THE JAM FACTORY
A unique community-based creative jazz ensemble, based in Blackburn.
"If every community in this country had a Jam Factory...... just
(Pete Churchill, choir director for Jam Factory choral projects)
A collection of local musicians, the band was formed in 1997 as part of
an initiative between Blackburn, Burnley and Morecambe, and the remarkable
community musician and composer: Pete
Funded jointly by the three boroughs and North West Arts, three such bands
came into existence, the other two being known as The Jazz Pyramid
and Off The Rails respectively.
Steve’s original wording on leaflets and posters that announced the
formation of the band read: "open to all and any who regard themselves
nervously or otherwise as musicians....expect improvising, and much groovesome
fun". And so the Jam Factory started with 16 people, and has since
trebled in number.
At its heart, the
Jam Factory seeks to entertain and educate, offering an opportunity for
the ‘buzz’ of live music performance to be experienced by players
and audience alike. In particular it seeks to advance the cause of improvisation
and a creative ensemble which is accessible to a community much wider
than the ‘jazz audience’ per-se. That said however, the breadth
of resources drawn upon happily and necessarily include jazz music and
In 1999, the three bands (JF, JP & OTR) held
a concert with guest star Andy
at Burnley Mechanics. A phenomenal and memorable event, it was captured
on the subsequent CD release "Red Sky" (rfm103).
Since then, the Jam Factory has continued and grown, and now has an assistant
MD, Richard Ormrod, the Leeds based saxophonist who met and studied
with Steve Berry en-route to his degree in Jazz Studies. Richard brings
the contrasting elements of Jamaican influences and Indian classical music
(to name but a few!) into the heady musical mixture.
May 2000 saw the band successfullyundertake an ambitious collaboration
with three local choirs, drafted in to form a large ‘gospel’-style
choir, under the direction of Pete Churchill. A set of material
was put together, with Liane Carroll as guest star lead-vocalist.
The band itself was augmented by guest soloists Gerard Presencer
(trumpet & flugelhorn) and John Parricelli (guitar).
The concert was recorded and released as "Vox JAM" (rfm105),
and is still available, direct from Room For Music.
The Jam Factory has
regularly put on concerts in collaboration with visiting guest soloists,
more often than not at our regular haunt, the Darwen
In addition to the guests already mentioned above (Vox Jam, Red Sky) we
been graced by the presence of Mark Bassey, Byron Wallen, Tim Whitehead,
Steve Buckley, Mike Walker, Iain Dixon, Dalbir Singh, Mark Lockheart,
Richard Iles, Ian Shaw, Andy Schofield, Tim Garland, Josefina Cupido and
The May 2000 Vox
Jam concert was funded by the National Lottery under an Awards
for All scheme.
The October 2000 Concert
with Byron Wallen and Mark Bassey was funded by a North
West Arts Jazz Award.
Since early 2001 Jam Factory has been funded principally by a three year
award from the Regional Lottery Fund administered by North West
Arts. We have also received some smaller awards from Blackburn
with Darwen Arts Council towards specific projects.