Alter Ego @The Keys

Tonight is a pre festival launch night at The Keys, Skinnergate, Darlington.

For tonight’s Jazz Club/Jazz Festival gig, we welcome back one of the guest bands from the 2014 festival; Alter Ego. The band is made up of Dave Hignett Trumpet, Keith Robinson Alto Sax, Niall Armstrong Tenor Sax/Flute, Andy Hawking Piano, Ian Paterson Bass, David Francis Drums. Expect up-tempo swing, Hard Bop, Funk and Latin Jazz as they recreate the music of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Hank Mobley and Miles Davis .


Just Friends 25th February 2018

4th Sunday of the month so that means jazz night at The Quaker House.

Tonight it’s ‘Just Friends’ £5 OTD

The line up is Darlington Big Band leader Richard Emmerson on Sax, Ian Bosworth Guitar,  Alan Smith Bass, Ted Pearce Piano and Ernie Jackson on Drums.

The next gig is March 11th around the corner at The Keys. This is the big reveal for The Festival and our band for the evening is Newcastle based ‘ Alter Ego’

Graham Hardy Trio

Bishop Auckland Town Hall, 16th February

Graham Hardy Trumpet/Flugal Horn , Dean Stockdale Piano, Mick Shoulder Bass

I had a rare free afternoon that followed a jazz festival organising week, so I decided to take the short trip from Darlington to Bishop Auckland to catch the regular monthly offering at the Town Hall. Three musicians that will be taking part in the Darlington Festival were on fine form for this recital. Graham contrasted his mellow trumpet and flugal with harmon mute and his recent pre gig addition of a £2 plunger from Wilko with free handle – he did offer this as a raffle prize. Dean and Mick were fantastic in support and quality came through from the trio in every number. The program included: Ellington, Golson and Gershwin – My Romance, If I should Lose You,  Mood Indigo, In a Mellow Tone, Whisper Not, Long Ago and Far Away, Someone To Watch Over Me and a Tom Harrell number ‘April Mist’ to encore. There was an appreciative audience with good numbers in attendance.  This was an enjoyable hour  listening to quality musicians well spent and I  look forward to hearing them again at Darlington in May.


11th February 2018 ‘Jazztones

House band Jazztones returned to the Quakerhouse tonight with a slightly different line up. Shaune has decided to step down for a while as Darlington Jazz Festival continues to develop and the increased workload has meant something would have to give. It is still unsure if Jazztones will continue after its founder took a back seat but a rejigging of players sees tonight’s gig with a two sax front line. Steve McGarvie will join Alan Thompson at the front, Rick Laughlin will take the piano chair and usual suspects Amy and Stephen completing the line up.

As for the Festival,  all systems are go and a festival launch night is planned for 11th March. This will feature Alter Ego from up north! Tickets for festival will go on sale ton this night too.  We can confirm that Alan Barnes and Al Wood will feature at Central Hall on Saturday 5th May and on Sunday 6th May, Dennis Rollins will be back in town with his Funky-Funk! At The Keys.

‘Pocket Jazz Orchestra’ 28th Jaunuary 2018


Tonight we welcome back to the Jazz club at the Quakerhouse, Peter Ayton, Jeremey McMurray, Paul Smith, Mark Toomey and Paul Donnelly. Together they  form the fantastic ‘Pocket Jazz Orchestra’ – expect some standards, bebop, originals and a few Latin tunes.

£5 OTD – look out for the fabulous raffle and of course the door prize.

Sundays at The QuakerHouse, Mechanic Yard, Darlington. 6pm for Live Music

February 11th Jazztones £5 OTD

New line up for this one:

Rick Laughlin, piano  – Amy Baker, Bass –  Stephen Fletcher, Drums – Steve McGarvey Sax – Alan Thompson Sax

Jazz Gigs at Quakerhouse 2018

January 14th Francis Tulip Quartet

January 28th ‘Pocket Jazz Orchestra’

February 11th Jazztones

February 25th Just Friends

March 11th Alter Ego confirmed Venue TBC The Keys

This is the date for the launch of Darlington Jazz Festival 2018 

March 25th Shaun Henderson Band

April 8th Ray Dales

April 22nd Kev Eland

start time is at about 6pm

all £5 OTD – Young musician free but must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Darlington Jazz Festival 4th – 6th May 2018