Frist look at the line-up for Scarborough Jazz Festival – including its compere Alan Barnes’ 60th birthday big band bash

The line-up for this year’s Scarborough Jazz Festival – which takes place at the Spa from Friday September 20 to Sunday September 22 – has been revealed.

By Sue Wilkinson
Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 2:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:00 pm
Lianne Carroll
Lianne Carroll

There are lots of new performers. However one constant face since the festival started in 2003 has been the compere, multi award-winning reeds player Alan Barnes.

Alan has performed at every Scarborough Jazz Festival and will be celebrating his 60th birthday this year by bringing together 12 UK musicians.

He has commissioned world class trombonist Mark Nightingale to write 13 charts for the 12-piece big band of tunes written in 1959 by, for example, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington. That should bring Friday to a stirring climax.

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Saturday night’s finale should get everyone on their feet. Jeremy Sassoon’s Ray Charles Project – Jeremy sings and plays piano – has seventeen instrumentalists and singers, a great spectacle on the Grand Hall stage.

Sunday night sees what promises to be a perfect finish to the festival. Legendary ‘musician’s musician’ guitarist Jim Mullen has brought together the ‘Volunteers’: an all-star nine-piece band which plays jazz with hints of blues, soul, funk and rock.

The line-up, with more to come is:

Alan Barnes + 11

Alec Dankworth’s ‘Spanish Accents

Clark Tracey Quintet

Dave Newton

Freddie Gavita Quartet

Jam Experiment


Jeremy Sassoon’s Ray Charles Project

Jim Mullen’s Volunteers

John Law Quartet

Kate Peters’ Big Band

Liane Carroll

New Jazz Extempore


Sam Rapley’s Fabled

Tony Kofi Quartet.

Director of Scarborough Jazz Festival Mike Gordon said: “Yet again over 98 per cent of the 2018 Scarborough Jazz Festival audience evaluations rated the festival as excellent or very good.

“This comes after winning Best Festival at The Parliamentary Jazz Awards in 2017 and we hope this year’s event reaches another high.”

Earlybird weekend tickets are now on sale, priced at £90 and are available until March 31.

Tickets can be purchased via Scarborough Spa’s Box Office (01723) 821888 and the Jazz Festival website: