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Performances at Christ Church 6.45pm & 8.45pm

Alto-saxophonist Will Vinson celebrates the May 2018 release of his new bass-less trio recording, ‘It’s Alright With Three’, featuring Gilad Hekselman on guitar, and for this Rochester performance, drummer Ziv Ravitz.


Originally from London UK, Vinson moved to New York City in 1999 and has since performed/recorded with some of the leading lights of modern jazz, including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Aaron Parks, Ari Hoenig and Kurt Elling. His releases as a leader, including ‘Live at Smalls’ and ‘Perfectly Out of Place’, have garnered critical acclaim, with the latter leading Jazz Times to hail “Vinson’s ability to cut through to the emotional heart of a song” and Downbeat describing a collection of tunes that “challenge the notion of how jazz is defined in this era”.

Will's saxophone playing is executed with incredible power and dramatic sensitivity, and is characterized by his imposing sound and technique; influenced by saxophonists from Cannonball to Chris Potter, he nevertheless brings his own unique approach to every performance. Will's writing, and the playing of his colleagues, combines a great respect for the century-long jazz tradition with explorations into the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic realms of contemporary forms.

This new trio breaks new ground in Vinson’s output, with the absence of a bass provoking a new spirit of playfulness and adventure, aided by two of the most daring improvisers in contemporary jazz.


Will Vinson (alto sax), Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Ziv Ravitz (drums).

Described as "One of the most talented musicians Britain has produced”, composer, pianist and band leader Django Bates returns to ECM with Belovèd, one of his finest groups yet. With Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and Danish drummer Peter Bruun, the conventions of the jazz piano trio are subtly challenged on an aptly named album, ‘The Study Of Touch’, recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in June 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher. Belovèd’s work has included inspired reconstructions of Charlie Parker and on this new album Parker’s ‘Passport’ is played with respect, contemporary sensibility and joy, amid pieces written specially for the album and Django’s classics like ‘We Are Not Lost, We Are Simply Finding Our Way’ which is eternally remodelled by these master improvisors. Bates’ composing skills are highlighted, along with his freewheeling, free-flowing melodic sense. The terse, percussive edge of Eldh’s bass provides momentum and drummer Bruun details the music with a painterly touch. 


“Bates’s virtuosity has long matched his imagination – the fluidity of line, ultra-fast tempos and rhythmic independence were all to the fore …harnessed to strong emotions and in-depth improvisation” -  The Financial Times


Django Bates (Piano), Petter Eldh (Double Bass), Peter Bruun (Drums) 

Beats & Pieces Big Band is not your average ‘big band’ - rather, a band that happens to be big. These 14 musicians led by composer and conductor Ben Cottrell will immediately capture you with their very own sound, embracing raw rock energy, refined jazz concepts, pop melodies to sing along, primal improvisation and grooves to shake your body to. First playing together as students in Manchester in 2008, ten years on they know each other inside out, forming “a big band with the feel and dynamics of a small group and the force and impact of an orchestra” (AJ Dehany, London Jazz News). Their music is an expression of the band members’ varied musical backgrounds and activities, all brought together in Cottrell’s inspired writing. One of the most exciting touring ensembles of its kind anywhere in Europe, with international awards under their belt and their third album up their sleeves, Beats & Pieces Big Band are the most compelling bunch of friends you’ve encountered in a long time.


“Fast becoming one of the foundations of the current UK jazz scene, Beats & Pieces make fun, grooving, high- impact music Mancunian style… continuing the great tradition of UK big bands” - Jez Nelson, BBC Jazz on 3


Ben Cottrell (director), Anthony Brown, Ollie Dover, Tom Ward (saxophones), Owen Bryce, Graham South, Nick Walters (trumpets), Richard Foote, Simon Lodge, Richard McVeigh (trombones), Anton Hunter (guitar), Richard Jones (piano/Rhodes), Stewart Wilson (bass), Finlay Panter (drums).

Eloquent and provocative singer-songwriter, Zara McFarlane, is the UK’s foremost black British female jazz vocalist, positioned neatly between the twin worlds of modern jazz and nu-soul. Winning the MOBO Award for ‘Best Jazz Act’ in 2014, Urban Music Award for ‘Best Jazz Act’ in 2015 and a Jazz FM Award for ‘Vocalist of the Year’ in 2015 and with two critically acclaimed albums to her name, she inhabits an unusual musical landscape, fearlessly exploring original material & reworking well known classics from the worlds of jazz and Jamaican music. “ARISE,” (Brownswood Recordings, September 2017) is her third studio album, produced by multi award-winning drummer Moses Boyd - a product of their exploration of the meeting points between British Jazz sounds and the rhythms of Jamaica, namely; Reggae, Kumina and Nyabinghi. Both of Caribbean descent, the collaboration has resulted in a very sophisticated, honest offering of socio-conscious lyrics and pulsating rhythm.

Zara’s music is seductive and earthy. As a performer she is uniquely engaging, deftly combining the intricacies of jazz with a deep soulfulness, melding multiple influences from reggae to pop, folk and blues with both her originals and choice of covers. 


A classy celebration of black British music.” - The List


Zara McFarlane (vocals), Binker Golding (tenor saxophone), Peter Edwards (piano), Max Luthert (bass), Sam Jones (drums)


After six years of extensive touring throughout the UK, Europe and China, Partikel have built a reputation as one of the most exciting and forward-thinking groups working in Europe.


Since their debut as an acoustic trio, Partikel have progressively pushed at developmental possibilities, and their newest venture - ‘Counteraction’ (2017 Whirlwind) sees the band exploring the more electronic side of their music, bringing guitarist Ant Law into the band whilst maintaining their exciting, high-energy approach. Strong melodies are fused with mixed meter vamps and atmospheric soundscapes, creating a fiercely interactive and totally engrossing live experience.


"One of the hottest young bands on the UK scene" - Jazzwise  



"A continuous musical narrative with many detours exceeding all expectation" - Jazzthetik 

Duncan Eagles (saxophone), Ant Law (guitar), Max Luthert (double bass/electronics), Eric Ford (drums)

With the Julian Siegel Quartet, the ‘BBC Jazz Award’- winning saxophonist and composer has chosen to work with some of this generation’s most distinctive voices, creating one of the most in-demand quartets on the UK & European Jazz scene. The band features inspirational pianist Liam Noble, his fluid touch and dazzling imagination perfectly complementing Siegel’s music and playing, and providing a perfect foil for the many directions the music can turn. With the creative spark of dynamic drummer Gene Calderazzo and the deep groove of bassist Oli Hayhurst dove-tailing perfectly with Siegel and Noble, this is unquestionably one of the UK’s most exciting and powerful quartets.  Following up from their award-winning album 'Urban Theme Park’ the band release their third album 'VISTA’ on Whirlwind Recordings in early 2018. Recorded at Livingston Studios, London, it features ten of Julian’s compositions plus an arrangement of Bud Powell’s ‘Un Poco Loco’. This new acoustic set of music moves freely through varied sound worlds and colours, from undercurrents of bop to searching ballads and joyful melodies.


Julian Siegel has worked with many of jazz's leading lights including Michael Gibbs, John Taylor, Diane Schurr Quartet, in trio with Joey Baron and Greg Cohen, Kirk Lightsey, Norma Winstone, Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra, the NDR big band, as well as co-leading the award-winning 'Partisans' with guitarist Phil Robson. 


“A UK-jazz supergroup, this band sets the bar pretty high for the art of making idiomatic, eclectic contemporary jazz” – John Fordham, Guardian

“When the Julian Siegel Quartet perform live it’s a fantastic ride” - Jez Nelson, BBC Radio Jazz on 3


"Plenty of pushing at the barriers of tonality as you’d expect from such adventurous and accomplished players, but it’s tempered with a refreshing melodicism and groove... An exhilarating experience." - Jazz Views on VISTA


Julian Siegel (tenor/soprano sax & bass clarinet), Liam Noble (piano), Oli Hayhurst (double bass), Gene Calderazzo (drums).

Songbook is the exquisite collaboration between double Grammy-winning jazz pianist/composer/ arranger Alan Broadbent (Charlie Haden, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, Woody Herman) and award- winning vocalist/lyricist Georgia Mancio (Bobby McFerrin, Ian Shaw, Gwilym Simcock, ReVoice! Festival). Alan and Georgia began performing together in 2013 and co-writing the following year. In April 2017 they released Songbook marking Alan’s 70th birthday and the first time his music has been heard entirely with words. Their sold-out debut headline show at world-renowned Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club was followed by performances including Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Birdland Jazz Club (Hamburg) and Krakow Jazz Festival.


Initially inspired by Great American Songbook writers Harry Warren, George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart, their songs are both timeless and modern, seeking to create new standards rather than emulate the past. Alan’s sophisticated melodies and peerless arranger’s ear find their perfect match in Georgia’s superbly crafted lyrics of both beauty and bite. Their already prolific output flows from joyous bebop to brooding ballads and bossa novas; through journeys and resting places, childhood and old age.  


“one of the most formidable songwriting partnerships of the 21st century. Music that is deeply heartfelt, expressive and exquisitely played, and able to communicate on multiple levels” - Jazz Views (UK)

“Songbook is pure perfection” - JazzWax (US)


"a magnificent example of strength and talent… one of the best performances I’ve seen this year….10 out of 10!”  - Jazz in Europe  


Georgia Mancio (voice & lyrics), Alan Broadbent (piano & music), Don Falzone (double bass), Dave Ohm (drums)

Gwyneth Herbert is a strikingly original performer, award-winning composer/lyricist and versatile musical adventurer who continues to redefine and challenge expectations. Drawing on influences from the worlds of jazz, folk, contemporary classical music and theatre, she has released 6 critically acclaimed albums to date. This past year has seen her tour across the world with her band; perform her own works with the London Sinfonietta; record a live session for the BBC Radio 2 Jamie Cullum show; and appear on BBC news on Christmas Day discussing her forthcoming children’s opera.


A self-proclaimed Rochester fan - and judging by the mid-performance standing ovation during her last visit, the feeling’s mutual! - Gwyneth's return to the festival sees her world-class trio première songs from ambitious new album Letters I Haven't Written: an exploration of the lost art of letter-writing.  Diving into an archive of musical correspondence – letters of love, longing, gratitude, grief, friendship and fury – the show invites the audience on an immersive journey from a blank sheet of paper, to the joyful sharing of voice.


“A remarkably gifted talent” - The Guardian


 “Positively riveting… of the let's say top 10 singers I've ever seen, Herbert is two of them.” - Rochester City News


Gwyneth Herbert (lead vocals, ukulele, French horn, percussion), Ned Cartwright (piano, vocals, saxophone), Sam Burgess (bass, vocals)

Bassist Mark Lewandowski brings together two of the most highly respected musicians from the UK and US jazz scenes to explore the catalogue of one of the most nostalgic early innovators of jazz - the great Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller.  They will be delving into Waller’s music and bringing their own personal spin on his repertoire following the release of Mark’s highly acclaimed debut release, ‘Waller’.  Three musicians known for their intricate dialogues and strong humour, paying tribute to another musician who had these attributes.  Mixing the traditional with the modern, this trio brings a little of 1930s Harlem into the 21st Century.


Bassist Mark Lewandowski originally hails from Nottingham, England and his interest in the bass took him to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Whilst studying at the school Mark rapidly created a strong name for himself on the London scene; playing regularly at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in only his second year in the capital. He was also awarded the Yamaha Jazz Award, and now resides in New York where he is continuing his studies as part of the celebrated Artist Diploma programme at the prestigious Juilliard School. He has performed with a diverse range of musicians including John Surman, Buddy Greco, Wynton Marsalis, Vic Juris, Martin Carthy & Zoe Rahman.


"Three musicians, closer to the cutting edge of jazz, have successfully brought Fats Waller’s 1930’s classics into the 20th century...absolutely delightful..."  - Bebop Spoken Here 


"This thoroughly modern trio never lose sight of the playful, hard-swinging and hard-living personality that lay at the heart of all Waller’s music."  - Jazz Views 


Mark Lewandowski (Double Bass), Liam Noble (Piano), Francesco Ciniglio (Drums)

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