Jazz stalwart to play Marsden festival

IMPROV EXPERT Simon Fell  will play Marsden.  Picture by Christophe Pean.
IMPROV EXPERT Simon Fell will play Marsden. Picture by Christophe Pean.

The number of people milling about a Kirklees village will almost double to 8,000 this weekend as Marsden Jazz Festival returns.

And Dewsbury-born, Batley-raised, Cambridge-educated improvisation expert Simon Fell will take the to stage.

He said: “What I do when I get the chance, what really interests me, is trying to work with what I know about contemporary classical and with a lifetime of jazz and improvised music.”

Before bassist Simon became deeply involved with improvised music he was raised with the cabaret scene in and around the Batley Variety Club when he was in his teens.

He said: “It was a completely different world. Everything you have heard about the 70s is true. It was a wild, intimidating, macho scene. It seemed very extreme, at least from the perspective of a 15-year-old schoolboy.”

But the ostentatious presentation of that movement is a far cry from the kind of music that Simon has become known for.

He said: “I have ended up on the opposite side where it doesn’t matter if you are ugly or wear bad clothes.

“And Marsden Jazz Festival really coneys the whole gamut of jazz.”

Festival producer Barney Stevenson said: “Marsden is the last place in Yorkshire – or the first depending on your perspective.

“We try to have a wide variety of jazz acts and, unlike a lot of festivals, it is almost exclusively jazz. It’s 48 hours, a very intense 48 hours, of music.”

The 22nd Marsden Jazz Festival will takes place from today (Friday) until Sunday across the village and many of the events are free.

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