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Manchester Jazz Festival

July 24, 2010
Manchester Jazz Festival

Manchester Jazz Festival

Jazz has never been a genre of music that has appealed to me. On “The Fast Show” when John Thompson came along with his Louis Balfour character, he of the “Nice” catch-phrase, it did seem to reinforce to me the schmaltzy jazz cliches, of smoky rooms and generally fairly atonal sounds.

So, when a friend of ours approached us to promote the 15th Manchester Jazz Festival on Didsbury Life, my initial feeling was that I’d do it on his behalf, but couldn’t see how I could really take it any further. We’re no longer rock & roll at Didsbury Life – the days of camping at festivals, or thrusting ourselves to the front of a sweaty throng to get a bit closer to Joe Strummer and the like, are long gone – and we haven’t really encompassed “jazz”, other than having the obligatory Blue Note CDs.

However, we do like to broaden our horizons, and saw that something that was in its fifteenth year had to be good. So, MJF & Didsbury Life started to work together. We’ve been tweeting for some time now about the Festival, and have promoted a competition – congratulations to Phil Portus & Linn Froding – and have made some lovely new contacts and found some great new Twitter followers as a result.

But all of that’s a bit by-the-by because tonight we headed off into Manchester – yes, we actually left Didsbury – to investigate MJF. Albert Square is a beautiful part of Manchester, but always gives me the collywobbles as it reminds of a dark part of my past when I used to work in The Town Hall. Beautiful building, beyond crap job…

Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Town Hall

So, Albert Square on a Saturday night – albeit a bit of a drizzly, July, Manchester Saturday night – and we’re drinking pink fizz (or, if you’re Mr DL – Spanish beer) and scoffing paella outside the beautiful Town Hall. If it had been like this when I worked there, things could have turned out so differently!

But, despite the rain and the memories of clocking in and out of the Town Hall, a really great time was had by Didsbury Life. The Pavilion sheltered us from the Peter Kay drizzle (“soaks you right through”) and we managed to grab a table near the bar, where we had a great view of the stage, but also wicker chairs and candles. It’s the small touches that we like…

Tonight, we saw and heard Huw Jacob & Liane Carroll – both new names to us and both performers who made me realise that I do need to expand my repertoire of music. Having checked the MJF programme with a fine toothcomb, I am determined to head out of Didsbury a little more over the next few days and investigate a genre which has so far, largely passed me by. More news later in week!

Manchester Jazz Festival

Manchester Jazz Festival

One Comment leave one →
  1. Simon Manning permalink
    July 25, 2010 7:16 pm

    I’ve got the urge to watch JT on those old Fast Show episodes now.

    Saw the finale of the MJF last yr and it was excellent but I’ve yet to visit this year – pull my finger out!

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