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Suffolk Jazz musician Chris Ingham and folk music aficionado Chris Wilbraham point you in the direction of all the best gigs around

JAZZ by Chris Ingham: cjr.ingham@outlook.com/chrisingham.co.uk

Friday, April 19

JOHN ETHERIDGE BLUE SPIRITS (Hunter Club, Bury, 7.30pm, £18, headhunterslive.org, 07799 650009) Blues-soaked grooves and sizzling solos from guitar legend Etheridge and his Blue Spirits trio completed by Pete Whittaker (organ) and George Double (drums).

Wednesday, April 24

CHRIS INGHAM QUARTET: THE JAZZ OF DUDLEY MOORE (Stoke By Nayland Golf Club, 8pm, £18, 01787 211865, fleecejazz.org.uk) An acclaimed salute to the beloved comic actor’s underrated and overlooked 1960s jazz played by Chris Ingham (piano), Paul Higgs (trumpet), Simon Thorpe (bass) and George Double (drums).


Saturday, April 27

COME TO THE CABARET (Whelnetham Community Centre, 7.30pm, £10, brian.wesley77@gmail.com, 01284 705792) An evening of songs and words fundraising for Freedom From Torture, a charity providing therapeutic care for survivors of torture who seek protection in the UK.

Sunday, April 28

REMI HARRIS HOT CLUB TRIO (Yalm Food Court, Norwich, 19.30, £11.55, norwichjazzclub.co.uk) One of the UK’s most exciting guitarists is joined by double bassist Tom Moore and rhythm guitarist Chris Nesbitt to present an enthralling evening of Gypsy Jazz and Blues.

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).

All that jazz
All that jazz

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).

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).

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, Freddie plays in the Ronnie Scott’s Club Quintet and jazz-rock outfit Fletch’s Brew and is a band leader in his own right. Tonight he salutes one of his trumpet heroes, the legendary Freddie Hubbard, with Chris Ingham (piano), Owen Morgan (bass) and George Double (drums).

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).

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 Allison Neale (alto sax), Colin Oxley (guitar),
Jeremy Brown (bass) and Matt Fishwick (drums).

FOLKwith Chris Wilbraham: chris.wilbraham@tinyonline.co.uk

I was hoping to write a preview of The Milkmaid Folk Songwriting Competition Final this week but apparently the judges won’t have decided the line-up for the final, which happens at Risbygate Sports Club next Friday, April 26, until after my publishing deadline. Instead, I will reflect on the four heats that have all happened. Looking at the list of entrants one sees plenty of names familiar from the gig lists of local folk clubs. Jeremy Harmer, Farendena Afifi, Solomon Smith and Peter Reeves often play showcases at Cambridge, Ely and The Milkmaid Folk Clubs and Ellie Tree is a regular on the Ipswich Mmusic scene. When one adds
acts like Milton Hide who headline folk clubs in Kent and East Sussex, it’s not hard to see why the standard of writing and performance has been so high and the judges are having to take their time deciding.

I asked Les Ray, presenter of Strummers and Dreamers on Cambridge local radio and singer songwriter with his trio Red Velvet, for his impressions of the competition so far: “I went along as an audience member to heat one of the competition, and took part in heat four, so in all I saw half the songwriters and their entries.

There's a lot of folk music to be enjoyed
There's a lot of folk music to be enjoyed

The environment is very welcoming. Tony, Chris and Holly, who run the event, are all very friendly and encouraging. Likewise, the audience, which is actually made up mostly of fellow competitors, is very supportive and the applause for all songs was warm and enthusiastic. In fact, it’s clear that everyone wants everyone else to succeed, which is going to make it very hard for the judges to decide on who goes through into the final (8 acts from 4 heats) and ultimately who wins. I really don’t envy them.

This year is the first time I’ve taken part and I’ve been very surprised to find out how far some of the songwriters have travelled to take part; Cambridge is quite well represented, as you’d expect, but in the fourth heat there were performers from Scotland and Wales, for example.

As for my song: I was suffering from a persistent tickly cough that I've had for days now, and was worried my song might have an unexpected middle eight consisting of a coughing fit, but thankfully that didn't happen and I got through it.

I’d love to go further in the competition, but if I don’t that’s okay too, as the overall standard of the songs and performers is very high in my view.”

MC Holly Green has enjoyed the event so far: “The competition has warmed and inspired the entrants, judges and audiences so far with songs that range in subjects from English novels and poetry to historical events and love songs, each with its own spark and interest, written from a unique and personal perspective. In spite of this being a competition, the connections and friendships built in the heats give opportunities for learning, collaboration and encouragement that will go far beyond announcing the winning song.”

Recordings of songs played at the heats are available on The Milkmaid Folk Club website.

Here are next week’s gigs:

Friday, April 19

Risbygate Sports Club, Bury St Edmunds, 8pm, The Milkmaid Folk Club: The John Ward Trio. £12.

The Golden Hind, Cambridge, 8pm, Cambridge Folk Club: Showcase with John & Di Cullen, Steve Warner, The Larks. £10.

Monday, April 22

Colchester Arts Centre, 8pm, Hunter Muskett, support from Sinead Orme. £11.

Cambridge Junction, 8pm, Kathryne Tickell and The Darkening. £24.50.

Tuesday, April 23

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, 7.30pm, A Feast of Fiddles. £26.50.

Wednesday, April 24

Risbygate Sports Club, Bury St Edmunds, 8pm, Bury Folk Collective: from The Tradition Night.

Banham Barrel, 8pm, Later with James Veira.

Friday, April 26

Risbygate Sports Club, Bury St Edmunds, 8pm, The Milkmaid Folk Song Writing Competition Final, 7.30pm. £4.

John Peel Centre, Stowmarket, 7.30pm, The Men They Couldn’t Hang. £24.

The Golden Hind, Cambridge, 8pm, Cambridge Folk Club: Brooks Williams and Aaron Catlow. £15.