New season jazz to be different

FRESH faces and a handful returning in different guises fill the new Sheffield Jazz season.

It begins a week tomorrow with Phil Robson & The Instant Message Quintet, named after an acclaimed guitarist and composer but featuring exceptional US saxophonist Mark Turner.

Phil has fronted many innovative projects while Mark displays his major influences - Coltrane and Warne Marsh - with technical ability that extends the saxophone range into the high altissimo register.

That is at the Millennium Hall along with all other gigs, except the Storms/Nocturnes trio - featuring sax/clarinet star Tim Garland, New York vibes man Joe Locke and recent Grammy nominee Geoffrey Keezer - playing Crucible Studio on April 2.

January 28 sees Mick Hutton, one of the most talented bass players in Europe for 30 years, back in action after a six-year period impaired by injury.

Canadian-born Jay Phelps brings his quartet on February 11. Moving to London at 17, he performed with the likes of Courtney Pine, Guy Barker, Jazz Jamaica and John Dankworth.

Highly-rated versatile drummer Dylan Howe leads a quartet, featuring the best young players from the London jazz scene, on February 18 with original compositions plus arrangements from Howe's recent projects.

Top jazz trumpeter Steve Waterman blows in on March 4. This project is a history of nearly 100 years of jazz trumpet with compositions written by Armstrong and Beiderbecke to Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie.

Back on March 11 is the highly lyrical sax of Sam Crockatt, while March 25 sees South African pianist John Donaldson play the music of the late Bheki Mseleku, lauded for his melodicism, rhythmic sophistication, ability to assimilate a broad variety of musical styles and strong spiritual leanings.

On April 15, the Kairos Quartet blur the boundaries between accessible tune-led music, heavy grooves and improvising of the highest order, while Trio WAH! on May 6 is a chance to hear sax man Jason Yarde's playing and compositions in an intimate, stripped down setting.

May 13 is a chance to catch a sextet driven by revered guitarist Mike Walker, while closing the season a week later bass player Arnie Somogyi returns with an impressive line-up featuring sax stars Alan Barnes and Tony Kofi.

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