MARSDEN Jazz Festival is gearing up for its 20th anniversary this autumn and already there are a fistful of reasons to celebrate.
Last December, the Marsden team beat off stiff competition from other nationally acclaimed festivals such as Hull and Scarborough to win the Best Festival 2010 awarded by Jazz Yorkshire.
Marsden Jazz Festival say they were “chuffed to bits” when they were awarded the Festival of the Year 2010 by Jazz Yorkshire, reflecting the high regard in which this "enormous festival in the little village" is held.
Now the festival has heard more good news. A piece of music specially commissioned for last year’s festival has been shortlisted for the prestigious British Composer Awards.
The piece, the Green Seagull, was written by pianist and composer Tommy Evans and dedicated to his eccentric but much admired uncle.
After premiering in Marsden last autumn, the Tommy Evans Orchestra then took the piece on a successful national tour, collecting rave reviews as they went.
The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) and sponsored by the Performing Rights Society for Music, in association with BBC Radio 3 who will be providing exclusive broadcast coverage of the Awards in November.
Tommy Evans was performing in Croatia when he was told about his nomination.
“I'm very surprised and very honoured to be nominated for this award,” he said.
“I’m pleased that some of the hard work that I put in to this project is being noticed.”
“John Quail and everyone else at Marsden Jazz Festival were hugely supportive and helpful in getting this commission off the ground so I owe a lot to them.”
Within days of hearing about Tommy Evans’ nomination, the team at Marsden Jazz Festival had even more to celebrate.
They were told that Submotion Orchestra had been shortlisted for the annual London Jazz Award.
Submotion Orchestra features many musicians who have performed regularly at Marsden Jazz Festival.
The band is fronted by Huddersfield jazz singer, Ruby Wood.
And the percussionist with the band? That honour falls to one Mr Tommy Evans.
Submotion Orchestra will play a late night gig at this year’s festival. Get October 8 in your diary for that one.
Barney Stevenson, chair person of the festival said: “We are all absolutely delighted and very excited about these nominations.
“One of things we pride ourselves on is nurturing new talent and it’s so fantastic to see these musicians honoured in this way.”
And to reinforce that view, the festival has commissioned two more new pieces for this festival, one from Ben Crosland and the other from Richard Ormrod.
This festival packs the Pennine village with music for a whole weekend. This year will be no exception.
The organisers aim to squeeze more than 70 events into just 48 hours. The box office opens this weekend.
ŠTwo All-Stars concerts will mark the opening and closing of what is a milestone festival. Two decades of jazz in Marsden.
Festival highlights include Kenny Ball, Liane Carroll, Soweto Kinch, The Submotion Orchestra, Trio VD, Asaf Sirkis Trio, and the festival’s flagship New Stream; this year’s line up including Olivia Moore, World Service Project, and Stuart McCallum.
This year’s festival opens on October 7 and runs throughout the weekend. Organisers say they hope to host 7,500 people in more than 20 venues.
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 Marsden Jazz Festival features many free concerts, giving festival goers the chance to experience jazz from traditional to contemporary to experimental.
Tickets are on sale at the box office, 01484 430528. Contact the festival office on 01484 846969 for visitor enquiries and workshops and get more details about performers and venues on the festival website, www.marsdenjazzfestival.com