British sax legends Courtney Pine and Andy Sheppard will top the bill at Liverpool International Jazz Festival, centred around the city’s impressive Capstone Theatre, in February 2016:
Jazz supremo Courtney Pine, Belgian guitar legend Philip Catherine, Luxembourg vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher and British saxophonist Andy Sheppard are set to make the 2016 Liverpool festival (LIJF) the biggest and best yet.
The four-day celebration kicks off on Thursday 25th February with Pascal Schumacher. Winner of Echo Jazz Instrumentalist of Year in 2012, Schumacher’s flair for improvisation is married to a lucid inventiveness which together creates an original sound as visionary as it is melodic. As a physical performer, he is far-reaching and theatrical without being pretentious, making his performances inclusive and interesting to watch.
On Friday 26th February, guitarist Philip Catherine brings his quartet to the festival. Catherine has been at the forefront of the European jazz scene since the ‘60s, working with Chet Baker, Stéphane Grappelli, Charlie Mingus and Dexter Gordon.
Saturday 27th February sees five free concerts (something which The Capstone excels at), presenting: sarod player Sudeshna Bhattacharya and tabla player Koustic Sen in a concert celebrating Indian music’s pervasive force as a potent improvisational form; a Jazz North artists’ showcase; Pan Jumby, bringing a blend of modern calypso, Caribbean rhythms, Rumba and Cha Cha, channelled through the versatile vocabulary of jazz; and BBC Introducing artists Cameron Vale, combining jazz, rock, afrobeat, electronica and metal with ferocious energy. Jazz artists of the future Artephis (five musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music, who were beneficiaries of the Jazz North Introduces scheme) also appear; and the Graeme Wilson Quartet perform original material.
Courtney Pine is the Saturday night headliner, this time accompanied by pianist Zoe Rahman. With this latest project – and his 16th studio album to date – he strips everything back for the most intimate of shows, duetting on bass clarinet with fellow Mercury nominee, and MOBO award-winner Rahman.
Whilst LIJF prides itself on bringing jazz from around the world to the Capstone Theatre, this year’s festival also presents a strong local flavour with the best of Liverpool’s Jazz scene – Viktor Nordberg Trio, Ginger Tunes Quartet and irrepressible masters of their art, The Weave.
The festival’s final day sees a performance and free workshop from Andy Sheppard, who has rightly staked his claim as one of Britain’s foremost tenor and soprano saxophonists of our generation. Having played alongside an astonishing range of musical partners – including Carla Bley, George Russell and Gil Evans – Sheppard continues to be involved in numerous projects, now recording with ECM.
Neil Campbell, Festival Director says: “Liverpool International Jazz Festival continues to forge an eclectic route through the genre, celebrating creativity at all levels, locally and internationally. I hope it will bring music lovers of all persuasions to explore what is being presented here, not just jazz aficionados but curious and open-minded people keen to enjoy new musical experiences. There are also plenty of free performances, which we hope will encourage as many people as possible to come along and enjoy the festival.”