NEWS : Jazz programme announced for City of London Festival – Interview with Paul Gudgin

30 St Mary Axe – The Gherkin.
Jazz with a view. Kit Downes Trio, 29th June. 

Sebastian interviewed the new Director of the City of London Festival, Paul Gudgin. The programme for his first Festival (22 June to 17 July) has just been announced. Priority booking opens today 8th April. Public booking on 15th April.

Sebastian Scotney: I’ve heard jazz is important to you.. .that you are a musician ?

Paul Gudgin: Yes I have a huge love of jazz, I studied and play trombone and, although I dont get to play as much as I would like, I still run my own big band.

SS: What were your thoughts putting together the jazz programme for your inaugural festival as director?

PG: It was about trying to find some ideas and projects that would have particular resonance or relevance to the City of London.

SS You have a series of gigs entitled ‘Jazz with a View’?

PG: The thrill of watching jazz at Dizzy’s Jazz Club in New York, where the performers play in front of a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline was the catalyst, but I think the skyline of the City is equally inspiring and I hope our events will provide a similarly inspiring experience.

Unilever House and Blackfriars Bridge

SS What buildings and what’s special about them

PG: Three great buildings we are using. 30 St. Mary Axe/ The Gherkin is one of the Citys iconic contemporary buildings with fantastic 360 degree views round the City. Unilever House has a great view straight down the Thames towards Tower Bridge. These two venues are also not normally accessible to the public which makes them unique occasions. The top of One New Change has one of the best views of St Pauls and its exceptional Dome.

SS : And you’ve programmed Clare Teal, Kit Downes and Roberto Pla in those settings. What drove those choices ?

PG: A little bit of indulgence (things I like!) but also about trying to match the artist to what might be most appropriate to the space. Kit’s Trio will be wonderful at the top of the Gherkin, One New Change is outdoors so Roberto’s energetic latin band should be perfect for a summer evening and Clare’s classy vocals will sound great in Unilever House.

SS And you’ve programmed some Ellington?

PG: I was really inspired by this gem of a masonic temple hidden away inside the Andaz Hotel and remembered that I had read about a number of Jazz musicians who were Freemasons Basie, Louis Armstrong and Ellington. Obviously the Freemasons were quite an exclusive and establishment organisation and this seemed a bit at odds with my impression of Ellington in particular.

Masonic Temple

SS And it’s an amazing room, in a hotel, just by Liverpool Steet?

PG: It is a stunning and intimate Masonic Temple, all marble and gilt, at the heart of the Andaz Hotel. What makes it more interesting is that it was walled off and forgotten for many years until being uncovered as the hotel was being refurbished. It really is a unique space to hear jazz. One I am particularly looking forward to.

Sebastian Scotney: And what’s this Gin connection?

Paul Gudgin: Well this is a series intended for the hardy commuter. Taking place in a smart bar just outside Liverpool Street Station, it started as a conversation about holding jazz at the end of a long hard day (Gin O’Clock) and the title just struck a chord.

Sebastian Scotney: Thanks for this. Here’s the list of what we’ve been talking about:


Clare Teal  – Thursday 26 June 2014 7.30pm – Unilever House

Kit Downes Trio – Sunday 29 June 7.30pmThe Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe

Ellington at the Temple –  Friday4th July -Tommy Smith (saxophone) Brian Kellock (piano)   
First House     7.00pm Masonic Temple
Second House 9.30pm Masonic Temple

Roberto Pla Tuesday 8 July 2014 7.30pm – One New Change

Julian Joseph Friday 11 July 2014 7.00pm – Masonic Temple

Gin O’Clock Jazz Series (admission free)
Wednesday 25 June, Wednesday 2 July, Wednesday 9 July 6.00pm – 8.30pm
Eastway Restaurant, Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel

Categories: miscellaneous

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