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NARC Festival Jazz Stage

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Has jazz ever been so international? We ask because, on the evidence of our concerts over the next few months, it’s hard to believe that there has ever been a more productive period for cross-fertilisation between musicians from different countries.

In fact the programme for the three months from mid-March to mid-June is actually sandwiched by two similar, yet very different, examples. UK pianist Dominic J Marshall, whose home-grown trio has previously played some exhilarating gigs in Newcastle, now comes to us with his Dutch group, delivering music that surges enigmatically between jazz, hip-hop, soul and much else. And then, in June, it’s the free improv face of the Dutch scene as Amsterdam greats Jasper Stadhouders, Wilbert de Joode and Onno Govaert team up with Oxford-born & Berlin-based reedsman Toby Delius.

If those are the bread of the sandwich, the filling is equally international - and tasty. Kodian Trio is a tremendous Anglo-Belgian combination that somehow manages to leaven their fierce intensity with a lightness of touch, while leading New York saxophonist Tony Malaby joins forces with a couple of French stars in guitarist Richard Bonnet and - a firm friend of Jazz North East - drummer Sylvain Darrifourcq. Then there’s a welcome return for Pericopes + 1, the combination of Italian pianist and saxophonist with US drummer who made a great impression when they appeared on the concourse at the 2016 Gateshead International Jazz Festival.

None of this means that we’re ignoring the UK scene, and in fact the Sage concourse will again act as a showcase for some outstanding local and national talent as the Jazz North East stage returns at this year’s Festival. Elsewhere theres more from the Tyneside scene as members of the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band break into sub-groups to demonstrate their small group chops, and other parts of Britain get a showing (and a hearing) with the uncategorisable Deep Cabaret crossing the Pennines from the North West, and hotly-tipped saxophonist Alex Hitchcock bringing his powerhouse quintet up from London.

Jazz North East has long boasted that “genre is secondary - quality is foremost”. You could add to that “nationality is meaningless - jazz breaks the boundaries”.


29th March @ the Globe
Dominic J Marshall’s Dutch Trio
Popular UK keyboards player makes a first appearance with his Amsterdam-based trio.

1st April @ the Bridge Hotel
Kodian Trio
Imaginative and witty Anglo-Belgian improv trio, with experimental guitarist Dirk Serries-

8th April @ Sage Gateshead
Jazz on the Concourse
Five great bands feature on the Jazz North East stage at this year’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival.

19th April @ the Jazz Café
The Strictly Smokin’ Sessions
Small group jazz from members of the North East’s hugely popular Strictly Smokin’ Big Band.

6th May @ The Globe
Pericopes + 1
Wonderful Italian sax & piano duo joined by simpatico New York drummer.

11th May @ the Jazz Café
Deep Cabaret
Genre-defying sextet brews a heady concoction of jazz, improv, African, folk and left field pop.

13th May @ the Bridge Hotel
Malaby, Bonnet & Darrifourcq
Outstanding New York saxophonist Tony Malaby mixes it with French guitar & drum team.

17th May @ the Jazz Café
Alex Hitchcock Quintet
Rising star saxophonist leads his great young London band to promote their acclaimed debut album.

10th June @ the Bridge Hotel
Stadhouders, de Joode, Govaert & Delius
Improvised music at its fiercest and finest from four of the Amsterdam scene’s most charismatic players.

For full details of each of these gigs, click on the band name.