Saxmen blow their own at jazz club

SAXOPHONISTS Mick Donnelly and Joel Purnell will be Scarborough Jazz’s guests at the Cask tonight and next Wednesday respectively.

It will be third time lucky for Mick Donnelly’s return visit. Both his last performances were cancelled because of bad weather. A summer slot should give him a trouble-free journey. 

Mick has played in many parts of the world; he has toured with Sting, Sammy Davis Jnr and Tony Bennett; and he has played with Shirley Bassey, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears and jazz notables as Alan Barnes, Mark Nightingale, Dave O’Higgins, Bobby Shew and Michael Buble.

He began playing at the age of 11, and after leaving school worked as a semi-pro around his native Hartlepool. Moving to London, he appeared on Top of the Pops, The Tube and the Royal Variety Performance as well as doing six nights a week at the Cafe de Paris. 

Now back in Hartlepool, Mick teaches youngsters and works with the 25-strong big band Musicians Unlimited and still manages over 100 solo gigs a year.

Jazz UK has described Joel Purnell as “a muscular, assertive saxophonist whose fluent solos show a strong sense of direction”. Joel began playing at the age of 15 in the clubs and bars of Manchester with musicians such as Mike Walker and Alan Barnes.

In 1992 he won the award for the most outstanding jazz soloist at the Boosey and Hawkes concert-band festival. The following year he began studying at Leeds College of Music, from which he graduated with honours, and where he is now a senior lecturer. Joel is a respected composer and educator, leading performance and saxophone workshops.

He has played many times in Scarborough, both at the annual jazz festival and at the Cask. He has played with the Jamil Sheriff Octet, the Nicki Allan Sextet and his own long-standing quartet.

Both visitors will be backed by the Mike Gordon Trio.

Admission to both gigs is £2.