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Tickets from GBP 15.00


Nov 12 2017 16:00 - 23:00




Every great saga needs a prequel. Long before jazz was first officially recorded, its foundations were laid in the slave songs of American plantations, African polyrhythms, and the European classical tradition.

On November 12th, through talks, interactive workshops and performances by some of the best young musicians in the country, the people and sounds that enabled the greatest leap forward in popular music recording for a century will be brought to life at Two Temple Place.


Confirmed Musicians Include:

ANDREW OLIVER: A native of Portland, Oregon, Andrew Oliver is one of London's leading ragtime and early jazz performers. For this unique solo piano performance, Andrew will be showcasing the music of America's first famous composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and of ragtime masters Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton. He will also lead a discussion on how these early jazz musicians drew on classical influence to create what we now know as jazz.

MARCUS BONFANTI: In addition to being an in-demand performer and fixture at Kansas Smitty's, Marcus Bonfanti is an expert in the blues tradition. Alternative to the western classical elements of early jazz, Marcus will bring the folk origins of jazz to life with a sampling of songs, street cries and slave songs that morphed into the blues we know today.

LOTTE BETTS-DEAN has studied in Milan (Accademia Teatro alla Scala), privately in New York, and at the 2016 Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt with Donatienne Michel-Dansac and the Vocalsolisten Stuttgart. Concert highlights in her RAM days included various chamber music events, performances at the Aldeburgh Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival and a solo recital at Bristol's Colston Hall, as well as a masterclass with Sir Thomas Allen. Other recent highlights include performances at Wigmore Hall, Buxton Festival, St John's Smith Square, Cheltenham Festival, Llandeilo Festival, Norfolk Festival, Handel House Museum, Australia House, St James' Palace and Dartington Festival. She is also a member of new music ensemble x.y. In 2017 she was a semi finalist in the Das Lied International Song Competition and was selected to compete in the 2017 Wigmore Hall Song Competition.

JOPLIN PARNELL: Joplin Parnell is the first call DJ at all of Kansas Smitty's events. Born in New Orleans and reared on his parents' extensive record collection, he is a collector of the rarest vinyl sides from his home town and Central and South America. Joplin will be inhabiting our Vinyl Library throughout the day to talk about turn of the century recording techniques and early jazz recordings.

KANSAS SMITTY'S FACULTY ALL-STARS: The Kansas Smitty's House Band is inspired by every segment of the jazz canon while crafting its ever changing new sound. Its members, Pete Horsfall, Giacomo Smith, and Joe Webb, are also massive jazz nerds. In this special appearance just a week before their London Jazz Festival show at the Shoreditch Town Hall, members of Kansas Smitty's House Band will complete the story of Jazz Before Jazz with their takes on ragtime classics from Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, and on the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's groundbreaking 1917 releases.

Confirmed speakers include:

CATHERINE TACKLEY: Catherine’s research interests include historical and critical musicology with particular reference to jazz and popular music, early and European jazz, recording, jazz influenced music, and performance practice. She will introduce the event, as well as providing insight into the repertoire performed by members of the Kansas Smitty's House Band.

KATE STRASDIN: Kate Strasdin is Senior Lecturer in the History and Theory of Fashion at Falmouth University. Her talk will look at some of the designers of the early 20th century who started to change the way fashion was perceived and as the world raced towards war, how dress would change forever.

DR PETER SHAW: Dr Peter Shaw is a specialist in late Victorian and Edwardian musical theatre and stage. He will discuss the changes in popular entertainment in pre-war Britain and how the sounds of concert halls transformed into the syncopated beats that paved the way for jazz.

ALEX BISHOP: In September 2010 Alex won the 'Cockpit Arts / The Arts Society' award for designer-makers and in January 2016 became 'Artist In Residence' at The Pound Arts Centre near Bath. In this talk Alex will discuss his endless passion for building folk, gypsy jazz and electric guitars and examine these within the context of pre-jazz instruments.

Programme for the day:

Jazz Before Jazz was Jazz

Presented by the Arts Society and Kansas Smitty's


16:00 Andrew Oliver Solo Piano

17:15 Marcus Bonfanti Street Cries

18:30 Lotte Betts Opera Singer

20:15 Catherine Tackley and Giacomo Smith

20:30 Kansas Smitty's Faculty All-Stars x Catherine Tackley

21:30 Kansas Smitty's Faculty All-Stars


Joplin Parnell vinyl library sessions


16:30 Dr Peter Shaw

17:45 Alex Bishop

19:30 Kate Strasdin


16:00 Marcus Bonfanti Street Cries

17:15 Lotte Betts Opera Singer


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