Jazz Festival brings funk and soul to Cambridge



The Brewin Dolphin Cambridge International Jazz Festival kicks off next Tuesday (13th November).

This year, the Festival, which runs to 27th November, features a range of funk and soul artists from Portuguese funksters The Black Mamba and local soul legend Myles Sanko, to the foot-stomping Three Step Manoeuvre, The Brass Funkeys and Resolution 88.  

Portuguese band, The Black Mamba, who take to the stage at Darwin College on Wednesday 21st  November, are taking the world by storm, selling out venues from the USA and Angola to Brazil and Spain, after the success of their first hit single ‘Wonder Why’. Formed from some of Portugal’s greatest musicians, these experienced performers wind their way through the universe of funk, soul and blues with agility and grace. Bringing high levels of positive energy, their delightful performances invariably have audiences up on their feet.

Last year saw their UK debut with a dazzling spectacle at Under the Bridge, London with the charismatic Grammy-winner Skyler Jett from the Motown Hall of Fame group, The Commodores and the Music Ambassador for Global Change. Skyler Jett commented: “I just love performing with The Black Mamba. Trust me, Tatanka and the guys are awesome!”

Described as “One of the great talents of the vibrant European Soul” by Rolling Stone magazine, soul singer, Myles Sanko (Thursday Nov 22nd at Cambridge Junction) is something very special and his new album ‘Forever Dreaming’ is quite simply stunning, with a musical quality that is rare indeed. Craig Charles (Craig Charles Funk and Soul show, BBC Radio 6 Music) described Myles as “One of the freshest talents in the UK, he truly has an outstanding voice.”

Myles began his music career by singing and rapping alongside disc jockeys in nightclubs. He has fronted popular bands such as Bijoumiyo, who were often seen busking the streets of Cambridge, plus working with funk kings Speedometer.

Jazz funk band Resolution 88 return to the Festival, bringing their thrilling funk to Cambridge on Friday 23rd November at the Portland Arms. Their ethos is to create exciting new live music that makes people dance, recording as live takes in the studio and performing at venues where the band are right there in the crowd.

Commenting on Resolution 88, Craig Charles (Craig Charles Funk and Soul show, BBC Radio 6 Music), said: “This is an exciting young band from Cambridge who take their influence from the immensely important, barrier-breaking mid 70's funk jazzer Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters – they've come out of nowhere at the last minute! There's absolutely no-one around at all like these guys at the moment!” 

On 25th November at the Storey’s Field Centre in Eddington, audiences are in for a real treat when two of the jazz music world’s most exhilarating bands take to the stage, The Brass Funkeys and Three Step Manoeuvre.

The Brass Funkeys are a dynamic 8-piece London-based Brass Band who draw on the traditions of New Orleans. They have played at major festivals including Glastonbury, Wilderness and the North Sea Jazz Festival as well as London venues including The O2 Brooklyn Bowl, Koko Camden, and Ronnie Scott’s. Whether performing a powerful amplified stage show or as a totally mobile marching band, the Brass Funkeys bring together some of the most talented musicians in London in an eclectic live show bursting at the seams with infectious energy and pumping brass-driven funk.

Three Step Manoeuvre came together through a shared love of the classic organ trio line-up, and the music of funk pioneers like James Brown and The Meters, jazz legends such as Jimmy Smith and John Scofield, and modern groups including Lettuce and Soulive. Joining them is soul singer Georgia van Etten, a soul-blues songstress with a unique, creative voice and a badass vocal trumpet. She has wowed audiences globally from major festivals in her homeland Australia, to Ronnie Scotts to famous European stages like Montreux Jazz (Switzerland), Porretta Soul (Italy), and Jazz à Vienne (France).

Another performance tipped to be a must-see is Harry Greene Trio with Ashton Jones on Saturday 17th November at Cambridge University Centre Wine Bar. Harry Greene studies at The Royal Academy in London and has been nominated for the best young Jazz musician of the year. He is an outstanding musician and is as at home playing guitar as he is on the saxophone. Harry is joined by the world-class rhythm section of Joe Taylor on drums and Alan Carruthers on bass. 

Ashton Jones is a British soul singer with a throwback style rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic, and performances that deliver soulful melodies, gritty funk and sparks of falsetto. Ashton prides himself on offering a brand of energy, flare and musicianship that captivates the audience. Recently selected to support Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum selling artists SHALAMAR on their UK tour, and with numerous sold-out shows of his own, including Montreux Jazz Cafe at Harrods and two performances at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Ashton is certainly a performer in demand.​

Finally, for those who want to learn more about the most incredible bass players on the planet, a new film Beneath the Bassline, is being shown on 26th November at Gonville & Caius College. The film is followed by a Q&A with the director, Nick Wells and Cambridge-based bass player Tiago Coimbra.

Travelling to Fodera Guitars in Brooklyn, Sadowsky Guitars in Long Island City and Aguilar Amplification in Manhattan’s Soho district – featuring interviews with the likes of Will Lee, Richard Bona, Billy Sheehan, Bootsy Collins, Duff McKagan, Felix Pastorius, Mark King, Lee Sklar, John Patitucci, Larry Graham, Marcus Miller, Robert Trujillo, Nathan East, Stanley Clarke and many others, Beneath The Bassline is packed with never-before-told stories and anecdotes as well as behind-the-scenes footage and jam sessions.

“This is a film for anyone who loves the bass guitar,” said Director, Nick Wells. “We wanted to get to grips with what really makes these guys tick, find out how they evolved their respective sounds and styles, and get a glimpse into their world in a way that I don't think any other documentary has.”

The Cambridge Jazz Festival is supported by the Arts Council England, Brewin Dolphin, Cambridge BID, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridgeshire Music and the University of Cambridge.

Media partners include BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Cambridge Independent and Cambridge 105.

For the full line-up, tickets and lots more information visit: www.cambridgejazzfestival.info

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