Jam Factory

Dec 2004:

After seven fantastic years as the Musical Director of the Jam Factory there seemed no other option but to step aside due to the sheer weight of my weekday teaching schedule at LIPA, Chethams and the RNCM..

Accordingly former AMD Richard Ormrod took over to guide the band forward from this point.

Of course I wish this unique phenomenon a bright future, and for those who haven't yet encountered it, please read on.



A unique community-based creative jazz ensemble, based in Blackburn.

"If every community in this country had a Jam Factory...... just imagine......"
(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 Moser.

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.

The membership has ages ranging between10 and 60+ years; players who can play virtuosically alongside those who are still at preliminary stages, and all fully participating in the music making.
The Jam Factory

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 its traditions.

In 1999, the three bands (JF, JP & OTR) held a concert with guest star
Andy Sheppard, 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 Library Theatre. 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 Chris Batchelor.


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.

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