Buzzing Brecon a perfect spot for music lovers
WANT to combine an August holiday with a jazz festival? One within easy reach is the three-day event in Brecon, Wales, which runs from Friday 12 to Sunday 14. This year's headliners include Monty Alexander, Gilad Atzmon and the BBC Big Band.
"During the festival the whole town has a buzz about it," said Clare Teal in a recent interview in the Daily Telegraph. The British singer will appear in the Market Hall on the first night. Unfortunately, her concert clashes with one by Pascal Schumacher (vibes) who leads a quartet in the hall at Christ College.
This is not the only difficult choice to be made. On Saturday evening the colourful Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander is on at the same time as two other strong attractions: Norma Winstone's group and the Kevin Brady Trio featuring Bill Carrothers (piano). On Sunday at 5pm, the BBC Big Band Special featuring Maceo Parker (saxes) is surely a must -- except that it overlaps the nearby Michael Janisch Quintet gig at 6pm.
Piano fans are well catered for: besides those already mentioned, there are Allen Toussaint from New Orleans, John Taylor who was recently heard in Sligo, Dave Newton with violinist Tim Kliphuis, and Zoe Rahman who has surprisingly teamed up with Courtney Pine.
Vocalists include soul singer Alice Russell, the up-and-coming Emily Wright, R & B singer Robin McKelle and the acclaimed Mina Agossi. As for saxophonists, Sax Appeal boasts five of them in one octet.
The far-out element is represented by the Stephane Kerecki Trio from France, a Norwegian group called The Core, the electronic-oriented Hidden Orchestra and the Robert Glasper Experiment.
Dublin fans of Bill Carrothers can catch him in JJ Smyth's next Friday night, before he goes to Brecon. Meanwhile, tomorrow night the avant-garde duo of Barry Guy (double bass) and Evan Parker (saxes) will appear at the Kilkenny Arts Festival.