The Playhouse echoed to the sounds of a bygone era this week as it stepped back in time for the launch of the 2014 City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival programme.
The annual musical extravaganza takes place this year over the May Bank Holiday weekend (May 1–5).
This is the 13th year of the city’s annual celebration of all things jazz and The Playhouse provided a decadent backdrop to the launch event with a special Speakeasy theme adding a touch of moonshine and magic to the proceedings.
Gangsters and molls presented guests with their programmes, while Dana Masters, Linley Hamilton and local musicians had the theatre ringing to some old school jazz classics.
Mayor of Derry Martin Reilly said: “I’m delighted to announce the much-anticipated line-up for this year’s Jazz Festival which marks the start of a packed summer programme of events. In keeping with our Music City programme for 2014, we have some of the finest musicians from across the world flocking to the city for what is always a fantastic showcase of a wide variety of musical genres.
“The programme features an eclectic mix of familiar faces and some of the best new talent to entertain music fans of all ages. The city always comes alive over the jazz weekend and I would encourage everyone to pick up a programme and start planning their Jazz Festival experience.”
The line up this year features an impressive cast of talent including renowned bassist and composer Kyle Eastwood, son of Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood. Kyle’s exciting contemporary style will have jazz fans queuing up for the fabulous Spiegeltent which this year will provide the sumptuous setting for a number of amazing gigs.
90s music fans can also catch Curtis Stigers’ soulful blend of jazz and rock amidst the mirrored vaudeville splendour of the Spiegeltent, which is renowned the world over as a truly alternative festival venue.
Add to this the formidable talent of rising star Anthony Strong, Mercury Music Prize nominated folk star Kate Rusby, and the astounding voice of Frankie Valli soundalike Stephen James and you have one serious line up.
As well as the big names, the festival will provide a stage for some of the city’s most promising young talent as they enjoy some first class music mentoring, workshops and tutorials led by some of the best industry professionals, including none other than jazz maestro Neil Cowley.
The Music Hothouse sessions will take place in the Nerve Centre, April 21–25, with a special showcase performance in the Craft Village on May 3.
Derry Council’s Festival and Events Manager Karan Leonard says she’s looking forward to next month’s event.
“The team has spent months putting together the programme so it’s really exciting to reveal the line-up for this year’s event.”
For more, check out www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com.