JAWS: ‘music with bite’

CHANGES are afoot in the islands’ jazz world. From now on Shetland Jazz Club will be no more, and is instead morphing into Shetland JAWS (Jazz And World Sounds), with the strapline “music with bite”.

JAWS’ Jeff Merrifield said the new concept would embrace jazz, improvised and world music and “make every effort to stress the more positive aspects of this music”. There is a new community team on board to launch the project into a “positive and innovative era”, he said.


From early 2014 there will be an “extended range of musical activities leading up to a major festival next June”. Already “pencilled in” is Eddi Reader, who played a sold out show at Mareel this summer, performing live with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, which Merrifield said “promises to be one of the most attractive gigs in recent times”.

There is also to be a “percussion explosion” featuring some of the finest players of world music, and Tommy Smith’s group Karma working with Shetland poets on “an entire batch” of original work.


Before all that will be a range of interesting gigs featuring local and visiting bands, a new initiative involving young musicians coming to grips with the jazz style, a series of small scale performances at the Bop Shop in Lerwick covering music, theatre, poetry, a jazz history course and talks on a range of subjects.

“The intention is to make the Bop Shop the hub around which everything else revolves,” Merrifield said.

“This exciting new direction promises a bright future for all those interest in music with a beat and a bite.”

Before 2014 is out, there will be a musical Christmas soiree featuring music from Mahogany and a clutch of special guests along with a Christmas buffet and late dancing.

  • You can find out more by visiting Shetland JAWS’ new website at www.thejaws.uk.