In its first year in 2017, the Durham City Jazz Festival, DJAZZ (the D is silent as in Django), achieved 30% female representation in the bands it programmed; for 2018 (1-3 June) it will be 50%, and at least a third of the players will be under 25 years old.
Artists appearing at the festival which takes in various venues around Durham include: Soweto Kinch Trio, Paul Edis, Early Nite, J Frisco, Skeltr, Jambone (Sage Gateshead youth jazz ensemble), Sloth Racket and the Riviera Quartet.
The DJAZZ press release states its aim is “to celebrates the genre in all of its forms”.
It continues: “After attracting more than 2000 people in its first year with a mix of ticketed and free events the festival returns to excite, intrigue and entertain in equal measure. “The festival brings a fresh perspective to the world of jazz, celebrating it’s vast and varied nature. The focus is to bring together a number of different musical styles, groups, networks and audiences in the small but perfectly formed city of Durham.
“At only £10 for a full weekend ticket festival-goers gain access to over 30 events ranging from intimate sets in hidden locations to big names in big venues! Think cafes, bookshops and barber shops to bars, venues and stunning historic buildings. This not only has the effect of pairing up acts with a unique environment but is part of the festival’s ambition to reach new audiences and get music lovers to try something new!
“So one minute you’re watching multi-award winning alto-saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch in the historic Durham Miners Hall, Redhills – and the next you’re in the 25 capacity Barber of Neville for an intimate set by an improv duo.”
Organiser Carlo Viglianisi said: “Jazz can be quite a loaded phrase but the truth is, jazz as a genre can be traced through almost every form of music since the 1920s. At our festival you’ll hear everything from new orleans street bands and gyspy jazz through to hip-hop and electro. You’ll definitely catch the best examples of Jazz as you think you know it, and jazz as you don’t know it.”
He added: “It’s impossible to ignore the gender imbalance within jazz and we work really hard to tackle that head on… you can see that this isn’t a jazz festival in it’s typical form.”
Given those gender and age figures, it certainly isn’t.
LINK: The full DJAZZ programme is here