Joyful jazz festival is the best yet

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Jazzy makeover for Rye's Community Centre: Jason Rebello on keyboards as Joy Rose gives us her own treatment of Summertime

The four days and five nights bank holiday gala may have ended on a soggy note but for most of the time the crowds came out to enjoy a weekend of sizzling sun and brilliant musical performances indoors and outdoors. The live stage at the Wipers really got the crowd involved and there were al fresco performances in the George hotel’s courtyard and outside the garden at Simply Italian as well as strolling players up and down the High Street. And the Butter Market sessions produced some extraordinarily funky dancing by the appreciative crowds.

One of the highlights was the transformation of the community centre into the Jazz Lounge. With windows blacked out, tables draped in black cloth, and filtered light the venue became an atmospheric mix of New Orleans and New York. It was gratifying that the artists stepped up to the plate and gave performances that the packed out audiences lapped up. Jason Rebello was inadvertently introduced as Jason Roberto but joined in the fun by disclosing that at school he was known as Jason Rebelly-button.

It was jazz morning, noon and night at the George with Herbie Flowers and his ever-popular Jazz All Stars busy at breakfast and high tea. The Jazz Nights evenings at the Mermaid hotel’s Tudor room also proved to be a terrific hit, a perfect setting to take in the sultry music over a glass of chilled champagne.

Busy local musicians the Turpin Hubbard duo’s gritty blend of blues and rock got the punters grooving on Saturday afternoon at the Wipers and on Monday afternoon at the Ship Inn on the Strand. There were live performances at the Globe Inn Marsh where landlord John erected a marquee with hay bale seats and the Paul Richards Latin Duo’s mellow music went perfectly with the food and wine on Sunday afternoon. And diners at the Tuscan Kitchen were serenaded by the Taylor Notcutt Duo.

A great time was had by all and here’s what festival director Ian Bowden had to say: “I am incredibly proud of what the festival has achieved this year. The quality of the performances was outstanding and extremely well attended, in many cases we had sell out shows across the programme which is a testament to the reputation and quality of the festival overall. We are attracting new audiences to see emerging talent which is very encouraging.

I would like to personally thank all of our festival sponsors, venues, performers, the Rye town council and most of all, all the people that attended the festival which made this year’s festival the best yet.”

Ian and his team are already planning the 2015 festival which will take place over next year’s August bank holiday weekend, definitely a date for your diary.

Slideshow photos Tony McLaughlin