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Whenever there’s a jazz festival on, it’s almost mandatory that purists (sometimes including myself) look at the list of performers then complain about the music’s precious bodily fluids being impurified by elements which “aren’t really jazz”. Something similar may be going on in the folk world right now, as this year’s Celtic Connections festival, which started on Thursday, features a considerable amount of jazz and world music, ie stuff which “isn’t really folk”.

Among the jazzier events, or at least those involving musicians with serious jazz cred, are:

Of course, there’s also a lot of interesting music at the festival which has absolutely nothing to do with jazz. Full details, including prices, starting times and online booking, at www.celticconnections.com.

I was one of those doubters who, when Celtic Connections started in the early 90s, thought January was a daft time to hold a festival. I’m delighted to have been proved wrong. What I’ve never quite been able to work out is why it’s taken off as a major event which draws in audiences from around the world in a way the Glasgow and Edinburgh jazz festivals never quite have. Is it to do with a lack of competition from similar events, or the way it’s marketed, or a difference in the audience for folk and jazz?

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