The Ilkley Suite

The Ilkley Suite
A special composition ‘The Ilkley Suite’ is being formally released this summer by leading London label 33 Records.  The suite was commissioned by Ilkley Jazz Festival to celebrate it’s 5th year in 2018 and composed by Jamil Sheriff, one of the UK’s leading jazz pianists and composers who is also the head of jazz at Leeds College of Music.  The music celebrates Ilkley’s landscape and it’s mythologies.  

‘Jamil, Beverley and the team performed an initial gig at the fifth Ilkley Jazz Festival.  It was a fantastic night and we’re thrilled that 33 Records are now releasing the project.’ Says Festival director Mark Beirne-Smith, ‘Jamil’s compositions are incredibly beautiful and deserve to be more widely heard and given the cancellation of this year’s festival due to Covid19, it seems like the perfect timing.’

'The Ilkley  Suite has taken me on fascinating journey of the town and surroundings, giving me an excuse to research the richness of it's history and try to make sense of the mysteries and fables that tell the story of the moors. This is a truly magical place.’ Says Jamil
‘The compositions focus on two main areas; stones and water. The sanctuary of the river, it's Darwin-related healing properties and of course the mythical goddess Verbeia (The Wharfe Goddess) - watching over us all. The stones are split into different music pieces about the wondrous Cup and Ring markings, our current carvings (perhaps an attempt at cheating mortality), the druid stone circle known as the Twelve Apostles and of course the legend of Rombald the giant himself, who we all know still inhabits the moors, hiding in the shadows of the rocks and woodland. I'm pretty sure I caught a glimpse!’

Jamil found himself enthralled with the early stages of the research around Ilkley, ‘ I found out all about the legend of Rombald the Giant, who stamped on the Cow and Calf rocks, splitting them when fleeing his angry wife.... well, we've all been there! I love this story, and could immediately see the potential of bringing it out in the music. But the more I read about the town and surrounding countryside, the more I realised how vast the history is. I had no idea, for example, that the moor has the second highest concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age rock carvings in Europe - how brilliant is that. I was also (I'm ashamed to say) pretty clueless with regards to the Roman Fort that was the foundation of Ilkley town.’

The Ilkley Suite was recorded in the Summer of 2018 during an intensive 2 day recording session, Jamil says, ‘The commission was focused around the exquisitely talented vocalist Beverley Beirne and I've added to this with an ensemble made up of creative and sensitive musicians, Nadim Teimoori (Tenor Saxophone), Dave Walsh (Drums) and Garry Jackson (Double Bass) and I complete the rhythm section on piano.'

Jamil has recorded and collaborated with many artists and recorded four albums of his own music, each of which have received national and international accolades.  As a composer, arranger and pianist he has toured extensively throughout the UK and performed at national and international jazz festivals.  

Jazz UK writes about Jamil: ‘ His music is both swinging and sophisticated, Sheriff showing himself to be a constantly inventive arranger. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, he’ll come up with something fresh.’

Here are a couple of videos with some great drone photography of Ilkley :




Ilkley Jazz Festival would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our sponsors, Arts Council England, Bradford Council and Ilkley Parish Council, without whose support this could not have happened. 

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

‘There’s such an air of easy virtuosity in the group, it sounds effortless.’ Duncan Lamont

‘A compelling and evocative set of compositions and a worthy musical tribute to the area.’ Bebop Spoken Here

From 2018
 The first performance of the Ilkley Suite was at Ilkley Jazz Festival 2018.

The Ilkley Suite is intending on touring in 2019, dates to be announced...

The history of the Ilkley Suite
Ilkley Jazz Festival is in it’s 5th year and to mark this special occasion the festival commissioned Jamil Sheriff, one of the UK’s leading jazz pianists and composer who is also the head of jazz at Leeds College of Music, to write a piece of music about Ilkley, it’s landscape and it’s mythologies. 

'The Ilkley  Suite has taken me on fascinating journey of the town and surroundings, giving me an excuse to research the richness of it's history and try to make sense of the mysteries and fables that tell the story of the moors. This is a truly magical place.’  Says Jamil.  ‘The compositions focus on two main areas; stones and water.  The sanctuary of the river, it's Darwin-related healing properties and of course the mythical goddess Verbeia (The Wharfe Goddess) - watching over us all. The stones are split into different musical pieces about the wondrous Cup and Ring markings, our current carvings (perhaps an attempt at cheating mortality), the druid stone circle known as the Twelve Apostles and of course the legend of Rombald the giant himself, who we all know still inhabits the moors, hiding in the shadows of the rocks and woodland.  I'm pretty sure I caught a glimpse!’

Jamil found himself enthralled with the the early stages of the research around Ilkley, ‘ I found out all about the legend of Rombald the Giant, who stamped on the Cow and Calf rocks, splitting them when fleeing his angry wife.... well, we've all been there! I love this story, and can immediately see the potential of bringing it out in the music. But the more I read about the town and surrounding countryside, the more I realise how vast the history is. I had no idea, for example, that the moor has the second highest concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age rock carvings in Europe - how brilliant is that. I was also (I'm ashamed to say) pretty clueless with regards to the Roman Fort that was the foundation of Ilkley town.’

The Ilkley Suite was recorded last week during an intensive 2 day recording session, Jamil says,  ‘The commission was focused around the exquisitely talented vocalist Beverley Beirne and I've added to this with an ensemble made up of creative and sensitive musicians, Nadim Teimoori (Tenor Saxophone), Dave Walsh (Drums) and Garry Jackson (Double Bass) and I complete the rhythm section on piano.'

Jamil has recorded and collaborated with many artists and recorded four albums of his own music, each of which have received national and international accolades.  As a composer, arranger and pianist he has toured extensively throughout the UK and performed at national and international jazz festivals. 
Jazz UK writes about Jamil: ‘ His music is both swinging and sophisticated, Sheriff showing himself to be a constantly inventive arranger. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, he’ll come up with something fresh.’

Don’t miss this exciting and unique chance to see The Ilkley Suite live for the first time on Saturday 18th August, 7-8pm where a limited edition first run of cd’s will also be available. 
Tickets from Ilkley Visitor Information Centre 01943 602 319 



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