Preview: Preston Jazz and Improv

The inaugural Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival will take place this June, with a headline performance from Courtney Pine and Omar

Courtney Pine will headline the first Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival, a new gathering of live music events running between 6 and 10 June at various venues across the city.

Pine will close the festival with a performance on Sunday 10 June, forming a link with Preston Caribbean Carnival, which will be taking place on that day. Pine will showcase material from his latest album Black Notes From The Deep and will feature UK soul vocalist Omar (pictured right, with Pine), best known for his hit single There’s Nothing Like This and for his collaborations with artists like Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu.

Other highlights during the week include alto sax player Camilla George, whose music embraces elements of Afrobeat, calypso, hip-hop and blues. George’s show will feature numbers from her album Isang and introduce brand new material from her album in the making. Additional performers include guitarist Aziz Ibrahim - who has played with Simply Red, the Stone Roses and Paul Weller - and Graham Massey, founder of Techno pioneers 808 State. Shades Of Django and guitarist Michael Joseph Harris will celebrate the music of Django Reinhardt and there will be the first screening outside London of director Etienne Comar’s biopic, Django.

From the festival’s conference on The Future Of Live Music to city centre buskers and outdoor live performances, the programme will bring local artists, student performers and headline acts together. Featuring jazz, funk, blues, soul and hip-hop artists, the event is the brainchild of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), now celebrating its 190th anniversary, in partnership with Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Festival, and supported by Arts Council England.

Professor Mike Thomas, vice-chancellor of UCLan, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring this exciting and diverse programme of events to Preston. The festival will take place at locations right across the city, with a number of free-to-attend events, helping to cement the already strong links the University has with Preston communities, and our civic mission. We are equally delighted to welcome a true icon of the British jazz scene, Courtney Pine, as our festival headliner – who together with the rest of the line-up, is sure to bring a fantastic show …”

For more information about the programme, and to book tickets, please go to the Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay

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