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SEPTEMBER 2021 UPDATE

Guildford Jazz is a not-for-profit community arts organisation, whose aim is to bring some of Britain’s finest jazz musicians to a local audience, in an intimate and welcoming “jazz club” environment. Since we started the club in March 2011 we have welcomed over 1500 musicians and 22,000 music lovers to a total of well over 300 events, including jazz workshops and jam sessions for local musicians. We are proud to be part of our local community, and have raised over £70,000 for local charities, and organised a number of events as part of other local festivals.

The Summer of Jazz

The Summer of Jazz emerged, phoenix like, from the ashes of Guildford Jazz’s inaugural Jazz Festival which had to be cancelled on a week’s notice in March 2020 as the covid pandemic took hold and Guildford was plunged into its first lock down. Undaunted by the Festival’s cancellation, Guildford Jazz put together a programme this Summer featuring many of the artists who were due to play at the original Festival as well as a host of new artists and events. Consisting of socially distanced indoor gigs and 5 outdoor events the programme included top UK jazz names such as Dennis Rollins, Alan Barnes , Mark Nightingale , Clark Tracey, Sarah Dowling and Derek Nash. The programme was primarily funded by ticket sales but also made possible by the generosity of the original sponsors of the aborted Festival (BDO, Stevens & Bolton, Guildford Lottery and Peter Cluff)  who allowed their sponsorship to be rolled forward to the Summer of Jazz 

All that Philanthropy

The Summer of Jazz altogether raised nearly £27,000 from ticket sales for 4 local charities:

Challengers – providing exciting and inclusive play & leisure activities for local disabled children and young people in Surrey and the South-East.

The Cheryl King Trust – providing music bursaries for local financially disadvantaged children and young people

Guildford Philanthropy – transforming the lives of the less fortunate through social enterprise, carer and charity support.

and

GUTS , aiming to improve bowel cancer survival

Triumph in the face of the Pandemic 

The Summer of Jazz was the most recent but not the first example of how Guildford Jazz has bucked the trend in the UK arts scene and excelled during difficult times by

  • Continuing to put on safe socially distanced gigs throughout the pandemic across a period when many leading jazz musicians did not play in public for over a year
  • Launching and leading a highly successful series of live streamed gigs to a total audience of over 2000 people through a joint venture with the boileroom and a number of other jazz clubs 
  • Continuing with live gigs whenever regulations permitted, managing to meet social distancing rules without losing money by running shorter back-to-back sets with smaller but still viable audiences  
  • Avoiding any significant financial hit from the cancellation of the festival while still offering full refunds to everyone who had bought tickets for the original festival
  • Raising an additional £2,600 through an appeal to help jazz musicians whose gigs had to be cancelled because of the lockdown.

Looking Ahead : Autumn Leaves

Guildford Jazz plans a full live programme for this Autumn, presenting two gigs a month at its  central Guildford home at the Guildford Pavilion in Woodbridge Road and a number of other venues in and around Guildford. As usual the artists appearing comprise exclusively leading names on the British jazz scene including Tim Garland, Jason Rebello, Art Themen, Polly Gibbons, Gabriel Latchin, Georgia Mancio, Nicolas Meier and Alison Rayner.

WHO ARE GUILDFORD JAZZ?

Guildford Jazz is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (company number 11587522) whose aim is to bring some of Britain’s finest musicians to a local audience, in an intimate and welcoming “jazz club” environment.

Everyone is welcome, young and old. You do not need to be a jazz fanatic or expert or to join as a Member to come to any gig, although there are benefits to becoming a Member if you come regularly (click here for details). We aim to keep ticket prices affordable and offer half price tickets for students. If you’re a regular or occasional attendee at our events we’d love to hear your feedback – you can contact us here.

In non-COVID times we aim to run:

  • two regular mid-week gigs each month, both featuring some of the country’s top jazz musicians
  • monthly jam sessions at the Merry Harriers pub on the second Sunday of the month
  • occasional workshops before gigs
  • summer charity events including a “Jazz in the Park” in the beautiful walled garden at Loseley Park in aid of GUTS, who aim to improve the survival rates of people with bowel cancer by funding better screening, detection, treatment and facilities, as well as research into the disease (see a short video from 2019 here) and an afternoon Jazz Festival on Wood Street Village Green in support of Challengers , who provide vital play and leisure opportunities and parental support for local disabled children and young people (read Peter Vacher’s review from 2019 here)
  • an annual Christmas gig at St John’s Church, Farncombe
  • occasional pop-up jazz events with organisations and venues in and around Guildford

IN THE BEGINNING…

1982: Guildford Jazz was started by Heather and Colin Tipton, when it was called Jazz at the Stoke, named after the Stoke Hotel where there were monthly gigs until 1988.

1998: The club moves to the old Civic Hall in Guildford, and then to the  newly built Electric Theatre where it continues to run a successful programme of live jazz gigs until 2008.

2011: The Guildford Jazz DNA is unearthed and revived by local bass player Marianne Windham, who becomes the driving force behind (and in front) of the club (there’s a little about her story here). Marianne sets up a monthly jazz night at the Freeholders (“The Cavern”) in nearby Farncombe. until the pub changed hands in the Spring of 2014.

2012: The Electric Theatre asks Marianne to host a monthly Jazz Cafe night in the Theatre bar. We hold our first workshop with the late trumpeter Abram Wilson.

2014: The Freeholders pub is bought by a property developer and the club moves to the Pavilion at Guildford Rugby Club. Our annual charity  events are initiated with our first concert in aid of Challengers in the Guildhall, and Jazz in the Park at Loseley park in aid of GUTS.

2015: Our fund raising events for Challengers becomes annual with the first Wood Street Jazz Festival.

2019: Guildford Jazz becomes a Community Interest Company. Marianne and men without grey suits form the board, and legendary drummer Bill Bruford agrees to become the first patron of Guildford Jazz. Friends membership scheme is introduced

2020: The inaugural weekend-long Guildford Jazz Festival is planned….and postponed to 2021 as the country enters lockdown. A timely article here from Seb Scotney of London Jazz News about the precarious nature of the British Jazz scene.

Guildford Jazz is a not for profit Community Interest Company and part of our objectives are to support educational and development opportunities and social and local charitable fund raising events. Since 2011 we have raised over £70,000 for local charities, and we have close links with the Cheryl King (Hirst) Trust which provides funding to inspire and enable children to have music lessons who would not otherwise be able to afford to do so.

We recently became the first arts sector corporate ambassador of Guildford Philanthropy which works with local people disadvantaged by disability, mental illness, poor education or caring responsibilities.

FAQS

Address and Directions

We use a number of venues for our events. Address and parking details for each venue are detailed at the bottom of the web page for each event.

Ticket Cancellations & Refunds

Tickets cannot generally be refunded after purchase unless the event is cancelled, abandoned, rescheduled. At our discretion, refunds may be offered where there is a waiting list for an event and with enough notice of cancellation.

Our Patron, Bill Bruford

Bill Bruford is unusual in being both a celebrated drummer and a later-life scholar. Voted into Modern Drummer magazine’s Hall of Fame (1990), Bill was named by Rolling Stone magazine as #16 Greatest Drummer of All Time (2016) and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the group ‘Yes’ (2017). Straddling both jazz and rock, his work as a musician is well documented on CD and DVD at Summerfold and Winterfold Records and at www.billbruford.com.  He retired from public performance in 2009 to study aspects of creativity and performance psychology, earning a doctorate from the University of Surrey in 2016. Dr. Bruford lives in the Surrey Hills.

Guildford Jazz is run by volunteers and we are always very glad of any extra help so do contact us if you’d like to be involved. We also provide musicians for private parties or functions. Please contact us here with details of your event and we will be happy to help.