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There are a couple of interesting jazz festivals on in Scotland this weekend. They both run from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th.


The Lockerbie Festival, which started in 2006, has now established itself on the Scottish jazz scene.

My pick of this year’s concerts would be:

  • Gigs by Tony Coe, one of the greatest UK reed players, who’s capable of playing straightahead swing, free improvisation, and anything in between. He plays in the opening gala concert on Friday, and in a quartet with American pianist Bill Carrothers the next day.
  • Three shows by the aforementioned Bill Carrothers, a marvellously lyrical pianist with a gift for digging up old tunes and doing something inventive and contemporary with them. On Saturday, he’s doing a trio set at lunchtime and an early evening quartet set with Tony Coe; on Sunday he’s playing in a quartet with Scott Hamilton.
  • A gala opening-night concert in the Town Hall, where Tina May and American trumpeter and singer Duke Hietger will be performing a set based on the Ella Fitzgerald – Louis Armstrong collaborations of the fifties. They’re backed by a band which includes Tony Coe on clarinet and Ronnie Rae on bass. The support acts are Rossano Sportiello playing stride and swing piano, and Tipitina playing New Orleans-style rhythm and blues.

Scott Hamilton and Duke Heitger pop up in a selection of different line-ups across the weekend, the Temperance Seven play the main Saturday night concert, and Paul Towndrow plays a lunchtime Sunday show in a band lead by Dumfries drummer John Lowrie.

Full details of these and the other concerts on the Lockerbie Jazz Festival site.


This is a new event to me, although it’s apparently been going since 2007. Nigel Hitchcock’s Quartet, Sophie Bancroft, the Rhythm Kings, and Gina Rae with the Euan Burton Trio are all playing a series of gigs across the island between Friday and Sunday, ending up with a Sunday night jam session in the Royal Hotel in Portree. Details on the Skye Jazz Festival web site.