Jazz and blues festival returns

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Paul Carrack, former front man for Mike and the Mechanics

August bank holiday weekend sees the long-awaited and much anticipated return of what has become, in just ten years, the Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival.

Following the postponement of the 2020 event, festival director Ian Bowden told Rye News that he was both delighted and a little relieved to return to Rye once again with what he promises will be fabulous performances outside the Buttermarket and the nearby Kino Cinema and at other venues within the town from  August 28 – 30.

Ian stressed that “these events will be extremely carefully managed and will be socially distanced with a limited audience capacity in accordance with the latest government guidelines”. He added that “all of those attending these free events need to be mindful and respectful of others and to celebrate and enjoy the return of live music” to the historic town.

The festival organisers and artists again are also delighted to be working with their established charity partners, The Music Well, who seek to spread therapy and wellbeing through the power of music.

Live music performances in Rye will also take place at the Cinque Ports pub, the Brewery Yard Club, the Ship Inn and at the Kings Head Inn. The festival will however be unable to present any headline concerts at St Mary’s church this year due to Covid distancing restrictions.

The festival organisers will be staging socially distanced and limited capacity ticketed outdoor headline concerts on the beachside lawns of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea from Thursday to Monday to celebrate “the best of British jazz, soul, funk, gospel and contemporary music at the great British seaside”

The venue allows picnic chairs or rugs for each of the events and on-site concessions will be available on each of the days. Two-way coach transport has been arranged from Rye to the Pavilion on each of the days for those that have purchased tickets.

World class artistes will be performing in Bexhill kicking off with a rare summer concert from Paul Carrack, the former front man of Mike and the Mechanics on Thursday, August 26.

Highly acclaimed soul singer Gabrielle performs on Friday, August 27 and on Saturday, August 28, the festival presents an afternoon and evening line up to celebrate the best of British jazz funk’

Headlining the day are jazz funk giants Incognito and joining the all-day event is the celebrated British award–winning saxophonist, Courtney Pine. Funk will be provided by the incredibly talented MF Robots and Snowboy and the Latin Section perform their unique blend of Latin and Afro Cuban jazz.

Courtney Pine, king of funk jazz

On Sunday, August 29, the highly acclaimed singer songwriter Rumer will perform songs from her latest album and a selection of favourite songs from her impressive back catalogue of hits.

Rumer, another headline act at this year’s festival.

Bank holiday Monday, August 30 sees a celebration of the best of British gospel, soul and jazz. Headlining the afternoon and evening is the UK’s Queen of soul Mica Paris and the world-renowned royal wedding Kingdom Choir also return.

Completing the De La Warr line-up are two more festival favourites, among the finest contemporary jazz singer-songwriters and pianists of their generation, Ian Shaw and Liane Carroll.

The festival will maintain its strong and familiar tradition of presenting the very best in live street entertainment in Rye itself centred on the Buttermarket, located directly below the town hall, and on the adjacent Kino Cinema terrace.

Both will play host to free live music performances over three days between Saturday 28 to 30 August with regional and local musicians offering jazz, roots, blues, Latin, and contemporary styles.

Music will alternate between outside the Kino Cinema and the Buttermarket on each of the days and the social distancing measures in place include barriers and carefully located seating with a road closure in place to ensure maximum safety to those watching in the street.

The programme for Saturday, August 28 commences with Martin McNeill performing his solo “Bottle Neck Blues” outside the Kino Cinema from 2pm followed by King Size Slim with his unique mix of roots and blues at the Buttermarket from 4pm. The Buttermarket later plays host to the Fabulous Red Diesel to raise the tempo with their intoxicating blend of jazz, soul and funk from 6:30pm.

Fabulous Red Diesel, one not to miss!

The Brewery Yard Club in Rye is presenting two exceptional live music ticketed performances set in a special intimate cabaret table setting where a limited capacity audience can experience the sheer brilliance of the pianist, guitarist, and comedic genius Earl Okin on Saturday 28 at 8pm.

On Sunday 29 August the Brewery Yard Club presents an album launch with ‘The Drawtones’ and very special guest, jazz guitarist Jim Mullen from 8pm.

The multi talented Earl Okin.

“We are also presenting free music outside the Ship Inn, Rye over the three days  August 28 – 30 and live music at the Kings Head Inn Rye, the Cinque Ports Pub in Rye, etc ” said Ian.

Rock music aficionados are not left out either with the Cinque Ports Pub playing host to Freak Flag, one of the UK’s top sound alike bands, playing the very best of Jimi Hendrix and Cream, along with a special tribute to the late British blues legend and Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green at 5:30pm on the Sunday.

Monday, August 30 sees the festival in Rye draw to a close but only after an array of great free music across the venues including the Cosimo Matassa Project at the Buttermarket, the talented Jess Fitz Duo at the Kino while Fat Brass Street band can be found across several locations within the town and festival favourites The Violet Jive will be performing their exciting mix of Latino grooves.

“The festival is back where it belongs in the historic centre of Rye while exploring new opportunities to diversify in these socially distanced times,” said Ian. “We hope to welcome old friends and new including those staycationing in East Sussex this summer” he added.

For full event listings of what’s on where, and to purchase tickets please go to the festival website www.ryejazz.com

Image Credits: Rye Jazz Festival , Rye Jazz festival .

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