Bumper line-up for Jazz Fest 2013

Neil Yates, whose tribute to jazz trumpeter Freddy Hubbard is set to be one of the highlights of this year's Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.
Neil Yates, whose tribute to jazz trumpeter Freddy Hubbard is set to be one of the highlights of this year's Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.

Once again the festival season is almost upon us and this year’s Ribble Valley Jazz, over the May Bank Holiday, promises something for everyone.

Commencing on April 27th with the stunning young saxophonist Marius Neset – who is being compared favourably with the legendary Jan Garbarek – The Atrium Café Bar at Clitheroe Castle is hosting a series of events between then and Monday May 6th that are sure to get feet tapping and faces smiling.

All dramatically overlooking the landscape of the Ribble Valley, this is the perfect setting for some of the finest, exciting, chilled-out sounds available today.

On Friday May 3rd at 8 p.m. Neil Yates (of Brand New Heavies fame) will unleash a tribute to the late Freddy Hubbard. That trumpeter’s ’70s fusion jazz, with its energy and vibrancy, is guaranteed to sweep those winter blues straight out the door! Tickets are £10.

Then on Saturday May 4th things get really hot and sticky with a double-header featuring continuous music from 7-30 p.m. This features the Matt Holborn Quartet and the classic French, gypsy jazz sound of rhythm and lead guitars, violin and double-bass; followed by an enlarged six-piece Tantz, who will expand our horizons with a whole raft of world music.

On Sunday May 5th at 4 p.m., by complete contrast, a Mancunian sextet from the School of Jazz, The Jazz Dept, are hosting a concert led by Kathy and John Dyson (guitar and saxes respectively) and supplemented by the charismatic and sultry vocal talents of Josie Smith, all the way from London. They perform a range of material, from jazz standards to pop and soul classics, but all with a unique delivery.

Of course there is much much more on offer throughout the holiday weekend, which this year for the first time also features a street fest on the Saturday in Clitheroe.

Brochures listing all the events, times, venues and ticket prices are available from either The Grand, on York Street, or the Atrium Café, as well as many other outlets around the town and region. The Atrium particularly only has a limited number of tickets and judging by last year’s festival, where seven of the nine main events were sold out, you are recommended to book early to avoid disappointment.

The Grand – Clitheroe’s state-of-the-art music and arts venue – is hosting the festival’s two headline acts this year. The first of these is the truly awesome jazz diva Liane Carroll and her Trio, who have been wowing audiences from New York, to Glastonbury and Montreux no less!

Then comes the dynamic James Taylor Quartet (actually a seven-piece outfit) known worldwide for his original TV theme tune for Starsky and Hutch, and who is sure to shake the dance floor!

Rounding off the festival on the Bank Holiday Monday are the fun Latin 12-piece The Giddy Gringos, also at the Grand. They were a great success in 2012, so maybe it’s time to dust down those holiday sombreros and join in the celebration!