|Jazz Fest Off To A Flyer!
Free For All: The Harlem Hotstompers live in Wigan.
The 20th Wigan International Jazz Festival opened to a storm this weekend as a sun-baked Wigan swayed to the cool and easy sound of headliners Manhattan Transfer. Over 750 fans filled the Pier Centre, as the Transfer wooed the audience with two hours of sublime jazz pop, culminating with their show-stopping encore Chanson D’Armour.
From the moment the Harlem Hotstompers opened the weekend at 11am on Saturday with a fine array of summer-soaked Dixieland tunes, Wigan became reminiscent of Bourbon Street in its heyday.
“The wonderful aspect about the opening weekend, is that it has proven what a diverse genre Jazz is. The weekend drifted from the Big Band sound of the BBC Big Band and High Brass to the smooth vocal sound of Manhattan Transfer and Lee Gibson in the blink of an eye,” claimed festival director Ian Darrington.”
“We had nine different performances at seven different venues in two days. The first weekend is always a bit of a whirlwind, I am so pleased that all the concerts went down so well whether they were the big celebrity performances or the free ones.”
High Brass had over one hundred listeners awestruck at Jumpin’ Jaks on Saturday afternoon with a powerful set splattered with swooping solos and spine-chilling orchestration.
The Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra sparkled on Sunday morning at Mesnes Park, while Lasse Lindgren proved he is one of the world’s finest trumpet players at the Beer Engine on Sunday afternoon with a mind-blowing triumphant set.
Later on Sunday, Sally Doherty treated a packed Rigalettos to some sweet Latin jazz ballads, this followed Lee Gibson’s Saturday night sell-out performance at the same venue.
The ever-consistent BBC Big Band under Barry Fogie’s guidance also sold out the Marquee Suite at the JJB Stadium and had the audience in the palm of their hand with a brilliant set of big band standards ranging from Tommy Dorsey to Stan Kenton.
Throughout the opening weekend, jazz talents from across the globe kept toes tapping and fans smiling as Wigan proved it is a glorious Mecca for Jazz fans the world over.
The Festival runs to Saturday 16th July and tickets are selling out fast. Fans are urged to call the bookings office soon on (01942) 825677 to avoid disappointment.
All artists appear by arrangement with Ernie Garside Productions.