Visitors to this year’s Wigan International Jazz Festival will not only get nourishment for the soul from some of the finest musicians on the planet but also be able to tend to their physical hungers with a new range of specially commissioned food and drink.
Following the success of their festival beer last year, Wigan’s Martland Mill Brewery has doubled its efforts to produce two festival ales.
Upward Spiral - named after the latest album by jazz superstar Branford Marsalis who tops this Friday evening’s bill - is a rich golden full bodied ale with a refreshing fruity flavour and an inkling of cedar and honey.
And Dancing Men - the title of one of Grammy award-winning musician and Sunday’s celebrity guest John Labarbera‘s albums - gives its name to a traditional full bodied stout with a rich roasted malt palate giving a pleasant hint of bitterness leading to a smooth chocolaty finish.
The brewery will also be running its own beer festival from the Friday to the Sunday of the festival in its pub the Tap and Barrel in Jaxon’s Court, Wigan, where bosses expect to have around a dozen ales from the brewery along with several guest beers.
The ales will be ideally complemented, festival organisers say, by a bespoke Festival Pie (chicken, ham and mushroom with a secret recipe gravy) created by Greehalgh’s Bakery.
There will also be a full range of food and drinks available from 10am in the venue’s Jazz Café along with a special pre-show carvery on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in the Jazz Lounge - an area which will also host the late night music sessions from 11pm to 1am.
The 32nd Wigan Jazz Festival runs from Thursday to Sunday with the main celebrity events taking place at the Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre.
Thursday evening sees the return of Jools Holland with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra for a gig also featuring Gilson Lavis, special guest Chris Difford, and appearances from vocalists Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall and Beth Rowley.
Saxophonist Marsalis appears on Friday with vocalist Kurt Elling and a piano, drum and double bass trio.
The following day one of jazz’s brightest up-and-coming talents will inspire the borough’s young musicians as acclaimed trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire’s quartet takes to the stage with the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra. The festival is rounded off on the Sunday night with Wigan Jazz Club’s Reunion DreamBand directed by Labarbera.
Other artists appearing include the New York Brass Band, Jam Experiment, the Wardrobe Quintet from Norway, the Dave Newton Trio, and the Greater Manchester Jazz Orchestra. For tickets ring 01942 828508.