It’s that time of year again where all corners of the capital become suffused with the multi-faceted sounds of jazz. Combining heritage with fresh interpretations of the tradition, the London Jazz Festival (LJF) brings a phenomenal programme of 280 events across 10 days in over 50 venues and features some of the world’s finest musicians. A mix of premieres, commissions, one-off collaborations, talks, workshops, family events and an exceptional Jazz for Free programme means there is something for just about everyone.
Among the jazz giants appearing this year are Sonny Rollins at 80, Herbie Hancock at 70 (we’ll be there) and the voxtastic Cleo Laine. Joining them is an impressive list of artists who have helped shape today’s music - Bobby Bradford, Bobby Wellins, Cedar Walton, Gary Burton, Stan Tracey and Hugh Masekela to name a few. Amongst the tributes are the Trinity Jazz Ensemble exploring Duke Ellington’s work and Alex Bonney’s bow to free jazz pioneer Albert Ayler.. What better place to learn about Jazz’s history than with a whistle-stop tour from 19c to the genre-crashing world that jazz is today with Shabaka Hutchins and Soweto Kinch in Way in, Way Out.
Celebrating the ‘Big Band’ tradition, LJF looks back over the generations and ahead to the future of the music where the likes of Darcy James Argue, Secret Society, Beats and Pieces and Helge Sunde are pushing the boundaries of the big band sound.
The voice is an integral part of jazz and legendary Parisian Julette Greco brings hers to proceedings as do a host of choirs including the Golden Gate Quartet who made their last London appearance in 1956! There's a special focus on French and Scandinavian music and Take Five Takes Over is a series of concerts and freestage events that features performers who have participated in the artist development scheme Take Five.
We’re looking forward to seeing Nick Gold’s new project Afrocubism and the fabulous Trio VD who blew our socks off last year with their sliced thrash guitar, jagged saxophone and hyper-kinetic beats. We’d also quite like to make the bonkers-sounding Jazz at Cuisine where leading French chef Ivan Vautier wil create a gastronomic feast in front of his audience accompanied by the improvisations of Andy Shepherd and Michele Rabbia!
With workshops and masterclasses, Jazz for Kids, the pre-concert talk series Hear me talkin’ to ya, the festival’s New Audience scheme and a whole host of shows we haven't had room to mention here, there’s no excuse not to get you and yours a bit more Jazzified this year.
London Jazz Festival. 12 - 21 Nov. Various venues.
image of Trio VD by Suke