Ribble Valley Jazz club’s new ‘Big Band’ venture

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School's Swing Band
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School's Swing Band

REGULAR jazz gigs and a May Day Bank Holiday Jazz Festival are the main focus of Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club’s activities since it was formed in 2007.

However, since becoming an arts-based charity in 2010 a mission for promoting jazz music has blossomed, helped by having two first-class local venues in The Grand and The Atrium Café Bar.

The club’s latest project will be announced at its next Big Band gig at The Grand on Saturday, February 11th, featuring Clitheroe Royal Grammar School’s Swing Band and the John Wickham Trio.

During the event, jazz club members Paul Rigby and Geoff Jackson will give out details of the formation of a Clitheroe and Ribble Valley-based Big Band – a chance for local musicians to perform in the popular Big Band style.

The club is fortunate in having Paul Rigby to lead and direct the new project. His vast experience in jazz music includes being ensemble co-ordinator and Musical Director for Blackburn with Darwen Music Service, director and drummer with the Northern Jazz Orchestra, and Musical Director for Lancashire Schools Jazz Orchestra.

He studied under Woody Herman’s Big Band drummer, Ed Soph, and has played with Maynard Ferguson, Claire Teal and Bobby Shew, to name but a few. Paul has worked closely as an adviser with Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues over the past two years and will be directing the Blackburn with Darwen Music Service Big Band at this year’s Jazz Festival in May.

The proposed new Big Band is now inviting local musicians to fill in a short form to register their interest. Prospective Big Band Jazzers can ask for a form via e-mail to info@rvjazzandblues.co.uk or by phoning 07870 908159.

Paul Rigby will welcome responses from musicians with a wide variety of experience. He urges them to respond quickly so that plans for a start of rehearsals at The Grand in March can go ahead.

Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues is applying for grant funding to support the early stages of the Big Band’s development. The club will also welcome offers of financial support or ideas for sponsorship. Anyone with any leads in this direction can e-mail or phone Geoff Jackson on geoff@rvjazzandblues.co.uk or phone 07870 908159.