Band. Following the Church Services, sessions by the Brownfield/Byrne Hot Six, Mike Lovell’s Six in a Bar, the International All Stars with Denise Gordon, the Dave Donohoe Band, Keith Stephen's Hot Club Trio and Caroline Irwin, the Old Green River Band and Rose Room will continue in various venues through to midnight.
People sometimes say “I don’t like jazz” but the music of this Festival is mainly from the 1920s and 30s, is very melodic, features songs from “The Great American Songbook”, is excellent for dancing and will be played with great skill and love by the band members so come along and give it a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
The programmes, on sale at a number of outlets in Kirkcudbright, show this year’s festival again promising to provide locals and visitors with an extravagant feast of entertainment and fine musicianship played in a variety of styles and catering for all taste
For further information on the festival telephone 01557 330467. Festival tickets will be available from St Cuthbert Street shops from April 2015 and from festival venues on festival days. See also the "Tickets" page on this site