New music commissioned for Hull Jazz Festival

“It’s so important to explore new sounds in jazz.” says J-Night and Hull Jazz Festival Director David Porter, “We’re as interested in great new sounds for the future as we are in celebrating the wonderful jazz tradition.”

2017’s been a busy year so far for J-Night. Being UK City of Culture demands something different. Something extra. Something that makes people see jazz in a new way.

What better than funding our most creative UK artists to explore and create new music for our audiences?

The PRS (Performing Right Society) Foundation has funded J-Night to commission a number of cracking projects this year:

GoGo Penguin, the acoustic electronica trio, will unveil their tribute to the industrial sounds of the North in a Basil Kirchin-inspired piece called As Above So Below. It premieres in Hull and London in July as part of the PRSF New Music Biennial.

They’ll then revisit Hull in November to reprise the piece, alongside their astonishing score to Godfrey Reggio’s cult film Koyaanisqatsi, itself commissioned by Home in Manchester.

GoGo Pengiun performing live

GoGo Penguin performing at Home, Manchester (c) Sarah Leech, Home Manchester

J-Night will also support guitarist / composer Stuart McCallum and electronica artist Revenu to create new works exploring their love affair with their instruments and with the City of Hull. Stuart McCallum is established as one of the UK’s leading guitarist and composers, working with the Cinematic Orchestra. Stuart will write a piece to celebrate the versatility of the guitar. Revenu has been discovered by Giles Peterson’s Future Bubblers in 2016 and took part in the Basil Kirchin celebration weekend Mind on the Run in February this year. Revenu will be exploring his favourite sounds of Hull, alongside visuals from artist Joe Bird.

The commissions will headline the Hull Jazz Festival 25th anniversary in November, joining another commissioned piece. A Journey with the Giants of Jazz is Peter Edwards’ new piece for the Nu Civilisation Orchestra. It’s all about the defining year of 1917, that saw the birth of jazz’s most influential artists – Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Tadd Dameron, Dizzy Gillespie and Mongo Santamaria. Young people from Hull and East Riding will be working with Peter in the run up to the November festival and they’ll perform pieces by these six giants of jazz before Nu Civilisation Orchestra take the stage.

Jazz North announces latest Northern Line Ambassadors

11 new artists announced for the 5th edition of northern line

Jazz North, the northern jazz development agency, announces the latest roster of Ambassador Artists to be selected for northern line – the innovative model for touring which gives promoters the opportunity to programme high quality artists with low financial risk.

Since its launch in 2013, northern line has featured 48 Ambassador Artists who have performed 520 gigs to date with 150 plus promoters partners across the north of England and beyond.

The northern line 5th Round roster is:

Archipelago (Newcastle)
Birkett and Fisk (Newcastle)
Dan Whieldon Quartet (Manchester)
Deep Cabaret (Lancaster)
Early Nite (Manchester)
Perpetual Motion Machine (Sheffield)
Skeltr (Manchester)
The Electrio (Leeds)
Tiptoe (Leeds)
Ubunye (Leeds/Huddersfield)
Ushaw Ensemble (Newcastle)

The artists selected for northern line 5

the northern line 5 artists

northern line Ambassador Artists are selected by an independent panel to represent the highest quality, originality and variety of musicians living and working in the north.

This years selection panel featured –
Barney Stevenson, Marsden Jazz Festival
Paul Bream, Jazz North East
Juliet Kelly, Musician
Corey Mwamba, Musician and Outfront Derby promoter
Esther Hingle, Highlights Rural Touring
Dennis Rollins, Musician
Nigel Slee, Jazz North Creative Director, Musician
Steve Mead, Manchester Jazz Festival

David Porter, director of J-Night and Chair of the selection panel said:

“This fifth edition of northern line highlights the incredibly diverse range of jazz being performed every day by artists in the North. We are delighted that Jazz North will support these artists to develop their networks and bring their music to new audiences”

Jazz North will support these Round 5 artists with professional development and tour subsidy between September 1st 2017 and December 31st 2018.

Jazz North invite you to join them in celebrating this roster of artists at their Showcase Day live at Manchester Jazz Festival on Monday 31st July. To reserve your place please email

More information, including artist profiles, available on the Jazz North website or via Lucy Woolley, northern line Project Manager –

Jazz FM Awards 2017 – voting now open

Nominations have been announced for the Jazz FM Awards, with public voting open in three categories – Album of the Year, Live Experience of the Year and UK Jazz Act of the Year.

Voting closes on Friday 31st March – have your say here:

It’s great to see artists we’ve worked with recently and artists we’re bringing to Hull this year among the nominees, including: Robert Glasper (International Jazz Artist), Donny McCaslin (International Jazz Artist and Album of the Year), Nubya Garcia (Breakthrough Act of the Year – see her in Hull this July with Nérija), Gwilym Simcock (Instrumentalist of the Year – see him at Middleton Hall on 30th April for our International Jazz Day show) and Soweto Kinch (UK Jazz Act of the Year)

Bowie collaborator Donny McCaslin joins the line-up for Hull Jazz Festival 2017

New York tenor sax titan Donny McCaslin is the latest international artist to join the line-up for Hull Jazz Festival Summer Edition 2017.

A dynamic presence on the New York jazz scene for the best part of three decades, McCaslin and his band became household names in 2016 after they collaborated and recorded with David Bowie on what was to be his final album, Blackstar.

Theirs is a freewheeling, grooving electric jazz that brings in elements of rock and electronica, following in the footsteps of jazz fusion pioneers like Weather Report and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters.

Joined by Jason Lindner (keyboards), Tim Lefebvre (bass) and Mark Guiliana (drums), ‘the Blackstar band’, McCaslin plays at Hull Truck Theatre on Thursday 13th July.

Tickets, priced £20 available from Hull Truck box office, online, in person or by calling 01482 323638.

Multi Grammy Winning Pianist/Producer Robert Glasper comes to Hull this November

We’re very excited to announce that multi Grammy Award-winning US pianist/producer Robert Glasper will headline Hull Jazz Festival 24th Winter Edition this November with a new version of his Grammy-winning band The Experiment, with added DJ.

They’ll be playing material from their forthcoming new Blue Note album, due for release this autumn, ahead of their headline show at London Jazz Festival. Drawing on jazz, hip hop, R&B and rock, they refuse to be defined by any one genre and this promises to be an incredible show.

‘It’s a short list of jazz pianists who have the wherewithal to drop a J Dilla reference into a Thelonious Monk cover but not many jazz pianists are Robert Glasper.’ Los Angeles Times

Tickets are available now from Hull Truck Theatre. This show will sell out so best book in advance if you don’t want to miss out.

International Jazz Day 2016 comes to Hull

Jazz Day 2016

International Jazz Day was launched by UNESCO in 2011, to highlight the role that jazz plays in uniting people from all corners of the globe. We’ll be bringing International Jazz Day celebrations to Hull for the second time this year, joining promoters, artists and festivals in 195 countries.

Since 2012, thousands of artists and promoters from hundreds of countries have come together on April 30th to celebrate jazz’s role in promoting dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of young people in bringing about social change.

With this in mind, we wanted our International Jazz Day line-up to shine a spotlight on artists who take influences from different cultures and musical traditions and transform them into something new and original.

First up is The Refix Project, the new collaboration between two of Hull’s finest vocalists, Lyn Acton and Audrey Okyere-Fosu. Inspired by the attitude and strength of the great songstresses of jazz (Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald), Lyn and Audrey are refixing their usual approach to interpreting music by working with an electronic, urban, dance-music ensemble. With music by David Gawthorpe and electronics from Endoflevelbaddie’s Scott Langthorp, The Refix Project are taking influences from the worlds of jazz, urban and electronic music and mixing them up into something exciting and new that’s firmly rooted in Hull’s incredible live music scene. This debut performance will be the start of something very special…

Refix logo

Our headliners Panjumby represent the close relationship that the British jazz scene has with musicians from the Caribbean and Africa, revitalising itself with fresh energy and new musical ideas at every collaboration. Panjumby draw on music from Trinidad, featuring jazz, calypso and soca material alongside choice standards. Led by the tremendous lyrical phrasing and rhythmic drive of steel pan master Dudley Nesbitt, Panjumby features great improvisers and a knockout rhythm section: Richard Ormrod (saxophones, clarinet, flute), Barkley McKay (keyboards, guitar), Kenneth Higgins (electric bass) and Sam Hobbs (drums).

PanjumbyWe asked Panjumby what International Jazz Day means to them: “Louis Armstrong said ALL music is folk music: he never heard a horse sing. For us, Jazz is what happens when you take any music from its cultural context, forge a deep personal relationship with it and then return it into circulation animated a different way, marching to a different drummer and saying what you want it to say. And that music and that spark can come from anyone in the world, irrespective of race, creed, colour or gender. International Jazz Day is about bringing all those voices together in one space, hearing all those stories and beginning to appreciate that there isn’t a single horse in the room. It’s all about the love.”

So why not come and feel the love at Hull Truck on Saturday 30th April? Tickets priced £11 and £6 for students and under-26s are available here.

All Aboard for the Jazz Ticket!

J-Night has a long-standing partnership with Tomorrows Warriors, a leading music education and professional development organisation working with some of the most exciting and diverse new, emerging and established jazz musicians in the UK, with a particular focus on those from BAME backgrounds and girls.

In line with the Tomorrow’s Warriors ethos, here at J-Night we aim to create progression routes for young Hull jazz musicians, taking them from a learning environment in a school or workshop setting through to performing on a professional stage.

To this end, J-Night are bringing a band of Tomorrow’s Warriors to Hull this Easter, to meet with Hull Music Hub and up to six local schools, share their enthusiasm about this exciting new project and start mapping out how local young musicians can get involved.

Artists Gary Crosby OBE (artistic director of Tomorrows Warriors), Peter Edwards, Fish Krish and Andy Chapman will meet with Hull music teachers to talk about the project then Peter Edwards will lead a 2-hour workshop for members of the Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra, looking at the repertoire of the great names of jazz.

Peter Edwards

Peter Edwards

About the Jazz Ticket project

The Jazz Ticket – a Journey with the Giants of Jazz, is a co production between Tomorrow’s Warriors and Turner Sims Concert Hall in Southampton, where Tomorrow’s Warriors are Associate Artists.

1917 was a defining year for jazz that saw the birth of some of the most influential jazz artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaria, Tadd Dameron and Buddy Rich.

In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of these Giants of Jazz, as well as Tomorrow’s Warriors’ 25th anniversary and Hull City of Culture 2017, pianist and composer, and Tomorrow’s Warriors music leader, Peter Edwards, is writing a composition – A Journey with the Giants of Jazz – that will reference music by all six of these outstanding musicians, to be performed by the Nu Civilisation Orchestra, (Tomorrow’s Warriors contemporary Jazz Orchestra.)

Peter Edwards has been successful in receiving a PRS for Music Foundation award to present this new work at the New Music Biennial on 1 & 2 July 2017 as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and 7- 9 July 2017 at London’s Southbank Centre. The aim is that young musicians from Hull schools will have the chance over the next year to create music specifically to accompany the Jazz Ticket Show and Nu Civilisation Orchestra next July.


J-Night wins PRS for Music Award Foundation Award to commission GoGo Penguin to contribute to Hull UK City of Culture 2017

What a start to the year!

PRS for Music Foundation this week announced that J-Night is one of only twenty UK organisations selected for the New Music Biennial 2017, a PRS for Music Foundation initiative which is presented in partnership with Hull UK City of Culture 2017, London’s Southbank Centre and BBC Radio 3.

J-Night will commission Abstractions of the Industrial North a new piece of music by Mercury Prize nominated Manchester based jazz trio GoGo Penguin.

GoGo Penguin

GoGo Penguin (c) Emily Dennison

Renowned for their minimalist piano themes, deeply propulsive bass lines and electronica-inspired drums GoGo Penguin will create a piece of music inspired by the Northern industrial landscape in 2017. The piece will be also be inspired by Basil Kirchin, who died in Hull in 2005. Basil Kirchin is the forgotten genius of post-war British music. British pioneer of musique concrete, leading light in the free jazz movement, a film composer who inspired Bernard Hermann and according to Brian Eno, the founding father of ambient.

GoGo Penguin’s Abstractions of the Industrial North will receive live public performances throughout the UK in 2017, culminating in two celebration weekends in Hull UK City of Culture 2017 on 1 & 2 July as part of the New Music Biennial and 7- 9 July at London’s Southbank Centre. The music will go on to form part of a documentary film about Basil Kirchin’s life and times – Mind on the Run – to be produced by Hull’s independent film makers Nova Studios.

It’s been an astonishing couple of years for Manchester based trio GoGo Penguin (drummer Rob Turner, double bassist Nick Blacka and pianist Chris Illingworth). Their trademark mash-up of minimalist piano themes, deeply propulsive bass lines and electronica inspired drums has seen them shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, they’ve written and performed a new score for Godfrey Reggio’s cult film Koyaanisqatsi and collaborated with noted choreographer Lynn Page for a Gilles Peterson-curated night at the Barbican. And in the midst of all this they’ve signed a multi-album deal with Blue Note Records, the most famous jazz label on earth.

J-Night is one of the leading producers of new jazz in the North of England. We produce a year-round festival offer in Hull developing effective partnerships with organisations such as Serious, Tomorrows Warriors, Freedom Festival, Walk the Plank, Hull Truck and others. We produce programmes that give audiences access to high quality artists and we provide developmental opportunities for local and regional artists, including those from diverse backgrounds, through Hull Jazz Festival, the Yellow Bus stage at Freedom, Giant Steps and rural touring. J-Night is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England, a founder of Jazz North, a creative partner of Freedom Festival and a support organisation for Hull 2017 UK City of Culture.

This is a real honour” says J-Night director David Porter “and will make a terrific contribution to Hull 2017. GoGo Penguin are at the forefront of the new young jazz scene and, we hope that this project will attract new young audiences to our work.”

GoGo Penguin said “We’re delighted to be part of Hull 2017 and are looking forward to throwing ourselves into our commission Abstractions of the Industrial North and using it as a launch pad for exploring the soundworld and legacy of the great Basil Kirchin“.

Vanessa Reed Executive Director PRS for Music Foundation said: “The line-up of new pieces for this New Music Biennial showcases again the immense quality and breadth of music composed in the UK and the imagination of UK composers working across an array of different styles. Hull’s City of Culture status has been a real inspiration to everyone involved and I’m delighted that this will be an opportunity for music creators and arts organisations from Yorkshire and from across the whole of the UK to come together in a celebration of new music in all its forms. Can’t wait to see how the pieces and ideas develop over the next 12 months.

The New Music Biennial will include new music from across all genres: from classical and chamber opera to jazz, folk, electronic and music for brass band and organ.

Martin Green, CEO and Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, said: “The New Music Biennial 2017 commissions which feature composers and performers from across the country are a brilliant representation of the state of new music in the UK in the 21st century. They stretch across genres, across diverse musical styles, and include everything from electronic innovators to jazz groups to stars of the folk scene. I am thrilled that this national music festival is to be staged between Hull 2017, and London’s Southbank Centre as part of our year as UK city of culture.

For further information about the PRS Foundation for Music New Biennial please visit



Giant Steps

Hull Jazz Festival Winter Edition 2015 features an exciting line up of young UK jazz artists performing alongside established international acts as part of our Giant Steps programme:

The aim of Giant Steps is to strengthen the local and regional developing jazz scene by increasing quality opportunities for aspiring Yorkshire musicians to participate in regular and supportive performances culminating in appearances at Hull Jazz Festival and Freedom Festival.

J-Night has a long tradition of supporting local and regional jazz artists and providing development opportunities to young jazz musicians at the start of their careers.

Every November our Giant Steps programme shines a spotlight on some of the brightest young jazz talent from the wider region and beyond. Members of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and Tomorrow’s Warriors work alongside the Hull Music Hub at the Albermarle, the City of Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra, the University of Hull and Jazz Aesthetic plus local schools to produce Festival performances.

We also provide performance opportunities for emerging artists from across the North through Jazz North’s Northern Line and Jazz North Introduces award schemes. In November 2015, we’re featuring two Jazz North bands – Artephis are the Jazz North Introduces act for 2015 and Matt Holborn Gypsy Jazz Quartet are part of the Northern Line scheme for 2015-16.

An exciting new fusion of two very different musical traditions – Shri presents ‘Just a Vibration’

J-Night has a longstanding commitment to working with artists from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds. For Freedom Festival 2015 we’re very proud to present the first performance of a brand new collaboration that brings together the intoxicating rhythms of Indian music with the might of the British brass band:

 ‘JUST A VIBRATION’ is an exciting new music project that brings together two distinct and diverse musical forms: Indian music and the traditional brass band.

Conceived by award-winning composer/producer/instrumentalist Shri Sriram this unique musical collaboration makes its live debut on the Yellow Bus stage at Freedom Festival in Hull on September 5th.

Taking the stage in Hull will be the mighty 25-piece Skelmanthorpe Brass Band along with Shri Sriram and Ben Castle arranger/saxophonist/bass-clarinettist, the fast rising Leeds-based sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun and powerhouse drummer Marc Layton-Bennett.

The musicians will perform ten brand new tracks that constitute Just A Vibration; all compositions have been created by Shri and arranged by Ben Castle. The Just A Vibration album is scheduled for release in November 2015, with Shri, Jasdeep and Marc performing with Hammonds Saltaire Brass Band at Rich Mix on 22nd November as part of London Jazz Festival.

It’s going to be amazing!” laughs the energetic Shri Sriram, who plays a bass guitar he built himself in 1991 and which he has used ever since. “I only started listening to brass bands recently and thought what an incredible sound they make and what fantastic music we could make together. I’ve always been fascinated with combining sounds and styles and since sound is just a vibration, I decided to turn that phrase into the title for this project.

“I’m using a music vocabulary created out of brass and Indian classical concepts which has its own syntax, pronunciation and accent,” continues Shri. “During the one hour performance one piece, for instance, is based on the tanpura, the four-stringed Indian drone instrument which is translated to the four-part harmony of brass, another based on a complex tabla piece called Chakradhar and some filmic Wagner/Bollywood style drama. The sitar seems to fit in very naturally as if it always belonged in a brass band, but I had to make sure neither the brass nor the sitar went too deep into its territory. That’s where it would become fusion in my opinion.”

Well known as one half of the highly successful UK drum & bass duo Badmarsh & Shri and for his ability to blend Indian and western musical styles, the largely self-taught Shri has devised a finely tuned sound that truly breaks boundaries. His musical passion and talent have driven him since he can remember: “When I was really little, growing up in India,” he remembers, “I would crawl up to the tablas that were in the house and start to play them; my father thought it was great and that I would grow up to be a classical Indian tabla player. But, when I went to college – to study chemistry – I was introduced to rock music – specifically Black Sabbath! – and as soon as I heard the boomboomboom of Geezer Butler’s bass guitar, I knew that was what I wanted to play.”

When the pioneering music curator and festival producer Simon Dove invited Shri to England to perform, Shri virtually blew the audience away with his formidable bass playing style, which broke every rule in the book. “I think they expected an Indian chap in traditional dress with a tabla and sitar and some kitsch Indian jazz but they got me in my jeans and my home made bass…”

Then along came Badmarsh & Shri; their debut album Dancing Drums (1998) contained a completely new mix of drum & bass, hip hop, Indian music and jazz. Their second album, Signs, delivered dancefloor fillers and led to their breakout performance at Glastonbury in 2002 which led to tours all over the UK, Europe, USA and beyond.

Since then Shri has been in constant demand as a performer, producer, composer – he wrote and performed the official promo song for the Indian release of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (2012), has remixed work for artists as diverse as De La Soul, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kronos Quartet, has performed on Later With Jools Holland, at the Montreux and London Jazz Festivals and is currently composing the soundtrack for his third Indian film with Yashraj Films.

The premiere of Just a Vibration will be at 5:30pm on Saturday 5th September on the Yellow Bus stage at Freedom Festival Hull. Click on the link below to hear a 4-track sample of what’s in store. We can’t wait!