Fringe Box



Joys of the Guildford Jazz Scene

Published on: 11 May, 2024
Updated on: 14 May, 2024

By Kieran Galpin

In Guildford several groups are driving forward a busy calendar of jazz gigs, contributing to the town’s cultural life.

Its modern jazz scene has developed since the original Guildford Jazz Club was started in 1982 by Heather and Colin Tipton.

The Guildford Jazz Club stopped running in 2008. However, in the same vein local bass player Marianne Windham began an arts charity that ran jazz gigs.

Since then, Guildford Jazz has grown and runs a host of events including workshops, jam sessions, gigs, and the Guildford Jazz Festival. These are run in venues including the Guildford Pavilion, the Stoke pub and The Boileroom.

LIve jazz at Growlers and Cans in Chertsey Street, Guildford.

It is not the only group that runs jazz events. Since Covid a new venue has been contributing to live jazz in Guildford. This is the bar Growlers and Cans in Chertsey Street that invites groups from the UK and Europe.

The gigs were initially hosted by Ben Darnton who owns Ben’s Collectors Records in Tunsagte.

A couple of highlights from this year’s gigs includes the charismatic QOW Trio, from Brighton, who have performed at Growlers and Cans twice in the past year.

The bar, Growlers and Cans has a dedicated audience who attend the jazz gigs there.

Combining a percussionist with a sax and double bass, they performed a mix of well-known standards with their own compositions.

Another highlight has been a flamenco show, as the venue has branched out from jazz. This is a trio of native Spaniards – guitarist, flamenco dancer and percussionist – who perform a selection of original compositions.

Only the percussionist speaks English, so he translates when the songwriter wants to describe the story behind his songs.

The size of the venue is perfect for flamenco: the intimacy of it complements the intensity of the music and dance.

The trio, led by Jose Almarcha, returns in June.

Each gig at Growlers and Cans steams up the glass front window, through which the loud music escapes into the street and a range of high quality craft beers is on tap.

Having attended several times, you can notice a group of faces that seem to show up to each and every gig. That’s testament to the standard of the music you can expect, even if the band is unknown.

For bigger concerts, G-live hosts some jazz too. Ronnie Scott’s All Stars sometimes play there.

There is a chalk board at Growlers and Cans listing jazz gigs.

Forthcoming gigs include:

Neil Angilley Trio, May 17 at The Boileroom. Stoke Fields.

Zoe Gilby Pannonica, May 23, at the Guildford Pavilion, Sports Ground, Woodbridge Road.

Sean Fyfe Quartet, May 29, Growlers and Cans, Chertsey Street.

Stuart Henderson and Karen Sharp Partners in Time, June 5, Guildford Pavilion.

Simon Spillett, June 6, Electric Theatre, Onslow Street.

Jose Almarcha Trio Flamenco, June 18, Growlers and Cans.

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