What to see at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
This article is from 2017.
Highlights include Tommy Smith, Jools Holland and the annual Edinburgh Festival Carnival
Since its inaugural year in 1978, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival has played a key role in Edinburgh's calendar of festivals, annually drawing international performers to the city as well as supporting both local and more established Scottish musicians. This year's festival sees another strong programme of jazz heavyweights including Nashville singer-pianist Kandace Springs and veteran guitarists John Scofield and Mike Stern along with emerging Scottish talent like James Brown is Annie. With the festival due to begin this weekend, we've put together our top picks of unmissable events and names that are worth your attention.
Ibibio Sound Machine
Fronted by Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine are known for their mix of West-African jazz, funk and disco, which works perfectly in sync with their rock and electronic influences. The eight-piece bring their Afro-electro sound to Edinburgh before venturing to other festivals further south.
Ibibio Sound Machine, West Princes Street Gardens Spiegeltent, Fri 14 Jul, 10pm, £16.50.
Edinburgh Festival Carnival
An annual celebration that's all about bringing the atmosphere of the carnival to the streets of Edinburgh. Expect to see over 800 performers from drum groups to giant puppets parading from The Mound to the West End of Princes Street, followed by performances in Princes Street Gardens. Groups taking part include Beltane Fire Society, the Edinburgh Samba School and Circus Alba.
Edinburgh Festival Carnival, The Mound, Princes Street, Princes Street Gardens, Sun 16 Jul, 2.30pm, free.
David L Harris 4
That vibrant spirit of New Orleans drops into Rose Street courtesy of the vocals and trombone skills of Harris as his quartet deliver numbers from Blues I Felt, his stirring debut album.
David L Harris 4, Rose Theatre, Rose Street, Tue 18 Jul, 5.30pm, £12.50.
Tommy Smith Plays Coltrane
The Edinburgh-born tenor sax maestro marks the year of his 50th birthday with a tribute show to the legend who died in that auspicious 1967.
Tommy Smith Plays Coltrane, Rose Theatre, Rose Street, Tue 18 Jul, 8pm, £15.50.
All the way from Tennessee comes Kiah with her Southern Gothic vibe as she spins magic from her influences: the early 20th-century sounds of Ola Belle Reed and Mississippi Sheiks to later R&B and country vocal legends such as Mahalia Jackson and Loretta Lynn.
Amythyst Kiah, The Jazz Bar, Chambers Street, Wed 19 Jul, 8pm, £10.50; Rose Theatre, Rose Street, Thu 20 Jul, 6.30pm, £10.50.
Fragile Bliss / Medbøe Hamilton Kane
In the intimate setting of the Trav bar comes two hot European ensembles: Czech band Fragile Bliss unveil their rootsy folk-jazz while Edinburgh-based Norwegian guitarist Haftor Medbøe shows off his current trio, completed by pianist Steve Hamilton and bassist David Kane.
Fragile Bliss / Medbøe Hamilton Kane, Traverse Café Bar, Cambridge Street, Thu 20 Jul, 8pm, £12.
Jools Holland And His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra
Everyone's favourite groovy feller (will he ever live down that one-series 80s sitcom?) returns to the capital alongside a couple of his old Squeeze mates, Gilson Lavis and Chris Difford, as well as guest vocalists such as Ruby Turner and Beth Rowley.
Jools Holland And His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Sat 22 Jul, 7.30pm, £37–£53.50.
Soweto Kinch Trio
Fusing jazz with hip hop through his versatile talents as a saxophonist and MC, Soweta Kinch has garnered recognition from both the jazz and urban music worlds, picking up two MOBO Awards and a large list of accolades along the way. He's joined by Gregory Hutchinson on drums and Nick Jurd on bass.
Soweto Kinch Trio, George Square Piccolo, Sun 23 Jul, 8.30pm, £16.
The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival takes place from Fri 14 –Sun 23 Jul.
Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
Scotland's biggest jazz festival presents concerts over ten days all over the capital, in parks, churches, clubs and concert halls. With a programme featuring all jazz styles from early jazz to the avant garde, the EJ&BF usually manages to secure some world premières, new bands, and new collaborations.