Wednesday, 3 May 2017


Newbury Market Place is the place to be on the weekend of 15 and 16 July when it will be pumping and jumping, swinging and swaying with the mellow, soulful, exciting sounds of the town’s first ever Jazz and Blues Festival. And what’s more it’s a FREE event!

The Jazz and Blues Festival starts on the evening of Saturday 15 July, 6–10pm as the sun goes down; on Sunday 16 July the show starts in the afternoon at 2pm, closing at 8pm that evening.

In its excellent central position, with loads of popular places on hand to enjoy drinks or a meal, this is a great event for all generations to enjoy together, and an array of amazing talent is promised in the programme which features:

Bob Long Trio (Saturday: 6–7pm)
The Festival opens to the exciting sound of the Bob Long Trio. You can look forward to a mixture of original compositions and jazz standards from the 1950s and 60s, performed by veteran jazz musicians from San Diego, Chicago and New York.

Andy Kennedy Quartet (Saturday: 7.15–8.15pm)
Regulars on the Basingstoke and Southampton jazz scenes, these musicians are known for playing modern and contemporary jazz standards in energetic and adventurous style. Taking their lead from such artist as Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker and Miles Davis are Andy Kennedy on saxophones, his father Mike Kennedy on piano, Brian Throup on upright bass and bass guitar, and Damian Hayes on drums.

Robin Bibi Band (Saturday: 8.30–10pm)
Robin Bibi is recognised as one of the UK’s top blues/rock guitarists. Having paid his dues working with such names as Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Ben E. King, The Pretty Things and Helen Shapiro, he launched his own band in the late 1990s. Blues and jazz fusion come together in the band’s feel-good concoction which will make this a night to remember.

Rag & Moan Men (Sunday: 2–3pm)
Acoustic blues and beyond are brought to you by Martin Wood and friends who as the Rag & Moan Men play at various venues throughout Berkshire and North Hampshire. Expect their take on sounds from such legends as Muddy Waters, Furry Lewis, Blind Willie Johnson, Bob Dylan, Tampa Red, Van Morrison, St Louis Jimmy, Howlin' Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, J.J. Cale, Jimmy Reed, alongside some of their own songs.

Fleur Stevenson (Sunday: 3.15–4.15pm)
Alluringly graceful and charismatic, Fleur Stevenson is one of the new breed of jazz singers. She is known for her scat singing and passionate interpretation of jazz classics, and with influences including Carman McRae, Shirley Horn, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Chris Connor she performs a modern take on a variety of much-loved jazz standards, Latin favourites and vintage-flavoured originals. She enjoys collaborations with many wonderful musicians and has performed for many different events at venues across the UK, including the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

Chicago 9 Blues Band (Sunday: 4.30–5.30pm)
Chicago 9 is a four-piece blues band whose main influence is the electric blues of Chicago in the 1950s and 60s. Their heroes include Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Sonny Boy Williamson but their set also includes their own original compositions. This is one no-fuss, high-energy, 21st-century blues experience not to be missed.

Ma Bessie (Sunday: 5.45–6.45pm)
Julia Titus as Ma Bessie celebrates Bessie Smith, the American blues singer nicknamed Empress of the Blues. Today Ma Bessie delights in bringing the music of Bessie Smith – one of the greatest singers of 1920s and 30s – and her contemporaries to a new audience.

Jon Walsh Trio (Sunday: 7–8pm)
At the Festival finale expect the best of the blues from the Jon Walsh Trio (JW3), comprised of three long-time musicians and friends – Jon A. Walsh, Bill White and Dave Laing – who have been playing together since the 1980s. Specialising in original music and acoustic covers of singer/songwriter classics, the trio’s ethos is ‘less is more’ and playing the essence of beautiful songs is what it’s all about for JW3.

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