Liverpooljazz was founded in 2004 by Liverpool businessmen Victor Greenberg and Michael Swerdlow whose friendship and love of music goes back to their teen years. While attending jazz festivals around the country they realised that jazz didn’t have a proper profile in Liverpool so they spoke to members of the jazz community, jazz educators and city councillors who all agreed that they should start up an organisation to encourage and raise the profile of live jazz performance in Liverpool.
During the first four years, Liverpooljazz promoted the successful series of concerts ‘Jazz at the Palm House’ bringing a wide variety of jazz performance to packed audiences at the famous Sefton Park venue. Also a series of gigs at the Cotton Club in Liverpool’s city centre and concerts at the Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts including the late John Dankworth with Cleo Laine.
Liverpooljazz also had monthly jazz concerts at the Bluecoat Arts Centre during 2008 following a major multi-million pound redevelopment. These concerts showcased the talents of Liverpool’s finest jazz musicians.
While Liverpooljazz does not take the credit, jazz activity around Liverpool has certainly risen dramatically since it started in 2004, with jazz now firmly established in bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels around this vibrant city. Indeed visitors to this website viewing the monthly listings guide will find live jazz performance every night of the week.
Liverpooljazz presents an online, monthly two-hour, jazz radio programme which is podcast around the clock. We preview and review jazz events, chat through our gig list, interview people from the local jazz community and play some of the best easy listening jazz classics. Go online now to listen. The programme is recorded at the studios of Liverpool Community Radio who put out the programme several times a week on 106.7fm across greater Merseyside only.
Liverpooljazz is always keen to support music students studying jazz and, through its bursary scheme between 2013 and 2020, was able to encourage and sponsor performances and pieces of musical work at local colleges and universities including the production of several jazz CD albums.
Liverpooljazz has also been a sponsor at several local and regional jazz festivals including The Wigan International Jazz Festival and The Liverpool International Jazz Festival where they showcased local jazz bands and sponsored feature performances.
People regularly contact Liverpooljazz to book a band for corporate and social events. They select the right band to create the best atmosphere and style for the event and to suite all budgets. This service has been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.
Our track record
Jazz at the Palmhouse
Our hugely successful series ran for over five years. The many artists who have appeared include:
The Tim Harvey Quintet (Tim Harvey on Piano, Steve Berry on Bass, Eryl Roberts on Drums, Mike Hall on Saxophone, Steve Chadwick on Cornet … with guests including fabulous Liverpool vocalist Su Eyo plus performances by invited students from the Myriad Jazz Project).
Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra
We’ve had several appearances of the award winning, globe trotting troupe, under the direction of Ian Darrington MBE.
Just East of Jazz
Just East of Jazz was one of the many UK touring bands who performed for Liverpooljazz at its Jazz at the Palmhouse series during July 2005.
John Helliwell and his Creme Anglaise Sextet The Dave Edge Quartet
Supertramp’s fabulous John Helliwell and his Creme Anglaise Jazz Sextet
An evening of jazz, blues, soul and funk from the front man of the legendary international million selling rock band Supertramp.
Performed October 2005
Liverpool’s own Dave Edge Quartet
Dave Edge on Saxophone,
Peter Turner on Bass,
Eryl Roberts on Drums and
Richard Wetherall on Piano
Performed April 2005.
Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and friends were at the LIPA Paul McCartney Auditorium Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts on Sunday October 29th 2006
Dame Cleo Laine and the late Sir John Dankworth gave an enchanting performance to an enthusiastic audience in the intimate atmosphere of the The Paul McCartney Auditorium.
It was like having them all to yourself in your own lounge. Their regular group of ‘friends,’ some of the UKs top jazz musicians, Allan Ganley on drums, Mark Nightingale on trombone, John Hawler on piano and Alex Dankworth on double bass provided top class backing. The first half of the show comprised many standard jazz classics including several composed by members of the band plus a number of Sir John’s famous tunes including the theme music from the television series ‘Tomorrow’s World.’
Dame Cleo took the stage for the second half and as well as numerous jazz standard and classic popular songs such as Gershwin’s ‘Isn’t it a pity,’ she treated the audience to excerpts from her legendary recordings of Shakespeare sonnets set to Dankworth music. Another treat was Noel Coward’s ‘Mad about the boy,’ with each of three verses sung in different character. A most enjoyable and generous concert augmented by autobiographical introductions and anecdotes which John and Cleo related before each number giving us an insight to the jazz world and their amazing careers.
Des Hopkins Original Guiness Jazz Band. Jazz at the Palm House concert on Sunday 3rd December 2006.
This highly entertaining jazz band braved the stormy weather and came over from Ireland to give a superb evening of Dixieland and Traditional jazz.
For 20 years the band has been sponsored by the Guinness brewery and are the foremost band of its type in Ireland although they often tour extensively in Europe.They have accompanied Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball on their Irish tours and have had guests such as Peanuts Hucko.
The Palm House line up comprised Des Hopkins on drums and vocals, Danny Hammerton on trumpet and trombone, Andy Hillier on trombone and tuba, Brian Mellor on banjo and guitar and Billy Hopkins on base guitar.
Bad weather prevented clarinetist Damien Cook’s plane taking off from Ireland and travelling separately but the band made up for his absense with some fine solos and a programme jam packed with all the trad standards including lyrical balad solos on trombone. The tuba was an extra treat.
This was Liverpooljazz’s first ever Trad concert and there were cries from the audience for a return visit from the Hopkins band.
Digby Fairweather and his half dozen. On the 29th April 2007 in the Jazz and the Palm House Series
Liverpooljazz presented an evening of fabulous mainstream jazz from this award winning trumpeter, broadcaster and raconteur. The line up was:
Digby Fairweather, trumpet/vocals;
Chris Gower, trombone;
Julian Marc Stringle, clarinet/reeds/vocals,
Craig Milverton, piano/keyboards/vocals,
Dominic Ashworth, guitars/vocals,
Len Skeat, bass and
Nick Millward on drums.
We enjoyed a very generous performance from this highly acclaimed band, who were voted Top Small Group in the 2006 British Jazz Awards. Digby and his Half Dozen enthralled a packed Palm House audience to a highly entertaining evening of jazz standards and several wonderful solos. Digby welcomed up onto the stage Liverpool’s own Martin Smith who accompanied the band with some very fine solos on trumpet and flugel horn.
European Youth Parliament
Each year the European Youth Parliament holds its AGM and conference in a different city in Europe. In 2008 they chose Liverpool as their venue to coincide with European Capital of Culture celebrations and commisioned Liverpooljazz to provide backgrouns music at one of the main sessions held in Liverpool Town Hall.
Monthly Jazz Concerts at the Bluecoat
During 2008 Liverpooljazz ran a successful monthly series of semi formal style concerts in the newly refurbished performance space at the Bluecoat making an important contribution to the Bluecoat’s music and cultural programmes.
The series featured New Horizons lead by pianist Tim Harvey who introduced in one of the concerts young students from the Myriad Jazz education project.
Liverpooljazz is frequently employed to book jazz bands to perform background or feature music at corporate events, functions, shop openings etc. Please contact Liverpooljazz now to see how they can find the right band for your event and to suit your budget.
Liverpooljazz Supports Local Jazz Festivals
Liverpooljazz has been a sponsor at several local and regional jazz festivals including The Wigan International Jazz Festival and The Liverpool International Jazz Festival where they showcased local jazz bands and sponsored feature performances.
Institute of Popular Music
The Martin Smith Quartet played jazz favourites during the event
Liverpooljazz has enjoyed a long association with the Institute of Popular Music which is the amazing world renowned resource centre within the department of music at the University of Liverpool. This extensive resource centre comprises a huge collection of recorded popular music, books, concert programmes and posters, memorabilia, photographs, magazines etc to which music students make a beeline when researching their degrees and post-grad courses.
In an attempt to bring the IPM to the notice of the public they launched a pilot event called “Music, Photographs, & Stories from the Archives,” on 18th June 2016. Along with Liverpooljazz, the Open Eye Gallery on Liverpool’s waterfront became a partner in the pilot and hosted the event. Members of the public dropped in during the three hour event, sat at tables and browsed through samples of material from the archive with members of the local music community on hand to talk them through the exhibits.
Over from Ireland and currating the project was post graduate Dr Aine Mangaoang.
Liverpooljazz’s Michael Swerdlow shows a visitor one of the many framed exhibits from the archive
The atmosphere was relaxed during the sunny afternoon and Liverpooljazz arranged live jazz performed by the Martin Smith Quartet. The pilot was a great success and has encouraged the team to consider future longer-term exhibitions and linked concerts.