The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, the annual curtain-raiser to the Capital’s summer arts extravaganza, announced its 2016 programme today – and it boasts one of its most diverse line-ups ever, with over 170 concerts in the ten days from 15-24 July across a range of Edinburgh venues.
Having enjoyed the best ever box office return in its 37-year-history in 2015, this year there are five major concerts at the Festival Theatre, with some of the biggest names from the worlds of modern jazz, blues and soul set to appear.
Among the highlights are the return of Jools Holland and his Orchestra, with special guests Pauline and Gaps from The Selecter.
Curtis Stigers returns with his own band after wowing us in our Sinatra special last year, and the festival also welcomes back Scotland’s top soul exiles The Average White Band in a bill that also features The James Taylor Quartet.
There will be rare Scottish concerts by two musicians who have been giants of world jazz for the last 40 years – John McLaughlin and Jan Garbarek.
Mclaughlin and Garbarek will be the headliners of a strong programme strand featuring jazz from Europe.
With over 30 concerts, the festival features musicians from Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden.
Established stars like Magnus Öström, Marcin Wasilewski, The Bratislava Hot Serenaders and Furio di Castri will feature, but so will some of the hottest young musicians – including Amsterdam guitarist Reinier Baas, Lithuanian vocalist Viktoria Gecyte, Berlin-based jazz/dance/electronica producer Mop Mop, and the stunning French singer, Cyrille Aimée, pictured.
In addition to the concerts, Napier University will be hosting a conference on the last 50 years of European Jazz: “Continental Drift”.
There are a host of artists playing the Festival for the first time in 2016, many with exclusive Scottish or UK performances.
The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival’s cover artist is the sensational young drummer and singer from New York, Bryan Carter.
Amongst the other artists making festival debuts are Danish swinging vocalist Mads Mathias, Tokyo Django Collective, the fresh new sound of Pixel from Norway, the sultry vocals of Ala.Ni, John Nemeth, and Lightnin’ Malcolm.
There’s also soulful Cuban jazz from Dayme Arocena, 60s soul and R&B from Barcelona’s The Excitements, and edgy Latin salsa party music from Austin, Texas, with Grupo Fantasma.
On the blues front, the festival welcomes one of the true giants of the contemporary scene, Lucky Peterson, while also giving debuts to the great vocalist/bass player from Portland, Oregon, Lisa Mann, New York vocalist, Sari Schorr, pictured, and the high energy showmanship of Californian Earl Thomas.
Scottish jazz will be well represented, as always. Pianist, Brian Kellock will feature in an Oscar Peterson style group, in duos with ace New York clarinettist Ken Peplowski and SNJO leader Tommy Smith, and in a quartet with saxophonist Alan Barnes.
Ken Mathieson’s Classic Jazz Orchestra has a programme that plays tunes by Bix Beiderbecke.
Paul Harrison’s Sugar Work is one of the hottest new bands to emerge, and look out for features for Brian Molley, Fergus McCreadie, Freddie King, Graeme Stephen and Alan Benzie.
An innovation in 2016 will be Festival Residencies: The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jass Band play four concerts, and so will Festival favourites The Bratislava Hot Serenaders, The Rad Trads, Hot Antic Jazz Band, and Brian Kellock.
The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival also welcomes back Mr Sipp, Jon Cleary, Rev Peyton, and Rumba de Bodas, also for multiple shows. There are also residencies for first timers: Budapest Ragtime Band, New Yorkers Bryan Carter and Emmet Cohen, The Moscow Drug Club, and Lightnin’ Malcolm.
Davina & the Vagabonds, pictured, love Edinburgh – and the feeling’s mutual. She’s back for the first ever ten day residency at the festival.
Speaking about the programme for this year’s festival, Brian Fallon, Chair of Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, said: “This year’s programme boasts a stellar international line-up,””with musicians converging on Edinburgh from all over the world to present over 170 concerts, plus the Festival’s two free events– The Mardi Gras and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival – will take place on the 16th and 17th July respectively”.
For full programme details, visit www.edinburghjazzfestival.com
Tickets are available from midday on Monday 9 May:
- Online at www.edinburghjazzfestival.com
- By phone on 0131-473 2000.
- In person from The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE.