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A Magazine for Sheffield

Sheffield Jazz.

Sheffield Jazz is a mainstay on the local circuit, having operated in its current form since 1992. Hosting a show every two weeks throughout the year at the Millennium Hall at the Polish Centre on Ecclesall Road, it brings acts to the city who might otherwise not grace our stages. I chatted to main organiser Jude Sacker last month about Sheffield Jazz and its roots. How and when did Sheffield Jazz get started? It started life in 1974 as Hurlfield Jazz, named after its first venue Hurlfield Campus and formed by a small group of local musicians with a grant from Yorkshire Arts. Steve Crocker did the bookings and bands included Ronnie Scott, Don Rendell, Sam Rivers, Dexter Gordon, Carla Bley and Barney Kessel. In 1980 Hurlfield Jazz was homeless and became an itinerant wanderer around various pub back rooms. It helped organize Summer Jazz Festivals sponsored by Radio Hallam at the Crucible Theatre. It was then based at the Leadmill Arts Centre during the 80s and became Sheffield Jazz when I took over in 1992. I gathered together a new committee who found a new venue, the Charnwood Hotel. We adopted a policy of booking mainly UK bands, especially promoting young up-and-coming musicians such as Julian Arguelles, Nikki Iles, John Parricelli, Iain Ballamy, Guy Barker and Julian Siegel. We also did concerts at the Crucible Studio - the first one was a duo of pianist John Taylor and trumpet virtuoso Kenny Wheeler. Then we were based at the Non-Pots working men's club (1996-2004), after which we moved to the Millennium Hall at the Polish Centre on Ecclesall Road. These days we put on about 24 gigs per year, attracting new, younger people in the audience. What is the ethos behind it? To bring the very best of British and international jazz to Sheffield and to support up-and-coming musicians as well as established stars. Tell us about the workshops you offer. Can anyone attend? The jazz workshops are for anyone interested in jazz improvisation. They provide an opportunity to play with other musicians in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Everyone is welcome -newcomers to experienced. The sessions are led by highly experienced local jazz players. There are five groups every Saturday morning, 10.00-12.30 during school term time at King Edward's School. The cost is waged £10.00, unwaged £5.00. For more details contact Pete Lyons on 07950 921067 or [email protected] - but the best way to find out if it's right for you is to turn up and try it! What were your favourite Sheffield Jazz moments of 2011? My personal favourites were the Jay Phelps Quintet, the Mike Walker Sextet, the Liane Carroll Trio, the Geoff Simkins Quartet, Neon Quartet, the John Taylor Trio and the Julian Siegel Quartet. That's nearly a third of our gigs! The rest were good too. Do you have any advice for other people looking to put on regular jazz events? Be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy on it and you will enjoy it. What events do you have coming up in January and February? We have the Alan Barnes Quintet featuring Scott Hamilton on 20th January and the Chris Biscoe Quartet on 27th January. In February we have got the Zoe Rahman Quartet, Arnie Somogyi's Ambulance and Jim Mullen's Reunion Quartet. Tickets are £13 and £10 for concessions and can be bought at Sheffield Music Shop, or on the door. )

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