You are here: Home News & Blogs Press Releases Saxophone Massive

Saxophone Massive

Posted on 22 February 2013

Over fifty saxophonists will come together this weekend (Sunday 24 February) to rehearse for ‘Saxophone Massive’, which takes place at this year’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival (GIJF).

Andy Sheppard, jazz musician and composer, is leading on this exciting project, which is taking place for the first time in the North East at GIJF in April. This week’s rehearsal will be lead by Gateshead born but world-renowned jazz musician, Chris Sharkey.

Dave Elliott, a participant in Saxophone Massive said: “For my part I really enjoyed the day. Life is, as for most folks, very hectic. To be closeted away for three hours simply focusing on music with like-minded people was very therapeutic for me. I have done a lot of singing and other stage type stuff in my time but only been playing sax for 18 months and never in public. I was more nervous than I expected. My wife couldn’t understand why I was so edgy. But nobody was laughing. We were all in the same boat, and though it is really early days I think we jelled very quickly. At this rate I think I may be able to remove the ‘absolute’ from ‘beginner’ by the 7th April.”

Saxophone Massive has evolved to include performances in the London Jazz Festival, Leeds Fuse Festival and Norwich and Norfolk Festival. Internationally, the project has been staged at Jazz sous les Pommiers in Coutances, France and in Stavanger, Norway, as part of its European Capital of Culture programme and has had two outings in Switzerland in Stans and Coully.

Philippa Jane, another participant who took part in the first rehearsal said: “I was bit nervous at first as I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but the deliverance and atmosphere of the workshop was very relaxed and my nerves soon disappeared. I would 100 per cent recommend (and have actually done so) for any saxophonist to attend as it’s definitely value for money. I fully enjoyed the workshop and looking forward to the next one. Thank you for the opportunity.”

The project is open to saxophone players of all ages, and previous performances have seen a mix of ages from 7 – 77 with over 200 saxophonists play together at once in the most unusual of spaces.

The next rehearsal is Sunday 24th February and then Sunday 24th March before the performance on Sunday 7th April.
For further details on how to join visit or contact Sage Gateshead on 0191 443 4661 to register your place.


Gateshead International Jazz Festival is in its ninth year at Sage Gateshead and takes place between the 5 – 7 April 2013 offering a range of jazz music, workshops and talks. For full details visit

Serious are producers of live jazz, international and contemporary music and work in collaboration with Sage Gateshead to produce Gateshead International Jazz Festival

For further information, images, interview requests, competition or review tickets please contact: Gaynor Ellis, Marketing & Communications Manager (e) (t) 0191 443 4613

Date of release – 22 February 2013