That's a big 'un: Manhattan Sound Big Band.

Winter warmers for dark Friday nights

The first few weeks of the year are often a low-key time – but not at Wakefield Jazz

After a few weeks off to recover from the fun and games of their Christmas party with the inimitable Alan Barnes (how many other musicians would play a gig in full-length Victorian nightshirt and slippers?), those good folks at Wakefield Jazz are launching quickly back into the fray with some swinging sessions to round off the winter season at College Grove.

First up, on Friday 22 January, is something straight out of left field in the form of Panjumby, a band combining traditional Caribbean steel percussion with more conventional jazz instruments. The man on the pans is Trinidad-born, Leeds-based Dudley Nesbitt, while Richard Ormrod plays saxophone, clarinet and flute, the result being a foot-tapping blend of modern calypso, rhumba and Caribbean rhythms fused with jazz beats and improvisation.

The following Friday, 29 January, might be a bit of a squeeze when the 16-piece Manhattan Sound Big Band are shoehorned into the corner of the sports club bar. From there the long-established Huddersfield outfit will belt out classic and contemporary dance band tunes, topped off by singer and WJ regular Nicki Allan. Definitely one to clear the last of the post-Christmas cobwebs.

At the opposite end of the scale, 5 February will feature an intimate evening of improvisation and interaction between just two musicians: Les Chisnall and Iain Dixon on piano and saxes respectively. Ian was a long-time member of the BBC Big Band, while Les brings a wide range of influences to his keyboard work. The two have played together in all kinds of settings – and that instinctive familiarity of one with what the other is doing leads to all kinds of magical musical moments.

The season ends on Friday 12 February in the company of the Graeme Wilson Quartet. Saxophonist Graham and bass player Andy Champion have been to Wakefield before, as part of Andy's band ACV: now it's Graham who is leading the line, with painist Paul Edis (also an ACV member) and drummer Adam Sinclair completing a foursome which specialises in idiosyncratic original tunes, unusual rhythms and structures.

As always at Wakefield Jazz, the music starts at 8.30pm, while food is served (order by calling Jacky on 07719 845431 by 6pm the day before) between 7 and 8pm. Admission varies from £12 to £14 on the door. For more information, go to www.wakefieldjazz.org.

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