As Brecon Jazz celebrates its 30th anniverary next month, it also acknowledges a (possibly) even more significant milestone in Welsh cultural history – the 100th anniversary of Dylan Thomas’ birth.
Dylan Thomas 100 is a year-long celebration to mark the centenary of Wales’ greatest poet, and Brecon pays its own respects with a Dylan Thomas 100 commissioned performance by the festival’s artist-in-residence Huw Warren (pictured) of his suite entitled Do Not Go Gentle: Wales Meets Dylan Thomas, inspired by the pianist and composer’s love of Thomas’ famous poem:
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Huw said: “I was born and brought up in Dylan’s ‘lovely, ugly town’ of Swansea, so I’ve had a lifelong interest in his work and the essential musicality of his verse. This is a world premiere for the work, which I’m performing on the Chapter Stage in the sublime Brecon Cathedral with long-time collaborators Iain Ballamy, Steve Watts and Martin France. I’m dedicating the suite to the legendary Stan Tracey, who sadly passed away last year, and whose own 1965 suite, Under Milk Wood is a keynote in jazz history.”
In addition, a mobile replica of Thomas’ famous writing shed will be making an appearance in Brecon during the festival weekend on its way around Wales, allowing visitors the chance to play their part in writing a Dictionary of Dylan.
Brecon Jazz is also marking the passing of the inspirational Stan Tracey who brought Under Milk Wood to the festival, and last appeared there in 2012, with a special concert featuring his son Clark in a Quintet with Andy Cleyndert, Steve Melling, Simon Allen and Mark Armstrong in a performance of Stan Tracey’s final album The Flying Pig.
Do Not Go Gentle: Wales Meets Dylan Thomas is on the Chapter Stage at Brecon Cathedral on Saturday August 9 at 5.30pm. Huw is also involved in World Wide Wales: Wales Meets Mirabassi at the Memorial Hall, Christ College at 12.30pm on Sunday.
We previewed Brecon Jazz 2014 earlier, but if you need reminding, the line-up includes Grammy Award winner Gregory Porter, and Brit Award nominee Laura Mvula (both recently seen at Love Supreme), as well as headliner Burt Bacharach, and a host of other acts including Loose Tubes (also celebrating their 30th anniversary), Zara McFarlane, and Troyka.