Jazz News for early March

March Jazz News

Greetings Jazz lovers,

The February jazz gig proved that jazz in Wales is in the hands of some jolly talented and enthusiastic young people. The Mingus Project was very well received by a full room at The Plas, and their live CD is highly recommended.

Several of your committee members will attend a meeting with music teachers and pupils this week hoping to advance our youth band project. More news on this later.

Our next gig features a quintet of players all of whom have put in the work to be recognised on the national jazz scene as creative masters.

Pianist and composer, Dave Jones leads his fine band with Andy Hague (trumpet doubling flugelhorn), Ben Waghorn (tenor saxophone), Ashley John Long (bass) and Ryan Thrupp (drum kit). We know and enjoy Dave’s original tunes and his recent take on the music of Kenny Garret.  (PICTURE)

“ … a funky bass and drum groove and a punchy, horn driven theme, with trumpet and tenor later diverging to deliver some scintillating horn interplay that mixed fire with subtlety, qualities that Jones also brought to a sparkling piano solo.” – Ian Mann, JazzMann 26/02/2023

Please note that Narberth Jazz will be holding its AGM at The Plas Hotel at this event on the 21st March 2024, at 7pm; before the gig at 8pm and you are welcome to attend and have your say on the running of the charity.

Apparently Tenby Jazz are having trouble with their venue, The Imperial hotel and will be unable to hold a Jazz brunch this month.

Swansea Jazz has moved to a new venue, Cu Mumbles, 7 Castleton Walk Arcade, Newton Rd, Mumbles, Swansea SA3 4AX Their next event features The Dave Jones Quintet on 6th. March.

Renowned saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch is to front a new-look jazz show on BBC Radio 3.

The Birmingham-born musician will host Jazz Now alongside singer Emma Smith and Irish trumpeter Al Ryan every Monday night from 4 April.

It replaces Jazz On 3, which has been running for 18 years. That show’s host, Jez Nelson, will move to Jazz FM.

Kinch said he wanted the new show to “shake up our jazz world with a bit of controversy”.

Its remit is to explore the “vibrant new and underground jazz scene” – broadcasting from car parks and dance music clubs as well as established jazz venues.

Finally a beautiful tribute to Stan Tracy can be found here https://youtu.be/Vnwpzhs6FI8?si=NSi4-_2uiEufJfsm

Have a good launch into spring and we look forward to seeing you soon

Best wishes from the NJ team.

Newsletter for January & early February


New Year greetings to all Narberth Jazz members and friends, we hope it’s going to be a good one with more peace – lots of good music and less war. Yes this old world is in a terrible state, but we can only look after ourselves and each other and hope that our leaders will do what’s right for the world.

The January gig featuring Hot Club Gallois was a resounding success and certainly blew the post-Christmas blues away for all who came. The band just get better every time they play for us and make me aware of how lucky we are to have them here to bring the joy of superbly played Hot Club music to us all. We will try and get them back later in the year.


Turning to preview the future programme is a delight as we have some marvellous music lined up for the next few months. Our next evening features the 8 piece band – The Mingus Project led by bassist Cameron Saint. They play the original music and arrangements and jazz standards created by the legendary jazz composer and bassist Charles Mingus. They capture the spirit and energy of Mingus’ music, from his bluesy roots to his avant-garde experiments.

Hailing from Cardiff, the 8 incredible young musicians, all perfecting their art at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with tuition from some of the best Jazz artists in the UK. Each member shares a love for Charles Mingus’ compositions and brings something new to these pieces.

So join us for a night of unforgettable jazz, as The Mingus Project take the stage at the Plas Hotel Narberth, on Thursday 15th February.

Our March event features the pianistic skills of composer Dave Jones who will be familiar to regular attenders.

This time Dave brings his quintet to celebrate his 60th birthday with two different sets of music.

Firstly a clutch of his own tunes newly arranged for this line up, followed by trumpeter Andy Hague’s recent arrangements of Kenny Garrett tunes. Jones’s current quintet features Andy Hague (doubling flugelhorn), Ben Waghorn (tenor saxophone), Ashley John Long (bass) and Ryan Thrupp (drum kit) the same personnel of their highly acclaimed live album recorded at Pizza Express, London.

Unfortunately Tenby jazz Sunday lunchtime session has been cancelled.

There is more bass action in Fishguard on 3rd Feb when Thomas Marsh from St Davids, Thomas Marsh is an up and coming bassist and composer, now based in Birmingham.

A couple of other listening opportunities for you are firstly, Danish pianist Soren Bebe who is offering his serene trio music at a bargain price from his website  https://sorenbebe.com/

Norwegian guitarist  Hedvig Mollestad who is known as Oslo’s queen of heavy jazz is worth exploring on YouTube https://youtu.be/ugdendi43ZE?si=xHxrQHkaVvJPtgGH

We hope that you remembered to renew your membership for ‘24, but if not you can do it here Membership Renewal 2024Narberth Jazz

Best wishes to you all

The NJ team

News December 2023



Christmas Greetings to all our Narberth Jazz friends

This time of year is when tradition dictates that we look back over the fading year and assess what we have done so let’s recap on our year of events.

Narberth Jazz events 2023
January 19th  – Dick Hamer’s JAZZ PASSENGERS
February 24th – DUSKI
March 16th  – Dave Jones Quintet playing Kenny Garret
April 20th  – Simon Spillett with John Gibbon Trio
May18th  – The Coltrane Dedication Quintet
June 22nd  – Dick Hamer’s JAZZ PASSENGERS
July 20th  -Tomos William’s 7 Steps Tribute to Miles
August 5th – Narberth Jazz Garden Party at Lampeter House
with The Constellation Big Band and Jazzology
September 21st  – John Gibbon 50 years of drumming with singer Lee Nathaniel
October 19th  – Around about dusk
November 16th  – Keith Little Swing Four
December 7th  – Narberth Jazz Party with the Swingin Nettles

My personal favourite gig was the Tomos Williams 7 Steps Tribute to Miles. Tomos brought his own originality to the familiar tunes of MD with a superb bunch of Welsh musicians.

We would love to hear from you with your own pick of the past and perhaps with enough votes we could rebook your best one.

We now look forward to a swinging 2024 with new and old bands coming to play for us starting with the very much applauded Hot Club Gallois on Thursday 11th January

followed by a young group just graduated from RWCMD led by Talented pianist Cameron with a Charles Mingus tribute group booked for February.

Here is a taste of their live show  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1PB4gUKNwBmiqOTdSEvF14CPbgCPgN1tz?usp=drive_link

We hope to have positive news soon about our long awaited Youth Band project. The wheels are slowly driving towards a starting date on this, so please let us know if you would like to help with this. You can email us here



If you were to twist my arm and ask me to name my record of the year it would be Dear Tubby H The Simon Spillett Big Band, a fine rendering of Tubby Hayes original scores for his big band , realised by the cream of UK musicians.


Trumpet man Graham Pike has been busy making amusing videos to go with his clever songs  https://youtu.be/fdBHnq87khM?si=5KvqUMcpmlsAAsPR

Here is a fun soundtrack to your Christmas amusement from the early Count Basie band   https://youtu.be/fZ9sRY1rP58?si=8k9mI0oN824NFhCI

And finally please don’t forget to renew your Membership Subscriptions for 2024. It’s easy – please go to the Narberth Jazz website and click on the menu for “Events / Tickets & membership renewal” or simply click on the link below.

Membership Renewal 2024Narberth Jazz

Very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a New Year of groovin’ delight

As ever our thanks for your support – without which we could not exist.

From your NJ team




November 2023 Newsletter

Narberth Jazz news November 2023

Greetings to you this November Day,

A sad addition to our menu if you please.

Dear Narberth Jazz members and friends,: I have some sad news for you. Yesterday I was informed that the drummer [Barry Rees] for the Strumble Strutters has suffered a heart attack and is in hospital. Consequently we have had to cancel and postpone their attendance for our December party.

We have now confirmed that the well known West Wales band  ‘The Swingin Nettles’ will be able to take over their commitment.

We continue to hope that our Party will entertain and please you. The small dance floor will be cleared – should you wish to avail yourself.

Last month we held a special meeting to look at how we took Narberth Jazz into the future. We had hoped to gather more helpers to keep our group relevant and to lower the average age, but only a few people responded and no one volunteered to help and so we had to assume that on the whole people are mainly happy with the present set up. We Learnt that we had featured too many sax players and not enough music for dancing.

The old question was raised “What is jazz” of course we could not give an answer, beyond music that allows individual creativity. Dizzy Gillespie answered the same question with “The search for truth”. The very notion of what constitutes Jazz is highly problematic, as all styles and approaches continue to exist simultaneously.  I like the answer of Whitney Balliatt who defined it as ‘The sound of surprise’ We will continue to employ musicians who will do that and entertain us as well.

Around about Dusk for instance, they gave us an exciting performance with the trumpet of Lewis Taylor and clarinet of Gus Dolding  reminiscent of the New Orleans sound of the Louis Armstrong era. Many of the songs were compositions of the leader, Rachel Lawrence, who also played the accordion, weaving melodies within the tunes and supporting the occasional  muted trumpet of Lewis. These young musicians really showed their love of vintage music.

At  our most recent meeting we agreed to approach Pembrokeshire college to possibly hold an event in the Merlin theatre. We remembered that we had enjoyed good audiences when we had taken the risk of spending a lot of our money on big names such as Andy Sheppard, Tim Garland  and The Ronnie Scott Allstars etc.

Who would you go there to see?

We have Alan Barnes in our sights for next year.

This month we look forward to catching up with old friends, pianist Keith Little and trumpeter Gethin Liddington who will be with us on Thursday 16th. Nov. at the Plas Hotel Narberth.

Our Christmas party will be dedicated to good time music and creating the party vibe for a great night out. There will be “space to dance”


That’s all for now we hope to see you soon

The NJ team

Update Jazz News for September 2023

Autumnal greetings to everyone from Narberth Jazz Team

Don’t forget our next event at the Plas is:-

The Keith Little Swing Four features Gethin Liddington on trumpet, Bill Fletcher bass, Greg Evans on drums and Keith on piano. The jazz style is set in the Swing era of the 30s and 40s but includes a few Dixieland numbers and even a bit of shuffle. The Band takes the music seriously but always has fun on stage.

Our October event was on Thursday 19th with a special band from Bristol called Around About Dusk. We are delighted to present this unique band who  are an adventurous musical project playing original songs with influences ranging from musette, New Orleans jazz, old time, and European folk traditions with eclectic instrumentation and rich vocal harmonies.

Around About Dusk formed from a journey to New Orleans playing on the porches of Louisiana and heading through busking festivals of Europe to special venues and campfires everywhere.

Get a flavour here https://youtu.be/VMfNbcqeFPo?si=8LV4Ixb8QRHvgVOJ

“Haunting melodies, tightly laced harmonies and rich vocals weave stories about wonder and nature with echoes of cabaret, chanson, early jazz and folk shifting around like growing shadows. Could be a new favourite band for you…”
Steve Henwood, Programmer Glastonbury Festival

Other delights for you in September include:

Until we meet again at the Plas Happy Jazzing

The Narberth Jazz team


Jazz News for July 2023

Jazz News for July 2023

A big blooming welcome to all jazzophiles

After a flaming June we seem to have settled into a cool and windy July. Festival season is now in full swing with Manchester. Cheltenham and Swansea already behind us – did you manage to get to any of them? If you did, please let us know your reaction to the music that you heard and any recommendations for our future programme.

However 3 of our NJ team did go to Swansea jazz to see alto sax star Alan Barnes who was brilliant as always, he was playing Charlie Parker tunes with the local trio of Dave Cottle piano, Paul Smith drums and Alan Vaughan bass.

This wonderful alto and baritone player has a natural gift for presentation as well as a talent for sardonic humour and entertaining introductions. We all agreed that we will try and tempt him to come and play a gig for us soon as possible which will be in early next year if all goes well.


A worryingly small number of folk were tempted out last month to see a fine performance from Dick Hamer’s band with Jenny Jones. It was a very warm and bright evening so it was not so surprising so we are hoping for a cool and cloudy night on 20th July when Tomos Williams brings his tribute to Miles Davis to Narberth. This will be the trumpeter’s second time presenting this show here and I hope you will help us get a big audience for what will be a great night of entertainment.

Tomos is a leading figure in Welsh jazz who comes from Aberystwyth, is  unique in straddling both the folk and jazz worlds. He has played internationally with the widely respected and ground breaking Welsh folk band Fernhill for the past 15 years.

As well as leading 7 Steps and Khamira, he also leads the Welsh jazz/folk band ‘Burum’ which uses Welsh traditional melodies in a modern jazz context, which has played and toured in the US, India and France. Get your tickets in advance www.narberthjazz.wales/events

Next up will be the premier event of the year – The Garden Party at Lampeter House. Julian and Mami Williams have again very kindly offered us the use of their terrace and garden , this time it’s on Saturday August 5th and features The Constellation Big Band playing a selection of hits from the Duke, The Count etc from the big band era.

Jazzology will support with a feel good set of American classics.

There will be seats on the tiered part of the garden and other chairs for the lawn, but you may want to bring your own folding chair. Anti midge lotion and an umbrella might also be useful. There will be snacks and a Bar with Pimms etc available but you are welcome to bring your own picnic.

The gate is open from 3pm – live music 4pm Finishing 8.30+.

Other local events you may enjoy:-

Tenby Jazz brunch is on Sunday 13th August with Afternoon in Paris

Aberjazz have a number of pre festival events including on Friday 21st July in Ffwrn – Whiskey River. On Friday 18th August in Ffwrn Melanie O’Reilly Quartet . On Saturday 19th August in Ffwrn The pre-festival party with the Swinging Nettles followed by the Flyrites.

Swansea jazz club is on a roll at the moment with a weekly programme of good bands in a suitable venue. Check it out here https://www.swanseajazz.co.uk/

In case you missed it, BBC did a tribute to Burt Bacharach from Ronnie Scott’s in April which is still available on Sounds. http://bit.ly/3m4p3pU

We have a vacancy on our organising group if you would like to volunteer your time. It is fun and not too demanding. Please call Ben on 07551 793388

That’s all for now, we look forward to seeing you soon.

NJ Team.

News for June 2023

Newsletter for June 2023

Sunny June greetings to all NJ newsletter subscribers and a special welcome to new members.

The May gathering seems far away now but was a memorable performance by the Coltrane Dedication Quintet, who blew the blues away with vehement energy, recalling the passionate playing by late John Coltrane. His influence on the music still resonates with us today and this band, with the great Dave Jones on piano, brought his spirit back magnificently.

This month we present the popular combo featuring Dick Hamer’s sax, and Gethin Liddington’s trumpet with Jenny Jones singing.

This is a 7 piece group comprising Sax, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, Bass and Drums featuring one of our favourite singers – Jenny Jones on Thursday 22nd June at the Plas hotel Narberth. Doors 7:30 for a start at 8.

A very welcome return visit to the Plas by this excellent group.

June is a busy month for jazz in the county, here are a few that we know about:-

Thursday 8th. June at Ffwrn Fishguard Afternoon in Paris https://www.aberjazz.com/en/html/Tickets.html

The Haines-Davies Quintet play at Tenby Jazz Lunch next Sunday 11th June at The Imperial Hotel. https://tenbyjazz.co.uk/

Swansea International JAZZ FESTIVAL 2023 : 15th – 18th June

If you fancy a trip to North Wales The International Eisteddfod in Llangollen features the Guy Barker Big Band on Friday 7th. July


Looking forward to our own summer and autumn offerings,

For July we have invited the trumpeter Tomos Williams to bring his tribute to Miles Davis called Seven Steps.

Tomos, from Aberystwyth, is a unique trumpeter in Wales who straddles both the folk and jazz worlds. He has played internationally with the widely respected and ground breaking Welsh folk band Fernhill for the past 15 years. Thursday 20th July.

As well as leading Seven Steps and Khamira, he also leads the Welsh jazz/folk band ‘Burum’ which uses Welsh traditional melodies in a modern jazz context, which has played and toured in the US, India and France.

A date for your diary is Saturday August 5th which is when we will take our annual trip to Lampeter House and garden for the Jazz Garden Party. Julian and Mami Williams have kindly agreed that we can bring a special treat this year – The Constellation Big Band – with their tribute to the greats of the Big Band era, Basie, Goodman and The Duke supported by the local Jazzology band.

As a little taster for your delight we have an interesting band on the 19th October ‘Around About Dusk’ please see their website for further information and music Around About Dusk – Rachel Lawrence Music

That’s All for now so Keep swinging and support live music whenever you can.

The Narberth Jazz team

Jazz News for May 2023


Hello lovely Jazzophiles,

Belated Beltane greetings from the beating heart of Narberth. We hope you have enjoyed a month of fabulous melody and sanctified soul.

The April gig with Simon Spillett was a stunner as you will know if you were there. We were treated to a torrent of saxophone improv from a master of be bop. Sharp suited Simon’s devotion to the music of Tubby Hayes was in evidence from the first number to the very end. His fleet fingered variations on all the tunes kept us all on tip toe, especially the JG Trio who had to work hard to keep up on the fast tempo’s Simon set for most numbers. John Paul Garde who was guesting on piano and Bass player Ollie Blanchflower rose magnificently to the challenge and they made a marvellous racket.



This month’s gig sees the return of the Coltrane Dedication Quintet who were very well received here last year, with many requests for a rebooking and this is it!     Thursday 18th. May.

Coltrane Dedication is co-led by the twin saxophones of Lyndon Owen and Caractacus Downes, both based around Monmouth. These two are the only constants in a pool of musicians that has included bassists Ashley John Long, Dominic Lash, Aidan Thorne, Erika Lyons, Bill Fletcher, Dane Cronenberg and Steve Tarner, pianists Dave Jones, Paul Jones, John Paul Gard, Mark Latimer, Mike Collins and Lynn Thomas and drummers Ian Poole, Iolo Whelan, Mark O’Connor, Greg Evans and Bob Duck.

Here they are on home ground https://youtu.be/30Id4IFoNL0

Always a profound evening, the intensity of the dynamic between these five players produces a single entity whose unity and trust in each other is palpable.


Coming up at Narberth Jazz

22nd June. Dick Hamer’s Jazz Passengers with singer Jenny Jones

Narberth Jazz proudly present for your delight Dick Hamer’s Jazz Passengers with singer Jenny Jones. This is a 7 piece group comprising Sax, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, Bass and Drums accompanying one of our favourite singers Jenny Jones. This will be on Thursday 22nd June at the Plas hotel Narberth Doors 7:30


20th July . 7 Steps to Heaven, Tomos Williams pays homage to Miles.

5th August. Our famous Garden Party at Lampeter House with 2 of the best bands around.

Around About Dusk are a fascinating group of young players from Bristol area   https://youtu.be/OnQvmqOVZv4

One of the many minor names in jazz history who deserve a little more attention is trombonist Jimmy Cleveland who played with Lionel Hampton and Quincy Jones in the fifties. In 1955 he made this lovely record under his own name. https://youtu.be/0kbwFUHX8BM

Aberjazz has The Nuadha Quartet on Friday 2nd June in Peppers

On Thursday 8th June in Ffwrn Afternoon in Paris

Tenby Jazz has the Haines-Davies Quintet playing  on 11th June

That’s all until we meet again under the sign of the swinging cymbal. Good luck and good listening.

President Connolly takes a bow

President Connolly takes a bow.

After over 65 years of involvement in organising live music events Declan Connolly has now accepted the honorary title as President of Narberth Jazz..

His enormous contribution to making things happen in Narberth goes back to 1987 when he was part of the group that organised free children’s festivals on the Town Moor for ten marvellous years featuring No Fit State Circus, Benjamin Zephania, Nik Turner and countless others. Eventually he led Span Arts to promote many art events at The Queens Hall and was elected to be the first Manager after the 1992 refurbishment. Due to a huge building overspend he led the appeal to raise £80k to complete the transformation of the hall to a fully equipped multi use venue and art gallery. As Manager of Span Arts for 30 years he founded the famous Plant Sale, The Acapella festival and Spanjazz to provide first class monthly jazz concerts. These included Alan Barnes, Andy Shepard and Tim Garland. In 2021 the Jazz was separated from Span Arts and became Narberth Jazz which continues at the Plas Hotel every month.

Declan has accepted the honorary title as President of Narberth Jazz. Ben Morris, Chair of Narberth Jazz said ‘Declan has been the focus of performance art in Narberth for decades and responsible for bringing famous names to the Queens Hall through the 1980’s to 2001, as well as continuing enthusiasm for music in general’. These included storytelling, puppetry, and theatre as well as music. Folk stars Martin and Eliza Carthy along with Dave Swarbrick and Robin Williamson being featured. African and world music was a particular interest of his and during the ‘90’s  The Bhundu Boys, Quatre Etoile, Santana Mondolay and many more played on the stage.

With Todd Sharpeville he brought many famous bluesmen and women to Narberth and went on to work with Chris Osborne and Malcolm Cawley to found the Tenby Blues Festival. Later he helped found Narberth Food festival and always included a chance for performers to display their talents. Many people remember Nils Lofgren and Richie Havens were among the high light concerts he organised.

The Narberth Jazz next event featuring Simon Spillett with John Gibbon is on the 20th April at the Plas Hotel, Narberth, will likely see Declan with his usual smile to welcome to all.

Declan is proud to accept the title saying ‘What an honour! I am pleased to see Narberth Jazz going from strength to strength and will be doing everything I can to help the organisation into the future.’

It is worth adding that his partner Maggie Moss has been a continuing stalwart support by the side of the new President


update for early Spring 2023

Spring Greetings Jazz lovers,

We can look forward to a season of great live jazz in Narberth. We started well with the free improv of Duski in February, contrasting with the highly arranged music of Kenny Garrett with Dave Jones’ Quintet last month and now star saxman Simon Spillett with John Gibbon Trio, this month with John Paul Gard on piano.

Over his twenty-five year career Simon Spillett has worn almost as many hats as it’s possible to wear within jazz; multi-award-winning instrumentalist (BBC Jazz Awards, British Jazz Awards, Jazz Journal’s Album of The Year), quartet and big band leader, recording artist, author, historian, record producer, archivist, magazine columnist, Social Media commentator and latterly blogger.

However, for all these varied skills he identifies most strongly as a powerfully swinging, straight-ahead tenor saxophonist, one capable of taking the audiences who hear him on a roller-coaster ride encompassing everything from energetic bebop to heartfelt balladry.

A charismatic performer, gifted with a dry observational wit, he’s never lost sight of the fact that jazz is entertainment as much as self-expression and whether playing, writing or articulately holding forth on his favourite subject – UK jazz history – he’s an infectiously passionate communicator.

We are proud to have him here to play for us on Thursday 20th April order your tickets via the website at an early date www.narberthjazz.wales/events

18 May  23       John Coltrane

22 June 23       Jazz Passengers

13 July 23        Thomas Williams Seven Steps

5 August 23      Garden Party – an afternoon/evening at Lampeter House. Music tba

Other Jazz in the Shire

Tenby Jazz brunch is on 16th April with The Keith Little Trio and Jane Williams

Aberjazz Fishguard has Huw Warren & Iain Bellamy on March 31st but you have missed the boat as it is now sold out.   Here is a nice link to a Huw Warren solo for home enjoyment  https://youtu.be/wbI-r-Up6-k

Jazz in the Village. Saturday 29th April

At Longstone Community Hall -Ludchurch (SA67 8JG)

Part of Ian Miller and Dominic Spencer’s UK tour  www.millarandspencer.co.uk

Jazz on the media

Wayne Shorter died on 2nd March and Jazz record requests on Radio 3 has a tribute edition on Sunday 26th. March https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001bs8x

In the heady days when David Attenborough was in charge at BBC2 we had Jazz 625, a weekly live jazz programme, often introduced by Humphrey Lyttleton. These days Jazz on TV is a rare thing but last Friday BBC 4 had a documentary about Ottilie Patterson who oldies will remember singing with Chris Barber in the 1950’s.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001ht97

Be warned, Chris Barber comes out of it badly.

Scrolling through the suggestions on YouTube, I came across this fascinating radio programme on Art Tatum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G4wtPG33Ss from 1991.

To celebrate women’s history month, Blossom Dearie https://youtu.be/4hGjzuXchGg

We would like to expand our core group of volunteers so if you have any time to spare to keep live music going, please let us know info@narberthjazz.wales

‘That’s All Folks’

Declan on behalf of the NJ team