27 July 2021Winners of Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2021 announced

Singers Norma Winstone MBE, Georgia Mancio and Claire Martin, drummer Jas Kayser and saxophonist Nubya Garcia are among the recipients of the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2021, announced in an online presentation streamed from Pizza Express, Dean Street.


The Awards are organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) with the support of PizzaExpress Live to celebrate and recognise the vibrancy, diversity, talent and breadth of the jazz scene throughout the United Kingdom.


Norma Winstone, who has been at the forefront of the European scene for more than fifty years, received the Services to Jazz Award. Georgia Mancio received the Jazz Vocalist of the Year Award in the wake of her acclaimed Quiet is the Star album, her second recording with Grammy-winning pianist and composer Alan Broadbent. And Claire Martin, in partnership with arranger Callum Au, won Album of the Year for their Songs and Stories release.


Saxophonist Nubya Garcia won Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year, following the release of her Mercury Prize-shortlisted debut album, Source, and London septet Kokoroko, whose vibrant mission to fashion new languages using the medium of Afrobeat has won them Best Group at the Urban Music Awards and an appearance at the 2020 BBC Proms, won Jazz Ensemble of the Year.


Jas Kayser, the 24-year-old drummer and recent NYJO appointee who has toured the US with the late drummer Ralph Peterson’s big band and Grammy-winning singer Luciana Souza, won the Jazz Newcomer of the Year Award.


Nottingham Jazz Club Peggy’s Skylight won Jazz Venue of the Year. Women in Jazz Media, the international organization of writers, photographers, painters, musicians, presenters, journalists, producers, and editors, won the Jazz Media Award. The Original Jazz Summer School, which began in Barry, Glamorgan in 1966 and launched an online school earlier this year, won the Jazz Education Award and The Globe in Newcastle upon Tyne won the Lockdown Innovation Award for its heroic determination to keep live music going during the pandemic.


There were special APPJAG awards for cornetist, writer and broadcaster Digby Fairweather and for Lord Colwyn, the Jazz FM founder and APPJAG stalwart, who secured funding from PPL for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards on their inception in 2005.

09 July 2021More success for trombonist Liam Shortall's corto.alto

Trombonist Liam Shortall has won the Mark McKergow award for Innovation in Jazz at the New Music Scotland Awards 2021 for his nu jazz project corto.alto.


Following wins in the Best Band and Best Album sections at the 2020 Scottish Jazz Awards, this is yet more recognition for the recordings and videos Shortall has been producing in his Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow flat both before and during the Cocid-19 pandemic.


The judging panel praised his Live at 435 collection, citing it as “a fascinating and original approach to collaboration and presentation.”


Shortall, who has recently signed to Bristol label WormDisc Records, described the win as a “wonderful surprise” and acknowledged the current high quality of jazz being created in Scotland at the moment.


“Live from 435 was a year-long release series in which I released a new single and live session video every third Friday for a year,” he says. “It featured many guests from across the UK and beyond, including Soweto Kinch, Johnny Woodham, Luca Manning and Anoushka Nanguy.”


corto.alto appear at the We Out Here Festival in Cambridge in August.




24 June 2021Astounding success for outstanding saxophonist Matt Carmichael

Saxophonist Matt Carmichael has become the first student on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland jazz course to win all three of the awards that the course presents at the end of the academic year.


Carmichael, aged 22, who released his first album, Where Will the River Flow, to glowing reviews in March, has come out top in Jazz Improvisation, for which he wins the Fog Arts prize.


He has also won the George Duncan Prize for Jazz Composition, with the title track of his album, and the Joe Temperley Prize for Jazz Arranging, which is sponsored by writer Mark McKergow, with his orchestration of the jazz classic Stompin’ at the Savoy, made famous by clarinettist and big band leader Benny Goodman.


The RCS jazz course founder, saxophonist Tommy Smith said, “It being the first time this has happened, it’s obviously rare to find a student with such outstanding talent across all three disciplines. It also says a lot about Matt’s jazz capabilities that he has won both the composition award with a piece that’s contemporary and very much in his own style and the arranging prize for his take on a composition that comes from an entirely different era and originated in the 1930s.”


15 June 2021Internationally acclaimed glass artist announces new exhibition

Glass artist Alison Kinnaird has announced a new exhibition to take place as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.


The show features a range of work both intimate and on an architectural scale and will be held at Shillinghill Studios in Temple, Midlothian from August 1st-31st, daily 10am - 5pm or by appointment.


Alison Kinnaird has an international reputation as both a glass artist and a leading exponent and teacher of the Scottish harp. Her 1978 album, The Harp Key set a new standard for the largely unexplored – at the time – instrument.


Her glass creations can be seen in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Scottish Parliament and the Royal Museums of Scotland and public and private collections home and abroad.


Shillinghill is a large and airy converted church (Edinburgh Festival Fringe Venue 244), where it is easy to observe all Covid regulations to give visitors a safe and enjoyable experience. The studios are also the base of Temple Records, which specialises in Scottish and Irish music and was founded by Alison's husband, musician and producer Robin Morton.


Alison Kinnaird

11 June 2021Edinburgh's Playtime sessions pause for breath and regeneration

The organisers of Edinburgh’s award-winning Playtime jazz sessions have announced they will be pausing activities to recharge their batteries.

Since Covid-19 struck last March, the Playtime team have worked extremely hard to keep the sessions going. From fortnightly live sessions in the Outhouse Bar’s loft space, they moved to weekly live streams, broadcasting more than forty online concerts.


These have only been possible through borrowing equipment and being given access to Pathhead Village Hall, from where they have streamed concerts when permissible with the help of sound engineer Matt Elliott.


The quartet behind the sessions – drummer Tom Bancroft, saxophonist Martin Kershaw, guitarist Graeme Stephen and bassist Mario Caribe – will be using the next two months to focus on securing funding to put more resources into marketing and audience development.


There will be two Playtime events in July, however. Saxophonist Soweto Kinch joins the quartet online on Saturday 17th (details here) and the quartet plays live at Pathhead Village Hall on Friday 30th with a small, socially distanced audience in attendance. Email to apply for tickets.     


Playtime (photo by Tom Bancroft)



10 June 2021AWB founder Alan Gorrie releases tribute to formative hometown sessions

Alan Gorrie, founder and frontman of the Average White Band, has created a tribute to his hometown, Perth’s legendary Blue Workshop as the lead song on a new EP.


Remembering the musicians who used to play at the fortnightly jazz, blues and soul sessions in Perth’s County Hotel from 1964 to 1967, Gorrie celebrates the contributions of Glasgow-born guitar legend Jim Mullen (sitting in on bass in these days), saxophonist Bobby Wishart, recently departed drummer Bill Kemp and the sessions’ founder, the late guitarist Laurie Hamilton.


Blue Workshop, which Gorrie wrote and recorded in his home studio in Connecticut, also pays homage to influences including Mose Allison, Herbie Hancock and Ramsey Lewis.


The original sessions in Perth also played host to musicians Andy Park and Alex Sutherland, who both went on to play significant roles in television, and at various times featured four founder-members of the Average White Band, Gorrie himself, the band’s touchstone drummer and beating heart, Robbie McIntosh and the Dundee Horns, saxophonists Molly Duncan and Roger Ball.


Alan Gorrie (third from left) with the current AWB with original guitarist Onnie McIntyre (third from right)

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