A tribute to Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday will be among the highlights of a new Blackpool Jazz ‘n’ Blues Festival.
The weekend event at North Pier will celebrate all genres of jazz, with the lunchtime sessions marking the 100th birthday anniversaries of these two jazz legends.
Starring on both days will be Frank Sinatra tribute act Johnny O’Connor with Anne Nolan, looking back to the Nolan sisters’ experience of touring with Sinatra in 1975 - as well as supporting the festival’s charity beneficiary Trinity Hospice, a cause close to her heart after the death of sister Bernie two years ago.
Organiser Stephen Pierre, owner of the Galleon Bar in Abingdon Street, said he was delighted to have confirmed the varied line-up.
Also on the bill will be Wyre Levee Stompers playing trad jazz, C D F# Band with their classic jazz and blues, acoustic blues from Laura Catlor and Tomi Saario, the Greg Francis Trio’s Chet Baker songbook session, jazz-funk fusion from the Flat Earth Society, and The Galleonaires in-house band of the Galleon, with ‘reggae, soul, blues and beyond’.
“Thank ws to an early report on the festival in The Gazette, former members of the Blackpool Jazz Club got in touch and we have them on board, in the shape of the Frank Flynn Trio,” Stephen said.
“He’s 73 now, and still performing with the third incarnation of that trio, who’ve been together since the 70s.
“The club was a major player in the jazz scene, and counted the late Sir John Dankworth as their president, and Count Basie was vice president at one time. Back then, with the ballrooms and band scene, that level of star made sense - now it seems strange they’d have been involved.”
Stephen’s hoping to rebuild the jazz scene locally, with the last local festival having taken place in 1992, featuring acts such as Ray Charles, BB King, Nina Simone and Ronnie Scott - which at the time was Britain’s biggest jazz festival. However, he says it was a ‘financial flop’.
The free festival will run throughout the day at North Pier on Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2, until 8pm, before moving on to The Galleon and Molloy’s pub for fringe shows until late.