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Jazz at the Lescar returns with fresh sounds at new venues

Groups playing the celebrated jazz night's first season since lockdown include Archipelago, Power Out, Green Tangerines and Assembly Trio.

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Jez Matthews at The Lescar.

Jazz At The Lescar.

After 18 long months away, one of Sheffield's most cherished nights is back with a bang. Over the next few weeks Jazz at the Lescar are hosting a diverse range of artists at new venues – including Yellow Arch and Theatre Deli – before making a triumphant return to The Lescar itself on 1 September.

We spoke to organiser Jez Matthews about the upcoming programme and the challenges of the past year. Jez has also just released his first recordings of original music with long-time collaborator Hannah Brady under the name Whale Detective – check it out.

Tell us about the events you've got coming up.

During lockdown we’ve branched out to some other venues, at Yellow Arch and Theatre Deli, for which we’ve been immensely grateful. We’ve also just heard that we can resume events at The Lescar from 1 September which is great news! So many people have been in touch to ask when we’ll be back so its fantastic to know that we can return to that room.

We’ve currently got a really diverse set of gigs lined up, including Archipelago (16 September), a trio from Newcastle who bring together jazz and improvisation with alt-rock and leftfield song writing, and Liverpool band Green Tangerines, bringing seventies jazz fusion into the 21st century (2 September).This gig is part of the Sheffield Showcase festival taking place on the first weekend of September.

We finish off August this week with Assembly Trio (26 August), a lovely guitar/bass/drums lineup of Sheffield musicians, including two from the ace Life Aquatic Band. All of these gigs are at Yellow Arch.

Our first gig back at The Lescar will feature a really great new sax/bass/drums trio from Leeds, Shapeshifters (1 September). We’re just starting to line up the gigs there so definitely watch this space.

Finally we visit Theatre Deli on 15 October for a really unique double-bill of Sheffield-based musicians, featuring balo, who bring together harp and drums in a quietly powerful way, and Power Out, featuring Sarah Heneghan from Beyond Albedo, extending her drum kit to include sequencers and drum machines.

What are you most looking forward to?

All of it! Each gig will be really different and we’re just super excited to be back in the room with people enjoying real live music again.

As someone who puts on shows regularly, how do you think the experience of the past year will change live music?

This is a great question! I don’t think we’ll know the answer properly for a bit.

I’m sure new collaborations will have emerged, and also, as people have been forced into some degree of isolation, quite a few have found new creative ways to make improvised music, with electronics for example, and perhaps just to focus on writing or developing their craft in other ways.

I wonder how long livestreaming will persist. A lot of people involved in music have developed some skills or awareness of this, and it's certainly been a great way of staying in touch with people during lockdown, making the music more accessible, and potentially helping to subsidise live events.

One thing is certain though – that people are desperate to get back to live music, and to feel the atmosphere, and physical vibrations, and connection with others that you can only fully experience in a room full of people at a live gig.

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