The Shrewsbury Jazz Network has supplied Shropshire and the West Midlands with concerts by the finest British jazz musicians for over 20 years, writes Charles Rees. The majority have taken place at a venue called The Hive, a wonderful arts centre located in the heart of Shrewsbury that has attracted performances from many greats in the past, including Bobby Wellins, Peter King and Tony Levin.
A small but highly dedicated and passionate team take it upon themselves to organise these monthly gigs, not for profit but for their sheer desire to bring artists of this calibre to the area. Few know this outside of their local, loyal but comparatively sizable regular crowd. It is certainly worth taking a moment to spotlight their exciting upcoming season…
- Guitarist Nigel Price (11 December) has made several well-received appearances at The Hive over the last decade and has more broadly established himself as one of Britain’s most accomplished guitarists, having released multiple albums and won dozens of awards. He will return to Shrewsbury this Saturday, alongside his organ quartet, to perform the music from his most recent album ‘Wes Reimagined’ (Ubuntu, 2021). The lineup includes Ross Stanley on B3 Hammond organ, Joel Barford on drums and Greek-born, London-based saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos. Advanced booking is essential in order to attend.
- Saxophonist Mark Lockheart is no stranger to The Hive, having most recently performed there for the Shrewsbury Jazz Network’s 20th anniversary. Fresh off the release of his upcoming album ‘Dreamers’, Lockheart will embark on a tour in February that will see him return to Shrewsbury on 19 February. He will be joined by Tom Herbert on bass and Dave Smith on drums, who both appear on ‘Dreamers’; as well as Dan Nicholls on keyboards. When I spoke with Mark about this concert, he told me; “The Hive is always a nice space to play in with a dedicated following. I’m really looking forward to playing there again.”
- Following on from his acclaimed ‘Gene Ammons Project’, Australian-born saxophonist Brandon Allen turns his attention to another one of his influences: the late, great Stanley Turrentine. When I spoke with Brandon about the ‘Stanley Turrentine Project’, he told me; “basically, I’m reimagining the music. It’s not a direct tribute, but it’s certainly a homage; not trying to play like Stanley Turrentine, but taking some of the tunes and being inspired by the vibe of it.” He will bring this music to The Hive on 12 March, joined by Will Barry on keyboards, Conor Chaplin on bass and Dave Ingamells on drums.
- On 15 January at The Hive, Estravan (Duncan Eagles, Chris Hyde-Harrison, Albarn Claret and Matt Parkinson) will perform music from their upcoming album Ignored Advice.
- On 9 April 2022 at The Hive, bassist Matt Ridley will perform music from his recent album The Antidote (ALBUM REVIEW).
Shrewsbury Jazz Network keep up an active presence on both Twitter and Facebook, where further dates after these will be announced. The Hive is at 5 Belmont, Shrewsbury, SY1 1TE
LINKS: The Hive’s website