Crooked Window

Ffenest Gam


ISBN 978 0 9563602 2 9
230mm x 205mm, 152 pages, paperback, fully illustrated

Price reduced from £15.00 to £7.50

The Brecon Jazz Story in Photographs by Gena Davies front cover


The Brecon Jazz Story in Photographs by Gena Davies was published by Crooked Window in August 2013 to coincide with the thirtieth Brecon Jazz. It reveals, through a local photographer's eyes, the high-profile festival's changing character since its beginnings in 1984. It captures internationally renowned musicians as well as the festival's much-loved carnival atmosphere. The ancient Welsh market town of Brecon, the festival's unique location, with its cathedral, elegant Georgian streets and Brecon Beacons National Park setting, are a feature of the book.

Some of the most famous names in jazz - Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Betty Carter, Stephane Grappelli and George Shearing, to name only a few - and many of the finest jazz musicians from around the world have enjoyed playing at Brecon. The festival attracts thousands of visitors each August and has made the town famous throughout the jazz world. The special atmosphere features parade bands and street music and there is, in addition, a distinctive and extensive fringe festival. This selection of evocative photographs from the archive of Gena Davies is a salutary reminder of why the festival is widely celebrated.

Gena Davies, who has taken these evocative, compelling and sensitive photographs, was born in 1943, brought up in Pontypridd and moved to Brecon in 1971. A veteran of nationally-broadcast quiz shows including Brain of Britain and Mastermind, she also became fascinated in photography. It was with complete disbelief that she heard about plans for a jazz festival. 'I just couldn't believe that it was serious,' she recalls. 'It didn't fit in with what I knew of Brecon. I decided to walk into town to see what was going on and took my camera with me.' She has never looked back, has photographed the festival since then and has created an astonishing record of it. Her growing interest, in both photography and in the festival, is explored through remarks and anecdotes which complement the images.

David Moore, the book's editor, has an interest in art from Wales and in jazz. He has fond memories of every jazz festival in the twenty years he has lived in Brecon. As a former curator of Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery, he organised many festival exhibitions. The book has been designed by Sue Hiley Harris.

Digby Fairweather and Keith Pendlebury - pages 32 and 33
Digby Fairweather and Keith Pendlebury, 1986 (pages 32 and 33)
Stephane Grappelli and Harry 'Sweets' Edison - pages 60 and 61
Stephane Grappelli and Harry 'Sweets' Edison, 1993 (pages 60 and 61)
Krukke and Adamant Bands - pages 108 and 109
Krukke and Adamant Bands, 2002 (pages 108 and 109)
Omara Portuondo and audience - pages 130 and 131
Omara Portuondo and audience, 2010 (pages 130 and 131)

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