Liverpool International Jazz Festival (27 Feb – 1 March)

Peter Slavid previews this year’s eighth Liverpool International Jazz Festival. It will be his first visit to the festival. He picks a double bill of Martin Archer’s Anthropology Band and Moonmot as his personal highlight: 

The Liverpool International Jazz Festival is developing a reputation as one of the more eclectic festivals in the UK. It’s held as usual this year in the Capstone Theatre, and runs from Thursday 27 February to Sunday 1 March.

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As well as concerts, the Sunday sees a full “saxophone day”, featuring workshops aimed at different skill levels, led by various artists including Tony Kofi, Frank Griffith, Sam Healey and others.

Thursday sees the festival open with a concert from Cykada – featuring the cream of London’s new breed of jazz musicians. A complete contrast on Friday night brings the unique Dutch band Tin Men and the Telephone with their special brand of quirky interactive jazz, phone apps and audience participation.

Saturday is a busy day. It starts with a collaboration put together with Milapfest, the Indian Arts trust, and featuring the outstanding percussionist, drummer, composer, bandleader and activist Sarathy Korwar. After that there’s a free event featuring local student bands. The main evening concert has the very strange young, anonymous, Belgian band Blow 3.0. Originally a street band, they play powerful two-sax and drum improvisations wearing masks throughout. Supported by northern band Beyond Albedo this promises to be a truly ferocious evening.

Cath Roberts, Dee Byrne, Seth Bennet of Moonmot. Photo credit: Palma Fiocco

My personal highlight will be the Sunday afternoon concert where Martin Archer’s Anthropology Band is paired with the relatively new Anglo-Swiss band Moonmot who are on a 12-date European and UK tour. These two bands include some of the UK’s best young improvising musicians.

The final concert on Sunday evening looks to be firmly rooted in the more melodic free improvisation of Ornette Coleman, with the Tony Kofi Quartet supported by local band Blind Monk Theory.

This is the tenth year since the opening of the Capstone Theatre which is part of Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus. And this is the eighth year of the Jazz Festival, but it’s my first opportunity to visit. The festival is clearly establishing itself as an important and interesting event that includes some really fine British and European bands.

Peter Slavid’s radio preview of the festival is available at


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