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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Top line up for new jazz festival
Courtney Pine
Courtney Pine is on the bill at Derry Jazz Festival.
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By Keiron Tourish
BBC Northern Ireland north-west reporter

Londonderry will be literally jazzing it up over the coming May bank holiday weekend.

There's a free jazz trail, jazz movies in the local cinema and even jazz cruises on the River Foyle.

There will be almost 50 performances from local, national and international stars from 1 to 5 May.

Derry City Council hopes the inaugural Jazz and Big Band Festival will become an annual event and bring in thousands of tourists to boost the local economy.

Mayor Alderman Mildred Garfield said it was important to create new opportunities for music in the city.
Stacey Kent
Former vocalist of the year Stacey Kent.

"There is something for everyone and I am delighted that so many venues and partners have come on-board to ensure the festival will be a success."

The festival will have a truly cosmopolitan feel with British, American and African performers.

One of the biggest attractions is arguably Britain's number one jazz musician, Courtney Pine OBE.

Reckoned to be at the cutting edge, his range of performance is bound to be a huge draw.

Courtney Pine is one of the most influential and successful of all young British musicians.

His debut album, Journey to the Urge Within, was one of the first serious jazz albums ever to make the British Top 40.

He has had collaborations with artists as diverse as Talvin Singh, Ronnie Size and Mick Jagger.

Rave reviews

Stacey Kent, a young New Yorker voted Vocalist of the Year at the 1999 British Jazz Awards, is now well on her way to being the next so called First Lady of Song.

Her album, The Tender Trap, entered the Billboard Top 20 jazz albums in the USA and achieved rave reviews in the UK.

Louis Stewart, who is rated Ireland's top jazz performer, will also be performing at the festival.

He taught himself the guitar at the age of 15 and has toured and recorded worldwide with George Shearing, Martin Taylor, Spike Robinson and many other jazz stars.

Moonlight Serenade

No Jazz and Big Band Festival would be complete without a tribute to the legendary Glenn Miller.

Miller Magic is just that. It features all the classics and is actually conducted by Glenn's nephew John Miller.

The band includes all the great classics from Moonlight Serenade, A Story of a Starry Night to Little Brown Jug and In the Mood.

Black Umfolosi
Black Umfolosi are Zimbabwe's top capella group.

The African contribution comes in the form of the very talented Black Umfolosi. They are said to be Zimbabwe's number one cappella song dance group.

They not only sing but perform traditional dances on stage. That ranges from the spectacular Zulu war dance to the delightful gumboot dance, which originated in the diamond mines of South Africa.

Chairman of the Recreation and Leisure Committee Councillor John Kerr said that the programme for the festival was an excellent achievement for the first year of the event.

"It is a great opportunity for local people and visitors to listen to superb music here in the City. It also supports our plans to build a series of festivals that make it possible for Derry to take the lead as a world class location for cultural events."

It's not only the international stars who'll be dominating this festival - many local artists will also feature in the 20 venues throughout the five day event.

See also:

19 Apr 02 | Music
My Music: Stacey Kent
13 Feb 02 | Music
Pine turns jazz ambassador
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