‘Tribute’ acts don’t often cause much excitement, or top the bill at a serious festival. But what if the tributes are performed by multi-Grammy winner Dr John and Britain’s own Jazz FM award-winning Neil Cowley?
New Orleans blues veteran Dr John, winner six Grammys and a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, has been announced as the main headline act at Brecon Jazz 2015 with his Louis Armstrong tribute show, Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch.
He plays the festival’s biggest venue, The Market Hall, on the Saturday (August 8) in a show, which will surely sell fast.
Perhaps Definitely less well-known, but one of my favourite musicians, Neil Cowley, plays at Theatr Brycheiniog earlier that day – not with his familiar trio, but in a special tribute to Dudley Moore, the pianist, comedian and film star, in what would have been his 80th birthday year.
Cowley promises a show of Moore compositions, covers and comedy numbers along with chat, anecdotes and some surprises. He spoke to me about that award and social media a couple of years ago.
Among them is Sunday night headliner, Robert Glasper. The keyboard player and hip-hop producer has been one of the hottest properties across musical genres in recent years, with his Robert Glasper Experiment. The Experiment’s Black Radio took the 2012 Grammy for best R&B album, and the follow-up Black Radio 2 is equally superb, featuring the likes of Jill Scott, Norah Jones and Emeli Sande.
At Brecon, Glasper returns to the acoustic piano trio format that characterised his earlier work.
Others catching my eye at the three-day festival (August 7-9) include Courtney Pine, in a stripped-back performance of his favourite ballads featuring pianist Zoe Rahman; Anglo-Scandinavian trio Phronesis; and Manchester’s GoGo Penguin with their “acoustic-electronica”.
That has really just scratched the surface of a packed three-day programme, which promises to be one of the highlights of the jazz calendar and of the cultural year in Wales. Full details are here.