The London Jazz Festival in association with BBC Radio 3 returns for its 17th year with an invigorating and engaging programme that is truly reflective of the diverse nature of the capital. The Festival will continue to open avenues for those new to jazz, as well delivering an exciting programme for the keen jazz enthusiast. From Friday 13 to Sunday 22 November the Festival will stamp its mark on a multitude of London venues, reaffirming jazz’s pivotal position in the cultural fabric of the capital. A feast of commissions, collaborations and premieres, opportunities for audiences to get involved and an exceptional Jazz for Free programme make this pan-London music festival one not to be missed.
Legacy and tradition provide the foundations of the Festival, which has a history of combining true giants of the jazz world with younger, emerging artists - creating pioneering line-ups year on year. Stars from the jazz tradition playing this year’s Festival include Sonny Rollins performing his only UK date, Chick Corea, Carla Bley, Dave Holland and Branford Marsalis.
Artists paying tribute to the great performers of the past who have shaped today’s jazz include Alan Barnes and Trinity Music Ensemble, who are poised to commemorate the 'King of Swing’ Benny Goodman, while Bonnie Greer and Marcus Miller explore the legacy of Miles Davis. The connection between the Festival and the heritage of the genre is further highlighted by Jazz Voice – the opening night celebration that draws on significant anniversaries of jazz songs, films, singers and songwriters down the decades.
Jazz Voice lends itself to another key strand of programming, demonstrating the strong link between jazz and the voice. The vocal range of Festival artists is vast and includes artists such as Kurt Elling, Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux, Cleveland Watkiss and the timeless Cleo Laine.
Latin music and jazz combine to create something truly compelling with the charismatic Gilberto Gil, Robert Fonseca, Astillero and Omar Puente set to inject some Latin flavour into London. Meanwhile jazz explores its americana roots, whether through true originals like Allen Toussaint and The Blind Boys of Alabama, or contemporary artists like Bela Fleck, John Scofield and Bill Frisell who presents a new project with the BBC Symphony Orchestra specially commissioned by BBC Radio 3.
The energy and spirit of the Festival, encapsulated by the wealth of fresh and original artists who take part, is key to its continued success. This year Vijay Iyer, Lukas Ligeti, World Sanguine Report, trioVD and the Mercury Music Prize nominated Led Bib are set to provide high-calibre contemporary sounds, alongside the more established performers.
Jazz from across Europe provides another highlight on the Festival calendar. Tomasz Stanko, Tord Gustavsen, John Surman who is celebrating his 65th birthday with a special concert and the charismatic Stefano Bollani in residency at Kings Place give a glimpse of the superb European line-up.
There are a number of other artists in residence across the Festival period, including Sheila Jordan, Zoe Rahman, Brass Jaw and vocal group Naturally 7, giving audiences the chance to see them in various settings, as part of Festival on the Move. This strand of programming, which sees artists explore the breadth and depth of the city, takes the Festival further and broader than ever before reaching from the inner city right out to the leafy suburbs. This spread of events alongside with an incredible Jazz For Free programme (around 20% of events are free) opens the Festival up to a huge number of Londoners.
The Festival recognises the value of offering opportunities for people of all ages to engage with its activity on a variety of levels. Musicians will lead a range of participatory activities across London that will reach hundreds of young people, including vocal workshops with Cleveland Watkiss at his old primary school and Sounds of the World, aimed at inspiring young people to develop both their musical ear and musical talent, produced in partnership with THAMES and hosted by Samay.
For Festival goers more generally, there is the ever popular pre-concert talk series Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya, masterclasses with leading jazz musicians, such as John Surman, and for family audiences interactive performances from Napoleon Maddox and John Hegley.
The reach of the Festival is extended further still by its continued partnership with
BBC Radio 3, UK Station of the Year. An abundance of broadcasts on the radio and online means that the Festival is truly accessible to all and has become established as an internationally renowned event. For details of all of Radio 3’s jazz programmes and London Jazz Festival coverage please visit: bbc.co.uk/radio3/londonjazzfestival
For full concert listings and ticket prices please visit the Festival’s new website London Jazz Festival