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Biographies

 

Aberjazz in 2024  

 

 

The St Louis Express Saturday 27th July at 8pm in Letterston Memorial Hall

A 7 piece jump jive band from the Cardiff area playing music from 1930s to 1960s - bring your dancing shoes.

 

Aberjazz Pre-Festival Party Nights

16th & 17th August

The weekend before the festival we have two warm-up party nights in Ffwrn that will get you hopping. On Friday 16th of August we have a night to remember with 9-piece soul funk and Motown band The Connections. Two and half hours of live music from 8pm to midnight. This one will get you dancing. This is first time this top class Pembrokeshire based band has visited FIshguard, and we can guarantee you will not be disappointed - bring your dancing shoes.

 

On Saturday 17th August the Red Stripe Band are coming back to Fishguard. If you have seen them before then you know what to expect , if you haven't you are in for a real treat. This is a 7-piece high energy jump jive rock and roll band who have been stomping their way around the world for 30 years from Monte Carlo to Tokyo and New York to Milan and ..... Fishguard!

 

 

21st Fishguard Jazz 'n' Blues Festival

 

Your host for the weekend in Ffwrn will be Francesca Dimech

Francesca is a Welsh/English speaking actress based in Cardiff.  She has appeared in many stage productions as well as television series Keeping Faith and Un Bore Mercher.  She is also a prolific musician and performs both solo and in bands.  Francesca has been a regular at Aberjazz for many years and last year was our compere for the first time.  We are delighted that she is going to do this again this year as well as leading various workshops for Aberjazzers of all ages.

 

Thursday 22nd August
Double bill in Ffwrn at 1pm - Tickets £12.50
 
1 - Jonathan Nicholas and Ted Crook

Jonathan is well known at Aberjazz where he has appeared as a solo artist and in the past with The Rumblestrutters.  He is a vocalist and acoustic finger-style guitarist who specialises in pre-war blues.  He will be joined by Ted Crook who is an amazing harmonica player and vocalist. His band ‘Ted Crook’s Blues Highway’ played at Aberjazz fringe in the past.

 

2 - The Washboard Resonators

The Washboard Resonators are an entertaining duo, a 1920's style jug band playing ragtime, hokum and blues. Jack Amblin and Martyn Roper are not just highly accomplished musicians they are also seasoned entertainers giving their performance a gentle touch of comedy. Jack, who has recently been touring with Post Modern Jukebox, plays washboard, drums and percussion while tap dancing and singing in harmony with Martyn who plays a fascinating selection of beautiful steel guitars, the banjo, ukulele and of course a jug..

 

 

Matthew Frederick in Peppers at 4pm tickets £10

Matthew fuses an early love of classic singer song-writers with more recent influences to create a distinctive and timeless blend of ballads and blues with a touch of Cymrucana with contemporary classical thrown in.  This Rhondda based musician has released five albums, headlined shows across the UK, Europe and the US as well as fronting BBC Introducing favourites Climbing Trees and Indie folk duo Hazel & Grey, who are also appearing at Aberjazz this year.

Moscow Drug Club in Theatr Gwaun at 6pm - tickets £15

You are cordially invited to share a wry smile as you enter the darkly comic world of Moscow Drug Club, a curious place where elements of Berlin cabaret, Latin tinge, French musette and storytelling meet.  Combining their original material with songs by the likes of Jacque Brel, Tom Waites, Leonard Cohen and Eartha Kitt they deliver an intoxicating and intimate musical experience.  This wonderful band of musicians from Bristol are fronted by Katya Gorrie on vocals, Jonny Bruce on trumpet, Andy Crowdy on double bass, Mirek Salmon on accordion, Will Edmunds and Andy Bowen on guitar.

Double Bill in Ffwrn at 8pm - tickets £15

 

1 - Dave Ferra and Katie Bradley

 

The brilliant Katie Bradley will be pairing up with Dave Ferra, who has previously played at Aberjazz, he plays blues and ragtime accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica.  Katie is well known across the music scene for her beautiful and powerful voice.  Both are UK Blues Awards nominees.

2 - The Gin Bowlers

 

Don’t miss this rowdy and exciting swing band from Bristol.  Their dynamic stage shows have gained them a reputation as purveyors of the finest, funnest swing.  Sleasy original arrangements and sultry, rich harmonies make up their unique sound. They spend their summers on the festival circuit and have played at Boomtown, Glastonbury and Green Man plus many others as well as touring the UK, Europe and the United States extensively. 

The Sharon Clancy Trio in Peppers at 9:30pm - tickets £12.50

One of the best vocalists in Ireland, Sharon Clancy returns to Aberjazz with a top class duo of musicians: Vicki Clancy on clarinet and Tony Rex on piano.  A frequent festival headliner both at home and abroad, Sharon offers a smouldering and sensuous vocal with a seasoned performer's mastery of the stage.  The Sharon Clancy Trio recently sold out two Jazz at Johnstown concerts and her engagement at Aberjazz is once again supported by Culture Ireland’s Regular Grants Programme which promotes the best of Irish arts globally.
What sets The Sharon Clancy Trio apart is their improvisation of classic romantic songs which gets to the heart of that crazy little thing called love, as only excellent jazz performers can.

 Friday 23rd August

Double Bill in Ffwn at 1pm - tickets £10
 
1 - Gareth Evans and Mike Frost Gypsy Jazz Duo

Gareth and Mike first played together back in the summer of 2019 when they performed in a Gypsy jazz ensemble alongside Don Sweeny(bass) and Heulwen Thomas (violin).  Years later Gareth approached Mike with a proposition of doing some playing together with the aim of doing some gigs to promote a solo EP that Gareth had recorded in his studio at home.  Both are recognised guitarists who play in a multitude of different guises and have thoroughly enjoyed joining forces to build a set and create renditions of popular Gypsy jazz classics.

2 - The Bluesome Twosome

Musically, Pete Mathison and Aidan Sheehan go back some years. This new project is a guitar and blues harp duo intent on bringing good rockin’ blues to their audiences.  Pete is well-respected for his work with Ray Davies (of "The Kinks"), also Linda Gayle Lewis and many other top recording artists. He is also known for playing in a host of great Cardiff bands. As a guitarist he is quite simply amazing and very well-known to the Aberjazz audience as a member of Junior Hacksaw and Omega Two.  He'll get you all rockin'.  Aidan is a multi-instrumentalist harmonica player and music teacher and a founder member of Whiskey River who have played at many music festivals in the UK and Europe.  Aidan is also known for delivering user-friendly harmonica workshops and he'll be doing that at Aberjazz this year too.  If you love the Blues as much as these two, then you'll definitely enjoy the "Bluesome Twosome". 

Lady Nade sings Nina Simone in Theatr Gwaun at 6pm - tickets £15

Renowned for her distinctive and award-winning vocal prowess, Lady Nade possesses one of the most singular voices in the UK music scene.
Critics and fans alike have often drawn comparisons between Lady Nade's voice and the legendary Nina Simone. An artist known for paying homage to those who have profoundly influenced her journey, Lady Nade holds Nina Simone in high regard.

Nina Simone, an icon and consummate musical storyteller of the twentieth century, left behind a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through her extraordinary body of work. By the end of her life, she had garnered an unprecedented level of recognition. Her music reached millions through recordings, film, television, and the digital sphere. In the last decade of her life alone, she sold over a million CDs, solidifying her status as a global best-seller.
As a black woman, Lady Nade acknowledges Nina Simone's trailblazing role in paving the way for artists of her generation. Simone's tenacity encouraged them not to abandon their dreams and aspirations. Lady Nade is honored to celebrate Nina Simone's life and enduring legacy alongside some of the UK's most accomplished musicians.
This high-energy performance is a heartfelt dedication to recreating the transformative sound that blended popular tunes of the era into a distinctive fusion of jazz, blues, gospel, and folk music.

Line-up
Lady Nade - Vocals
Chris Jones - Double Bass
Holly Carter - Guitar
Ruth Brown - Piano
Matt Brown - Drums
Sophie Stockham - Sax

 

Bezique - Gypsy Trio in Peppers at 4pm tickets £12.50

Bezique perform a variety of acoustic jazz and café music from around the world. Their repertoire includes music by Django Reinhardt, Richard Galliano, Bireli Lagrene, and others, as well as original compositions. They also incorporate an occasional rarely heard North African flavour to their repertoire through the inclusion of works by the Algerian chaabi pianist Maurice el-Medioni, giving them a uniquely cosmopolitan sound on the UK gypsy jazz scene.  The core duo of cellist Shirley Smart and guitarist Peter Michaels have been playing together for about 8 years, and have performed an numerous festivals, and venues including Ronnie Scotts Jazz club.  They will be joined by Tobie Medland on violin.
Their debut album is expected in 2024.

Double Bill in Ffwrn at 8pm - tickets £12.50

1 - The Chalk Outlines

A brass fuelled ska/roots party riot.  A lively 8 piece playing a decidedly dark and twisted take on Two Tone.  They lace fat horn lines, samples and twin vocals over a pumping rhythm section and create their unique and upbeat sound.  Expect tunes that are influenced by Balkan, Latin and Jungle influences as they do from traditional ska and reggae.

2- Alex Voysey Blues Band

As the rising stars of the blues world this band brings together four stunning musicians, breath-taking grooves and riffs and a deep passion for the blues. Travel back in time through 100 years of the blues as they explore some of the genre’s founding fathers. Band members Alex Voysey (guitar and vocals); Geth Griffith (bass); Peter Gill (keys); and Paul Arthurs (kit).

 

 

 

Victoria Klewin Quartet in Peppers at 9:30pm - tickets £12.50

A warm welcome back to Aberjazz for this Bristol based musician. Victoria is a highly versatile vocalist (The Jazzman).  Whist predominantly a jazz singer her song writing also draws on choral, folk, Arabic and pop influences whether performing her own original songs or paying homage to the jazz greats her enchanting vocals are soulful and richly expressive.

 

 Saturday 24th August


Double Bill in Ffwrn at 1pm - tickets £10
 
1 - Jane Williams and Gareth Evans


Both of these artists are Aberjazz favourites but have not appeared here together before.  Jane has appeared as one half of Omega Two and with her own jazz band a few years ago, she has a lovely, versatile voice that can lend itself to many genres but has now found her niche as a jazz singer.  Gareth is a fantastic guitar player who has appeared in a duo with Bella Collins quite a few times at Aberjazz.  Jane and Gareth joined forces in the summer of 2023 after coming together to record an album of Jazz standard.  They are both popular and sought after musicians in their own rights playing with various different acts and ensembles.  Their album is a collection of popular jazz standards ranging from the popular ballad ‘Cry Me a River’ to the bluesy ‘Black Coffee’ (with a twist).

2 - The James Oliver Band


James needs no introduction to the people of Fishguard who have enjoyed his performances in the Aberjazz Fringe over the past couple of years.  This year he is on our main stage in Ffwrn.  His band is one of the UK’s busiest acts, playing over 300 gigs a year all over the UK, Europe and the USA.  In 2020 James won the UK Blues Award Emerging Artist of the year, and has since been nominated 3 additional times.  His YouTube channel has over 20,000 subscribers and over 9 million views.
He is regarded as a force of nature in his native Wales, and R & B icon in Sweden and a guitar hero to his social media fans.” Blues in Britain Magazine

Coletrane Dedication in Peppers at 4pm - tickets £12.50


Welsh quintet dedicated to and celebrating the legacy of John Coltrane.  They approach their chosen source material very much in the spirit of the man himself, always questing and pushing the boundaries and performing with great intensity and total conviction.  The quintet consists of Lyndon Owen on tenor and soprano saxophones, Caractacus Downes, tenor and baritone saxophones, Dave Jones on piano, Ashley John Long on double bass and Iolo Whelan on drums.

Lowri Evans and Lee Mason


Described by Bob Harris as “One of his absolute favourite artists” Lowri is blessed with a voice capable of wide emotional power, her songs taking their musical colours from a broad palette that includes Americana, Folk, Country and Blues, all beautifully knitted together through her innate musicality and heartfelt delivery.
Lee Mason’s beautifully judged guitar playing and subtle harmonies have been integral to Lowri’s music from the outset. Together they have toured the USA, performed sessions for Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2, been playlisted on BBC Radio and regularly perform in venues across the UK and in festivals such as Cambridge Folk, Underneath the Stars, Celtic Connections, Wychwood Festival, Greenman Festival and Hay Festival.
Lowri will be performing with her trio at Aberjazz Festival this year.

Double Bill in Ffwrn at 8pm - tickets £15

 
1 - Bella Collins Band


Bella Collins is a singer, guitarist, songwriter from Cardiff. Bella’s music is firmly rooted in the blues, but she has also absorbed and been influenced by jazz, soul and old style R’n’B, and her unique vocal style and self penned songs reflect aspects of those genres. She has performed across Europe and in the US as a solo artist, in bands and as part of two duos. Notable performances for Bella include Cambridge Folk Festival, The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival and a performance at the Bitter End, New York. Solo album, ‘Late and Blue’ was released in 2016 and got airplay on BBC Radio 2. Her jazz EP, ‘Golden Days’ with duo partner & multi instrumentalist Gareth Evans, has also received high praise & she’s featured as a vocalist on Gareth’s albums. In 2018 Bella joined with the Pembrokeshire based singer/songwriter Jodie Marie, to form the duo Sister Bodhi, and they released the EP “Live at Carmel” in 2019, featuring Andy Fairweather Low and Dewi Watkins. 
Bella is currently recording her first new music since 2016 and is thoroughly looking forward to getting on the road with a new band line up and a set of newly penned material. Her band members are Sam Andrews on guitar, Owain Hughes on keyboards, Andrew Brown on bass and Shane Dixon on drums.


2 - Billy Thompson Gypsy Style


A huge welcome back to these amazing musicians.  Anyone who experienced them in 2021 and 2022 will remember their performance and will delight in seeing them again.  This band is Billy’s main outlet for performing gypsy jazz music now that he no longer performs with the Amigos.  Their highlights have been performing twice on S4C’s Noson Llawen TV Show along with numerous tours around the UK.  They have performed twice at the Beumaris Music Festival and twice at the International Gypsy Guitar Festival and (of course) twice at Aberjazz.

 

 

 

Jack O’Rourke Featuring Aisling Fitzpatrick

Jack has established himself as one of Ireland’s finest songsmiths and a live favourite. He first came to prominence with his ode to misunderstood youth and growing up gay ‘Silence’ which became a torch song for the Irish Marriage Equality Referendum and won Nashville’s song-writing competition (judges included Tom Waits and Bill Withers) A captivating live performer Jack brings his music to life doing what he loves best – seated at a piano and sharing some of his moving and sublime songs with his audience. For this performance he will be joined by cellist Aisling Fitzpatrick who is an Irish renowned cello who has played with Jack since they were in college. Aisling is one of the leading Cork based classical cellists but she is a rare virtuoso who plays by ear with improvisational skill.

 

Sunday 25th August


Double Bill in Ffwrn at 8pm - tickets £12.50

 

1 - Ten Pence Moon


‘Ten Pence Moon’ are brought together by their shared passion for blues and roots music from both sides of the pond. Dave Lyons and Leo Morshead draw from traditional and contemporary music, to compose and arrange songs that pay homage to their heroes, while maintaining their own unique voice. Blending the sound of acoustic guitars, vocals, slide guitar, lap steel and dobro. Their music includes songs of love, loss and everything in between.


2 - The Boogaloo Babes


We just had to get them back after their brilliant performance last year.  With their excellent harmonies they specialise in 1940’s, swing, jazz, rock and roll, 50’s and 60’s with an emphasis on filling the dance floor. ​They perform a wide variety of vintage style music from 1920's -1960's and sing all the classic numbers from this era, as well as Motown and modern songs with a vintage twist.

 


Les Zoings - The Aberjazz Parade at 4pm - Free


Les Zoings are a fanfare brass marching band from London.  They are a winning combination of sonic brass and a brilliant stage presence.  Their show leaves no goid left unfilled or dance sequence deconstructed.  With a resilience ranging from pre-industrial Victorian malaise to white hot pre-Cambrian stampede.  Expect a multi-sensory revelation from this band that play music and dress up to full effect.  Their blend of European flavour leaves their audience thirsting for more.


Double Bill in Ffwrn at 8pm - tickets £15

 

1 - The Keith Little Band

Ffwrn at 8pm - double bill This Cardiff based, but internationally-known band has been called Wales’ premier jazz and swing band by media and musicians alike. The band create a superb and lively sound extending beyond the traditional and offering a wide range of exhilarating jazz that is just sheer enjoyment. Band members include Jane Williams on vocals, Keith Little on keys, Gethin Liddleton on trumpet and Donnie Joe Sweeney on bass

 

 2 - King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys


“Probably the leading swing, blues and rhythm and blues band on the planet.  Pure vintage”   A huge welcome back to Aberjazz for this brilliant Midlands based band with their dazzling musicianship, riveting stage performances they are well established as the Kings of Swing. One of the most popular jazz & swing bands in the world, made famous by Ronnie Scotts clubs, performing classy numbers in Louis Jordan & Eddie Cleanhead style. A stunning range of instrumental ability.

 

 

 

Roberts/Jones Quartet

Although Dave Jones will be a very recognisable figure to Aberjazz regulars this is fairly new band featuring compositions by Gareth Roberts and Dave Jones.  The quartet also consists of Ashley John Long on bass and Ryan Thrupp on drums.

Gareth Roberts is a jazz trombonist who has been working professionally in and around the South Wales area since graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2005. He has released two critically acclaimed albums of original material under his own name and has also written tunes for many local big bands including The Capital City Jazz Orchestra, of whom he is a founder member. Gareth teaches jazz trombone at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and describes his main influence as the music of Charles Mingus.

 


Dave Jones is a classically-trained pianist and organist who subsequently studied jazz piano in the mid 1980s with jazz theorist/author Lionel Grigson from the Guildhall School of Music in London. He has since released  eight albums and 3 EPs of critically acclaimed jazz (mostly his own compositions) with his own groups, and appeared on numerous albums by other bands, with whom he has toured in the UK and Ireland and overseas. He also composes and produces music for TV, having tracks used in ‘The Big Bang Theory’, The US Open Golf Tournament, and ‘Location, Location, Location’, amongst others.

 

 

 

Ben Thomas and Jim Barber Quartet in Peppers at 9:30pm - tickets £12.50

Innovative trumpeter Ben Thomas returns to his home county of Pembrokeshire alongside virtuoso Cardiff based pianist Jim Barber. This exciting quartet also features the awesome Italians - Pasquale Votino on double bass and Paolo Adamo on drums.   Ben is an experimental musician with a quirky style. His trumpet-centric creations are incredibly visual and imaginative as found in his many recordings - as well as his extensive artistic outlets - as photographer, film-maker and performance artist.  Jim Barber is a brilliant pianist. He has performed extensively with a 'who's who' of the modern British jazz scene and his fiery yet sophisticated piano style is exciting to behold.   Expect an energetic and expressive evening of music featuring original tunes by Ben and Jim plus some re-imaging of some well known classics and jazz standards

 

Monday 26th August

Triple Bill in Ffwrn at 1pm - tickets £12.50
 
1 - Bella Collins

Bella first played at Aberjazz as a teenager and since we have seen her many times playing in duo's and and full band, as a singer, a bass guitarist as well as the guitar, equally at home playing jazz or blues. This is an oportunity to hear her playing solo, as she did when she first played at here over 10 years ago,

 

 

2 - Hazel & Grey

A husband-and-wife indie-folk duo comprising of Matthew Frederick and his better half, Caysha Leigh. With a combination of heartfelt lyrics and heartbreaking harmonies, the twosome count the likes of The Staves, First Aid Kit and The Civil Wars amongst their influences, whilst retaining the signature Cymrucana sound found in Matthew's work as both a solo artist and frontman of the Welsh Music Prize-nominated Climbing Trees. Having performed alongside Welsh contemporaries Rusty Shackle, The Goudies, Joe Kelly and Tapestri as well as featuring at a host of festivals including FOCUS Wales, Between The Trees, The Big Retreat and The Green Gathering over the past couple of years, Hazel & Grey are currently writing their debut EP, set for release via Staylittle Music in 2024.

 

3 - The Numbers Racket

This is a local Pembrokeshire jump jive and swing band guaranteed to get you up on the dance floor as soon as they start playing. A visual spectacle incorporating the best of Swing music from the 40's to the present day.  The Numbers Racket have been filling dance-floors in Wales and beyond for many years, the line-up may have changed a bit but not the vibe.  Enjoy!

 

 

Adrien Brandeis in Peppers at 7:30pm - Tickets £12.50


Adrien is a French pianist, jazz composer and arranger.  He won the prestigious Letter One Rising Stars jazz award in 2018 which recognised him as the best young European jazz artist of the year.  This opened doors for him to appear on the biggest European stages during the summer of 2019.  Being very keen on Latin music he went to study in Havana in 2019 which inspired him to produce the album “Meetings” which was selected as one of the top ten best albums in France in 2020.  He has played many concerts in Mexico and produced his third album “Siempre Mas Alla” as testimony to his experiences and a personal tribute to Mexico.  He has appeared at many major festivals all over Europe.

The Bluesters


Usually a five piece band, guitar, bass, drums, trumpet and Hammond organ, but occasionally we have guest star soloists, raising our number to six. We play a mixture of blues, jazz fusion, and funk, Including: John Scofield, The Meters, Booker T and the MGs, Jimmy Smith, Scary Goldings, The Crusaders and more. The basic line-up is: Ellis Howell-Hammond keys; Keyo Langford-guitar; Sean McNicholas-drums, Jonathan Crespo-trumpet and Don Sweeney-bass.

Suntou Susso

Suntou Susso is a multi-instrumentalist: kora player, percussionist, singer and composer from The Gambia. Born a Griot in a 700-year old tradition, the kora - a harp-lute with 22 strings - is unique to the Griots of the Mandinka people. Griots have a unique societal role as oral historians, transmitting and preserving a people's culture through the generations in song, music and poetry.  Suntou's family includes some of the world's most highly respected West African musicians. His musical abilities are outstanding, perhaps unique for his generation. An in-demand and charismatic performer, he attracted attention as soon as he arrived on the UK music scene.  He co-composed and recorded a successful album as a key member of Norway-based 'Kristin Asbjornsen Trio', performing at Jazz festivals around Europe. As an acknowledged master of the kora, Suntou was invited to perform alongside world famous Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour at the O2 in 2018. An impressive moment for any young musician and a seal of approval from the legendary artist.   Here in the UK he also performs classical kora as a solo artist at sizable theatres, with orchestral productions and across the festival circuit including WOMAD, Hay Festival, Beyond the Border and more. 

 

 

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