|Adam Glasser (third from left) with his South African Jazz Sextet
Festivals rise and festivals fall but Brecon just keeps on going. Peter Bacon previews the programme for the 35th in its unbroken run.
Yes, it’s had its ups and downs, every bit as dramatic as the Beacons which rise above it, but the Brecon Jazz Festival has learned some tough survival skills as a result. This year’s festival (10-12 August) puts the accent on jazz from many countries as well as that celebratory and indefinable “Spirit of the Festival”.
Among the players performing are Adam Glasser, Byron Wallen, Josephine Davies, Rob Luft, Corrie Dick, Jim Hart, Elaine Delmar and Ian Shaw.
John Anderson, from the festival’s coordinating group, the Brecon Jazz Music Trust, told me:
“As we all know jazz, outside the bigger cities, often struggles to attract the audiences it deserves. For example Fleece Jazz on the rural Suffolk/Essex borders recently sent out an impassioned appeal for more bums on seats as after 25 years they are finding it especially tough.
“Jazz festivals, too, need superhuman efforts to keep going. Ask Nigel Price about his ‘adventures’ keeping Swanage afloat. It is particularly galling, in this context, to continually hear of the demise of Brecon Jazz Festival. Galling, unhelpful and just plain wrong. Underfunded and less sprawling than at some times in its long history, but, as so frequently is the case, rumours of its death are exaggerated. Perhaps a little exposure from LJN can reverse this error.”
John continued: “A small band of volunteers, based around the monthly Brecon Jazz Club, has worked diligently to produce an excellent line-up for the 35th Brecon Jazz Festival which runs as usual in early August …“Friday (10 August) evening begins with a fundraising concert for Side by Side: Humanitarian Aid to Refugees by the amazingly talented and endlessly entertaining Ian Shaw, and is followed by a specially-commissioned Festival Big Band, 16-piece no less!
“Highlight of the weekend will no doubt be the tribute to Hugh Masekela directed by Adam Glasser and featuring Byron Wallen, Josephine Davies and Rob Luft and Corrie Dick. Saturday (11 August) also boasts Manchester Jazz Collection, Tom Smith Septet and Sounds of Cuba led by Maite Hontele, backed by the Eliane Correa Afro-Cuban Sextet.
“Sunday is not too shabby either! Josephine Davies’ Trio Satori, the Elaine Delmar Quintet and concluding with Jim Hart’s Cloudmakers.”
Tickets are now on sale – there is an all-encompassing All Weekend Pass, and also discounts for booking multiple events.