Liverpool’s thriving jazz scene is alive and well, Getintothis’ Jonathan Butters gives us the low down on Parrjazz and what’s in store in the coming weeks.
“I don’t like jazz, but I liked that!” How many times have I heard that?
Several gigs every night of the week make jazz, in all its forms, a booming part of Liverpool’s music scene. And as we write, several new regular nights have just been announced.
Every Tuesday Parrjazz delivers the original storming jam session in Studio2 Parr Street with jazz touring players – they’ve had Japanese martial arts rockers and American proggers playing with students and Liverpool schmoozers.
For 10 years Liverpool’s Parrjazz has promoted top international players: Snarky Puppy, FORQ, Gogo Penguin, Alan Barnes, Dennis Rollins and loads more. Parrjazz has introduced and supported new players as well as developing venues: Studio2, On Air, Ma Boyles and Frederiks. Parrjazz, led by musicians, is non-profit and supports new talent, from the LIPA guys to those making the move from rock, pop and soul to walking on the Jazz-side!
The menu is wide; angular free-jazz, early roots, ragtime, classic swing, the coolest cool cats, jazz-rock fusion, prog, funk and trippy youngsters working their way out of the trance-psych soup. Summer to autumn in Liverpool has seen spectacular artists, vinyl jams and the legendary jam sessions.
June was kicked off into a dark gothic castle by Liverpool’s own Blind Monk Trio cascading their Black Sabbath/Stranglers/Coltrane compote into the laps of regulars at Ma Boyle’s Alehouse and Eatery; local vicar sat outside smoking a cigar and sipping a single malt.
June saw Parrjazz returning every Tuesday to Studio 2 Parr Street after a brief spell on Hope Street, saying farewell to Frederiks with a monster night featuring the LIPA Big Band. Studio 2 was designed as a recording studio, the best live sound in the city. You’ll also find Jazz at On Air every other Thursday and Ma Boyles every Saturday.
The line-up for the rest of June in Studio2 was a total blast bringing in San Francisco’s Paul McCandless with Charged Particles, closing off with a packed house for USA’s finest Prog/Fusion outfit, FORQ, touring their latest record Thrēq. FORQ’s storming acid-jazz rocker Cowabunghole created a rare sight, a jazz mosh pit.
In July Nashville’s Suzahn Fiering gave us a master class in songwriting and we finished with the hard-hitting tenor sax of Cream classics/Angry Men/Ginger Tunes’ very own Mike Smith.
As August broke, Barry’s Boptet smashed out the best of Be Bop – Herdsmen to Miles Davis. Sax legend Dean Masser carried on the theme before we were blown away by a new ensemble, The Deportees, originating from UK, USA, Iran and Spain.
Glaswegian trumpet legend Bruce Adams drove Parrjazz’s house band in September, followed by Yorkshire multi-hornist Danny Hammerton and Guitar/Hammond/Drums combo Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio, touring their debut EP Dead Pan Party. Did I mention the jam session? Many of the guest players stick around for the jam so new players get a chance to improvise with the best.
October is a jazz-feast. Already, Brigitte Beraha and her ensemble Babelfish has chilled us into a happy place, Bristopian toe-tapping jazz-trippers Get The Blessing rocked-out to a packed house and we have Robert Mitchell’s Epiphany 3 on 16th, Cinematic Orchestra and The Breath guitarist Stuart McCallum on 23rd, topped off with the insane Baked A La Ska Halloween Special on the 30th.
November will feature two sax heavyweights – Benn Clatworthy and Greg Abate, with much more to come.