PREVIEW: South Coast Jazz Festival (Brighton and Shoreham, 16-29 Jan)



The English South Coast, where Londoners of yore went for therapy. Though they didn’t call it that in them days. Today, this therapeutic easing of the January blues comes in the form of top quality jazz, courtesy of Claire Martin OBE, Julian Nicholas and their enthusiastic team of South Coast Jazz Festival activists. Peter Bacon previews their third festival:

For 2017 the South Coast Jazz Festival just got bigger and better. As Claire Martin explains: ”This year, the South Coast Jazz Festival has taken a massive leap in terms of extending our programme. It now covers a full 14 days of top quality jazz, showcasing the wealth of our national and regional talent, special events and workshops.”

The festival has not only expanded its scope from a long weekend to a fortnight but from one venue to two, (three if you count the festival’s launch by Incognito at The Old Market in Hove in December).

Events at the festival’s familiar stamping ground, the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham By Sea, are packed into the weekend of 27-29 January, with a double bill preceding them on Thursday 26 January, and all that is preceded by a solid ten days at The Verdict in Brighton.

The Jam Experiment featuring Rory Ingham (centre) and Alex Bone (right)


The more intimate gigs at The Verdict comprise performances from the Dave Drake Trio, Terry Seabrook’s Triversion, Ollie Brice with Rachel Musson and Mark Sanders, the Nigel Thomas and Sara Oschlag quartets, The Jam Experiment, and the Eddie Myer 5TET, as well as a student showcase, an education forum, a jazz film and photography day, and a jam session.

Over in Shoreham the programme lists double bills of Zoe Rahman and Dennis Rollins’ Funky Funk, the Jim Mullen Organ Trio and Sarah Jane Morris, and the J-Sonics alongside Alec Dankworth’s Spanish Accents. There will be DJ sets from Kevin Le Gendre and Neil Godwin, plus a concert by Terry Pack’s community band, Trees. The SCJF grand finale is Ray Gelato’s Giants featuring Claire Martin with a selection of songs from their recent album We’ve Got A World That Swings.




This is a festival that caters for all ages, and cares as much about helping the up-and-coming musician as it does providing classy entertainment for the jazz punter. Well Versed - Tools Of The Trade is a workshop run by Claire Martin and Elaine Crouch addressing the challenges of career musicians, while Jazz For Juniors, open to 10 to 17 year-olds, gives the musicians of the future a first step on the ladder.

Claire stresses: “There really is something for everyone. I'm very proud of the hard work our small team have put in, and that our original vision of establishing an annual ‘boutique’ festival, by the sea and with it’s roots firmly based in the community is well on the way to to being fulfilled.” (pp)

The 2017 South Coast Jazz Festival, in association with Jazz FM, runs from 16 to 29 January at The Verdict in Brighton and Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham By Sea.

LINK: South Coast Jazz Festival

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