mjf @ First Street: Aaron Wood & James Girling and Gary Washington Quartet

mjf @ First Street (HOME Stage)

First Street, HOME Stage

12.30pm – 1.10pm & 2.10pm – 3pm / Aaron Wood & James Girling
4.30pm – 5.15pm & 6.45pm – 7.30pm / Gary Washington Quartet

Tickets: FREE entry to all events

Where is First Street? Click here to see…


Aaron Wood & James Girling

James Girling nylon-string guitar / Aaron Wood trumpet, flugelhorn

Jazz North alumni having formerly co-led Artephis, in-demand trumpeter/producer Aaron Wood and award-winning classical guitarist/improviser James Girling share a 7-year history of close collaboration together. Emerging from the pandemic newly reconnected in an acoustic pairing, influences span Black American Music, Brazilian, flamenco and classical styles; their enticing arrangements and intimate compositions are imbued with empathic sensitivity and swing. They handpick a gamut of material, as likely to be drawn from cult film scores of Herbie Hancock and Jobim as from a Puccini opera or Romantic piano concerto, co-imagined anew. As improvisers and composers, in this setting Wood and Girling find modern-day inspiration in trumpeters Ambrose Akinmusire and Laura Jurd, and nylon-string guitarists Nelson Veras and Fabiano do Nascimento. Together they have been described by Jazzwise as “Rising stars” and by The Jazz Mann as “both seriously talented writers [and] highly fluent soloists”. Music they have written together has been awarded the Sir John Manduell Prize, selected as a BBC Introducing highlight of the year and praised by Jamie Cullum on Radio 2: “made me move, made me think, gave me all the feels.”

Gary Washington Quartet

Gary Washington cello / Andrzej Baranek keyboard / Dave Tompkins double bass / Griffith Rees drums

Gary is a cellist and composer who writes music for orchestra and chamber ensembles, leads a band that plays original music, and has carved out a unique identity with his solo playing and beatboxing as The Urban Cellist. He is native to the USA and New Orleans is his musical home in the states. As such, the heritage of New Orleans has a huge influence on his playing, even though he is now based in the UK, between London and Manchester.  

Date: saturday 20 may

Time: 12:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Price: Free

mjf @ First Street: Apollo House, Nasa Parka and Moby Dickless

mjf @ First Street (Garden Stage)

First Street, Garden Stage

This afternoon we showcase three bands featuring young artists from across Greater Manchester who’ve graduated from our soundcheck artist development programme and are now making their mark on the wider Manchester music scene – you heard them first at mjf!  

2.15pm.- 3.10pm / Apollo House
4.30pm – 5.25pm / Nasa Parka
6.45pm – 7.40pm / Moby Dickless

Tickets: FREE entry to all events

Where is First Street? Click here to see…


Apollo House

Louis Reilly drum kit / Matthew Hodson saxophone / Finlay Mactaggart piano / Vivien Griffin electric bass  

Apollo House are a four-piece jazz ensemble that formed at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2021. Made up of all Northern musicians, they take inspiration from the thriving UK jazz scene and fellow Northern artists GoGo Penguin, Matthew Halsall and Jasmine Myra by combining elements of improvised ambient music, drum and bass and electronica. This ethereal and mesmerising music culminates in a genre they call Space jazz. Exploring sonic landscapes through the medium of composition and improvisation, Apollo House create a unique and engaging live experience.

Nasa Parka

Nasa Parka are a four-piece band not quite belonging to one particular genre. The band is comprised of Nat, Rhys, Rosie and Bryce, collectively reigning from Manchester, London and Sheffield. Their influences range from Bowie to Wolf Alice with references to various genres within our set including alt-rock, dark pop and blues. 

Moby Dickless

Mat Woods bass, vocals / Maria Rocha guitar, vocals / Freddie Hunter drums, vocals

Laced with unchained, angular harmonies and vivid story telling, Moby Dickless are a band set on breaking the mould. Consisting of John Sloth, Maria Rocha and Freddie Hunter, they met while studying at university and bonded through their love for improvisation. The band soon started playing gigs, and have rapidly established a reputable, highly energetic and immersive live performance in which they consistently challenge the very definition of genre. Their previous two releases, Life Aquatic EP and Live in the Boat Room, have explored a bold blend of jazz, punk and trip hop with future endeavours promising to push the boundaries further than ever before.  You’ll not come across many bands that sound like Manchester’s Moby Dickless” – Analogue Trash 

Date: saturday 20 may

Time: 2:15 pm - 7:40 pm

Price: Free

Henry Botham’s New Orleans Piano Gumbo

Matt and Phreds

Henry Botham piano

Henry Botham is one of the UK’s leading Harlem Stride, Blues and New Orleans pianists, most noted for his work with 52 Skidoo, The Nightcreatures, and Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners.

Henry has a huge passion for and appreciation of New Orleans piano, which draws from a wide range of influences including Blues, Jazz, Funk, R&B, Rhumba, Ragtime and even Classical music and Rock, all epitomised by the recognised master of the genre, James Booker.

Audiences will not only enjoy Henry’s playing, but also his both witty and interesting introductions to both the style at large and the songs he will play. This is the music of and inspired by Dr John, Professor Longhair, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith, Luckey Roberts and Dick Wellstood. Now that’s a pretty impressive selection.

Having his musical roots in traditional New Orleans music certainly doesn’t stop Henry being a pioneer of bringing this distinct style into the modern age, you can expect some surprises from Henry along the way, from Prince, to The Beatles, to The Prodigy and beyond, all remaining true to the New Orleans style.

Doors 5pm
Free entry – tables are first come, first served on the evening.

Date: saturday 20 may

Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Price: Free

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Los Chichanos

Matt and Phreds

Sandino Borges Leitao  guitar, vocals / Georgia Ollier keyboard, vocals / Conal McIntosh  bass, vocals /  Jordan Ferguson  congas, vocals / Jose Luis Rivera Martinez  timbales, vocals

The band behind Edinburgh’s late night fiestas, Los Chichanos formed to heat up their audiences with pumping live Latin music. Mixing a rich percussion section, powerful vocals, vintage guitar solos and mesmerising Peruvian melodies from the Amazon and the Andes, Los Chichanos perform “chicha” or Jungle Cumbia. The style of music has experienced a worldwide boom in recent years, and it’s clear why – tropical vibes, jungle sounds, experimental guitar-driven songs, ’60s organ leads and all the raucous rhythms of live cumbia and salsa! This music was written to make bodies move and minds travel.

With members from Brazil, El Salvador, Chile, Australia and the UK, the international combo formed in Scotland in 2021. Their shows regularly reach capacity, proving popular amongst lovers of tropical parties, Latin music and late night dance hangouts. Using traditional cumbia rhythms and full-powered percussion on congas and timbales, the group mixes experimental electric guitar and iconic nostalgic organ sounds, exploring ‘60s psychedelic and surf influences… The result? A hugely danceable setlist that transforms any night out into an infectious tropical fiesta. Let Los Chichanos lead you on their jungle expedition across the Latino dance floor and deep into the misty South American rainforest. Dress jungle for bonus points.

Wild syncopated Latin rhythms, vintage surf-inspired guitar, organ and psychedelic Latin vibes – Los Chichanos present a pumping fiesta of Jungle Cumbia (also known as “chicha”). Join this infectious tropical excursion.

Doors at 5pm
£7 entry, pay on the door – to reserve a table, call 0161 273 5495

Date: saturday 20 may

Time: 9:30 pm - 12:30 am

Price: £7, pay on the door

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mjf @ First Street: Ni Maxine, Charlotte Keeffe’s Quartet, Nick Walters, Ferg’s Imaginary Big Band and more…

mjf @ First Street (Main Stage)

First Street, Main Stage

1.15pm – 2.05pm / Ni Maxine
3.15pm – 4.25pm / Charlotte Keeffe’s Right Here Right Now Quartet
5.30pm – 6.40pm / Nick Walters
7.45pm – 9pm / Ferg’s Imaginary Big Band
9pm – 10pm / DJ

Tickets: FREE entry to all events

Where is First Street? Click here to see…


Ni Maxine

Ni Maxine vocals / David Kayode saxophone / Jack Lewis guitar / Max O’Hara keyboard / Jesse Eigen bass / Jamal Campbell drums 

Hailed a ‘Black Woman at The Forefront of the UK Jazz Scene’ alongside Cherise & KOKOROKO’s Sheila Maurice-Grey, Ni Maxine is a Neo-Jazz Singer-Songwriter; a Black British woman sparking intergenerational conversations for change, exploring themes of home, identity, self-esteem & belonging.

Charlotte Keeffe’s Right Here Right Now Quartet

Charlotte Keeffe composer, trumpet, flugelhorn / Moss Freed guitar with pedal board / Ashley John Long double bass / Ben Handysides drums

Come on Manchester, are you ready for Right Here, Right Now?! With her Right Here, Right Now Quartet, British composer and improvising musician, Charlotte Keeffe, passionately embraces the moment with her audiences, she enables raw musical ingredients and individual expressions to magically come together and flow… Keeffe wears her serious love for free improvisation, jazz and experimental music on her sleeve. She is captivated by trumpeters like Jaimie Branch, Tomasz Stańko and Lester Bowie, she is also inspired by painters, and refers to her trumpet and flugelhorn as her ‘sound brushes’. Charlotte Keeffe’s music is one big joyful wish for creative freedom for ALL! 

Nick Walters

Nick Walters trumpet / Ed Cawthorne flute and soprano / Rebecca Nash piano / Nim Sadot bass / Laurie Lowe drums / Kujovi Kush percussion

Trumpeter, composer and band leader Nick Walters is arguably one of the most sought after and respected musicians on the UK Jazz scene. Known for his work with the bands Ruby Rushton, Riot Jazz Brass Band and Beats & Pieces Big Band, he also leads the Paradox Ensemble, a diverse collection of some of his closest musical collaborators, premiered 10 years ago at mjf 2013. His music often combines modal, spiritual and eastern jazz moods with West African rhythms, channelling the spirit of Woody Shaw, Miles Davis and absent friends. Following the successful Awakening and Active Imagination releases on 22a, 2021 saw the first release on his newly formed label D.O.T. Records – the new Paradox Ensemble album Implicate Order. The album was met with mass acclaim and was followed up in early 2022 with a new studio produced album from Walters, Singularity, which received rave reviews and support from Mary Ann Hobbs on BBC 6Music.  

His various live projects have gained high praise and support from some of the key tastemakers, DJ’s, radio stations, magazines and newspapers in the world, including: Gilles Peterson, Tom Ravenscroft, Jamz Supernova, Huey Morgan, Mary Ann Hobbs, NTS, Jazz FM, Mojo Magazine, Jazzwise, Record Collector and many more. 2023 sees a new release by the sextet that he brings here to mjf.  

Walters is majestic, leading a hugely enjoyable cosmic journey of exciting, melodic and spiritually uplifting contemporary jazz” – UK VIBE 

Ferg’s Imaginary Big Band

Fergus Quill conductor, trumpet, viola / Amy Clark vocals / Saul Duff, Flo Taylor alto saxophones / Hannah Mae Birtwell, Harry Fowler, Will Gibbon tenor saxophones / Bess Shooter baritone saxophone / Alex Fisher bass saxophone / Fee Buckton, Felix Burling, Olivia Cuttill, Sam Ehret’ Pickett trumpets & flugelhorns / Adam Chard, Anya Sharma James, Pete New trombones / Oli Smedley bass trombone / Will Lakin guitar / Chris Williams double bass / Woody Hayden electric bass / Nico Widdowson, George MacDonald piano, keyboards / Josh Ketch, Theo Goss drums / Jon Lodder percussion / Hamish ‘Sonic’ Dixon noise   

Ferg’s Imaginary Big Band are a 24+ piece jazz x noise machine who are part of the burgeoning left-field independent Leeds music scene spearheaded by the Tight Lines record label. Initially inspired by the cosmic jazz legend and musician/band leader Sun Ra, Ferg’s Imaginary Big Band is a semi-fictional large ensemble whose primary aim is to bring big band music kicking and screaming into the 22nd century. The IBB play rowdy and always huge sounding arrangements of an incredibly diverse selection of tunes from composers including Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, The Rajasthan Express, Count Basie, the Art Ensemble Of Chicago alongside a number of original compositions written and arranged by Fergus and other members of the group. 


Date: saturday 20 may

Time: 12:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Price: Free