Inspired by the success of the Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival (the 8th edition is scheduled for 22-26 August – see below), its organisers have branched out into jazz presentations in Kent and East Sussex at other times of the year.
This spring they present six leading performers from the worlds of jazz and jazz-related music – Sergio Mendes, Madeleine Peyroux, Jimmy Webb, Courtney Pine, Miloš Karadaglić and Mica Paris – using their customary home of St Mary’s Church in Rye and a new venue for Rye Jazz, Hever Castle near Edenbridge in Kent, just 30 miles south-east of London.
The varied lineup demonstrates the eclectic but jazz-friendly range of the concert series. Sergio Mendes is the bossa-nova specialist famed for the 1966 cover of Mas Que Nada that launched his international career. Madeleine Peyroux made her name by mixing vintage jazz, folk and country flavours and has been compared with Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday. Jimmy Webb may not be much associated directly with jazz, but his ingenious song structures (in, for example, Wichita Lineman and MacArthur Park), should resonate strongly with the jazz-inclined.
Courtney Pine has been at the forefront of British jazz and crossover since he was a leading light in the 1980s in the first of many British jazz revivals of the modern period. Miloš Karadaglić is a less familiar name on the jazz scene, a classical guitarist whose repertoire has nevertheless drawn heavily on Latin American music, a key influence on jazz. Mica Paris, well known in the British soul and gospel world, turns her hand to personal interpretations of Ella Fitzgerald, of whom she has said “Ella wasn’t really a face. But my God what a voice”.
The full lineup of Rye Jazz spring concerts is as follows:
Friday 3rd May – Sergio Mendes, St Mary’s Church, Rye, East Sussex, 8.00pm
Saturday 4th May – Madeleine Peyroux, St Mary’s Church, Rye, East Sussex, 8.00pm
Sunday 5th May – An Evening With Jimmy Webb & Guests, St Mary’s Church, Rye, East Sussex, 7.30pm
Saturday 25th May – Courtney Pine, Hever Castle, Kent, 8.00pm
Sunday 26 May – Miloš Karadaglić, Hever Castle, Kent, 8.00pm
Monday 27 May – Mica Paris Sings Ella Fitzgerald, Hever Castle, Kent, 8.00pm
In addition, Rye Jazz presents Nigel Kennedy Plays Gershwin at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Saturday 25th May.
For more details and booking click the individual links above or go to ryejazz.com.
Among those already announced for the 2019 Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival over the August bank holiday are Beverley Knight, Jon Cleary, Lucky Peterson, Kansas Smitty’s House Band and Richard Thompson. Jazz Journal is media partner for the festival.