Preview: Llandudno Jazz Festival

The festival returns to Bodafon Farm, with a wide-ranging programme featuring American sax man Greg Abate and Alan Barnes's Grimsby fish tale

Llandudno Jazz Festival takes place over the weekend of 28-30 July and once more brings an extensive array of jazz musicians to the north Wales coast. For 2017 the festival takes its first steps towards becoming an international festival with an appearance from Greg Abate (pictured right), brings back old favourites from previous years and promises "Britain's best-kept vocal secret" as well as "a great comedy double-act".

The "comedy double-act" in question is the pairing of saxophonist Alan Barnes and trumpeter Bruce Adams, who will appear with their quintet on the opening night (the festival website reminds us that the pair are "also pretty good at jazz"). The vocal secret is Winston Clifford, well-known as a drummer but appearing at Llandudno singing with the trio of David Newton (piano), Simon Thorpe (bass) and Clark Tracey (drums). Returning favourites include Barnes and Adams, Jim Mullen, Art Themen and Tony Kofi. The list of festival newcomers features Nigel Hitchcock, Allison Neale, John Horler and many more.

Greg Abate - whose discography includes albums with Phil Woods, Gary Smulyan and Alan Barnes as well as numerous releases as leader - will appear on Friday evening with an as yet unnamed rhythm section. The festival opens on Friday lunchtime with a set from the Mark Nightingale Quartet (Nightingale is the subject of the My Instruments column in March's Jazz Journal) and closes on Sunday night with Thelonious Monk: A Centenary Celebration performed by a 10-piece band led by Clark Tracey and Arnie Somogyi and featuring Tony Kofi, Art Themen and pianist Bruce Boardman.

The programme is as follows (final performance times and some line-ups are to be confirmed):

Friday 28:

Mark Nightingale Quartet
Sara Oschlag
Horler Brothers
Greg Abate
Barnes/Adams Quintet

Saturday 29:

Allison Neale - The Paul Desmond/Art Pepper Legacy
Winston Clifford Sings!
Jazz Worriers - Dizzy's 100!
Nigel Hitchcock and Guests
Alan Barnes Octet - A Grimsby Fish Tale

Sunday 30:

David Newton Trio
Jim Mullen and Zoe Francis
Gary Crosby's Nu Troop - 20 Years On Reunion
Dick Pearce Quartet
Thelonius Monk: A Centenary Celebration (pictured left)

For further information and to buy tickets go to the Llandudno Jazz Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay

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