Thursday 5 March 2015

So that was 2014!

Not quite sure where the first couple of months on 2015 have gone, but there's been lots happening, and a lot about to happen in Exeter because once again it's...

Vibraphonic Festival 2015

If you're really interested in the events it's probably best to go the website at
because it will display the full array of what's happening. However, this year, there is a lot of jazz, and evidence of a growing local 'scene' in and around Exeter. It all kicks off on 12th March with the
Exeter University Jazz and Soul Choir who will undoubtedly sell out the Phoenix led by the 25 piece band they play a bewildering array of styles and genres. Next up that the Phoenix are Troyka on 19th March who were lovingly described by "Time Out" magazine as "King Crimson for the 21st century" Unmissable! The next day local jazzer Pete Canter will lead "Off the Cuff" and impromptu performance  partly scored and partly not with a band that seems to grow by the day, though currently it's a 10 piece. On Wednesday 25th March it's a performance by Go Go Penguin Mercury Prize nominated three piece whose influences range across the whole spectrum of classical and progressive pop music. In addition to all that's going on at the Phoenix there are also jazz nights at the Bike Shed Theatre with Philip Clouts  and Annika Skoogh. There's more than enough there for the most discerning jazz fan.

CD releases:

It's often quite quiet as far as releases are concerned in the post-Christmas period, but this year has proved otherwise. There are already some strong contenders for this year's top 10. My own favourites (although it has to be said that sometimes releases that do not have instant appeal sneak up and invade my brain after repeated playing. One of my favourites has been Tom Green Septet album "Skyline". It's unusual for such an ensemble not only to record but also to tour to promote it. I spoke to Tom on the show, and the interview is on the Edge of Jazz Mix Cloud page. Likewise I  interviewed  Emily Saunders ahead of the release of her album "Outsiders Insiders" which I think is excellent, although quite different in conception and execution from her previous album "Cotton Skies" Just two more albums to mention (though I will return to update my choices early next month) I have really enjoyed Maurizio Minardi and his album "Piano Ambulance" which is as well constructed a piano album as I've heard in a long time. I've also enjoyed the innovative nature of Laura Jurd and the album "Human Spirit" which pushes the boundaries beyond straight ahead trumpet playing. Finally whilst talking about CD's I'm really quite excited by some of the re-releases by Dream Covers Records who finally delivered me a copy of "Midnight Sun" by Lou Donaldson some 55 years after it was recorded. It also has a bonus album "Blues Walk", but the playing on Midnight Sun is amazing!

Looking forward:

I'm looking forward to listening to the new Julia Hullsman album, which features Kurt Weill songs. (It arrived today and I'm listening to it as I type!) and also to welcoming Meet Your Feet" a Bristol based 9 piece female band who will be playing in a Phonic.FM benefit gig on Saturday 11th April and spreading some sunshine. You can go to the Exeter Phoenix website for further details at  For the moment however it's anticipation of the Bristl Blues and Jazz Festival this weekend.