Tribute to Blues legend

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THE Customs House has announced its first Jazz season of 2012.

George Huxley’s Blues Serenaders will take to the stage on February 10 for A Tribute to Sidney Bechet.

Bechet was a towering figure in jazz from the early 1900s in New Orleans to his later days as a “grand old man” of jazz in 1950’s France.

A friend and colleague of Louis Armstrong, Bechet played clarinet and soprano sax like no-one else, with a power and intensity that almost defy description. His music can regularly be heard in Woody Allen films – the legendary director is a well-known aficionado of his work and one of his adopted children is called Bechet.

The internationally-renowned Matthias Seuffert brings his Swing Sextet to South Shields for the first time on Friday, March 16, where he will perform a programme of 1930’s jazz.

Seuffert is considered one of the most versatile jazz clarinettists and saxophonists and on the international jazz scene. He is a popular and much sought-after soloist, ensemble player and arranger.

The season ends on Friday, April 13, when Keith Nichols performs Kings of the Keyboard.

Nichols is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on Classic Jazz and Ragtime, specializing in all older jazz piano styles, including Scott Joplin, James P Johnson, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington.

In this solo concert, he will perform works by some of his favourite master jazz pianists, from Scott Joplin’s stately ragtime to Fats Waller’s exuberant Harlem stride, interspersed with anecdotes and reminiscences.

Marketing and programming manager Tim Flood, said: “Our Jazz season is an integral ingredient in The Customs House programme and I am delighted with the four acts we have programmed so far.

“They are all world-famous players and I look forward to some fantastic shows from these hugely-talented musicians.”

l For more information on the upcoming season visit www.customshouse.co.uk