Prof. George McKay (Keynote)

George McKay is Professor of Media Studies at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. Prior to this, he was Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Salford (2005-2014); previously he held a similar chair at the University of Central Lancashire (2000-2005). In September 2012 he took up a three-year AHRC Leadership Fellowship for the Connected Communities Programme, which was renewed for a further three-year period in September 2015.

His research and teaching interests are in alternative culture and media, the cultural politics of popular music—including jazz, punk—disability, festivals, and gardening. He has written or edited numerous books and collections in these fields—extensive information and links about which are available elsewhere on the site.

He writes for both academic and non-specialist audiences, though not necessarily in the same book. So he has produced academic monographs, aimed primarily at a university readership, and also written books for the informed, more general, reader, in particular for those interested or engaged in social activism,  music-making, community and cultural action. (You can read an academic analysis of the pitfalls of writing about activist culture in Keith Halfacree’s ‘I could only do wrong’, which discusses George’s position in his early writing, and its reception by some of the radical groups involved and under discussion.)

He appears periodically in the media as an ‘expert’ talking about his work, and related areas such as protest, counterculture, social movements.

Francesco Martinelli

Francesco Martinelli was born in Pisa, Italy, in 1954, and graduated in chemistry at Pisa University. Since 1975 he has been involved in the promotion of musical events (the concerts of American bluesmen Cooper Terry and Don Cherry and the Frank Lowe Quartet). In 1976, he co-founded CRIM (Center for Research About Improvised Music). CRIM promoted the Pisa Jazz Festival and many other ad hoc events from 1976 to 1982, mainly concentrating on contemporary improvisation and jazz. Within CRIM, Martinelli published the Italian editions of books by Leo Smith (Notes: 8 Pieces) and Derek Bailey (Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music), and several records (Improvisors’ Symposium by Evan Parker, The Paul Rutherford Duo With Toni Rusconi, Pisa by the Maarten Altena Quartet, and Detto Fra Di Noi by the Alex von Schlippenbach Trio). After 1982, he promoted events for the town of Pisa, including La Nuova Onda, a festival of contemporary Italian jazz, as well as other festivals all over the country. In 1998 he began co-directing the Controindicazioni Festival in Rome and acting as a consultant for festivals and concerts all over the country. After planning and promoting a major three-day festival dedicated to the Italian Instabile Orchestra in December 1997, he produced a double CD for Leo Records documenting the event; the CDs were critically acclaimed worldwide, and the collaboration with the Italian Instabile Orchestra became an ongoing project, with promotion of a yearly Instabile Festival in Pisa. He was then appointed curator of the Siena Jazz Archive, the main resource of its kind in Italy, and also gave courses and lectures about the history of jazz, the philology and conservation of recorded sound, and music research through the Internet. He taught at the Summer School of Music of New York University in Italy for four years, giving a course on European improvised music and lecturing at New York University in New York. His writing has appeared in many magazines: the Italian Musiche (about Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Sun Ra), Musica Jazz (about Billie Holiday, Lucky Thompson, and Anthony Braxton), Il Sismografo (the SISMA newsletter), Nerosubianco (the SISMA musicological review), the French Improjazz, the Canadian Coda, the Austrian Jazz Live, the English Avant and VJM, and the American Signal to Noise. His writing has also appeared in books like Mixtery: A Festschrift for Anthony Braxton, the Black Music and Blues Encyclopedia (Arcana), and the Italian Jazz Encyclopedia. His liner notes appear on CDs that are on labels such as FMP, Maya, Chronoscope, Braxton House, Splasch, Leo, Nuscope, and Soul Note. He did work on two major Anthony BraxtonCDs: News From the Seventies (New Tone) and Small Ensemble (Wesleyan) 1994 (Splasch). His most recent CD production is Tales of Love and Death by the Eugenio Colombo Septet on Leo Records, a unique dramatic cantata of three sopranos and a jazz quartet. He has published the discographies of Evan Parker and Mario Schiano, and contributed to entries in Tom Lord’s Jazz Discography. In March 2000, his Anthony Braxton Discography was published, which is the most complete resource book about one of the major figures of contemporary music. It includes an extended bibliography; appendices about web sources and movies; and detailed indexes of all musicians, record titles, original, and standard compositions in over 200 pages with 85 illustrations.

Harry Whalley

Harry’s music has been performed nationally and internationally, including performance on BBC Radio 3. In addition, he has composed the scores for film and computer games that have been featured at film festivals around the world, including Palm Spring, LA, Berlin, and London. Harry received an AHRC funded PhD in Composition from the University of Edinburgh in 2014, previously receiving an MMus from the same institution and a BA Music (Jazz) from Middlesex University. Harry has taught at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and lectured and presented at conferences around the country. In 2016 Harry was the recipient of a Banff Fellowship, he is the composer in residence of St. Vincent’s Chapel in Edinburgh and Course Leader for BA/BSc Music Composition and Technology at the University for the Creative Arts. 

Will Finch

Will is a doctoral student at the University of Bristol under the supervision of Dr Guido Heldt and Dr Angela Piccini. His PhD thesis explores music’s place in the BBC arts documentary series Arena. It considers the means by which Arena constructs ideas about music, and on the uses the series itself makes of music. He previously studied at Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Cambridge where he completed a dissertation on jazz in the French New Wave (specifically, Et Dieu… créa la femme (1956), Sait-on Jamais… (1957), Les liaisons dangereuses (1959), À bout de souffle (1960), and Eva (1962)). Sometimes Will blows warm air down a trumpet in jazz and non-jazz settings. 

Alfredo Lopes

Alfredo Lopes has been performing and writing jazz repertoire since his studies at Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1993. He has studied with jazz saxophonist/composer, Joe Henderson; Vincent Herring, Wes Anderson, and piano player/educator, Dr Barry Harris. In 2012 he completed an Honours exegesis at Southern Cross University: The harmonic explorations of Joe Henderson: A study by a professional jazz musician on his contribution to the modern jazz tenor saxophone sound. Recently he presented a paper at the Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network conference: Jazzing: Intuition and Intellect. He is at Queensland Conservatorium of Music, studying with jazz composers/educators, Dr Stephen Newcomb and Dr Louise Denson; developing a Doctorate of Musical Arts exegesis: Perspectives on creative design as a composer/player/leader in a small jazz ensemble. He has worked with and co-led music ensembles with some of Australia’s best jazz musicians including: George Golla, Judy Bailey, Craig Scott, Alan Turnball, Mark Isaacs, Paul Mac Namara, Bernie McGann, John Morrison, Jeff Usher, Matt McMahon, Sean Wayland, Jan Rutherford, Cathy Harley and Sharny Russell.


Vincenzo Martorella

Vincenzo Martorella is an Italian music historian and jazz critic. Currently he teaches History of Jazz at Conservatorio “Benedetto Marcello” of Venice, at Conservatorio “Luigi Canepa” of Sassari and at Conservatorio “Girolamo Frescobaldi” of Ferrara. He taught classes at University of Bari (History of Alternative Music), at the Florence campus of the New York University (Twentieth-Century Music History) and Perugia (History of Popular Music).

He edited Italian bimonthly jazz magazine JAZZIT, wrote seven books and hundreds of articles and essays. At this moment, he is the editorial director at Arcana, a publisher specialized in books about music.

Petter Frost Fadnes

Dr Frost Fadnes is a Norwegian improviser and saxophone player with a background – both as student and lecturer – from Leeds College of Music and University of Leeds. With a parallel career in performance and academia, Frost Fadnes’ research interest is focused on improvisational thinking within a practical context, specifically looking at improvisational processes through musical performance. He has published on a wide range of performance related topics, such as jazz collectives, cultural factories, jazz for young people and improvisational pedagogy.

Frost Fadnes is Associate Professor at The Department of Music and Dance, University of Stavanger, and former principal investigator for the HERA-funded research project Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities.  He performs with players from mainly Norway and the UK, and continues to seek “the perfect melody” through eclectic musical approaches within the settings of improvised music. Frost Fadnes performs regularly with The Geordie Approach, Mole, Brink and Kitchen Orchestra.


David Milne

David Milne, Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, teaches saxophone/woodwinds, jazz studies, and directs and produces the university’s jazz series. Based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, David performs in diverse settings as a saxophonist and multi-woodwind instrumentalist, ranging from creative jazz, modern big band, and progressive popular genres to chamber, orchestral, and contemporary classical genres. David leads One World Consort, a multi-genre chamber ensemble featuring traditional music from a broad range of world cultures and traditions. Originally from Rochester, New York, David received the diplomas D.M.A. Saxophone from the Eastman School of Music, M.M. Woodwinds from Indiana University, and B.A. Music from Indiana University. Active internationally as a soloist, guest artist, and educator/clinician, David is an artist-clinician for Selmer Paris Saxophones and Vandoren Woodwind Products.


Nicolas Pillai

Dr Nicolas Pillai is a Research Fellow in the School of Media at Birmingham City University. He is the author of Jazz as Visual Language: Film, Television and the Dissonant Image (2017, I. B. Tauris) and co-editor of New Jazz Conceptions: History, Theory, Practice (2017, Routledge). He was recently awarded a prestigious AHRC Research Leadership Fellowship to conduct a two-year project entitled ‘Jazz on BBC-TV 1960-1969’. His research has been published in The Soundtrack journal and Darmstadt Studies in Jazz. Writing for a more general audience, he has written liner notes for the British Film Institute Blu-ray and DVD releases of Paris Blues and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. He is currently working on: chapters for The Routledge Companion to New Jazz Studies, The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage and The Oxford History of Jazz in Europe; an edited collection on late Miles Davis; a special issue of Jazz Research Journal on the subject of ‘Jazz and Television.’

Prof Tim Wall

Tim Wall is Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies and Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. He researches into music industries and cultures and music and radio. He has led knowledge exchange projects with music and radio organisations and the wider creative industries. He was formerly an AHRC Knowledge Exchange Fellow and the Principle Investigator of the BBC Listeners Online project.

His recent publications have included the second edition of his book Studying Popular Music Culture, and articles on music radio online, punk fanzines, the transistor radio, personal music listening, popular music on television, television music histories, jazz collectives, Duke Ellington on the radio, The X Factor and radio sound. He is currently editing a book on the Northern Soul Scene and writing the history of jazz on BBC radio from 1923 to 1973.

Pedro Cravinho

Pedro Cravinho currently is a Doctoral Visiting Researcher at Birmingham City University (BCU). Cravinho is conducting his PhD research on Jazz and Television in Portugal during Estado Novo regime (1956-1974), at the University of Aveiro (UA), Portugal, under supervision of Prof. Rosário Pestana (UA, PT), and co-supervision of Prof. Nick Gebhardt (BCU, UK). His researches interests include Jazz Studies and Media Studies, with a particular interest in jazz and television, as also, the political and social history of Jazz Diaspora during the 20th century. He has numerous published and forthcoming articles on Portuguese jazz.

Pedro Costa

Pedro Costa started to show his love for music when he started to buy LP’s and 45’s by 1978 when he was 9 years old by the influence of his brother Carlos. After finishing high school, in 1988, he had no doubts that his future was in music. So, his first curating happened that same year when he worked hard on a Rock festival that never happened, what a way to start !

In 1989 his dream come true when he started working in a record store (Loja da Musica) where he stayed for two years until he was called for the mandatory army.

Immediately after he came out of the army, he started working for  a distributor carrying mostly Jazz and World Music. Six months later he was back to a record store in Lisbon where he stayed until 1992.

Then, along with his brother Carlos, he started his own record store called “Musikametro”, a project that lasted for two years and in 1994 he went back to Loja da Musica for a new mega store that opened downtown Lisbon. There he was the manager for the jazz department and a bit later he was managing the entire store.

In 1998 he got an invitation to manage the jazz section of the first Fnac store in Lisbon where he stayed for nearly 2 years. After that he managed the jazz departments of the 28 stores of mega chain Valentim de Carvalho all over country.

It was during this period that he started curating in the fields of jazz and improvised music, starting in 2000 with the LX Meskla Festival with artists and bands as Slang, Frederic Galliano, Sei Miguel, Lisbon Improvisation Players and Lee Perry (first time in Portugal).

By the end of 2001 he started to work exclusively in his recently founded Trem Azul company and his label Clean Feed.

By then another Pedro also curated another big festival, Multi Musicas with Rokia Traore, Mahotella Queens, Gladiators, Dixie Peppers, Klezmatics and Istambul Oriental Ensemble.

From then on Pedro curated an extensive list of festivals and concerts as Jazz ao Centro (Coimbra) since 2003 to 2012 (over 120 Jazz concerts), Jazz ás Quintas at the CCB – Belem Cultural Center (about 20 concerts every year from 2007 to 2012), colaborating with its bigger festival at CCB “Os Dias da Música” with many artists since 2008.

Since 2008 he has been curating a series called “Isto é Jazz?” (Is This Jazz?) at Culturgest in Lisbon showing the multiple faces of improvised music through artists as Steve Lehman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Sidsel Endresen, BassDrumBone, DJ Olive, Ken Vandermark, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Nate Wooley/Paul Lytton, Joe Morris/Barre Phillips, Sten Sandell Trio, Michaël Attias Quintet, The Fish, Satoko Fujii, William Parker, Lotte Anker, Fred Frith, Ikue Mori, and Portuguese artists as Sei Miguel, Carlos “Zíngaro”, Nuno Rebelo among many others.

In 2014, also at Culturgest, Pedro has curated six concerts a year dedicated to Portuguese mainstream Jazz in a series called “Jazz+351”.

He regularly presents concerts at the best venues in Portugal as Casa da Musica and also curates the Seixal Jazz Clube (since 2006) and Festival (in 2012) just near Lisbon in programmes that include many international and local artists always showing the new ways of jazz and improvised music, alongside the celebrated Portalegre JazzFest since 2011 where he has presented artists such as Bernardo Sassetti, Jonas Kullhammar Quartet, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Daniel Levin Quartet, Scott Fields, Harris Eisenstadt, Ellery Eskelin, Carlos Bica and LAMA and many others.

Internationally, Pedro has been involved in the oldest jazz festival in Europe, the Ljubljana Jazz Festival in Slovenia, since 2011 where him and Bogdan Benigar co-curate the program.

Clean Feed fests or Clean Feed nights have also been staged in many different cities for some time, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Oslo, Madrid, Barcelona, Cologne, Paris, Northsea Jazz Festival, etc.

Parallel to this, Clean Feed records is attracting international acclaim as one of the most compelling labels in the world today, voted many times as the best Jazz Label on All About Jazz, nominated 4 times for the best label in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 at the Jazz Journalists Association and releasing over 450 records during an intense 16-year activity. Many of its releases are voted every year in best of the year lists in magazines and websites all over the globe such as Downbeat, Jazz Magazine, Impro Jazz Magazine, Signal to Noise, The Wire, Jazz Times, Village Voice, New York Times, Point of Departure, El Intruso among many others.

Also, Pedro has presented several Radio shows between 1998 to 2001, and written for many newspapers and Magazines including the leading newspaper Público. He was the editor of the first (and only) two Jazz magazines in Portugal (“All Jazz” and “”).

As a curator and producer he has been interviewed in most of the national TV channels and Radios in Portugal and Slovenia, but also in other countries as Spain (El Pais), USA (Downbeat, WKCR radio, All About Jazz), France (JazzMag) and Italy.

José Dias

José Dias is a Senior Lecturer in Music at Manchester Metropolitan University and a musician. As academic researcher, he has developed research on European jazz networks, exploring the relationships between jazz practices, cultural identity and cultural policies in Europe. From his research experience, Dias has been appointed delegate for several European jazz festivals and networks. As a musician and composer, he has worked with numerous jazz, world music and pop artists and released several albums. Furthermore, he has written poetry books and plays, scored music for theatre, contemporary dance performances and animation films. His music is strongly inspired by visual arts and literature.

Jacob Karlzon

Jacob Karlzon’s music resides in the intersections where Scandinavian expressions such as space, melancholy and sensitivity blend with heat and passion. Jacob has been compared to such luminaries as Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Sweden’s own legendary pianist Jan Johansson. His playing style boasts technical brilliance, great rhythmic and harmonic complexity and a perfect feeling for form.

Jacob Karlzon applies a concrete image when he speaks about his music: “We are modern people with a history, and it is precisely this which is reflected in my music. I am fascinated with the possibilities of new technologies. However, I also need a sense of warmth and a connection with the earth in order to feel happy”. – A wide horizon thus, which also includes unusual facets, especially for a piano virtuose: Metal and electro have their place in his music as well as folk songs from his Swedish homeland. With such an open attitude, Karlzon balances the depths of his musical ideas and achieves vibrant pulsating soundscapes in a spectrum from light to energetic, fragile to powerful, organic to electronic – sometimes all at once. He calls his creations – his ability to bring into harmony his musical skills and preferences – ‘technorganic’, in a free play of transcending musical borders. It is precisely in this way that he has expanded European jazz in recent years.

His stupendous technique and his tremendous sensibility made him a popular ‘sideman’ already in his early career. He accompanied stars like Silje Nergaard, Nils Landgren, and Viktoria Tolstoy. He shared the stage with Billy Cobham, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and other greats of his genre. And with the growing reputation of his musical play, his own projects also received growing recognition. In 2010 he was awarded the Swedish Django d’Or and was voted Jazz Musician of the Year in Sweden. Being elected into the renowned group of Steinway-Artists in 2012 was an international recognition of excellence.

So far, Karlzon has produced eleven albums under his own name, the most recent one, NOW, on WARNER MUSIC. Besides solo recordings and Quintett productions, he works primarily with his Jacob Karlzon Trio formation.

Jacob Karlzon is always on the search for new places, – not only in his music. After concerts in Europe, Jacob Karlzon toured China and the USA. And despite his rising fame and his journeys to ever more distant countries, he always likes to return to the beginnings of his career and his early musical ideas: ‘I got into jazz because I loved improvisation. And this kind of spontaneous play achieves ever new levels in the direct communication with the audience, in the exchange of energy and emotion. Performing live is for me the original place of music – not an educational event, but an ecstatic experience on both sides.


Neil Cooper

Neil Cooper is an arts writer and critic based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He currently writes for The Herald, Product, The Quietus, Scottish Art News, Bella Caledonia and The List. He has contributed chapters to The Suspect Culture Book (Oberon), Dear Green Sounds: Glasgow’s Music Through Time and Buildings (Waverley) and Scotland 2021 (Eklesia). He also co-edited a special Arts and Human Rights edition of the Journal of Arts & Communities (Intellect).

Neil wrote for The Wire, but he stopped a decade ago after the editor chose to side with a disgruntled curator following a complaint regarding what was a largely positive review. The complaint was fine, but the curator then passed a private email exchange between her and the editor to her friends and music promoters she’d never met. Scotland is small in this way, however, and the exchange inevitably landed in Neil’s in-box. Copies are available on request.

Neil has also written for Plan B, Map, Line, The Times, The Independent, Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman, Sunday Herald, Scotland on Sunday and other publications. He has written essays for Suspect Culture theatre company, Alt. Gallery, Newcastle, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and Berwick upon Tweed Film and Media Arts Festival. Neil has appeared on BBC and independent radio and TV, and has lectured in arts journalism at Napier University, Edinburgh. He is a member of the NUJ and the Critics Circle, and has been a judge for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

Brendan Williams

Brendan Williams is a practicing engineer / producer and academic. He is the programme leader for BA Music: Creative Music Technology at the University of Salford, from where he received his PhD (by publication) focussing on a series of album releases drawn from a diverse discography. Equally at home collaborating with art poppers Dutch Uncles or the cutting edge contemporary work of Psappha, a good deal of his output has seen him at the centre of Manchester’s jazz scene over the last ten years.

Williams has engineered and produced nine albums for Gondwana records to date, including releases from Matthew Halsall, Nat Birchall and GoGo Penguin, he continues to co-produce GGP following their move to Blue Note Records. In 2016 Williams co-founded Low Four Studios ( which operates as a commercial recording facility, a ‘TV style’ live performance environment and educational resource in collaboration with UoS.

Adam Fairhall

Raised in Cornwall, Adam began, like many pianists, by practising boogie and blues with friends during school lunchtimes. He received piano lessons covering jazz harmony and repertoire in his teens, before moving north to study Contemporary Arts at MMU Cheshire, where he received a first class honours degree and an MA with distinction. Having decided towards the end of his undergraduate studies to devote his time to the study of jazz, Adam followed his studies at MMU with Master’s study at Leeds College of Music, receiving a MMus in Jazz Studies (Performance) in 2005. While at Leeds he studied with pianist Mark Donlon and also took lessons with pianist Matthew Bourne. In 2005 he received the college’s Sam Hood Rosebowl for Outstanding Jazz Performance. Returning to MMU to teach and continue his practice and research, Adam received a PhD in 2008 and continues to hold a part-time post as Senior Lecturer in Popular Music in the Cheshire faculty’s Department of Contemporary Arts.

Adam’s distinctive piano playing has been noted for the diversity of its stylistic reference points; idioms drawn from any period of jazz history may be blended, collided, subverted, hinted at or played completely ‘straight’ in his performances. Despite this playful and often witty approach, Adam’s playing is committed rather than ironic and detached, and reveals a love of piano jazz from ragtime to free.

Adam’s most ambitious project as a leader is The Imaginary Delta, which involves a seven-piece ensemble. The Imaginary Delta was commissioned by Manchester Jazz Festival, and premiered at Band on the Wall, Manchester, in July 2011 to considerable acclaim; the premiere was named the no. 1 gig of 2011 by journalist Chris Ackerley. The project includes a 3-horn front line and also features Paul J Rogers on laptop, turntable and diddley-bow. The music revisits early jazz forms in a surprising, passionate and at times highly deconstructive way. A live recording was released on SLAM in spring 2012 to 4 and 5 star reviews, and the band appeared as part of the Vortex’s programme for the London Jazz Festival 2012, and at the Forge, Camden in February 2013. In 2014 Adam was commissioned by Manchester Jazz Festival and Manchester Literature Festival to re-work The Imaginary Delta in collaboration with acclaimed poet Jackie Kay, using her poems about Bessie Smith in addition to new poetry. The resulting work was performed at the Royal Northern College of Music and as part of the Manchester Literature Festival in 2014. Adam and Jackie performed new material from the collaboration on Radio 3’s Women’s Hour in July 2014.

In addition to this, Adam performs solo and in a variety of other formats, from an organ trio (The Revival Room) to a piano trio format (Fragments trio and The Markov Chain) and a seven-piece improvising ensemble (The Spirit Farm, whose eponymous album placed at no. 5 on Daniel Spicer’s critic’s list of the top albums of 2015 in Jazzwise). His work frequently involves him playing keyboard instruments other than the piano, including prepared electric piano, Indian harmonium, toy piano and drawbar organ, and he is becoming increasingly active as an accordionist in several projects. On all these instruments Adam enjoys exploiting and subverting conventional techniques while investigating the idiosyncratic, individual qualities of the instrument and it’s potential for free playing. In developing a free vocabulary for instruments relatively rare in that field, Adam is becoming increasingly sought after as a free player, both in the northern scene and the London scene.

In addition to five albums as leader or co-leader, Adam has recorded ten albums and numerous BBC sessions as a sideman, most notably with acclaimed sax player Nat Birchall.

Adam has been interviewed for Jazzwise and the Wire, and was selected for the Northern Line scheme as a solo artist in 2014. In 2009 Adam was selected for Take Five Five Edition VI, a prestigious professional development scheme designed to ”give some of the UK’s most talented young jazz musicians the unique opportunity to take time out to develop their craft”. Take Five is a Jerwood charitable Foundation/PRS Foundation initiative with additional support from Arts Council England and Musicians Benevolent Fund.