IT IS a small village with a big jazz festival that has a national profile.
Tonight, Marsden Jazz Festival gets underway and though it might seem hard to imagine, this Pennine community will pack 80 events into just 48 hours.
That’s a lot of music, a lot of people and a lot of enjoyment as crowds gather to listen to jazz of every type imaginable.
Voted Festival of the Year 2010 by Jazz Yorkshire, the team behind Marsden Jazz Festival were “chuffed to bits” that this “enormous festival in this little village” is held in such high regard.
That pride in what the festival has to say continues with top musicians and innovative ideas all weekend.
One of the big draws is tomorrow’s New Stream, a series of five one-hour concerts which showcases some of the brightest and best new talent on the jazz scene.
John Quail, who spends all year listening to new bands and seeing them live, puts together the sessions which feature new and up-and-coming bands as well as new projects by more established musicians.
The idea behind the New Stream is explained by John.
“We aim to do two things, firstly to support and nurture new talent, and secondly to encourage people to take a gamble and try out something new – something they might not otherwise go and see.”
It’s achieved by the festival subsidising the ticket prices and keeping them for those events to £6. Hardly surprising that most of the New Stream concerts sell-out.
Hot ticket this year is likely to be Leeds-based band Roller Trio, who have recently been nominated for a Mercury Prize in the Album of the Year category.
They’ve also been nominated as Best Jazz Act at the MOBO awards.
The festival will pack 20 indoor and outdoor venues with jazz to suit every taste and every age. They expect to attract almost 8,000 people over the weekend.
Organisers say this is their biggest festival with more events than ever before.
New this year is an international collaboration between German musician Martin Kälberer, German film-maker Peter Schmidbauer, local visual artist Rachel Ellis and local musician James Squire.
They have been working on a major commission for the festival called Mills and Moors, which has the history and heritage of Marsden at its heart.
This week-long international collaboration will explore the connections between the area’s music, history and landscape.
Tonight though, you can practise your jive moves or learn how to dance to the swing sounds of the 40s and 50s with Jive 45 in Jump, Jive ‘n’ Wail at Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre.
Over at Marsden Mechanics, those kings of swing, King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, will be really getting the party going.
Get out and about in the village and hear acoustic sextet Toby Greenwood’s We Free Kings play music written and arranged by the Leeds saxophonist. They are at the Royal British Legion Club.
Tomorrow the festival parade kicks off in Peel Street at noon led by the New York Brass Band.
Follow the band through the streets and if you’ve made a New Orleans parasol (or even a Yorkshire brolly) at one of the festival workshops, here’s the chance to get twirling.
The streets will be alive with bands all day and there are big names in concert too.
The main draws are likely to include Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble at the Mechanics offering formidable improvisational talents.
This ensemble, led by the saxophonist and award-winning composer, is seen as one of the world’s most inspirational jazz groups.
Dennis Rollins is another must-see man too. Don’t miss his masterclass with Huddersfield university Big Band at Marsden Conservative Club.
The big concert for Saturday night sees Barb Jungr bringing her world-renowned Bob Dylan show to the Marsden Jazz Festival.
This critically-acclaimed show has been wowing audiences on both side of the Atlantic this past year.
Variously described by critics as magnificent, mesmerising and magical and favourably compared to Nina Simone, Peggy Lee and Edith Piaf, Barb Jungr has built a formidable reputation on the international cabaret stage.
She’s at Marsden Mechanics tomorrow night (October 13).
Over at Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre, there will be a concert by Tommaso Starace Quartet dedicated to the great French pianist Michel Petrucciani.
On Sunday, the United Church in Marsden hosts a morning service with Winston’s Pennine Jazz.
There’s an early afternoon concert at the Mechanics with the Julian Siegel Quartet and later, the stage will again belong to Dennis Rollins and his Velocity Trio.
As well as gigs, there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved, whether you are a serious musician, or a toddler wanting to make some sounds.
In addition to ticketed events, the festival features many free concerts, giving festival-goers the chance to experience jazz from traditional to contemporary to experimental. For more details go to www.marsdenjazzfestival.com