Stellar weekend ahead as Derry goes jazz-tastic

Acclaimed musician Neil Cowley helps out during the first in a series of workshops which are being held over the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festivel weekend. The workshop with Nicole McFarland, Holly Olphert, Grace Ball, and James Douglas from One Voice Community Choir from the YMCA took place in the Nerve Centre. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 1.5.13

Acclaimed musician Neil Cowley helps out during the first in a series of workshops which are being held over the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festivel weekend. The workshop with Nicole McFarland, Holly Olphert, Grace Ball, and James Douglas from One Voice Community Choir from the YMCA took place in the Nerve Centre. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 1.5.13

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Get on your jazz shoes and prepare for some serious fun this weekend, as the City of Derry Jazz Festival gets set to rock to some of their biggest ever gigs to make the most of the City of Culture celebrations.

On Saturday night, May 4, it’s time to glam up at the Grand Vintage Ball featuring the Puppini Sisters. Don your best vintage threads, put your dancing shoes on and throw some impressive shapes at as the Venue in Ebrington gets a lavish makeover in homage to the city’s cultural and social past, revisiting the music, styles, trends and fashions of the 1920s-1960s. Glamour, great music, dancing and fun are guaranteed as you jive, waltz and quickstep the night away. Headline act at the Ball is the globally renowned swing-pop trio, the Puppini Sisters, who celebrate the sounds and fashions of the 1930s-40s in true vintage style with their close vocal harmonies and synchronised moves.

If Vintage isn’t for you then you have the rare opportunity to enjoy the sounds of the fantastic City of Culture Musician in Residence, Neil Cowley who will take to the stage at the Nerve Centre with his band The Neil Cowley Trio. Few realise that Cowley’s trio were actually named UK Jazz Artist of the Year in recent times - so they’re perfect for this weekend’s extravaganza!

Most famously known for his work on Adele’s 21 Album, Neil’s music fizzes with the energy of rock and surges with the dynamics of the dance floor. Embracing experiences in other genres – the highs of the dance music, the grooves of funk, and the elegiac nature of orchestral music, bringing to life characters through melody, harmony, vast dynamic ranges and drama.

And there’s a fantastic opportunity to make the most of the Bank Holiday weekend on Sunday Night when Pink Martini arrive at the Millennium Forum fresh from a sellout gig Royal Albert Hall. Pink Martini describe their diverse musical style as an urban musical travelogue, a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure. Certainly the energy they put into their shows is impressive. One minute you feel like you’re in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and in the next moment, you’re in a French music hall of the 1930’s, or a palazzo in Napoli.

Tomorrow’s Grand Vintage Ball featuring the Puppini Sisters takes place at The Venue, Ebrington, at 8pm, Tickets, priced £19.50 including booking fee, are still available from the Millennium Forum Box Office on: 71 264455.

Likewise, there are still tickets left to see the recently-crowned UK Jazz Artists of the Year - the Neil Cowley Trio – tomorrow, May 4, at the Nerve Centre from 9pm, Tickets, priced £11.50 including booking fee, are still available from the Millennium Forum Box Office or online.

And finally, Pink Martini will play Derry’s Millennium Forum this coming Sunday, May 5, at 8pm, Tickets, priced £12.50/£15/£17.50 are still available from the Millennium Forum Box Office on: 71 264455. Or book any of these online at: www.millenniumforum.co.uk