Platform South celebrates the best artist talent from the south of England and supports promoters to bring their music to the widest audiences in venues and locations across the region.
We spoke to Kathryn Shackleton, artist booker at Watermill Jazz to find out a bit more about the club as she prepares to present the first performance of the scheme – Iain Ballamy Quartet – a new ensemble featuring a world-class line-up.
Iain Ballamy – saxophones
Jason Rebello – piano
Percy Pursglove – trumpet & double bass
Mark Whitlam – drums
Tell us about Watermill Jazz – we hear that it’s a special anniversary year
Watermill Jazz is a weekly jazz club in Dorking, founded by pianist Ann Odell and her partner Steve Spurling 25 years ago. Ann still comes to the club as a listener every week and sold out her own gig here in March. The club is run entirely by volunteers and we aim to present the highest-quality UK and international jazz. We love variety – you might find a soloist one week, big band another, where vintage jazz rubs shoulders with progressive music.
To celebrate our 25th anniversary we’re excited to commission new works from four superb musicians: trombonist Mark Nightingale for big band, sax player Derek Nash for his acoustic quartet, trumpet player Laura Jurd for her new line-up and pianist Alan Broadbent for his trio. We also wanted to make it easier for younger people to experience live jazz and hear its wide variety of musical styles. As part of our 25th celebrations we are giving away a number of free tickets to every gig to under-25 year olds. These tickets are available from watermilljazz.ticketsource.co.uk. The introduction of the Platform South scheme is great timing, giving us some extra support to make our anniversary year programme really special.
How do you see Watermill Jazz fitting into jazz in the south east and beyond?
Watermill Jazz is one of a host of small clubs in the South East which work tirelessly (and usually not for profit) to bring jazz music in all its forms to listeners in the area. We are blessed with a very trusting audience who support better-known musicians and are also open to gigs by musicians they may never have heard of. This really helps us present a wide variety of music.
The club seeks to act as a siphon, bringing some of the excellent jazz you might expect only to find in cities like London, New York or Oslo to listeners in this green corner of the South East. As well as bringing musicians to Watermill Jazz from all over the world, we are lucky to be able to draw on a wealth of talent from right here in the South of England, as highlighted by the quality and range of artists featured in the Platform South scheme.
Iain Ballamy’s new quartet will kick start Platform South performances at your venue – are you excited?
Of course! It’s always a pleasure to work with Iain. His father, Mark, was a frequent visitor to our old venue, playing piano at our jam sessions regularly and Iain has played at the club in a number of different line-ups including a memorable duo concert with Scandinavian accordionist Stian Carstensen. Iain is a superb saxophonist with an international profile and we’re excited to hear his new band which features Jason Rebello on piano. Jason’s first visit to the club was 22 years ago. A very gifted young player, he impressed everyone at Watermill Jazz when he first appeared in Dorking alongside saxophonist legend, Peter King.
Tickets are available for Iain Ballamy Quartet on Tuesday 02 July 2019 from watermilljazz.ticketsource.co.uk