Previews of Glasgow and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals

  • June sees the return of Glasgow Jazz Festival with over thirty gigs throughout the city over five days
  • Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival sees over a hundred gigs across ten days

Mark McKergow and Patrick Hadfield pick their top tips from the summer’s jazz festivals in Scotland’s central belt.

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Glasgow Jazz Festival – 14-18 June 2023. Link below for details and tickets for all shows

Norman Willmore. Publicity photo.

First, five for Glasgow….

  • Norman Willmore brings his mix of high energy jazz blended Scottish and Scandinavian folk to the intimate setting of Glad Café, with fiddler Harry Gorski-Brown, Tom Gibbs on keys and Brodie Jarvie on bass joining Willmore’s saxophone. it should be a lively night! Wed 14 June 7pm Glad Café.
  • Saxophonist, flautist and composter Xhosa Cole continues to grow musically at an inspiring rate. Fascinating and well-performed music is assured from the recipient of BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award in 2018. Thu 15 June 8pm Drygate
  • Two pianists, Sunna Gunnlaugs and Fergus McCreadie, play solo sets on the same bill at the Mackintosh Church on Fri 16 June, 7.30pm.
  • A rare visitor to Scotland, vibes player and improviser Orphy Robinson joins Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra for what promises to be an afternoon of exciting music at the Old Hairdressers on Sat 17 June, 1pm.
  • A rare chance to hear trumpeter Matthew Halsall’s spiritual and radiant music live with a full band including harp and percussion plus special guest the storming Chip Wickham on sax and flute. Sat 17 June 8pm St Lukes

LINK: Glasgow Jazz Fest

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2) Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival – 14-23 July 2023.

Corto.alto celebrating their nomination as Band of the Year at the 2022 Scottish Jazz Awards

Next , six for Edinburgh….

The full schedule for Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival features gigs throughout the city, including many venues that haven’t been used before. There are so many shows to see that clashes are inevitable, a situation that might be eased by watching some gigs online – the online schedule is being finalised and will be released ahead of the festival.

  • It’s hard to categorise Graham Costello’s Strata; their mix of jazz, rock and high energy minimalism has been responsible for some memorable gigs in previous years’ festivals. They play the opening night of this year’s festival, Fri 14 July, 9pm at St Bride’s.
  • Colin Steele has reformed his large ensemble Stramash who bring their blend of jazz, folk and classical instrumentation at the Spiegeltent on Sat 15 July at 7pm. Steele also has an intimate trio gig in Portobello on Sun 23 July at 2.30pm.
  • The popular late night gig at the Spiegeltent on Sat 15 July 10.30pm is Glasgow’s corto.alto, which will feature a double-trombone front line when regular trombonist Liam Shortall is joined by rising star Anoushka Nanguy. Guaranteed to fill the dance floor!
  • Pianist Zoe Rahman has two different shows. First she joins the regular Playtime Quartet, Martin Kershaw (saxophone), Graeme Stephen (guitar), Mario Caribé (bass) and Tom Bancroft (drums), at St Bride’s on Sun 16 July 8.30pm. The following evening, Rahman’s regular trio will be joined by saxophonists Laura MacDonald and Helena Kay to play pieces from Rahman’s new album Colour of Sound. St Bride’s, Mon 17 July 8.30pm.
  • Fergus McCreadie Trio will be playing a four night residency, Wed 19-Sat 22 June, 8.30pm, appropriately at Pianodrome in Leith, an intimate venue constructed out of disused pianos. Each night will be recorded, with the best performances being released as a live album.
  • Tommy Smith and Arild Andersen are long standing collaborators, and have been responsible for some remarkable music making at previous gigs in Edinburgh; Andersen’s latest trio features Smith and drummer Thomas Strønen, an exciting prospect. Sat 22 July, St Bride’s, 8.30pm.

LINKS: Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

Glasgow Jazz Festival


Categories: Feature/Interview, Preview

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