A SPECIALLY composed piece of music has been commissioned for the fifth Ilkley Jazz Festival.

Jamil Sheriff, one of the UK’s leading jazz pianists and composers, was asked to write something that captured the essence of the town, its landscape and its mythologies.

Jamil, who is also head of jazz at Leeds College of Music, came up with The Ilkley Suite.

He said: "The Ilkley Suite has taken me on fascinating journey of the town and its surroundings, giving me an excuse to research the richness of its history and try to make sense of the mysteries and fables that tell the story of the moors.

"This is a truly magical place.

"The compositions focus on two main areas: stones and water.

"The sanctuary of the river, its 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, 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!"

The Ilkley Suite was recorded during a recent intensive, two day session.

Jamil, who has recorded and collaborates with many artists and recorded four of his own albums, added: "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 on tenor saxophone, Dave Walsh on drums, and Garry Jackson on double bass, while I complete the rhythm section on piano."

Music lovers can hear The Ilkley Suite performed live for the first time at The Winter Gardens from 7pm on Saturday, August 18, when a limited edition first run of CDs will also be available.

Tickets can be purchased from Ilkley Visitor Information Centre or by calling (01943) 602319.

An Ilkley Jazz Festival spokesman said: "We would 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."