After the overwhelming response to the Ambleside Days Contemporary Jazz Festival we will be hosting another Festival this year starting on Thursday 30th August and concluding on Sunday 2nd September 2018

The 2018 Ambleside Days Contemporary Jazz Festival presents the following musicians:

Claire Martin OBE – Voice
Thomas Gould – Violin
Paul McCandless – Saxophones
Tim Garland – Saxophones
Asaf Sirkis – Drums
Nikki Iles – Piano
Jason Rebello – Piano
Gwilym Simcock – Piano
Mike Walker – Guitar
Joe Locke – Vibraphone
Alyn Cosker – Drums
Martin Berauer – Bass
Bernhard Schimpelsberger – Percussion
Mark Lockheart – Saxophones
Darryl Hall – Bass
Yuri Goloubev – Bass
John Helliwell – Saxophone
plus others.

Please see this page for updates on the Festival

Free Jazz Bar events 

Thursday 30th August  Pete Major -Piano 6.30pm

Friday 31st August  6.30 pm and 9.00 pm  Jason Rebello – Piano, Asaf Sirkis – Drums and Yuri Goloubev – Double bass

Saturday 1st September 6.30 pm and 9.00 pm  John Helliwell – Saxophone, John Ellis- Piano and Vocal and Gavin Barras  Bass

Sunday 2nd 6.30 pm  to be confirmed


There are several main events that also have a connection with the Lake District which we are very much looking forward to hearing.

Tim Garland’s new CD Weather Walker, released recently to overwhelming critical acclaim, is a musical evocation of Lake District landscapes.

Friday 31st August 12.00 noon; free event in the main cinema

Tim Garland will present his new CD with digital cinema sound and short film clips.


Johannes Berauer’s  Hourglass:  World Premiere

Johannes Berauer – a former student of jazz legend Bob Brookmeyer – is one of the most productive and diverse young composers of Austria.

The band features

Gwilym Simcock, a member of Pat Metheny’s current quartet, and Mike Walker, who played with virtually everyone from Kenny Wheeler to Dave Holland, are two of the finest musicians of the British jazz scene. Violinist Thomas Gould has been described as “one of the most talented and charismatic British violinists of the younger generation” excelling in both classical and contemporary repertoire as well as jazz. He is director of the Britten Sinfonia. Likewise, Martin Berauer and Bernhard Schimpelsberger are two of the leading young musicians of Austria. Martin, living in Paris, is especially known for his expertise in the field of world music, and Bernhard, based in London, has built a reputation as a master of Indian rhythms, which have led him to collaborations with artists like Akram Khan and Anoushka Shankar.

Mike Walker Ropes CD release

Mike Walker’s new CD Ropes  will be released during the course of this year’s festival. It was recorded here in the Lakes and in Manchester.

Below are extracts from some reviews of 2017’s Festival:

Jazz North 

‘An astonishing evening of music in the intimate and very comfortable Zeffirellis Cinema, Ambleside yesterday on the closing night of the first Ambleside Days festival. The festival was a heartfelt tribute to John Taylor’

Bebop Spoken Here

‘Nestling below Fairfield, where west coast meets east coast at the northern end of Windermere, lies Ambleside, perhaps an unexpected location for a venue boasting world class musicians in the line-up.

The festival was dedicated to the late John Taylor (piano) who had been a long-time supporter of the venue and in 1992 had composed and recorded (with John Surman) a suite of music, Ambleside Days, a commission by Zeffirellis with the assistance of Northern Arts’

London Jazz News

‘Reports keep coming in to us about what a special time the Ambleside Days festival in Cumbria was. Musicians and their partners were made extremely welcome by Zeffirellis. This festival has been described by a number of the participants as having been the completely ideal circumstances in which to make music’.

Mike Collins Jazzyblogman

Review: An evening with Dave Holland, Ambleside Days Festival

‘ The festival was a heartfelt tribute to John Taylor and as the evening progressed the music of Kenny Wheeler too. Dave Holland took to the small stage with a solo number before inviting up Norma Winstone, Gwilym Simcock and Mike Walker. A magical take on Alice in Wonderland and a joyful Ladies in Mercedes plus first performance of Fly the Wind – Norma’s lyrics on John Taylor’s Witch Hazel.

After a break Dave Holland invited up Nikki Iles and James Maddren for a beautiful trio rendition of John Taylor’s Evansong followed by Mike Walker joining them on Dave’s Blues for CM. This grew into Nikki’s Printmakers band with Norma Winstone and Mark Lockheart. Then the horn players, Stan Sulzmann, Tim Garland and John Helliwell with Nick Smart on trumpet and flugel horn squeezed onto the stage with Nikki / Gwilym and James Maddren / Asif Sirkis taking turns on piano and drums.

This larger ensemble played a mix of charts contributed by Nikki, Dave and Stan, with numbers by Dave and Kenny Wheeler (including Old Time and Kind Flock). Absolutely magical. Paul Allen was recording everything so some of this music might get released at some point. From the evidence of this night the festival certainly lived up to its description as “a celebration of world class contemporary music” and organiser Derek Hook confirmed that there will be a festival in 2018.