Kathy is a jazz guitarist, researcher and teacher based in Manchester. She studied at City of Leeds College of Music in the early 80s and subsequently co-founded Leeds Jazz. This was set-up as a none profit organisation to ensure that jazz gigs came to Leeds. Art Blakey, Hermeto Pascoal, Kenny Wheeler, Loose Tubes and many more, all played at the Leeds Trades Club in Chapeltown to usually packed houses due our fly posting of day-glo A3 posters on junction boxes.
In 1986 she set off with saxophonist husband John and baby daughter, (together with a thousand copies of our first ever recording on cassette, One Foot In The Gutter) on a playing trip around Europe which lasted five years. They performed at the Sorgues, Ulm (in Germany) and Avignon Festivals, were taken in by the gypsy communities in the South of France and Germany and performed at gypsy clubs and gatherings. They also played for innumerable private parties and functions including riverboat trips down the Rhine and busked under the disapproving stare of Beethoven to an audience of 600 in Bonn.
On our return, we lived in Rye Harbour, with the sun, the birds and our dog Dylan and played on the South coast. In particular, Simon Wilkes owner of the Street Cafe in Hastings gave us much needed support, (and quite a few gigs!). He also produced a compilation cassette of some of the artists, including John and I, who had up to that point played at the venue, called simply, Street Jazz. In 1996 our daughter Ruth was awarded a place at Chetham’s music school and so we moved to Manchester.
First CD Recording
WIth an Arts Express grant, (and assistance from Chris Hodgkins at Jazz Services) we made a CD called Night Cafe. You can hear a couple of tracks here. Yes, and we still have some left.......Gigs in the North ensued and aided by Mike Butler and City Life magazine, we toured and got known. I formed an octet in the early noughties and wrote music for it, including a suite inspired by Pablo Neruda poems, which was premiered at the Bridgewater Hall during the Manchester Jazz Festival.
I also took an MA in Jazz Performance, taught as a lecturer at Arden College and then spent several years working on a PhD at Sheffield University. The resulting thesis: Learning Jazz Improvisation, is available in PDF format here, and I continue the research on a daily basis. For the last four years I was Senior Lecturer in Jazz at Leeds College of Music and developed the teaching practice and research more intensively. This work was recognised nationally when I won Jazz Educator of the Year at the 2010 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
SInce 2008, I have worked with guitarist Deirdre Cartwright on Remembering Emily, a tribute to Emily Remler and have released a CD in 2011 that was launched at Ronnie Scotts in London and at Band on the Wall in Manchester. Currently I have two other music projects underway: the jazz duo with John Dyson, a sextet called the Jazz Department with John Dyson, Mark Donlon, Max Sterling, Josie Smith and Steve Hanley. You can listen to a couple of tracks here. Finally pianist and teacher Mark Donlon and I are planning to open a weekend jazz school in September 2012 and will be offering workshops, classes and open days in the run-up to the launch.