The Highgate Jazz with Soul Festival will return in 2018.

I've taken a break to focus on my own musical projects for the last couple of years.
I hope to see you at the festival when we return!

Best wishes,

Brandon Allen
Festival director
The Highgate Jazz with Soul Festival
29-31 August, 2015

Please scroll down the page for programme information and advance tickets...

We would like to thank this years sponsors...

The 606 Club         
Kawai Pianos        
Jamie Boyd Art      
Benham and Reeves
Prickett & Ellis Underhill
D'Addario UK           
Solace Design          
Scribe Magazine      

This years venues are:

Upstairs at the Gatehouse (Top of Highgate Village)                  
Lauderdale House (Highgate Hill on Waterlow Park)              
Highgate United Reformed Church (Pond Square, Highgate Village)

Saturday 29th August

Brandon Allen saxophone masterclass

12pm-1.30pm   Highgate United Reformed Church     £15

Brandon has performed with a wide variety of artists including Eric Clapton, Paloma Faith, Jools Holland, Kyle Eastwood, Neil Diamond, US3, Liane Caroll, Antonio Forcione, Omar, The Blockheads, Tony Hadley, Stan Tracey and many others.

He regularly hosts the Late Late Show at Ronnie Scotts as well touring throughout the UK, Europe and Asia with the Kyle Eastwood Band.

Brandon has conducted masterclasses and private tuition at The Sydney Conservatorium(Australia), LIPA(Liverpool), The London Contemporary College of Music, the Cambridge Jazz Co-op and at various venues around the UK and Australia whilst on tour.

Jason Rebello piano masterclass
2.30pm-4pm   Highgate United Reformed Church     £15

Classically trained but inspired by Herbie Hancock, Jason Rebello first came to the attention of one of the founders of jazz fusion, Weather Report’s saxophonist Wayne Shorter in the early 1990’s.
He was one of the forerunners of the modern jazz resurgence of that period and was quickly signed to BMG records on a three-album deal. He produced a further two albums by the end of the decade and toured extensively with his own band in the UK and internationally before he was invited by Sting join his band.
Jason recorded with Sting on his Grammy winning albums Brand New Day 1999, All This Time 2001 and Sacred Love 2003.
It was through an introduction from Sting that Jason met guitar legend Jeff Beck in 2006. He worked together with Beck on his 2010 album Emotion and Commotion and co-wrote the Grammy winning single Hammerhead.
Jason is a well respected educator, lecturing at various schools and music colleges including The Guildhall School of Music, The Royal Northern College of Music, The Welsh National College of Music and Bath Spa University.
He runs workshops and master classes at Jazz Festivals both in the UK and Europe. He also helped establish the Jazz Factory at the Wiltshire Music Centre.

The Martin Speake Trio
5.30-6.45pm     Highgate United Reformed Church     £15/£13     1 x 75 minute set plus encore

Martin Speake came to prominence with the award-winning saxophone quartet, Itchy Fingers, but rapidly became established as a virtuoso in his own right, performing and recording with a galaxy of international stars from both Europe and USA including the legendary US drummer Paul Motian (Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett), pianists Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus) and Bobo Stenson (ECM recording Star).

“Martin Speake is one of the most interesting and rewarding alto saxophonists now playing jazz on any continent”
 Jazz Times

Martin Speake (alto saxophone), Mike Outram (guitar) and Mark Sanders (drums/percussion).

The Jason Rebello/Brandon Allen duo project featuring guest vocalist Abigail Boyd.
8-10pm     Highgate United Reformed Church     £20/£18     2 x 45 minute sets plus encore

Jason and Brandon first played together on tour in France with bassist Kyle Eastwood.
They will be performing a selection of original material, contemporary jazz compositions and world music.
Abigail Boyd has performed at the Highgate Jazz with Soul Festival every year and stole the show last year while performing with the Festival Orchestra, singing and playing the violin.
Abigail's silky tone and approach transports the listener back to the era of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Anita O'day.
This is guaranteed to be a festival highlight.

Jason Rebello (piano), Brandon Allen (saxophones) and Abigail Boyd (vocals).

Sunday 30th August

The Sara Mitra Band
6.30pm-7.45pm     Lauderdale House     £17.50/£15     1 x 75 minute set plus encore

Time Out ‘Critics Choice’ live act, Mitra’s original songs hold their own within a strong set of well-known standards and fresh reworkings of traditional numbers. 
The new triple-A side single ‘Baltimore Oriole / In The Pines / The Secret Sorrow Of A Travelling Man’ (produced by Ben ‘Nostalgia 77’ Lamdin) gives audiences a chance to hear select tracks from Mitra’s forthcoming second album ‘Losing You’. 
Recorded using vintage tape technology, the 7tet’s reworking of the classic standard ‘Baltimore Oriole’ is already garnering airplay across the jazz/soul/alternative network, with music featured on Jamie Cullum for BBC Radio 2, Gilles Peterson’s BBC Radio 6 Music show and Dom Servini’s award-winning Wah Wah 45’s monthly broadcast.

“I love her voice, I love her Englishness.” Gilles Peterson

Sara Mitra (vocals/guitar), Ross Stanley (Organ), Alex Bonney (trumpet), James Allsopp (tenor saxophone),
Rob Updegraff (guitar), Riaan Vosloo (bass) and Tim Giles (drums).

Gilad Atzmon's Orient House Ensemble
9pm-10.15pm     Lauderdale House     £17.50/£15     1 x 75 minute set plus encore

Gilad Atzmon is a British Jazz artist and author. Gilad was born in Israel in 1963 and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem (Composition and Jazz). A multi-instrumentalist he plays saxophones, clarinet and ethnic woodwind instruments . His album Exile was the BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. He was described by John Lewis at the Guardian as the “hardest-gigging man in British jazz.”
Atzmon tours extensively around the world. His albums, of which he has recorded fifteenth albums  to date, often explore political themes and the music of the Middle East.
As a member of the Blockheads, Gilad has also recorded and performed with Ian Dury, Robbie Williams, Sinead O'Connor and Paul McCartney. Gilad has also recorded with Robert Wyatt, the Water Boys. In 2014 he recorded with Pink Floyd and is featured on their last album The Endless River (Anisina).

In 2000 Gilad  founded the Orient House Ensemble in London and started re-defining his own roots in the light of his emerging ethical awareness. 

Gilad Atzmon (saxes/clarinet), Frank Harrison (piano and electronics), Jaron Stavi (bass) and Derin Bayan (drums).

Bank Holiday Monday 31st August

The Charlie Wood Band    
2pm-3.15pm     Upstairs at the Gatehouse     £20/£18     1 x 75 minute set plus encore

Charlie Wood is a singer/songwriter and keyboardist whose eclectic musical style incorporates elements of jazz, blues, traditional r&b and popular music. 
Born in Memphis, TN in 1967, Charlie spent many years there performing nightly with his Hammond organ trio in a long-standing residency at King’s Palace on Beale Street.  The gig became known to touring musicians and locals alike, attracting impromptu sit-ins from B.B. King, Georgie Fame, Joey DeFrancesco, George Coleman, Mulgrew Miller, Alvin Batiste, and many others. 
In October 2014, Wood became the 136th recipient of a Brass Note on Beale Street, the Memphis equivalent of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Previous recipients include such musical luminaries as B.B. King, Al Green, and Isaac Hayes.

“…the growl and moan of Eric Burdon, the otherworldly lilt of Donald Fagen, and the scorched majesty of Kurt Elling.”
   Jazz Times 

Charlie Wood (piano/keys/vocals), Tom Walsh (trumpet), Ben Castle (tenor saxophone), Mark Nightingale (trombone),
Chris Allard (guitar), Dudley Phillips (bass), Nic France (drums).

5pm-6.15pm     Upstairs at the Gatehouse     £20/£18     1 x 75 minute set plus encore

Since 1996 Partisans have been thrilling audiences with their energetic performances of tightly knit themes and groove-based sound, bridging the gap between New York swing, European improv and UK jam band. Partisans are a real band, honed over their years together, where the combination of each member's influences feeds a genuine creative spark generating huge excitement and energy. They are widely acknowledged as the godfathers of the new wave of British jazz.

**** "restless, almost reckless energy, delirious listening....consistently thrilling"  BBC Music magazine

Julian Siegel (saxophones), Phil Robson (guitar), Thaddeus Kelly (bass) and Gene Calderazzo (drums).

The Brandon Allen Sextet with special guest Abigail Boyd
8pm-10.15pm     Upstairs at the Gatehouse     £22/£20     2 x 50 minute sets plus encore

The Brandon Allen Sextet was formed 3 years ago with the intention of creating the ultimate dream band. All members of the band are highly respected soloists, leaders and composers/arrangers in their own right.
The idea was to perform exciting new arrangements of much loved standard material, the tunes geared towards showcasing the improvising talents of the frontline as well as the rhythm section.
The group has sold out Ronnie Scott's twice, performed at the Swanage Jazz Festival, Highgate Jazz with Soul Festival, Wigan Jazz, The Herts Jazz Festival and the Southport Winter Weekender.
Expect a diverse selection of material with virtuosic soloing and melodic arrangements.
The sextet will be joined by vocalist Abigail Boyd on a few numbers arranged especially for the festival.

"And make no mistake, theirs was a world-class performance....a front line that Art Blakey would have branded “the baddest cats in town”.... Nightingale was amazing. His slide-trombone lines were executed more cleanly and speedily than most trumpeters could manage, and Hitchcock’s range and fluency were phenomenal."
Jack Massarik, The Evening Standard

Brandon Allen (tenor saxophone/arrangements), Nigel Hitchcock (alto saxophone), Mark Nightingale (trombone), Tim Lapthorn (piano), Sam Burgess (bass), Ian Thomas (drums) and Abigail Boyd (guest vocals).


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Ivan Hewett
The Daily Telegraph


They would have been soothed by this elegant duo gig, given in a wooden-beamed, sun-filled hall in Lauderdale House in Highgate.

Bobby Wellins, the tenor saxophonist who became famous back in the Sixties with Stan Tracey’s quartet, was the senior of the two. Kate Williams, the pianist, is his junior by some decades. But one was never aware of the gap. They were as one in their understated, affectionate recreation of nine great standards.

In some ways it was more respectful than a gig from the middle of the last century might have been. When Charlie Parker mused on Billie Holiday’s favourite song, Lover Man, in the Forties, he bent the tune imperiously to his will from the word go. Here Wellins first gave us the tune’s outline absolutely straight, and the duo were equally plain-speaking with the other numbers. Perhaps they’re aware that nowadays people need to have these great melodies spelled out.

However plain-speaking doesn’t imply timid. That same melody they coloured with Brazilian rhythms, which gave it a startlingly different flavour. My Funny Valentine they rendered as a waltz, one of several we heard in the course of the two sets.On the whole, though, this gig was all about fleeting subtleties of the kind that registered almost subliminally. In Cole Porter’s Dream Dancing, Wellins coloured the repeated notes differently each time, but so deftly that it registered as a mood spread over the whole number.

As for Kate Williams, her touch was so unassertive it seemed colourless at first. But that’s because she was focused on the notes themselves, and wanted us to be too. She has a way of picking up on a hint in the original - a little pause between phrases, a harmonic turn - and pursuing it with mesmerising clarity.

Both players enjoyed their moments in the sun, but it was when they improvised together that things really took off. The highlight for me came at the end of Jimmy Witherspoon’s Sweet Slumber, when they wittily dovetailed their phrases, aiming like an arrow at a close that was surprising and yet exactly right.

John Fordham
The Guardian, Wednesday 29 August 2012

Brigitte Beraha, the lyrical, Italian-born singer-songwriter, and Gareth Williams, the powerful Welsh pianist, between them embodied the fundamentals of the Jazz With Soul weekender in London's Highgate: spontaneity, high-class UK jazz artistry and a cherishing of popular song. Beraha's Saturday performance and Williams's Sunday afternoon show with his Power Trio also called for other kinds of improv skills – Beraha had to reinvent her gig for a duo in the absence of her traffic-jammed trumpeter, Williams found himself wrestling with a recalcitrant PA – but neither artist's style was audibly cramped.

The last-minute reshuffle probably inclined Beraha to more jazz standbys than originals, imperturbably propelled by the resourcefulness of excellent pianist Ross Stanley. She's a fine singer of well-travelled materials, however. Jobim's Wave found her coolly squeezing and stretching the samba pulse, My One and Only Love and I'm Old Fashioned were softly confiding and briskly improvisational respectively, and Jerome Kern's In Love in Vain was yearning and robust. Beraha's more impressionistic, Norma Winstone influences nonetheless did surface on gracefully folksy, mostly wordless originals in both sets, and her handling of Kenny Wheeler's steadily building, wide-interval song, Kayak, showed how much subtle technique she keeps in reserve.

By coincidence, Williams also performed In Love in Vain at his Sunday gig. His version was vocally huskier and more shruggingly resigned, with the real focus being his scalding piano solo over Laurence Cottle's bass-walk. With Cottle and the emphatic drummer Ian Thomas, Williams mixed crisp blues and funk on electric piano with fast, rising lines (Evans the Piano) and an inventively choppy, dissonant account of John Coltrane's Giant Steps on the acoustic instrument. Williams's big strengths are a Bill Evans-like talent for varying the weight and shapes of phrases across long improvisations, and a blazing uptempo swing. He's an unassuming local star in a jazz-piano territory jammed with hot competition.

Camden New Journal

THERE’S every prospect of a third Highgate Jazz with Soul Festival next autumn following the huge success of the recent festival held over the Bank Holiday weekend.

“Despite all the hard work and late nights, it’s been worth it – and yes, I’m already thinking about next year,” says festival organiser, tenor saxophonist Brandon Allen.

“The amount of people who’ve have come up to me and said ‘thanks for staging such an event’ means, how can I stop now? The support from the public and local businesses has been magnificent.

“Venues not in the recent festival have already come forward and said they’d like to get involved next year, so I’m sure we can have an even better festival next year.

“We now need to work to get some more funding and more people to provide sponsorship.

“If that happens, we can get more acts like the amazing Jacqui Dankworth.”


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