Category Archives: Jazz

Conscia Jazz Festival 2017

The ‘Conscia Jazz Festival 2017 is taking place from the evening of Friday the 1st of September to the evening of Sunday the 3rd of September, predominately at the Quarry Theatre in Bedford, UK. The festival is the 3rd festival we have produced in the area of Bedford in as many years, with the previous festival taking place in March 2016. This year’s festival is again focusing on variety, as we try to reach as many different jazz fans as possible. Jazz is such a wide genre of music and we really hope that there will be something for everyone. If you have never been to a live jazz event before, or if you don’t consider yourself a jazz fan, come along and give it a go, you may surprise yourself!

The 'Conscia Jazz Festival 2017' is taking place from the evening of Friday the 1st of September to the evening of Sunday the 3rd of September, predominately at the Quarry Theatre in Bedford, UK.
Roger Dickens

Conscia Jazz is absolutely delighted to announce that this year’s community stage for the #CJF17 will be called the ‘Roger Dickens Community Stage’ after local musician and jazz lover Roger Dickens.

Conscia Jazz (DBACE Award Nominee 2015) is a jazz promotion and education company based in and around the Bedford area. We have a variety of different projects and events desgined to sustain and enhance the development of this illustrous art form in the region. We strongly believe that spreading the awareness of this music outside of our country’s major cities is key to ensuring that it thrives; this is not just what we are planning to do, this is what we are already doing. From January 2014, Jazz @ The Ent Shed was founded, and in March 2015, we had the first Bedford and Milton Keynes Jazz Festival, with seven events over three days. These two events were the first steps towards the birth of Conscia Jazz. Since then, we have produced many different events in Bedford including the very succesful ‘Conscia Jazz Presents: The Bedford Jazz Festival 2016’ which is set to be an annual event for the forseable future, and the main focus of our promotional activities. 

‘Conscia Jazz Presents: The Bedford Jazz Festival 2016’ was substantially larger than its predercessor, the ‘Bedford and Milton Keynes Jazz Festival 2015’. It ran from Saturday morning to Sunday night on the weekend of the 19th of March 2016 with a wide range of venues and acts. These acts included some of the UK’s top talents in The Pete Churchill Quartet, Kansas Smitty’s House Band, Charlie Wood & Jacqui Dankworth and Stuart McCallum & Mike Walker to name a few. We also welcomed Amercian Blue Note artist Ambrose Akinmusire and his quartet to Bedford. The dates for next year’s festival will be released soon on our ‘Conscia Jazz Festival 2017’ page.

A big part of the company is its educational programmes, which includes a wide range of workshops and masterclasses available to a wide range of age groups. All of our educators are professional jazz musicians with years of training and experience, with the majority of them based locally. We look to provide the best possible jazz education for this region’s students in the hope that we will carry on the ever increasing popularity of jazz among the youth of today.

Come along and get involved to help us Bedfordians bring jazz to Bedford and its surrounding areas!

Click for more info

FFM and the David Kiwana Wind Classics

Freedom for Musicians in association with Jazz for Peace will be staging an outstanding event to support the young musicians of Uganda.

Jazz for Peace is an American professional jazz organization with the goal of promoting unity and peace across cultures through the performance of music. They also seek to increase arts and music education in schools. Its motto is “Uniting People Through the Artform of Jazz”. The organization was founded by jazz pianist and vocalist Rick DellaRatta.


“By bringing Israeli, Palestinian and American Jazz musicians together Rick DellaRatta and Jazz for Peace have used the transcendent quality of music to promote a message of peace and unity. Now, over 500 concerts later, Jazz for Peace continues its mission of challenging humanity to realize that the forces that unite us are far stronger than the forces that divide us.”

“I want to congratulate Rick and Jazz for Peace on everything they have accomplished to this point, and all the good they are sure to bring about as they continue this concert series….”

                                                    ~ United States President Barack Obama

“On behalf of the residents of New York City I commend Rick DellaRatta and Jazz for Peace.”                                    

                                                    ~ Mayor Michael Bloomberg

“…steadfast and creative….Jazz for Peace unites the world of the arts with the arenas for justice. May other musical and artistic groups emulate your example and your consistency” For Peace and Justice,

                                                      ~ Ralph Nader  

“International Jazz Day could not happen without partners like Jazz for Peace….using concerts, community outreach and education programs to raise support and awareness for local and international charities…to promote charitable and service-based activities that help make a positive difference in the world…to unify and empower the vulnerable in our society. We are indebted to you for your steadfast support, and look forward to working with you…”                                                    ~ Herbie Hancock 

“I would like to commend the staff and volunteers for all of their hard work and devotion on behalf of such an outstanding cause.” ~ U.S. Senator John McCain

“Five years ago, Jazz for Peace featuring Rick DellaRatta held their landmark concert at the United Nations which brought together Israeli, Palestinian and American Jazz musicians. Nearly 500 benefit concerts later, Jazz for Peace remains strong, supporting many worthy non-profit organizations…”

            ~ United States Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton                                                                                                                                          

“You are an excellent role model for us all, the kind of person to whom everyone can point with respect and admiration. thank you for all you do to make our world a better place. I’m very proud of you!


                                                      ~ Alcee L. Hastings – Member of Congress

“Your message of peace and unity serves as a welcome and timely reminder to the world that ultimately we are brothers and sisters and we all share a common destiny. I take this opportunity to commend your organization for your commitment to this noble cause. It is because of such selfless devolution to humanity by a few that the world today remains a safe home for many.”

      ~ Hon. Raila P. Odinga – Prime Minister – Republic of Kenya, Africa.

“Partnering with Jazz for Peace is…an opportunity for the community to experience world-class music, while raising much needed funds.”  ~ The American Red Cross

“We felt the need to invite DellaRatta and his group because their work in promoting peace through music, is well known in the world.”              ~ UNICEF

“The concert was attended by people of all backgrounds…. The ceremony uniting Rick with the Maasai people marked a new beginning, a new lease on the life of caring for wildlife in the area.”

          ~ Paul Kilelu, Empaash Oloorienito Conservancy – Kenya, Africa

“We are honored to be receiving this benefit concert grant from the foundation, and to be bringing such a highly praised, culturally acclaimed event to Sun Valley.”       ~ Special Olympics 

“The performance was amazing. We enjoyed it very much! Cerdan was so happy as he felt the support, felt someone listening to his thoughts…we thank you for making time to be involved and supporting our efforts.”       

                      ~ Phira – Concert to address bullying in schools                                                                                                                 

“AIDSfreeAFRICA cannot wait to have you come to Cameroon for a Jazz for Peace concert. Very excited to see your progress…..”                                             ~ AIDSfreeAFRICA

 “…what an extraordinary program you have….It is so impressive how you and your organization have committed yourselves to ensuring that some of the most at-risk, underprivileged children have access to such a vital growth tool, music….I truly believe this will significantly change my CASA Youth’s life in ways she never could have imagined just a few months ago. ”  ~ Gwendolyn Coleman – CASA of DC

“Rick DellaRatta is one of the people who is taking Jazz to the next level”   *Describing the music from Ricks Thought Provoking CD                                                                                     ~Dr. Billy Taylor

“This multi-talented pianist also has a wonderful voice! He composes with a monkish touch…also interesting is the good contrast in the soloing of the aggressive Leibman to the more laidback solos of DellaRatta with nice use of spaces.”                                                            ~Swing Journal – Japan

” DellaRatta brought new life to an old sweet song.”   ~ Boston Globe

“DellaRatta…..demonstrating a talent for composing, improvising and arranging….that recalled Thelonius Monk’s flair for refreshing familiar chord progressions with harmonic twists… imaginative reworking that moved from the sublime to swinging and back again.”  ~ Washington Post

“DellaRatta…well crafted with strong traces of influence from McCoy Tyner and Bill Evans.”  ~ LA Times         

“Jazz for Peace (featuring Rick DellaRatta) has earned its place as one of the most significant cultural events of our time!” The New Ghanaian (West Africa)                                                                   

“Sure it will be a good show.” ~ The New York Times Jazz Forum

For more information, contact

JAZZ LESSONS WITH GIANTS with David Liebman, Bob Mintzer, and Bob Sheppard

Let three of the world’s most gifted jazz musicians show you the Jazz techniques, concepts, and exercises that will take your playing to new heights – guaranteed.

jlwg_workbook_coverThroughout jazz history, the greatest players were the ones who got to spend time in the company of the greats who came before them. In this one-of-a-kind program, three modern day jazz giants share their secrets- the precise secrets that made them into the world-renowned masters that they are.

Over the course of your Jazz Lessons with Giants journey, your teachers will give you the tools to make massive improvements in the areas of creating compelling melodies, super-charging your ears, using advanced harmony to get that hip, “post-Coltrane” sound, using articulation and phrasing to come up with your own style – and that’s just for starters.

Armed with results-producing information and powerful motivation, you can save yourself years of struggle and quickly make massive improvements while having fun – right now! You don’t have to wait until you’ve spent 10 years practicing 4 hours a day. Applying clearly laid out “insider” information, you can learn to set the bandstand on fire while you experience that elusive feeling of musical magic you crave – much sooner than you might think.

Doron Ornstein
Doron Ornstein

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Bluesax: “Autumn Leaves”. Jazz Experience Improvisation

Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle Announces July 2017 Festival

A Weekend of South Coast Summertime Jazz!


Doolally Tap

Peter Leonard’s Red Hot & Blue

Covering all Jazz Gigs £60.00

BOOK BY POST: £60 per person, cheques payable to Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle, enclose SAE to:
John H Morgan, 20 St Clements Court, Canterbury Road, Herne Bay, Kent. CT6 5RT
ENQUIRES: John Morgan 01227 361238
Always quote: “Seaside Shuffle”
Visit: for regular updates

Joy Rose and the BQ Quartet

A night of serious groove from an amazing vocalist who has been ‘the voice’ of four Incognito albums, toured, recorded and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry (Sting, Brenda Russell, Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock, Billy Ocean and Noel Gallagher) and who continues to deliver great soulful cuts in her own right.

“When Joy Rose joined Sting for a duet she sang with such power and conviction that one could wonder why she did not sing on Sting’s album instead of Mary J Blige. She knocked the audience dead and got a standing ovation”  The Current

“Joy Rose… is simply breathtaking”  SmoothJazzNow


Joy Rose’s remarkable vocal talents have been surfing the waves of the music industry for a number of years. Moving to London from Birmingham at the tender age of 16, Joy’s talent was immediately spotted by record producer Rod Gammon who recorded her first single “Gimme the Funk” for Savage Records. In 1990 Joy became the lead singer for the group Mocca Soul and was the featured singer on the album Persistence of Memory. In 1991 Joy signed her first major recording deal with Talkin Loud Records. The label released a series of singles ‘Feed the Feeling’, ‘Guilty’, ‘Take U Higher’ and ‘Serious Love’. Joy then went on to record two albums with renowned jazz pianist Jason Rebello – Make It Real and Last Dance.


Just in time for the change of season, green-fingered newcomer William Florelle bares the beautiful blossom of some extremely capable handiwork on his debut EP, Two & Three. Gorgeously sewn and crafted grooves on a soft bedding of r&b, jazz and afro influences, the seven track project leaves others reaching hard for some light from under the shade of its towering bloom. It also couldn’t be in better hands releasing through one of our favourite labels, WotNot.

We’re pleased to be able to share with you the EP’s first track, a shuffling dance floor-ready groove, holding soulful tendencies through tender yet assured vocals from Lua. With even melodic instrumentation employed in only short percussive measures, Florelle keeps things moving throughout. A detail that cutely amplifies the huskiness and almost languid quality in Lua’s voice, refined even more under gritty distortion as she seduces you to the dance floor. Channelling a 22a vibe with distinct r&b flavours, we can’t get enough of this one.

WOT029 is released on vinyl 31st March and digitally on 7th April, grab a copy through all good record stores.

Altissimo Fingerings for the Saxophone

Most of the time when I am out where other saxophonists can hear me play the question I get most often is how I have such flexibility in the altissimo register. Well aside from the hours I spent developing the range and sound of my altissimo register I think that the fingerings, for me, are the key.

After years of experimenting, these particular fingerings I have found flow easily from note to note and allow the ability to play intervalically. So, I encourage those who wish to learn these notes, start slowly. Beginning in the normal range of the saxophone (high D, E, or F) work up chromatically one note at a time. Get smooth going from the normal range to the altissimo.

Focus on transitioning and maintaining the tone. Pull out your scale exercises and work on playing your scales from within the normal to the altissimo range and when you are comfortable move on to playing entire scales in the altissimo. Once this is working for you, work on the interval studies.

I encourage you to follow this method to become able to play in the altissimo as freely as in the normal range. Above all, do this slowly. It took me nearly 4 years of study to become “fluid” at using the altissimo and I still have some sequences that are difficult to play spontaneously.

If you can get a copy of “The Art of the Saxophone” there are exercises to learn and practice the overtones of the saxophone. Learn and practice this to get a jump ahead on the playing of the altissimo. By the way, I started trying the fingerings in this book but altered them to the ones below which work for me. (All are with octave key.)



I hope that these charts will help you not only expand your range but expand your mind with new ideas and your heart with new hope for creativity. If you have any altissimo fingerings that work better for you, please share them here at Musicians Unite.

Never let cash money determine your availability. If you have the opportunity to play take it and make it the best gig of your life!!

Have a great week, check out some of the other articles on Musicians Unite and think of ways that you can use the information provided. Spread the word, share the link to us and add your comments below!! Thanks for reading!!

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below or message me on my Facebook page!!

-Frank Valdez – MU Columnist

What Skills Do You Need to Play Jazz Guitar?

A question that came up a lot on one of my previous vlogs on “How to practice” was, “What skills do you need to play jazz guitar??” In this video I am going to try to answer that and open a discussion on what you need to study to learn jazz guitar.

I might have a simpler list of things that you should work on than you expect!!

My attempt at an answer is of course going to be very open. It is impossible to come up with a study plan that will fit everybody (which I am sure you understand). At the same time it’s a good topic to discuss.

It’s not the only way to look at this, so if you have ideas for a different approach then feel free to leave a comment!!

Thanks so much for checking out my weekly lesson at Musicians Unite!! I hope you found it helfpul in finding out what skills you’ll need to play jazz guitar!!

Please check back next week for another lesson, and in the meantime please catch up with me on my website and social media pages!!

Jens Larsen – MU Educator

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