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2018 Herts Jazz festival

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A Tribute to Jazz at the Philharmonic
Friday October 5
8:00 -10:30pm

The first gig of any jazz festival is always something of a scene-setter and it's difficult to imagine a better curtain-raiser for this year than this celebration of what ultimately makes jazz – no-limits swing.

A few years ago one-man jazz dynamo Pete Long decided...

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Art Themen's New Directions Quartet
Saturday October 6
11:30 -12:30pm

Herts Jazz’s Patron, tenor and soprano saxophone giant Art Themen, has been an imposing presence on the UK jazz scene for over five decades, although both to see and hear him you might not guess it. Accompanying his sprightly, enthusiastic demeanour, he brings to his...

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Misha Mullov-Abbado Sextet
Saturday October 6
1:00 - 2:00pm

“Both his composing talents and his propulsive bass-playing are currently hot UK jazz news” declared The Guardian of Mullov-Abbado, just one of several critical notices that have come his way since winning the prestigious Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize in 2014. Other recent accolades awarded this...

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Paul Dunmall’s Sunship Quartet + Alan Skidmore
Saturday October 6
2:30 - 3:30pm

Taking its title – and the cue for its repertoire – from John Coltrane's incendiary 1965 album, one of the “classic” quartet’s final recordings, tenor titan Paul Dunmall's Sunship project is a shining example of what can happen when reverence for “the tradition” collides head-on...

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Robert Mitchell’s Epiphany 3
Saturday October 6
4:00 - 5:00pm

It's easy to sniffy about the jazz press, what with its frequently heady predictions for certain artists and overinflated endorsements of passing fads, but in the case of pianist and composer Robert Mitchell a single quote taken from his many justifiably partisan reviews really does...

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Alan Barnes Octet
Saturday October 6
6:30 - 7:45pm

There's always been a paradox at the heart of jazz – that of whether a listener wants to be “challenged” by new material and po-faced, edgy performers, or whether they simply want to look down the personnel list of a band and know with 100%...

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Joey DeFrancesco Quartet
Saturday October 6
8:15 -10:45pm

There are those who are simply born to be jazz musicians. In the case of American organist and trumpeter Joey DeFrancesco, there was never any doubt that music would be his life. A Hammond child prodigy (he was playing Jimmy Smith themes by ear aged...

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Bernstein and Beyond - Herts Youth Jazz Ensemble
Sunday October 7
11:00 -12:00pm

As a notable jazz educator (currently on staff at Birmingham Conservatoire and author of a celebrated jazz drum method) as well as a talent spotter par excellence, it's small wonder that Clark Tracey ensures that each year Herts Jazz's festival features young up and coming...

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Claire Martin & Dave Newton
Sunday October 7
12:30 - 1:30pm

A class act? A dream ticket? This year’s festival highlight? Take your pick. Whichever way you put it, this lunchtime’s intimate duo of Martin and Newton is sure to figure heavily as a must-see. Multi-award winners both (Claire bagging an OBE in 2011), creators of...

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Portrait of the Modern Jazz Quartet - Nat Steele Quartet
Sunday October 7
2:00 - 3:00pm

There was a time not so long ago when the Modern Jazz Quartet, always one of the most commercially successful of jazz outfits, found their work downgraded as a consequence, as if touring the world, taking jazz to the wider public and creating a litany...

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Gareth Lockrane's Grooveyard
Sunday October 7
3:30 - 4:45pm

Every so often a musician comes along to renegotiate the potential of their chosen instrument, as well as wake up those who'd been asleep as to its validity within the music. And so it was when Gareth Lockrane emerged a few years ago to astound...

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Jean Toussaint's Young Lions Quintet
Sunday October 7
5:15 - 6:30pm

How fitting it is that Toussaint, a 1980s-vintage graduate from one of the finest on-the-road jazz academies of all - Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers – should perpetuate the lessons learned from his old boss by taking his own band of young bloods out on the...

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Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames
Sunday October 7
8:00 -10:30pm

It's altogether rather heartening to realise that the Herts Jazz Festival has now existed long enough to have established its own in-house traditions, one of which appears to be that Georgie Fame is a mandatory inclusion, no matter what. He's already appeared with his own...

Click here to see photos of the 2018 festival

Click here to see details of the 2018 film festival