One of the highlights of the festival is bound to be the Echoes of Ellington Jazz Orchestra. A completely acoustic collection of 16 of the best musicians around, and led by clarinetist Peter Long, Echoes of Ellington perform exact arrangements of the famous Duke Ellington’s repertoire including, especially for this occasion, the ‘Newport Festival Suite’ from 1956.
A good crowd is expected at Medina Theatre on Sunday 2nd June for both Echoes of Ellington and Sax Appeal, the dynamic 8-piece band led by Derek Nash which is always so popular on the Island.
Top vocalist Georgia Mancio and pianist Kate Williams’ 8-piece project comes to the Island on Friday 31st May, and it includes a string quartet, thus fusing together classical music with modern jazz and popular latin song. It should be one of the highlights of the whole weekend.
On Saturday 1st June, as well as the world premiere of ‘The Nat Gonnella Story’ paying tribute to the legendary trumpeter and vocalist, 2 big names visit the Island for the first time: saxophonist Camilla George and vocalist Ian Shaw. Appearing in an intimate setting, Ian is a multi-award winner and has been described, along with Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling, as one of the world’s finest male jazz vocalists. Earlier in the day, Camilla George and her quartet will play at Newport Methodist Church. She has been described as the new leading lady of the London jazz scene, the young saxophonist draws on her African and Caribbean roots in a programme containing original material and standards.
Elsewhere over 5 days of jazz, there is the world’s leading jazz violinist, Tim Klephtism, with his gypsy jazz trio, the wonderful pianist Gabriel Latchin and traditional jazz performed by the Gramophone Party and also London based The Sunshine Kings. There are tributes to both John Coltrane and Horace Silver, and gigs involving the ever-popular trombonist Mark Nightingale and guitarist Jim Mullen.
Event director Jim Thorn says that ticket sales have been comparable to last year.
“Although we started very modestly with a local audience, we have quickly become established as a major event on the UK jazz calendar, and a popular destination to combine a holiday with some of the best that UK jazz has to offer”.
As well as the ticketed acts, there are over 30 fringe acts and events taking place around Newport, many of which are free. There is also the popular 2-day jazz tuition course.
All details including how to purchase tickets, can be found on the Jazz Weekend website – www.iwjazzweekend.co.uk.