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Tickets go on sale today for the 2018 Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival. Peter Bacon reports:
Edinburgh is bringing out some of jazz’s big guns for its 40th birthday shindig. The line-up includes Kurt Elling, Keyon Harrold, the Vijay Iyer Sextet, Dave Holland with Zakir Hussain and Chris Potter, and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
The festival is celebrating the New Orleans’ tri-centenary what their press release calls “a posse of Crescent city musicians from the return of Soul Brass Band, to the UK debut of all-female traditional jazz band Shake ‘Em Up”.
It continues: “Detroit soul singer Bettye Lavette, and Memphis based Southern Avenue who update the STAX tradition also feature. We present classic blues from Chicago with a double bill of Mud Morganfield and John Primer and we have scoured the US to find three blues musicians central to the future of the music: Earl Thomas and Blind Boy Paxton (both from California) and from St Louis, Marquis Knox.
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“European Jazz comes from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway, Italy, Sweden and England with Mobo Award winners Soweto Kinch, Zara McFarlane and Zoe Rahman, legendary groups like Bratislava Hot Serenaders and Robert Balzar Trio, plus major new stars in Vit Kristan, Harald Lassen and Juno.
“We also feature sensational Caribbean vocalist Malika Tirolien (from Guadeloupe), virtuoso tabla player Zakir Hussain (from India) and African rhythms from KOG and the Zongo Brigade.
“We also celebrate Scottish musics and in the tenth year of EXPO funding, we present a host of creative projects. World premieres include Seonaid Aitken singing of love with a 24 piece string orchestra; American clarinet player Evan Christopher joins The Scottish Swing Orchestra to salute the Kings of Swing; Haftor Medboe duets with Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon and Andrew Robb is joined by Norwegian saxophonist Petter Wettre.”
As part of their 40th anniversary celebrations, there will be a jazz gala featuring Martin Taylor, Carol Kidd, Brian Kellock, Tommy Smith and hosted by Seonaid Aitken, and a Blues Gala with Maggie Bell, Bernie Marsden and Tim Elliott.
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra joins the line-up of Jools Holland, Davina & the Vagabonds, Bratislava Hot Serenaders and The Average White Band at Festival Theatre. SNJO will present their acclaimed adaptations of two children’s classics Peter And The Wolf and Carnival Of Animals.
Jason Rust, Chair of Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, said: “We are celebrating our anniversary with a bang. A stellar international line-up with musicians converging on Edinburgh from all over the world, over 150 concerts, plus the Festival’s two free events – The Mardi Gras and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival – will take place on the 14th and 15th July respectively”.
One of LondonJazz News’ men on the ground, Mark McKergow, has made his pick of the festival:
Holland/Hussain/Potter plus Tommy Smith solo (Sunday 22 July, 4pm, Assembly Hall) – Genuine supertalent line up with tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain and tenor sax master Chris Potter joining Dave Holland on bass for a trio. AND Scottish jazz maestro Smith in a solo performance. Unmissable.
Luca Manning and Irini Arabatzi (Saturday 21 July, 6pm, George Square Piccolo) – two rising young vocalists team up with a new band for duets, standards, new compositions and solos, and are bound to produce some very nice surprises.
Alyn Cosker Band (Friday 20 July, 9pm, Jazz Bar) – the Scottish drum dynamo and composer leads his storming jazz/fusion group including music from their new album KPF.
Allan Harris Salutes Eddie Jefferson (Tuesday 17 July, 6pm, George Square Piccolo) – New York singer and guitarist Harris celebrates Jefferson’s centerary, with wit, warmth and wordplay to the fore.