Preview: Swansea Jazz Festival

Swansea International Jazz Festival has announced the headline acts for this year's event, including big bands led by Laurence Cottle and Pete Long

The Swansea International Jazz Festival - Wales's biggest annual jazz festival - returns for its fifth year this June. From 14 to 17 June it will present over 50 events at more than 15 venues in the city's Maritime Quarter. Artistic director Dave Cottle (pictured right with members of the Jazz Outlaws) has announced the festival's leading acts, with fringe acts and the workshop programme still being finalised.

The Dylan Thomas Theatre and the Dylan Thomas Centre will host the ticketed concerts: there will also be a diverse programme of workshops and a concert by the South Wales Schools Big Band at the National Waterfront Museum and free events around the Maritime Quarter. Cottle, who also programmes the weekly jazz at Swansea Jazzland, said “We are putting together a strong and diverse programme for 2018”.

The ticketed programme includes two big bands: Swansea-born bass guitarist Laurence Cottle with his All Star Big Band will present Soul Vaccination: Celebrating 50 Years Of Soul & Funk and Pete Long’s Big Band will recreate the music of the Benny Goodman Big Band at Carnegie Hall. The 12-piece Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses will revisit the music of Louis Prima. Daniel Marques and his trio from Rio de Janeiro will present Marques's compositions and Brazilian classics and New York trumpeter Jim Rotondi will perform with his Italian quartet. UK jazz vocalists Tina May and Lee Gibson will present Sophisticated Ladies, featuring the music of the great female jazz singers, with guest trumpeter Bruce Adams. Dutch jazz singer Judith Nijland and Czech guitarist Libor Šmoldas are joining forces in a new project called Songs of Wes (Montgomery) and the Toots Project will play the music of Toots Thielemans.

Saxophonist Derek Nash and vocalist Noel McCalla present Some Kinda Wonderful: The Music Of Stevie Wonder with their six-piece band, the James Taylor Quartet will also perform and veteran saxophonist, former James Brown band member and arranger Pee Wee Ellis will bring his Funk Assembly Band featuring Dennis Rollins (trombone, pictured left) and Lizzie Deane (vocals) to close the festival.

There will also be around 40 free performances and late-night jam sessions at venues around the marina and workshops at the National Waterfront Museum will include Pete Long with the South Wales Schools Big Band. The event is supported by Arts Council of Wales and the City and County of Swansea and for the fifth consecutive year the festival sponsor is Swansea-based Prescott Jones Insurance Solutions.

Festival patron Sir Karl Jenkins commented “2017 saw the fourth Swansea Jazz Festival, of which I am proud to be patron. The event was a huge success… We can make Swansea special and be proud of the unique Swansea Jazz Festival”.

For more information and to book tickets, please go to the Swansea International Jazz Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay

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