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Swansea International Jazz Festival was setup in 2014 by Dave Cottle and members of Swansea Jazz Club, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. So, we thought we’d take a short look at its history.

Swansea Jazz Club was established in 1949 by local drummer Derek Morgan, returning to the area after military service in Germany where he played jazz with American servicemen.

During its 75 years the jazz club has had different names and venues, starting in the Glanmor Club. Probably to reflect a new sound of jazz emerging, in the 1950s the club was known as . In the 1960s the society staged a series of concerts at the Brangwyn Hall alongside regular gigs with the likes of Ben Webster, Stan Tracey, and Ronnie Scott delighting local audiences.

The Glanmor Club fell on hard times in the 1970s and closed, forcing the jazz society to move to the Liberal Club in St James’ Crescent, where it continued to put on regular gigs with artists including Dill Jones, Stan Tracey Quartet, Al Haig, and Humphrey Littleton. During the decade, Swansea Jazz Club presented some big concerts including Woody Herman Big Band at the Top Rank in 1977.

In 1990 Swansea Jazz Club moves into Ellington’s above the New York in Princess Way, hosting weekly gigs including one by Wilson’s Brew featuring Jen Wilson.

1996 saw the club morph into Swansea Jazzland with Dave Cottle at the helm. It also moved back to the Liberal Club, which had become known as the St James’ Club.

During this period, Swansea Jazzland presented many memorable gigs welcoming artists such as Laurence Cottle All-star Big Band, Bill Bruford, Shakatak, Hamish Stuart Band, NYJO, MYJO, Vincent Herring, Tim Garland, Ben Castle, Mike Clark, and Harold Mayern.

 

After 22 years of weekly gigs at St James’ Club, the club’s closure in 2018 forced Swansea Jazzland to find a new home at The Garage at Whitez in Uplands, where it continued to present weekly gigs.

Having endured the Covid-19 pandemic the jazz club moved to its new and current home at CU Mumbles in 2023, where it continues to present some of the best live jazz music on a weekly basis to the delight of local audiences.