Jazz North Presents: Alt Shift J Festival

Saturday 20 October 2018

  • Doors: 20/10/2018 10:00AM

Follow Jazz North Presents: Alt Shift J Festival

Jazz North presents Alt Shift J - a new age Jazz festival being staged across two venues in the heart of Clitheroe.

Jazz North's innovative project takes place across four northern centres this autumn: Clitheroe, Stockton-on-Tees, Penrith and Cleethorpes.  Its distinct goal is to work with young creatives and ignite young audiences to the wide realm of improvised music.

The Clitheroe edition takes place on Saturday, October 20th at the venues of The Grand, York Street, and The Old Assembly Rooms (SM-SJ), Lowergate.  The programme has been devised and curated by young people working with The Grand, Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club and Lancashire Music Service.

Alt Shift J makes little or no judgment call on stylistic definitions.  The festival will showcase the work of specially commissioned music projects and feature some groundbreaking talent from the wider world of jazz.

The longer term aim of the project is to establish some new players in the regional jazz music scene – musicians, promoters, scene-builders and audience members – all coming together to reinterpret and celebrate jazz and improvised music in all its forms.  We hope to see the spirit of Alt Shift J permeate throughout future Lancashire jazz events and festivals – the legacy of which will be increased participation and audience growth among young people.

Clitheroe’s stamp on Alt-Shift J comes in the form of an all-day music programme that encourages audiences to celebrate and engage with jazz performance, from morning sessions with Arun Ghosh’s Jazz Club for kids, educational music projects and stand-out performances from inspirational contemporary UK-based live music acts. 

Local events collective Gypsy Carrot Productions present their nu soul extravaganza 'Just Groove' as the official after party to the Alt Shift J festival. Transforming the Old Assembly Hall, Clitheroe into a groovalicious soul food joint with elaborate decor and lighting to create a feast for the senses! Dancing shoes at the ready, prepare for a three course selection of nothing but the best in rich world grooves.  Entrance to this event is included in the Festival ticket.

NUBIYAN TWIST (9pm-10.30pm)

Headlining the inaugural Alt-Shift-J event are the incredible 10-piece musical collective Nubiyan Twist.  This Leeds born, London based outfit, orchestrated by guitarist/producer Tom Excell, create a widescreen, infectious sound in an eclectic mix of styles, drawing on jazz, hip-hop, afrobeat, latin, soul, reggae and dance music.

An awesome live show features a four-piece horn section, vocalists, electronics and an international (Brazil/UK) rhythm section, Nubiyan Twist create a powerful and unforgettable experience.

This concert is part of a UK tour promoting the ensemble's brand new album 'Jungle Run', which is released on Strut Records in November.

The band have performed on huge stages across the world, being chosen by David Byrne to perform at Queen Elizabeth Hall for the South Bank’s Meltdown festival, selling out London’s iconic Jazz Cafe, and rocking festival stages from Fusion to Wilderness, Boomtown to Edinburgh Jazz Festival, with their powerful sound and unique blend of styles.

ARUN GHOSH QUINTET (7.45pm-8.45pm)

Arun Ghosh is a cherished guest performer in these parts having been the 'Artist-in-residence' at the 2015 Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.  A highly skilled clarinet and flautist, charismatic performer and music educator, Arun's musical vocabulary draws heavily on his Britsh-Asian heritage.  His 2017 album, 'But Where Are You Really From? mixes south Asian rhythms, rock riffs, a vast array of instruments, even an arrangement reminiscent of a colliery brass band, to create a hybrid that is clearly jazz. 

ROLLER TRIO (3-3.45pm)

We are very excited to welcome Mercury Prize nominees Roller Trio to perform at Alt-Shift-J and have one its members, Chris Sharkey, work with young musicians of the area to perform a specially rehearsed Festival recital.

Based in Leeds, Roller Trio have a modern and gritty sound, pushing sonic boundaries to their limits. Switching the feel of a tune in a heartbeat from edgy improv to anthemic power riffs to reverb-swamped note storms, Roller Trio are powerful and progressive.  Their most recent album, New Devices, features contemporary guitar improviser Chris Sharkey,  alongside James Mainwaring, saxophone and electronics and Luke Reddin-Williams, drums. Their mix of high octane technicality and deceptively catchy tunes has transcended their Jazz heritage, bringing them acclaim from fans and critics alike. Their eponymous debut album was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Prize and the band were also nominated for MOBO's Best Jazz Act that same year. 


Chris Sharkey will also be hosting improvisation workshop sessions at The Grand in the run-up to Alt-Shift-J, creating a platform for young people to be part of a performing ensemble on the Festival weekend. This project will come to fruition with a live performance on the day itself. 


Jazz is, at its heart, a collaborative and innovative music and over the course of two intensive sessions you will listen, play, experiment and have fun making music that represents the personalities within the group while touching on concepts and techniques present throughout the rich history of jazz music. 

An open invite to young musicians (Between the ages of 11 and 21) and performers to be a part of Alt-Shift-J by joining the 'Shiftin' Jazz' ensemble, can be accessed here: 


Musicians will be expected to attend rehearsal sessions at The Grand on Sunday, September 23rd (11-4pm) and Saturday, October 13th (1.30pm-5.30pm).

Chris says: "I'm interested in challenging expectations of what music education can and should be. We are constantly being told that our young people need to be 'creative' and 'innovative' but music education, a field that should be an example to other disciplines, is often lacking in these two vital areas. My ideas towards education projects, whether that is a workshop or a long-term project, focus on a practical, inclusive, experimental and collaborative approach. Putting an emphasis on 'making something' versus subjective ideas about what may be correct or incorrect practice leads to musicians and participants to rediscover a sense of fun in music while at the same time engaging in progressive concepts of music-making. Having spent the last 10 years developing these skills, my current focus is on expanding participation in my projects to include people with no previous experience in performing. I want to show that inclusivity and high musical quality are not mutually exclusive and that creativity requires no superpowers. The only pre-requisites are an open mind and the courage to join in."

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