Forthcoming Events

For information about other things going on in and around Abingdon, use some of the web links on our Useful Links page.

Abingdon Jazz Festival
May 12 – May 13 all-day

Once again the Abbey Buildings provide the main venue for this wonderful festival of jazz, organised by the Friends of Abingdon and Music At The Unicorn. The festival will include at least 6 main concerts in various town centre venues.

This year’s performers will include:

Crowd Company: a modern take on vintage funk, full of energy with a raw edge, catchy hooks/ melodies and tight grooves. The band combine a retro Hammond organ based sound with a virtuoso horn section, soulful lead and harmony vocals.

Art Themen: a self-taught musician, Themen played tenor saxophone with a university jazz band while studying medicine at Cambridge. After qualifying as a doctor, he moved to London and in the early 60s played in several blues and R&B bands and also worked in the backing groups for numerous pop sessions. During this period he worked with Alexis Korner, Phil Seamen, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker and Long John Baldry. In the late 60s and early 70s his musical direction shifted towards jazz and since then he has played with Barbara Thompson, Michael Garrick, Henry Lowther and Graham Collier, Stan Tracey and many others. That he has achieved his present high standing in the jazz world while at the same time pursuing his medical career as a consultant surgeon, is testimony to his remarkable gifts!

Oxford Jazz Quartet with Maxine Day: it’s the 60’s and Maxine Day, the famous South African jazz singer, is on the run from the law. Her crime? Falling in love with a white man in apartheid-era South Africa and sitting next to him in his car. Experience Maxine’s incredible voice and passion, performing with a superb band. Maxine performed in front of a full house in the Long Gallery at last year’s festival.

Abingdon School Big Band: the Big Band at Abingdon School was created circa1990, when it became clear that the school’s then distinguished saxophone teacher, John Daniels, was teaching his sax students to improvise in their lessons, but without any band in which to develop their jazz playing!  The Director of Music invited John to start a big band, which would bring trumpets, trombones and a rhythm section to join his saxophones. Soon after John celebrated his 75th birthday at the school, the band’s direction was handed first to Steve Cadd and, since 1995, to Simon Currie, who has been the band’s leader ever since. Simon has brought the band to great heights over the years and has given valuable experience to many young musicians, many of whom have gone on to forge careers as jazz musicians, notably Tom Richards (Jamie Cullen’s band leader) and Nathan Hawken, who enjoys an illustrious career as a freelance sax player.

Oxfordshire Youth Big Band: the Oxfordshire Youth Big Band (OYBB) started in 1974 after a highly subscribed 3 day jazz course.  Since then, the big band programme has developed into three progressive big bands and three small jazz ensembles. The programme is enhanced by jazz groups from secondary schools and the five local Oxfordshire County Music Service (OCMS) Saturday morning music centres.  OYBB plays a range of big band style music from early Count Basie to more modern charts by Gordon Goodwin.  Many continue their musical studies at University and perform with University bands and The National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Funk Bake: Funk Bake is a 7-piece instrumental ensemble. It was born in 2009 with the mission of bringing some groove into the hearts of music lovers. It brings together the energy and passion of some of the finest groove masters in the country. Their repertoire includes some of the most famous jazz-funk tunes.

Tickets: Remade Guitars (Stratton way) or book online

For more information and a running list:

  • @abjazzfest