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Top line-up of musicians – and spectators - for International Jazz Festival 11 March 2008

Organisers of September’s Isle of Man International Jazz Festival have announced another top class line-up for this year’s event. Many of the 40 musicians are household names in the world of jazz and even the ranks of spectators will boast a world renowned figure in his particular field of expertise.

The Festival is organised by the Manx Jazz Club whose chairman, Alan Grubb, said that – again – the Hilton Hotel was setting aside two separate areas to cater for the mainstream and traditional styles, patrons being free to check out both rooms.

Said Mr.Grubb:

‘We have tried to provide a mixture of old favourites and some new faces. By popular demand our regular guests, the Chicago Teddy Bears, will be complemented by two new bands in the shape of the 2nd Line Jazz Band from Sweden together with Jim McIntosh and the Jazzaholics whose members are drawn from the Midlands and south of England. Jim’s band also features a talented 18 year old drummer who goes under the name of Baby Jools.’

This year three ladies will be joining the festival team. Vocalist Marcia Pendlebury, who made her debut last year, returns and will be joined by Australian Annie Hawkins and Karen Sharp, originally from Ipswich but now based in France. Annie has appeared with many UK groups and joined Jim McIntosh on bass when his band was formed about five years ago. Karen Sharp, who plays tenor sax, freelanced with various band leaders including Digby Fairweather and Humphrey Lyttelton and went on to establish her own quartet.

Karen is to feature in a new format for the Festival which was trialled last year and proved particularly popular with audiences. Four tenor saxophones were brought together in an arrangement made famous by the Woody Herman band in the 1940s and 50s. In jazz terminology this is called ‘four brothers’ so with Karen joining the team this year they become ‘four brothers and a sister.’

Other artistes who will be appearing, either individually or part of a group, are Bruce Adams, Martin Shaw, Julian Marc Stringle, Roy Williams, Jim Thompson, Art Themen, John Hallam, John McCormick, Ken Marley, Jim Scaife, Eyrl Roberts, Norman Bolton and Ron Rubin.

The Festival runs from Friday September 19th to Sunday September 21st and three night packages, via sea or air, are available. One person travelling to the Island to take in the atmosphere of the event and the package, is Gerald Coulson, generally acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost landscape and aviation artists.

He is a friend of tenor sax and clarinet player Jim Thompson, a regular visitor to the Festival, and will accompany Jim on his trip to the Island. Gerald Coulson has never had an art lesson in his life but has gained an international reputation in the fields of landscape, aviation and motor racing art.

Born in Warwickshire, he became an apprentice aircraft engineer after which he served in the Royal Air Force for eight years. His knowledge of aircraft engineering, combined with his drawing ability, took him into technical illustration, his full-time career as a painter beginning in 1969.

His paintings are regularly exhibited in the UK and USA and published work has earned him many Fine Art Guild awards. In the 1990s he added motor racing subjects to his portfolio and his limited edition motor sport titles are much sought after.

The International Jazz Festival is supported by the Department of Tourism and Leisure whose Minister, Adrian Earnshaw, enjoyed immensely the pleasure of opening and attending last year’s event.

Said Mr Earnshaw:

‘The Festival is now in its 16th year and I congratulate the Manx Jazz Club for maintaining such a high standard. ‘The names of the musicians booked for this year’s event read like a Who’s Who of the international jazz scene and I look forward to renewing my acquaintance with the officials and participants in September.’

Further details about the festival packages can be obtained from Mr Grubb via e-mail at alangrubb@manx.net or on 01624 861095, or via the vice-chairman Brian Barton on 01624 676735. There is also a website available at www.freewebs.com/manxjazzclub

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