Teignmouth Jazz Festival
Friday 15th to 17th November
Teignmouth is situated on the north bank of the estuary mouth of the River Teign in Devon, about 14 miles south of Exeter.
In 1690 it was the last place in England to be invaded by a foreign power. For 25 years however it has been invaded by jazz enthusiasts for the busy weekend Jazz Festival.
Speaking to Jim Stevens, one of the organizers of the festival, I am told that the festival is going from strength to strength. Jim tells me he considers the success of the festival is down to keeping economics under control by having just one main headliner and giving slightly lesser known acts and up and coming talent a chance to shine. The fact that Teignmouth is a beautiful location on the coast and is relatively flat and all the venues are close together also adds to the easy enjoyment of the visitors. Jim says “Since the suits took over pop music and made it all sound ordinary, people look elsewhere for real music, and jazz tends to become more popular. It happened in the 50s, when rock and roll was watered down by the business men into such things as Cliff Richard and Summer Holiday, jazz became very popular and was in the charts a lot. A similar thing is happening now, and I have noticed jazz groups are made up of younger musicians.”
An example of the talent on offer is quartet -isq. Mixing jazz, latin, electronic and pop their eponymous debut album was released in September 2012 and they are now enjoying performing their material live, embarking on a UK tour. The musicians that make up -isq have performed with an incredible array of high-profile music stars including Wynton Marsalis, Paul Weller, Tom Jones and Bjork.
Another star at the festival is John Etheridge, guitarist, composer, bandleader and educator. John has an amazing pedigree having played with such luminaries as Darryl Way’s Wolf, Global Village Trucking Company, The Soft Machine, Stephane Grappelli, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Danny Thompson’s Whatever, Nigel Kennedy, Andy Summers and John Williams to name but a few. His early inspirations were Hank Marvin, Django Reinhardt, Joe Pass, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery and John Maclaughlin. John’s promise was evident even during his earliest days of playing and he received recognition and encouragement from both Jimi Hendrix, whose comment was “You’re great”, and Eric Clapton, who told him after a gig, “You’re not a great blues player but you’re a great guitarist.” His 1975 leap into the front rank came when he was contacted by The Soft Machine after they had been given his number by the departing Allan Holdsworth.
These are just some of the talent on offer at the festival. Visit www.teignmouthjazz.org to find out more, book tickets or check out some of the performers. You won’t be disappointed!
(pictured top – Zoe Francis)