Preview: Llandudno 2018

The 2018 Llandudno Jazz Festival has announced its main acts, presented by compère Alan Barnes and including returning favourites such as Sara Oschlag and Jim Mullen

The 2018 Llandudno Jazz Festival, the fourth edition, takes place at Bodafon Farm Park, 27-29 July, hosted by Alan Barnes. Festival organisers have announced the main acts who will perform across the weekend.

Claire Martin is set to headline Saturday night’s programme, accompanied by Dave Newton, piano, Dave Green, double bass and Clark Tracey, drums with guest soloist Mark Nightingale on trombone. Saturday also brings the Iain Ballamy and Huw Warren duo, trumpeter Martin Shaw presenting a quartet set and another classic album revisited by a septet starring Tony Kofi, Alan Barnes and Rod Youngs - this time it’s Oliver Nelson’s 1961 recording Blues And The Abstract Truth.

Before that, Friday's opening-day programme features three top British acts. The Horler Brothers, John on piano and Dave on valve trombone, will present a set of music from the Clark Terry/Bob Brookmeyer repertoire, featuring Neil Yates on flugelhorn. Roger Beaujolais's Full House trio, with Jim Mullen on guitar, will recreate some Wes Montgomery classics and Alan Skidmore will return to Llandudno to celebrate 60 years in the business. The Friday programme closes with the 2017 festival’s surprise sensation, Danish vocalist Sara Oschlag (pictured right) who’ll be presenting Sara Sings Sara - a tip of the hat to the great Sarah Vaughan. Specially transcribed arrangements from the 1954 Sarah Vaughan With Clifford Brown album will feature reedsmen Alan Barnes and Dean Masser.

Sunday brings the Dave Newton trio, the Art Themen/Steve Melling duo, Hubbard's Covered (a Freddie Hubbard project featuring Denys Baptiste and Neil Yates), and The Spirit Of Trane from Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble. There will be plenty of other events on the LJF fringe, which promises to cater for all tastes from dixieland to blues and gypsy jazz.

Reviewing the 2015 festival for Jazz Journal, Brian Payne said: "This was a great first festival with performances from some of the best jazz musicians in the UK. Thanks must go to Neil Yates as artistic director and for shouldering much of the organisation. The poor weather may have blunted things a little but it didn’t affect the brilliance or enthusiasm of the artists. With the sun switched on next year this festival could be the start of something big".

His JJ colleague Brian Robinson said: "This venue was the new home to the earlier highly regarded Appleby and in more recent years Titley festivals. Held in Bodafon Fields, an area of rising grassland at the eastern end of Llandudno's elegant promenade it was a great success. Some 50 or so top-ranking musicians played in formats from trio to the Sunday night's final big band session. Organising an event like this is no easy task and Neil Yates and his team did a truly magnificent job.

"This should become an annual event and I expect plans for next year are already under way. Add a few extra days to explore the Snowdonia area and make sure you have a ride on the 115-year-old cable-operated tramway up the Great Orme and you've got a great holiday".

Programme details and ticket information and booking are at the Llandudno Jazz Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay

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