PREVIEW FEATURE: Bournemouth Jazz Festival (April 22nd-24th)

Local headliners:  Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion.
This year’s second Bournemouth Jazz Festival will take place from April 22-24. Sebastian spoke to the director and the driving force behind the festival, Gerry Clarke.

The Bournemouth Jazz Festival, says Gerry Clarke is “a jazz weekend by the sea” The festival has as its objective to present talent from the local jazz scene alongside national names.

“We’re particularly excited to be presenting an eclectic mix of the finest jazz, both young and old and from around the world. Jacqui Dankworth and Yazz Ahmed are popular with the younger generation whilst jazz maestros like Jean Toussaint and Andy Sheppard with the Ginger Baker Jazz Experience will appeal to the older enthusiasts. Our World Jazz Jamboree event will showcase jazz talent from around the world, with international names like Indian clarinettist Arun Ghosh topping the bill”

Arun Ghosh. Photo credit: William Ellis

The festival will have a combination of ticketed events – all indoors –  and free events. There is a very strong sense of the festival as a showcase for the best of the local scene. There will be free event on the main town square Bournemouth, with a purpose-built jazz free-stage, outlets for food and drink. There are also concerts by local youth bands and educational events. “We want to make the festival available all over the town, in the main square, the sea front and the shopping arcades.”

The first festival was held last year in June, “very much a prototype,” says Clarke, and the move to earlier in the year has enabled the festival to fit in better with the other summer offerings the town presents, and – for the first time – to use Bournemouth Pavilion (picture below). “It’s art deco, from the 1930s” says Clarke “and it’s a great place to host some of the jazz events.”

Bournemouth Pavilion

It has a capacity of 450. “It used to be the finest and the largest tea room in the world.” Other venues include the Royal Bath Hotel and the Norfolk Hotel where the World Jazz Jamboree is being held. “We have invited people with European, African and Asian heritage to join us.”

Gerry Clarke has had an interesting and varied career, which has seen him moving from work as an agronomist with NGOs, to a role as a film-maker involved in the production of documentaries. He lived for a number of years in the South of France before returning to the UK and settling in the Bournemouth area some eight years ago.

What led him to want to put on a jazz festival in Bournemouth? His years in the French Riviera and visits to festival such as Nice and Jazz a Juan left him with a strong sense of the vibe and the legacy which a good jazz festival can create in a community, so he was determined to give it a try. “My experience of the South of France taught me how popular it was as a destination for jazz fans. I wanted to do something similar on the English Riviera. And I knew that with the local musicians we have here, they would make the festival special.”



Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – Canvas – 8:00 pm

Swing Unlimited Big Band – Royal Bath Hotel – 8:00 pm


Jean Toussaint and the Herbs and Roots Young Lions – Royal Bath Hotel – 12:30 pm

The Veronique Joly Trio – Norfolk Royale Hotel – 12:30 pm

Tina May with Not Just Sax – Royal Bath Hotel – 2:30 pm

Yazz Ahmed and The Ahmed Family Hafla Band – Royal Bath Hotel – 4:30 pm

Andy Urquhart and The Sound of Bluenote – Royal Bath Hotel – 7:00 pm

The Arun Ghosh Sextet – Norfolk Royale Hotel – 7:00 pm

The Girl’s Only Jazz Orchestra with Tina May – The Print Room – 8:00 pm

Revolution Club – Canvas – 8:30 pm

Musique A Trois – Norfolk Royale Hotel – 9:00 pm

The Ginger Baker Experience with Gene Calderazzo and Andy Sheppard – Royal Bath Hotel – 9:30 pm


The Ian Ellis Quartet – Royal Bath Hotel – 12:30 pm

Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood – Royal Bath Hotel – 2:30 pm

Theo Travis’s Double Talk – Royal Bath Hotel – 4:45 pm

Schools Jazz Awards Ceremony – The Pavilion Ballroom – 7:00 pm

The complete free-stage prgramme will be announced on March 31st

WEBSITE: Bournemouth Jazz Festival

Categories: miscellaneous

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