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Line-up announced for September’s Isle of Man Jazz Festival 26 March 2007

Forty professional musicians from the UK are booked to appear at September’s Isle of Man Jazz Festival. It will be the 15th year the event has been staged by the Manx Jazz Club which promises another top class line-up containing some of the best known names in their particular musical styles – both traditional and mainstream.

The Festival runs from September 21-23 and is again based at the Hilton Hotel in Douglas where two areas have been set aside, named the Harlem and Cotton Clubs, each housing artistes from the separate techniques. Jazz fans can move between the two rooms to sample the different forms of music.

Alan Grubb, Chairman of the Manx Jazz Club, said that this year over 200 visiting enthusiasts would be taking advantage of the special travel packages on offer. The Festival is supported by the Isle of Man Department of Tourism with Minister Adrian Earnshaw officially opening the event at a ceremony in the Tower Shopping Mall where music will be provided for the occasion by the Chicago Teddy Bears.

One of the highlights of the weekend is a street parade – New Orleans style - on the Saturday morning when performers march through Strand Street with local musicians and spectators urged to join in. The parade will feature many people sporting gaily decorated parasols with prizes awarded for the best entries – three prizes for adults and three for children. Another attraction will be a special Jazz Service in St.George’s on the Sunday morning when music by the Richard Leach Band replaces the normal church organ for the occasion.

Said Mr.Grubb:

‘In recent years we have tried to bring in many of the younger performers and this has been a great success. For instance, Anthony Ormesher from Merseyside has been coming to the Festival, with his father – who plays with the Chicago Teddy Bears - since he was about 14. He is now in his twenties, is an accomplished musician, and a few years ago was voted the best young jazz guitarist in the UK.

‘Then we have reed player Julian Marc Stringle from the south of England, who is making a return visit after being one of the major hits of last year’s festival. He has appeared on television and written many TV jingles and documentary film scores.

‘The young jazz band Dixi, which has toured Europe and America, is travelling from Norway to take part and has agreed to conduct a Sunday afternoon workshop for young Manx musicians. We have tried to cater for all ages and musical tastes and look forward to meeting many old friends in September, both as regards the musicians themselves and members of the audience.’

Two other interesting characters lined up for the Festival are Roy Williams, who has been part of the Festival scene since the early days and is a world famous trombonist, and renowned tenor sax player Art Themen who makes his first visit since the 1980s.

Tourism Minister Adrian Earnshaw said he had always taken an interest in the jazz scene and looked forward to playing a part in the 2007 event. He added: ‘I know that the Isle of Man Festival has gained a reputation over the years as one of the friendliest around, where musicians and audience mix freely and I am sure this is one of the reasons for its success.

‘The organisers are to be congratulated not only on maintaining such a high standard of entertainers but for taking steps to encourage the local community to get involved in the Festival itself and in the peripheral events.’

The Minister’s comments about the sociability of the Manx festival were borne out by a letter which appeared in the Jazz Journal, the UK’s longest established jazz magazine, shortly after last year’s celebration. A contributor from Southall in Middlesex wrote:

‘The layout of both rooms meant that the audiences were close to the players and this, coupled with the approachability and friendliness of musicians and organisers, generated one of the nicest and most intimate atmospheres I have ever felt at a festival.’

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