EFG London Jazz Festival 2019
November 15 - November 24
A highlight in UK capital’s music calendar, the EFG London Jazz Festival is held each November. Last year’s festival pays homage to the Windrush Generation.
(This page will be updated when information is announced about the 2019 line-up and dates).
To some of us, November in the capital means one thing – the EFG London Jazz Festival. Over 10 days, this is a matchless opportunity to hear some of the scene’s top names and experience the newest jazz from around the globe. It all takes place in more than 60 venues, from big halls to packed basements, and there are film screenings, free events and workshops open to everyone.
The most important event of this year’s festival has to be Windrush: A Celebration. This Barbican night is a culmination of music, art and literature events across London recognising the UK arrival of HMT Windrush from Jamaica 70 years ago. Saxophonist Jason Yarde and poet Anthony Joseph will perform Windrush Suite and lead a star cast of names including vocalist Cleveland Watkiss, calypso legends Mighty Sparrow and Calypso Rose and ‘rapso’ poet Brother Resistance. Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander will play on festival’s final day at Cadogan Hall.
The London Jazz Festival takes place from 16-25 November and opens in grand style with the gala Jazz Voice, that sees Guy Barker’s 42-piece orchestra provide a setting for singers Lisa Stansfield, Zara McFarlane, Allan Harris and guests at the Royal Festival Hall. The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
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Also in town this year are South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand), bassist Stanley Clarke, jazz-rockers Soft Machine, Archie Shepp, Bobby McFerrin and Hollywood actor Jeff Goldblum.
Pianist Goldblum and his Mildred Snitzer Orchestra make their festival debut, playing two nights of jazz standard improvisation. Another interesting prospect is British jazz-rockers Soft Machine, also new to the festival, featuring three members from their 70s heyday: guitarist John Etheridge, bassist Roy Babbington and drummer John Marshall. Etheridge himself will play a solo show, while music collective Mr Jukes has a stab at Soft Machine’s celebrated 1970 album Third.
Another noteworthy rock-to-jazz gig is multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson’s reading of Van Morrison’s 1968 masterpiece Astral Weeks at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
There are over 350 shows in total and the breadth of style is daunting. Trad fans can get their fill with the Humphrey Lyttelton Band at the famous Thames-side jazz pub the Bull’s Head or hear singer Camilla Beebut morph into Lena Horne. Those after the cutting edge can experience the dense, busy grooves of London trio Ill Considered or hear Shiva Feshareki’s turntable deconstructions on the Southbank.
If you can’t make it to London, then why not try out the Jazz Brugge Festival instead.
London Jazz Festival Dates
The London Jazz Festival is from 16-25 November
Full EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 listing
For more information on the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018
Accommodation for the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018
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Words By Robert Spellman