London’s biggest city-wide music event, the EFG London Jazz Festival, returns from 15th-24th November boasting 350 gigs across 70 venues, presenting the talents of over 2000 musicians from the UK and around the globe. Opening with their signature gala performance, the Jazz Voice sees Corrine Bailey Rae, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Judi Jackson, and Cherise Adams-Burnett come together for an evening backed by Guy Barker’s 42-piece orchestra at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall.
Growing out of the Camden Festival, when they added a Jazz Week back in 1970, this year’s event is its 27th incarnation and also brings the likes of American pianist and jazz legend Herbie Hancock; Panamanian pianist, composer, and social activist Danilo Péres; and Chrissie Hynde and Iggy Pop to the festivities.Celebrating key anniversary years for pioneering labels, this year’s programme further includes London collective Total Refreshment Centre taking on Blue Note’s catalogue in honour of the label’s 80th anniversary and will feature members of Maisha and The Free Movement Ensemble. A tribute to mark 30 years of Blow The Fuse will be led by Alison Rayner, and a special takeover to mark 50 years of pioneering record label ECM will feature Jan Garbarek, Joe Lovano, Nik Bärtsch, Julia Hülsmann, and the Marcin Wasilewski Trio.
The Barbican will hold an evening celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement, including a performance from minimalist trio Dawn Of Midi presented in association with Erased Tapes.
Boiler Room, who broadcast and stream unique live music sessions from around the world, are due to collaborate with the festival, featuring Theon Cross of Sons Of Kemet to fuse contemporary jazz and club culture. Giles Peterson’s We Out Here Festival will be celebrating the achievements of legendary saxophonist Gary Bartz, with guests including Maisha, the six-piece spiritual-afro-jazz band led by Jake Long and Nubya Garcia.
Honouring co-founders Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, and Malachi Favours Maghostut, the Art Ensemble of Chicago will play a show to celebrate their 50th anniversary after recently releasing their first studio recording in 15 years, We Are On The Edge.
The celebrations continue with 100 years since the birth of Art Blakey with shows from Jean Toussaint and Ralph Peterson. Marking their 60th and 80th birthdays respectively, Cleveland Watkiss and Trevor Watts will perform from their extensive back catalogues, while multi-Grammy Award winner Terri Lyne Carrington will be this year’s artist in residence. With guests including Emma-Jean Thackray and Soweto Kinch, the drummer, singer, producer, and activist will be celebrating the release of her forthcoming new album, Waiting Game, with a Kings Place residency, also featuring her own Social Science band.
Alto-saxophonist, MC, and Mercury Prize-nominee Soweto will also headline a festival show, drawing from his forthcoming Black Peril project.
From New Orleans, Christian Scott brings his signature ‘Stretch-Music’ and new album Ancestral Recall to London, with support from Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Madison McFerrin, while Rosie Turton will open for Chicago-based drummer Makaya McCraven. Spiritual jazz visionary Angel Bat Dawid will play from her acclaimed album Oraclehe and the Tenderlonious-led Ruby Rushton quartet will also feature, alongside vocal and performance artist Elaine Mitchener who debuts her Vocal Classics Of The Black Avant Garde with assistance from UK artists including Jason Yarde.
There’s a UK premiere for audio-visual artist Chassol, who brings his LUDI project to London after collaborating with the likes of Frank Ocean and Solange, whilst Gazelle Twin will perform her new Deep England show joined by drone choir NYX. Grime poet Debris Stevenson will debut The Write To Rave, a new work also featuring Disraeli, and master improvising drummer Seb Rochford will debut his new project, Pulled By Magnets.
With a commitment to supporting women in the industry, EFG London Jazz Festival will feature She Is Jazz, a free workshop/mass participation project hosted by SEED Ensemble’s Cassie Kinoshi. One of many free festival events on this year’s programme, you can also join a dedicated day of discussion and debate focusing on some of the most important current topics facing jazz and the wider music industry.
The Royal Docks in Newham will have various spaces and venues taken over for a two-day festival-within-a-festival, with live performances, installations, and workshops (many being free).
And, in collaboration with Serious, comes the EFG Elements Series showcasing the rich creativity and variety of the festival by fusing some of the best jazz traditions with innovative collaborations.
Created 27 years ago, the EFG London Jazz Festival is set to continue its strong presence in the Big Smoke in 2019.