The headline artists of the 2020 Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Festival have been announced.
‘Freedom’ tickets confirm you a reserved seat at all of the concerts at the Festival. This year, none of our ticketed shows clash, meaning you can watch ALL the headline artists by purchasing a Freedom ticket. This guarantees you a considerable discount compared with buying the tickets individually.
A great spread of musicians across the jazz, blues and world music spectrum promise to make the 11th annual festival a spectacular experience for live music enthusiasts.
The Festival takes place between Thursday, April 30 and Sunday, May 3rd, 2020, mainly in Clitheroe but with fringe events spreading into the nearby villages of the Ribble Valley.
Headline venues are The Grand and Holmes Mill with fringe events scattered among the Church halls and pubs. There is also a free-to-attend community street festival on the Saturday (May 2nd).
British pianist Gwilym Simcock – a highly esteemed player of international repute – visits the Festival for the first time. The Welsh musician, who won a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize for his debut solo piano album ‘Good Days At Schloss Elmau’ in 2011, has gone on to enjoy an illustrious career. His ability to blend jazz, contemporary and classical piano playing, helps him achieve a depth to his compositions reached by few others. His 2019 album ‘Near and Now’ has been lauded with brilliant reviews. He will perform at Clitheroe’s The Grand Venue on Friday, May 1st, leading a trio of rare quality – with virtuoso guitarist Mike Walker and Dutch chromatic harmonica player Hermine Duerloo.
The opening night of the festival will attract an audience to Holmes Mill, Clitheroe, where blues singer Kyla Brox will perform with a full band. Brox has just finished 1st place at the ‘European Blues Challenge’ after representing the UK Blues Federation at this prestigious international competition. This concert will be a rare chance to see the Manchester based singer perform in such an intimate venue.
The international pedigree of the festival continues throughout the weekend. Alina Bzhezhinska is a Ukrainian-born harp player who featured at the recent London Jazz Festival with her new project ‘Hip Harp’ - this quartet plays music inspired by the genius of artists such as Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane, while incorporating electronica and trip-hop. She will appear on the Saturday afternoon at The Grand.
She will be followed later that evening by the sensational trombone player Dennis Rollins – who headlines Saturday night with his new project – Funky-Funk. Rollins is one of the UK’s best known jazz stars and is especially well regarded for his work as an educator, whether it be tutoring small jazz ensembles or big massed bands of young musicians. “It’s always my pleasure to pass on my musical knowledge to the next generation,” he says.
This show will be dancefloor friendly, ideally suited to The Grand’s Saturday night.
Sunday afternoon will feature Rafiki Jazz – an ensemble of musicians who bring a range of world flavours to the stage. Led by bass-playing band leader Tony Koni, the band’s recent album “Har Dam Sahara” has been described by Songlines Magazine as “The Best of British – how to do ‘East meets West’ with subtlety and flair….an acoustic album full of space and light.”
Featuring devotional songs from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Rafiki’s range of instrumentation and juxtaposition of vocal harmonies guarantees the listener and audience an enriching and inspiring experience,
“The Festival programme will explore gateways into jazz music and as a result we feel we have pulled together a diverse programme to take our audiences on a musical journey throughout the weekend,” says Festival co-organiser Sue Bradley.
The musician-in-residence for the 2020 Festival is Issie Barratt, a baritone saxophonist who is also an internationally active composer, arranger, conductor and music educator. Issie has been at the forefront of womens’ jazz movement in the UK, masterminding a host of education projects and leading an exciting dectet of the leading women jazz players of the UK, Interchange, who will be closing the festival with a live performance on the Sunday night. Issie will also be running a specially commissioned workshop for women jazz players in February at The Grand which will lead to a live performance ahead of the Interchange performance on Sunday, May 3rd. More information will soon be available on how to get get involved.
*A limited amount of ‘Freedom’ tickets – costing £75 for adults and £60 for Ribble Vallery Jazz Club Members – are now on sale via The Grand website, www.thegrandvenue.co.uk. Tickets for individual shows will go on sale next week.