Norwich Jazz Festival preview

DAVID WAKEFIELD Jazz in Norfolk is in good shape and the Norwich Jazz Festival programme is living proof of that.


Jazz in Norfolk is in good shape and the Norwich Jazz Festival programme is living proof of that.

A great line-up, featuring the best of British-based artists and local talent, gets under way on Friday October 7 with the return of Tim Garland's Dean Street Underground Orchestra, plus the Lighthouse Trio, at Norwich Playhouse (8pm, tickets £14 with £12 concs) and finishes on October 29 with a performance by the incomparable Stacey Kent, also at the Playhouse, and her immaculate interpretation of the Great American Songbook.

The festival really does include something for all tastes, from traditional to big band music, a tribute to John Coltrane, a 50th anniversary appearance by Norwich blues legend Albert Cooper and what promises to be poignant evening remembering the late Dr John Leslie, the Norwich jazz pianist who died earlier this year.

Lovers of the saxophone will find it difficult to choose which events to attend. British star Denys Baptiste returns to Norwich Arts Centre (October 14, 8pm, £12, £10) with his Coltrane tribute. Baptiste has won both Mercury and Mobo awards which shows the depth of his appeal.

Matt Wates is a fine interpreter of the be-bop style on alto sax and takes his sextet to the Green Man, Rackheath (October 11, 8.30pm, free gig).

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Fiery tenor man Colin Watling, from Hertfordshire, is a regular visitor to Norfolk and his alliance with Russell Williams' Hammond Organ Trio is a particularly satisfying one (Dereham Jazz Society, Aldiss Park, 8.30pm, £7).

Another highlight is sure to be the appearance of top Brit trombonist Dennis Rollins with the North Stars Steel Orchestra, a 16-piece ensemble which melds Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean sounds. Rollins has worked with bands as diverse as Jamiroquai and Courtney Pine and is a really exciting talent (Playhouse, October 15, 7.30pm, £12, £10).

Albert Cooper, now in his 70s, appears at the Arts Centre on October 27 with his pianist son Chris, plus Dave Pullin (bass) and Neil Kane (drums) and the performance will include instrumental and vocal classics in the inimitable Cooper style!

t The festival runs from October 7 to October 29. Full programme at

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