FEATURE: Clark Tracey Interview (Herts Jazz Festival 2016, 16-18 Sept)

The big band at the 2015 Festival.
Photo credit: Melody McLaren


With two and a half months to go before this year's fifth Herts Jazz Festival, Artistic Director CLARK TRACEY spoke to Sebastian:

The fifth Herts Jazz Festival will take place from 16th-18th September. I asked Clark Tracey what his main preoccupations and priorities had been when planning this year's event. "We do like keeping a broad spectrum,and the emphasis is always on hard core jazz" he explained. He likes to keep a momentum going with different faces, although it is inevitable that some players who appear in different bands will re-appear. "The process is split between things we'd like to put on for ourselves, and scouring what else is happening, tours and so on."

I asked Clark about the concert he is doing with  saxophonist Paul Dunmall, pianist Keith Tippett and bassist Tom McCredie, a freer kind of music than that which he is normally associated with. "I  got a call from Paul in January to do a gig at the Vortex. I haven't been asked to do a free improv gig since my 20s. I was really happy to be asked. They're great musicians,  it went really well and I decided to re-create it and put the band together again." Clark Tracey said it had brought back to mind of "one of best concerts I ever heard, at Appleby Jazz Festival, with Paul Dunmall, [drummer] Tony Levin and [bassist] Paul Rogers."

Julian Joseph's trio? "The  festival was an appropriate setting to get him and the trio with Mark Mondesir. As a drummer I am knocked out by Mark Mondesir,  an astonishing player."

And Tim Garland and Jason Rebello on the Friday night?  "Tim played here 2-3 yrs ago, and   jason played at the first festival." On this theme of "top-end musicians," Clark also mentioned Gilad Atzmon bringing his strings project for thre first time and Printmakers, "another one with ALL top-end musicians..."

Gerd Dudek? I have worked for six or seven years with the European  Jazz ensemble. I  first heard him at vortex - it must have been twenty years ago, at the old place. I had heard him on the radio and that is what prompted me to go. He was with an English trio, he  blew me away. I then got to know him. He's a lovely guy. He  has the avant-garde tag, but that is more based on the people who employ him.  On his own he is more straight ahead so I've put him with my trio with Arnie Somogyi and Steve Melling. –-----------------------

And  young people? "I teach at Birmingham Conservatoire, taught at RNCM in Manchester and at the Purcell School.I heard [Saxophonist] Sean Payne there. He really stood out. He will be just sixteen  when he plays at the festival. He played at the club recently, I stuck him next to  Brandon Allen. Amazing!"

"And bassist Daniel Casimir I first heard him up at Birmingham and put him in my latest band. He's really going places now. He's a nominee in the Worshipful Company of Musicians final, a lot of people have heard him! I just think of him as  one of my favourite bass players!" (pp)

HERTS JAZZ FEST PROGRAMME


Friday evening 16th

8.30-11.00 Tim Garland Quartet - £25/£20 Herts Jazz members/£10
students
11.00-12.30 Late night set – Bryan Spring Trio - FREE!

Saturday 17th

11.30-12.30 Herts Youth Jazz Ensemble - FREE!
1.00-2.00 The Printmakers - £15/£12/£5
2.00-3.00 In the foyer - Neil Angilley Trio - FREE!
3.15-4.30 Dunmall/Tippett/McCredie/Tracey - £15/£12/£5
5.00-6.15 Ernie Wilkins’ “Top Brass” Revisited - £15/£12/£5
6.15-7.30 In the foyer - Dave Newton/Andy Cleyndert Duo - FREE!
7.45-10.15 Gilad with Strings - £25/£20/£10
10.30-12.00 Late night set - Introducing Sean Payne - FREE!

Sunday 18th

11.30-12.30 Derek Nash’s Picante - £15/£12/£5
1.00-2.00 Gerd Dudek - £15/£12/£5 -
2.00-3.00 In the foyer - Nigel Price Organ Trio - FREE!
3.15-4.30 Laurie Cottle Quintet - £15/£12/£5
5.00-6.15 Julian Joseph Trio - £15/£12/£5
6.15-7.30 In the foyer - Daniel Casimir Trio - FREE!
7.45-10.15 Mingus/Monk Big Band tribute - £25/£20/£10

Deadline for early-bird weekend tickets is 31 July.
Gig and day tickets go on sale on 1 August.

Herts Jazz Festival is in the Hawthorne Theatre Welwyn Garden City

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