Rye Jazz festival brings town to life

Gwyneth Herbert at Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival
Gwyneth Herbert at Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival

Thousands of people descended on Rye over the bank holiday weekend for the 2015 Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival.

Musicians from across the globe entertained the crowds for the four-day festival spread out all over the town.

Shez Raja Collective

Shez Raja Collective

Festival director Ian Bowden believed the event was a success and is already planning for next year.

“This year has been a huge success and we are incredibly proud so many people attended Rye and enjoyed the festival,” he said.

“I would like to thank all of our performers, sponsors, local businesses, partners and venues for all of their wonderful support.

“We have some amazing plans for the future and we will be building on the success that we have already achieved in a relatively short time.”

Festivities kicked off last Thursday evening at the Spectrum Jazz Lounge with jazz singer and songwriter Theo Jackson.

Sell out audiences were treated to an array of world class performances at the jazz lounge during the festival with the American gospel soul singer Avery*Sunshine, jazz singer and songstress Liane Carroll, Kitty LaRoar and many others.

Packed afternoon shows featured cabaret jazz genius Earl Okin, Cuban band Yon Sambu and Emily Saunders and the Latin Mix, both of which delivered an intoxicating mix of top Cuban and Brazilian music.

The late-night sessions were equally impressive with stellar performances by jazz funk maestros Hard Lines, the incredible and versatile Gwyneth Herbert, Neil Angilley Trio and the Shez Raja Collective who thrilled the lounge with the funkiest bass lines and eastern grooves this side of Mecca.

Throughout the weekend the streets of Rye came alive with packed audiences enjoying many of the free jazz, blues and roots performances that took place at the Butter Market and on the terraces of the Kino cinema.

The Fat Tuesday 2nd Line Funky New Orleans band freestyled their own blend of jazz and fusion with hundreds following them through the cobbled streets.

Chapter & Lyric, a dedicated two day series of live concerts featuring the very best of regional talent, singers and songwriters, also entertained crowds over the festival weekend at this stunning National Trust property.

The weekend was rounded off by blues singer Jo Harman at St Mary’s Church and the finale party with the Dirty Martini swing band and special guest saxophonist Derek Nash.

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