Saxophone star opens jazz season

Mark Turner
Mark Turner

SHEFFIELD Jazz are feeling chuffed at being one of the select band of venues to be included on the UK tour of a highly-rated New York-based saxophonist in the company of home-based musicans Phil Robson, Gareth Lockrane, Michael Janisch and Ernesto Simpson.

Phil Robson & the Instant Message Quintet featuring Mark Turner, at Millennium Hall on Saturday, launches the Sheffield Jazz spring season.

Guitarist and composer Robson has fronted many innovative projects, working with a host of top names while his much-in-demand regular band, the Partisans, has been a major influence on the European Nu-Jazz’ scene.

In addition to Turner – known for technical brilliance that extends the saxophone range into the high altissimo register – the quintet features flautist Gareth Lockrane, bass man Michael Janisch, also US-born, and Cuban drummer Ernesto Simpson.

Next up at Sheffield Jazz is the Mick Hutton Group on Friday, January 28, featuring one of the most talented bass players in Europe who is back in action six years recovering from a hand injury.

Canadian-born trumpeter Jay Phelps is here with his quartet on February 11 followed a week later by versatile drummer Dylan Howe leading a quartet of the best young players from the London jazz scene playing Coltrane-influenced original compositions plus arrangements from Howe’s recent projects.

Another top trumpeter, Steve Waterman, presents Buddy Bolden Blew it, a project covering 100 years of jazz trumpet, on March 4.

Sam Crockatt, one of the most in-demand young saxophonists in London, returns to Sheffield on March 11 leading a truly improvising ensemble, which forms the ideal context for his own playing reflecting his enthusiasm for Joe Henderson.

Piano player John Donaldson, joined by Peter King on alto as part of a very strong sextet, play the music of the late South African maestro Bheki Mseleku on March 25.

Sheffield Jazz switches to the Crucible Studio on April 2 for Storms/Nocturnes featuring sax/clarinet star Tim Garland, New York vibes man Joe Locke and recent Grammy nominee Geoffrey Keezer.

It’s back to the Millennium Hall on April 15 for the Kairos Quartet, who blur the boundaries between accessible tune-led music, heavy grooves and improvisation, while Trio WAH! on May 6 showcase saxman Jason Yarde’s free-flowing playing and compositions.

The Mike Walker Sextet, driven by the revered guitarist, are here on May 13 and the season is rounded off the following Friday by another dose of Arnie Somogyi’s Scenes in the City, in which the bass player has assembled a stellar line-up which includes saxmen Alan Barnes and Tony Kofi and Clark Tracey on drums.

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