Jazz springs into life

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WITH the club’s Easter break out of the way, it’s full steam ahead into spring at Wakefield jazz from tonight.

Big names, new names and, no doubt, the odd surprise package are set to feature on this season’s bill, with the now established summer showcase of up-and-coming Yorkshire artists setting the seal on the 2011–12 programme.

Tonight’s opener features an established WJ favourite, pianist Geoff Eales, though the new band he’ll be bringing with him is one he’s been waiting a long time to assemble. It features young guns Carl Orr and Ben Waghorne on guitar and saxes respectively, with an accomplished rhythm section of Fred T Baker and Mark Fletcher.

The following week, April 27, sees the first of two appearances by that most committed of musicians, Gilad Atzmon. First time round he’s providing clarinet and accordion accompaniment to singer Sarah Gillespie, who’s been said to deliver “a melting-pot mix of urban-folk stamped with her trademark lyricism”.

Mr Atzmon is back at College Grove on May 11, this time leading his Orient House Ensemble. It’s a project drawing inspiration from Gilad’s collaboration with Robert Wyatt and will be preceded by a set from Lizzie Ball’s Sigamos Quartet.

A new name for the WJ audience to grapple with is Cecilia Stalin, who fronts a band including Tony Kofi on May 25. The Swedish singer recently moved to London, where she has made a name for her arrangements of John Coltrane numbers – some of which will no doubt be aired on this occasion.

May 4 also features a new combination of musicians in the shape of the Tournesal Trio. It comprises Seb Pipe on sax, Will Butterworth on piano and Marcus Penrose on bass – and wot, no drummer?!

One of the most successful new European bands, Phronesis, are the guests on May 18, comprising a Swede, a Dane and a Brit who create energetic music on piano, bass and drums.

The summer festival has this year been christened Green Shoots and takes place across three Fridays during June: more details on who and when nearer the time.

All Friday night gigs start at the usual 8.30pm, except when there’s a support band in which case it’s 7.30pm, and tickets are £13 (£15 for the Orient House Ensemble).

Go to www.wakefieldjazz.org for more details and a full band listing.