Gateshead Jazz line-up announced (20-22 Mar 2020, booking opens 27 Nov)

Peter Bacon reports: Should you be suffering from jazz festival withdrawal, help is at hand… from Wednesday you can book for next March’s Gateshead Jazz weekend at Sage Gateshead. The press release leads on the obvious headliners while there is likely to be more interest for LondonJazz News readers further down, viz. Bugge Wesseltoft, Nikki Iles, Jasper Höiby, Vula Viel, Nikki Yeoh, Zoe Rahman, Binker Golding, Yazz Ahmed, etc. Here is that release in full: Sage Gateshead has today announced the artists joining Gateshead Jazz headliner Jamie Cullum at next year’s festival. Hard-hitting electronic trio GoGo Penguin, Mercury-nominated SEED Ensemble, dancefloor fillers Ibibio Sound Machine and House Gospel Choir, rising star Judi Jackson and many more will all be performing at Gateshead Jazz on Friday 20 March to Sunday 22 March 2020.

Cassie Kinoshi of SEED Ensemble. Publicity photo

Upholding the venue’s long-standing commitment to Jazz, the festival (which is the UK’s biggest jazz festival under one roof) shifts into a new era with a fresh name; ‘Gateshead Jazz’. Its focus is on attracting new audiences with cutting-edge artists joining established names, reflecting the current fervor for the genre and platforming talent from across the North. Tamsin Austin, Director of Performance Programme at Sage Gateshead, said: “In a whirlwind new era for Jazz where it is busting genres, crossing boundaries and being consumed by a new generation of listeners and gig-goers, Gateshead Jazz 2020 will offer a route into one of the UK’s most exciting live music scenes in one of the region’s most wonderful venues. “It is a perfect moment to discover jazz – the current sound is an exciting melting pot, drawing on multi-cultural roots, dance music, Afro-beat, R&B, neo-soul and electronic music. Radio play on 6 Music is helping re-define the genre and for the first time the festival brings a special £5 offer for all concerts for anyone aged 16 to 25.” Headliner Jamie Cullum will open the festival on the Friday night in the main concert hall, Sage One, on the back of his recently released ‘Taller’ album, while Mercury Award 2019 nominees SEED Ensemble will perform a club show in the beautifully designed 10-sided hall, Sage Two. The 10-piece band led by alto saxophonist and composer Cassie Kinoshi combines jazz with inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influenced grooves, exploring a blend of genres through original compositions and improvisation. Their debut release Driftglass, (on the innovative Jazz Re:freshed label) features the track Afronaut (feat. XANA), which won the Ivors Academy Award 2018 for Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble. Following SEED Ensemble in Sage Two will be a late-night club show for Manchester’s ground-breaking electronic trio GoGo Penguin who draw on rock, jazz, minimalism and glitchy-electronica to create their unique music. The 2014 Mercury Prize winners released their EP, Ocean in a Drop (Music for Film) in October 2019 and are currently recording a new album for release in 2020. Also on Friday, Sage Gateshead Artist in Residence Paul Edis’ Triptych trio will collaborate live with visual artist Lisa Delarny. There will be free performances by all-female ensemble Break Out Brass performing disco hits in their unique New Orleans style, plus late night jams and party DJ sets on the concourse overlooking the river as audiences gather for the rest of the weekend. Headlining the Saturday night are Ibibio Sound Machine plus House Gospel Choir in Sage One. Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired by West-African funk and disco, modern post-punk and electro. House Gospel Choir (the smash hit of Sage Gateshead’s NYE party 2018) is an electrifying House meets Gospel experience that brings together a group of outstanding singers, a full house band and DJ, creating an effortless live fusion of the biggest house and gospel tunes. Meanwhile, Sage Two will see performances from New York trumpeter Theo Croker (nominated for his most recent Grammy last week), Norwegian pianist and composer Bugge Wesseltoft collaborating with UK bassist Shri and rising star vocalist, and Snarky Puppy collaborator Judi Jackson who recently starred in Ronnie Scott’s 60th Anniversary Gala at the Royal Albert Hall. Over in Sage Gateshead’s intimate space, Northern Rock Foundation Hall, there are a trio of performances responding to climate change: Dutch live jazz, electronic and digital innovators Tin Men and the Telephone, musician and activist Sarah Nicolls with her ‘Inside Out’ piano performing ‘12 years’ (a powerful response to the IPCC 2018 report on climate change), and Danish bassist, climate activist and founder member of Phronesis, Jasper Hoiby, presenting his new trio Planet B. More free performances, late night jams and DJ sets run until the early hours. Sunday kicks off with Nikki Iles Big Band Brunch. The award-winning pianist and composer, Nikki Iles, will perform with her 20-piece jazz orchestra whilst brunch will be served in Sage Two. Later, ground-breaking contemporary jazz pianists Nikki Yeoh and Zoe Rahman join forces on two grand pianos before British-Bahraini trumpeter and band leader Yazz Ahmed presents ‘Polyhymnia’; a 14-piece project, playing cinematic, psychedelic Arabic Jazz. Womad stars Vula Viel will thrill with their exciting heavy jazz/electronic fusion based around the wooden Gyil xylophone. Closing the festival after another full day of free and ticketed performances will be Binker Golding, a critically acclaimed tenor sax player at the forefront of the UK jazz explosion performing with his quartet on the back of his new record. There is a free stage all weekend showcasing the cream of the North’s jazz scene including free improv/rock trio Archipelago, synth-jazz quartet Beyond Albedo, rising star jazz singer Nishla Smith, voice/double bass duo Zoe Gilby & Andy Champion and many more. There will be concerts specifically aimed at families, as well as a unique opportunity for non-musicians and musicians to perform as part of Chris Sharkey’s ‘Get In the Band’ pop-up event. On top of this, talks and workshops will complement the programme (more information on this to come). The festival goes on general sale on Wednesday 27th November at 10am from and Box Office at 12 noon, telephone 0191 443 4661.

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