INTERVIEW/PREVIEW : Clark Tracey (Herts Jazz Fest 18-20 Sept)

Clark Tracey. Photo credit Melody McLaren

The fifth Herts Jazz Festival in Welwyn runs from September 18th to 20th. Full programme detals are below. Early bird tickets are available -  till 30th June. Sebastian spoke to Clark Tracey who is Director of the festival:

LondonJazz News: The Herts Jazz Festival, you always run it for three days and that's been the case from the start, right?

Clark Tracey: Yes we've always done Friday evening with one stand-alone gig, and then all day Saturday and Sunday. We feel that's right. I wouldn't want it any longer! The first thing we start thinking of and booking in is the main acts. Last year on the Friday we had the Chris Barber Band. This year, in complete contrast it's Loose Tubes.

LJN: What are your personal connections to Loose Tubes?

CT: These great players were part of my growing up experience, takes me back to my mid-twenties. Django Bates and Iain Ballamy were in first band I had. And I was in a quartet with Eddie Parker before the Tubes were formed. I have always admired what they get up to – although our paths rarely cross these days .

LJN: What's the Maltese Connection?

CT: It's probably the least known thing on the programme. Dominic Galea is a friend of mine from Malta. Half of the programme will be his tunes, half mine. The connection is that Dominic's father had lessons from my dad in the 1960s. They stayed friends and we used to go on holiday in Malta as a family, and I have stayed in contact with Dominic – he's the eldest son – We're going there this summer - he s got me a gig this time!

LJN: The Scottish singer Fionna Duncan doesn't stray south of the border that often...

CT: We booked Fiona a few years ago, not many people knew who she was. But that year she definitely won on the clapometer. Her group is with the incredible Brian Kellock and bassist Ronnie Rae, without a drummer...

LJN: And you have “Big Band Britannia” on Sunday...

Yes. Simon Spillett has wanted to play a big band tribute to Tubby Hayes for a good while. Also, I have got hold of some of Stan's big band charts. We'll play some amazing things from Alice in Jazzland. And a few other things that he did - some big band versions of Under Milk Wood and in this anniversary year it feels right. And something from the Seven Ages of Man – I have to get that transcribed.

LJN: And you offered Claire Martin a gig on the Saturday night...

CT: Yes – when I asked her to do it, I asked her what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to put back the band with Gareth (Williams), Arnie (Somogyi) and me. We toured to gether - a lot -  in that band. It's going to be a real nostalgia kick that one – I guess it comes to us all

LJN How is it all going, ticket sales etc?

CT: Well. last year was successful, pretty much sold out, it exceeded our expectations - lets hope it continues that way. I'm always amazed how long time it takes to get established. It's six years now that I have been running the club on Sundays. Every week. And some people in the local area say they're still finding out about it.

HERTS JAZZ FESTIVAL - September 18-20 2015
Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City

Friday 18th

8.30-11.00 Loose Tubes - £25/£22 Herts Jazz members/£10 students
11.00-12.30 After hours in the foyer – Bryan Spring Trio - FREE!

Saturday 19th

11.30-12.30 Dennis Rollins' Velocity Trio - £12/£10/£5
1.00-2.00 Alan Barnes Quintet - £15/£12/£5
2.00-3.00 Lunch in the foyer - Nat Steele Trio - FREE!
3.15-4.30 The Three Tenors - £15/£12/£5
5.00-6.15 Maltese Connection - £15/£12/£5
6.15-7.30 Dinner in the foyer - Jim Mullen Organ Trio - FREE!
7.45-10.15 Claire Martin Quartet - £20/£18/£10
10.30-12.00 After hours in the foyer – Brian Kellock Trio

Sunday 20th

11.30-12.30 Herts Youth Jazz Ensemble - FREE!
1.00-2.00 Fionna Duncan Trio - £15/£12/£5
2.00-3.00 Lunch in the foyer - Nikki Iles & Karen Sharp - FREE!
3.15-4.30 Leon Greening Quartet - £15/£12/£5
5.00-6.15 Julian Arguelles Tetra - £15/£12/£5
6.15-7.30 Dinner in the foyer - Chris Eldred Trio - FREE!
7.45-10.15 Big Band Britannia: the music of Tubby Hayes and Stan Tracey - £25/£22/£10


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