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Norwich Jazz Party all set for brilliant Bank Holiday shows

PUBLISHED: 11:22 24 April 2012 | UPDATED: 16:12 25 April 2012

Houston Person. Photo: David Hurley.

Houston Person. Photo: David Hurley.

David Hurley

This year's event gets under way runs for three days over the May bank holiday weekend, giving more than 26 hours of jazz which can broadly be described as mainstream.

Decisions taken in a Blackpool hotel bar in the early hours of the morning can, on reflection, leave themselves open to some scrutiny in the cold, possibly hungover, light of day.

But for jazz promoter and former Norwich record shop proprietor Jerry Brown no such realisations followed his decision to take on the considerable job of organising the Norwich Jazz Party, now coming up to its sixth year of residency at the Norwich Airport Holiday Inn.

Jerry, while attending the Blackpool Jazz Party heard, over a 2am drink, that the promoter of this highly successful event was giving up.

Whatever the reason for his decision, Jerry volunteered, along with business associate Brian Peerless, to take over the organisation; and, more importantly, to bring it to Norwich.

Jerry had attended the Blackpool parties for many years, both as a jazz fan and to sell records from his former jazz and blues records business.

As a result many of the musicians were known to him already and that made the organisation much easier.

This year’s event gets under way on Saturday, May 5 and runs for three days over the bank holiday weekend, giving more than 26 hours of jazz which can broadly be described as mainstream – and herein lies the success of the jazz party.

There are no attempts to be elitist, and musicians mix and socialise freely with the paying public. The keynote is informality.

For the fan, a glimpse at the line-up of musicians booked this year says it all.

Veteran guitarist John “Bucky” Pizzarelli, now 86, has played with the likes of Les Paul, Stephane Grappelli and Benny Goodman, is jst one of a great line-up of American players.

They include, for the first time, saxist Harry Allen, plus the lyrical trumpeter Warren Vache, veteran reed players Ken Peplowski, Scott Hamilton and Bob Wilber, guitarist Eddie Erickson and saxophonist Houston Person.

Jerry is thrilled Harry Allen has finally made it to Norwich and equally enthusiastic about two other newcomers – British trombonist Adrian Fry and French trumpeter Alain Bouchet.

Great jazz musicians from across the world are heading into Norwich for the three-day party next month.

From the UK and Europe there are saxophonists Alan Barnes and Karen Sharpe plus bassists Dave Green and Alec Dankworth. From the flourishing Italian jazz scene comes the dazzlingly brilliant pianist Rossano Sportiello and Greece contributes bassist Giorgos Antoniou. Vocals will be in the capable hands of Rebecca Kilgore, from the USA, and Nicki Parrott, the Australian bassist.

Although the party proper gets under way on the Saturday, there will be the traditional Friday-night jam session anchored by the local quartet of Simon Brown (piano), Ivars Galenieks (bass) and Brian McAllister (drums) who are also a class act.

It’s going to be a glorious three-day blast and a rare chance to meet and listen to some great jazz musicians in Norwich.

The three days (excluding accommodation) costs £175. Contact Norwich Jazz Party, 43 Whitlingham Hall, Kirkby Road, Trowse, Norwich, NR14 8QH. Call 01603 467777 or 620287. You can also email info@norwichjazzparty.com

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