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Suffolk Jazz man Chris Ingham and folk aficonado Chris Wilbraham take a look at what’s happening on the music scene and list the gigs you can see

JAZZ by Chris Ingham

Wednesday, May 8

WAKEY BLAKEY (Stoke By Nayland Golf Club, 8pm, £20, 01787 211865, fleecejazz.org.uk) All-star salute to the 1960s hard bop of Art Blakey with Rory Ingham (trombone), James Davison (trumpet), Alex Hitchcock (alto sax), Matt Carter (piano), Misha Mullov-Abbado (bass), Sebastiaan de Krom (drums).


Saturday, May 11

RAY GELATO (Haverhill Arts Centre, 8pm, £15/£10 u18s, haverhillartscentre.co.uk, 01440 714140) The Swinging Cat Jazz Club welcomes back the Godfather of Swing Ray Gelato on sax and vocals with Tim Lapthorn (piano), Rob Statham (bass), Nic France (drums) plus hostess Hannah Horton (sax).

Music nights
Music nights

Sunday, May 12

CHRIS INGHAM QUARTET: HOAGY! (Venue 16, Ipswich, 2.30pm, £15, ipswichjazzandblues.com) Celebrating the great American songwriter Hoagy Carmichael with music from the quartet’s recent CD Hoagy II. Featuring Chris Ingham (piano/vocal), Paul Higgs (trumpet), Geoff Gascoyne (bass) and George Double (drums).

PHIL DAWSON QUINTET (Colchester Arts Centre, 7.30pm, £17.50, colchesterartscentre.com) An Afro-Brazilian special featuring vocalist and star of ‘The Voice’ Carolina Lelis accompanied by Phil Dawson (guitar), Marcelo Andrade (songwriter/multi-instrumentalist), Maurizio Ravalico (percussion), Matheus Nova (bass) and Marius Rodrigues (drums).

Tuesday, May 14

ROGER BEAUJOLAIS (Maddermarket Theatre Bar, Norwich, 8pm, £16/£8 u25, norwichjazzclub.co.uk) Vibraphone wizard Beaujolais promoting his latest CD release saluting Milt Jackson Bags Of Vibes with Simon Brown (piano), Simon Wood (bass), Tom Jiggins (drums).

Friday, May 17

FREDDIE GAVITA (Hunter Club, Bury, 7.30pm, £18, headhunterslive.org, 07799 650009) Best Trumpet winner of the 2017 UK Jazz Awards and mainstay the Ronnie Scott’s Club Quintet presents ‘Freddie Plays Freddie’, a salute to one of his trumpet heroes, the legendary Freddie Hubbard, with Chris Ingham (piano), Owen Morgan (bass) and George Double (drums).

Wednesday, May 22

CLARK TRACEY QUINTET (Stoke By Nayland Golf Club, 8pm, £18, 01787 211865, fleecejazz.org.uk) Legendary drummer’s latest group featuring Alex Clarke (saxes), Graham Harvey (piano), Emily Masser (vocals) and James Owston (bass).

Thursday, May 23

HANNAH HORTON (Diss Corn Hall, 7.30pm, £17, thecornhall.co.uk, 01379 652241) Part of the Jazz at the Corn Hall series, Parliamentary Jazz Award-winner saxophonist/composer Horton is joined by Chris Ingham (piano), Owen Morgan (bass) and George Double (drums).

LULU PIERRE QUARTET (Hidden Rooms, Cambridge, 7.30pm, £20, cambridgejazz.org) Up and coming torch song stylist with echoes of Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson, Lulu Pierre is joined by Alex Webb (piano), Tony Kofi (tenor sax), Hamish Moore (bass) and Dan Hester (drums).

Sunday, May 26

ALLISON NEALE QUARTET (Yalm Food Court, Norwich, 19.30, £11.55, norwichjazzclub.co.uk) Shades of Paul Desmond and Jim Hall with this highly refined group featuring US-born Allison Neale (alto sax), Colin Oxley (guitar), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Matt Fishwick (drums).

Thursday, May 30

CLARE TEAL SEVEN (Apex, 7.30pm, £29, theapex.co.uk, 0124 758000) Popular swing singer and broadcaster with her all-star band featuring Jason Rebello (piano), Simon Little (bass), Ed Richardson (drums), Giacomo Smith (clarinet), Pete Horsfall (trumpet), Dave Archer (guitar).

FOLK by Chris Wilbraham

The final of The Milkmaid Songwriting Competition was won last Friday by Robin Torbitt, a 22-year-old singer/songwriter and music producer from just outside of Bury who told me of his journey into acoustic/folk music:
“My affinity for folk has come full circle from when I joined the Phoenix Folk Group during primary school. We would meet every week, learning to sing and play an eclectic mix of traditional, 60s/70s folk/pop and originals written by our teacher on acoustic guitar. My time in Phoenix was contrasted by that spent as a traditional chorister. As a teen, picking up the electric guitar was a springboard towards an increasing interest in music technology and composing throughout upper school.

“I pursued these interests, studying Music and Sound Recording at the University of York. There, I really developed confidence in my songwriting and felt drawn back in a folky direction, inspired by my favourite 70s singer/songwriters such as Nick Drake, John Martyn and Joni Mitchell. My final uni project built upon similar ideas and aimed to fuse them with my other love of creative music production.

“My winning song, Aurora, reflects upon the northern lights from the perspective of distance and ordinary life. Having never actually seen them, the imagination runs wild seeing the sky personified as a being of great wisdom, kindness and beauty. I feel very grateful to have been chosen as the winner among eight finalists who were also worthy of the title. It has given me a great opportunity to share my songs on the main stage of Bury Folk Festival in June.

“For anyone further interested in my music and what I do please find my website at robintorbittmusic.com”

Folk for all
Folk for all

My singing partner Liz echoed Robin’s comments about the very high standard of writing and performance. She mentioned enjoying the music of Songs of the Folk, a duo from South Carolina, and Gerd Wagner, from closer to home in Ely. Gerd was particularly pleased to be included in the final : “I’m neither a seasoned performer nor a prolific songwriter, so being selected for the finals was really quite unexpected. I was in the audience for the finals last year, so I knew the standard was going to be pretty high. Personal highlights for me were the reimagining of the Minotaur myth, Ellie Tree’s warm-up song, and a third-party perspective on James Joyce’s love letters to his wife Nora by Solomon Smith. Very imaginative!”

Robin Torbitt will be joined on the bill of Bury Folk Festival in The Walled Garden of Nowton Park on Saturday, June 29 by runner-up Samantha Penman. Other participants will also be performing. Les Ray and his trio Red Velvet have been booked for a while and I’ve heard that other acts have been invited to play on The Green Stage at some point. It promises to be another chance to experience what the local folk scene has to offer, and hear the nationally-acclaimed work of Reg Meuross and John Ward, among others.

Here are more opportunities happening sooner:

Friday, May 3

Risbygate Sports Club, Bury St Edmunds, 8pm, The Milkmaid Folk Club: Sarah Stock. £8.

Hadleigh Folk Club, 8pm, The Rabbitts + Jeremy Harmer+ Ellie Tree. £7.

Cambridge Junction, 7pm, The Elephant Sessions, support from Ellie Gowers. £19.50.

Golden Hind, Cambridge, 8pm, Open Stage with special guest Emily Fraser. £3.

Monday, May 6

Ampersand Brewery, Diss, 2pm, The Harvs.

Tuesday, May 7

Cambridge Junction, 8pm, Blair Dunlop. £19.50.

Wednesday, May 8

Banham Barrel, 8pm, Later with James Veira.

Thursday, May 9

Cambridge Junction, 8pm, Andy Irvine. £21.

Friday, May 10

John Peel Centre, Stowmarket, 7.30pm, The Buffalo Skinners. £15.

Golden Hind, Cambridge, 8pm, Cambridge Folk Club; Peggy Seeger in conversation with Mark Walsh; floor spots - Martin Baxter, Lara Gisborne. £16.

Cambridge Junction, 7pm, Newton Faulkner. £32.50.