Brecon Jazz makes a big noise in 2012

The curtain came down on Brecon Jazz 2012 this evening with fans heralding a great success with packed concert venues enjoying some international star names, a ‘pop-up’ collaboration with London 2012, and thousands of fans and visitors celebrating the return of a great atmosphere filling the sunny streets of the beautiful Mid Wales town.

The legendary figure of 100 million album seller Dionne Warwick lived up to her status with a two hour performance on Friday night in the town’s Market Hall, and there have been stand-out performances across the weekend, from the likes of Roy Ayers, Lighthouse and Soweto Kinch in Theatr Brycheiniog, Stan Tracey and Neil Cowley in Brecon Cathedral and Neil Yates in the Guildhall.

As both Brecon Jazz and the London 2012 Olympic Games came to a close, the organisers teamed up with the London 2012 Festival to produce a special one-off performance on the green of Brecon Christ College. The event featured some of the big name artists appearing over the weekend at Brecon – Soweto Kinch, Iain Ballamy and YolanDa Brown in a performance conducted by Wonderbrass’ Rob Smith.

This was the first year for new Brecon Jazz operator Orchard, the Cardiff based media and events group. Orchard director Pablo Janczur said: “We are really pleased with our first ear in charge of Brecon Jazz, the music has been fantastic, there’s been such a warm atmosphere in the town and the feedback from local people and tradesmen, and the many thousands of visitors has been highly positive, with many claiming that the event went some way to recapturing the spirit of Brecon Jazz in its heyday. We worked well with our artist-in-residence, Welsh Jazz musician and composer Huw Warren, with Brecon Fringe who programmed a large number of concerts over the weekend, and we had some really popular family-friendly street entertainment which seemed to go down very well with the crowds.

“We now have a decent run up to Brecon Jazz 2013, so we’ll sit down soon with local stakeholders, who are critical to the success of the event, and start planning for another great year.”

Friday brought the truly legendary voice of five-time Grammy Award winner Dionne Warwick celebrating 50 years in the business and 100 million records sold for a sell out concert in the festival’s iconic Market Hall. Another big name gracing the Market Hall stage was vibraphonist/vocalist Roy Ayers, the respected Jazz/R&B artist and renowned as the Godfather of Neo-soul making an exclusive UK appearance. Welsh pianist Huw Warren was involved this year as artist-in-residence, in collaborations with Thomas Stronen and Peter Herbert, and Jazz fans enjoyed performances by the likes of Soweto Kinch; Neil Yates; Lighthouse; Trio Libero; Neil Cowley; Claire Martin; YolanDa Brown, Iain Ballamy; Stan Tracey; Bobby Wellins; Alan Barnes, Kit Downes; Ginger Baker and many more.

In addition to the Market Hall, there were concerts in Theatr Brycheiniog, emerging artists and home grown Welsh talent largely performed in the Guildhall, and there were special events in Brecon Cathedral. The town centre was the location for some spectacular street entertainment, there were master classes in Christ College and the Brecon Fringe ran an extensive programme of music in bars, venues and around the town throughout the weekend.

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