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Around eight years ago Jazz North East ran a brief concert series under the banner ‘Women in Jazz’. We remain proud of the initiative, but looking back it’s clear that there was an emphasis on women in well established roles within the music, as vocalists and pianists in a primarily mainstream tradition. The series barely touched on the massive contribution being made as instrumentalists and composers, across the whole stylistic spectrum from straightahead to free improvisation.

Now, though, with the aid of a grant from the PRS Foundation’s ‘Women Make Music’ scheme, the first half of our 2015 programme will include monthly gigs and workshops featuring a selection of the finest, most adventurous women working on the contemporary UK and European scene.

We kick off with trumpeter Laura Jurd, who in little more than three years has established herself as one of the most exciting talents in jazz today: at the end of January she comes to Tyneside with her new septet, performing material specially commissioned by the London Jazz Festival. Then in February we are visited by pianist Zoe Rahman, described as “one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz scene”, and here giving a rare solo recital at which the full range of her musical interests will be in evidence. And in March it’s the turn of theremin improviser Beatrix Ward-Fernandez, in a double bill with Tyneside vocalist Zoë Gilby unveiling a new solo project that combines voice and electronics.

The series continues until July, but of course it’s not the whole of our programme – there are plenty of other diverse highlights, including a return for the celebrated Australian pianist Alister Spence, a celebration of ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, Swiss trio VEIN (as usual there’s a strong international element in our planning), and the best of the UK’s young emerging artists in the Tom Green Septet and Dave Manington’s Riff Raff. As our printed flyers always say: “If it’s good, we’ll book it”.


jurd and co18th January @ the Bridge Hotel
Stretch Trio
Amazing young sax/guitar/drums trio from Leeds, first winners of the ‘Jazz North Introduces’ award.

27th January @ the Black Swan Bar & Venue
Laura Jurd Septet
Brilliant trumpeter with her new band, including acclaimed vocalist Lauren Kinsella and rising star guitarist Alex Roth.

3rd February @ the Newcastle University Recital Room
Alister Spence Quartet + Paul Taylor
Welcome return for the outstanding Australian pianist & his international quartet, plus an opening set from Tyneside’s finest improvising pianist.

12th February @ the Newcastle University Recital Room
Zoe Rahman
Rare solo performance from one of the UK’s most imaginative and distinctive pianists.

24th February @ the Jazz Café
Tom Green Septet
Award winning trombonist leads his 7-piece band, featuring the cream of the emerging generation of London jazz stars.

8th March @ the Bridge Hotel
Beatrix Ward-Fernandez Trio + Watching Sideways
Free improvising theremin player with her well established trio, plus a new voice & electronics project from Zoë Gilby.

12th March @ the Black Swan Bar & Venue
Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!
Tribute to the great Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley from an all-star Scottish quintet led by saxophonist Martin Kershaw.

Full details for all these and later gigs can be found on the Events pages of this website.