Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival gets under way this Friday (July 22nd), and runs until a week on Sunday (July 31st). As is traditional for the festival, there is jazz in a wide range of styles, a good helping of blues, and a few intriguing projects and combinations of musicians which you won’t find elsewhere.

Among the highlights of the first few days are:

Friday 22nd

Leroy Jones Band. New Orleans trumpeter who’s a regular musical associate of Harry Connick Junior.
Tom Gibbs Quartet plus Loren Stillman Trio. Contemporary jazz from Scotland and New York.
Courtney Pine’s Europa. One of the standouts of the Glasgow Festival a few weeks back. Pine’s possibly making the best music of his career right now, in a band which combines elements of different styles of European music with jazz. Pine plays bass clarinet throughout, and he’s got an excellent group which includes Zoe Rahman and Omar Puente. Apologies for not reviewing the Glasgow gig: I was too busy going to concerts during the Glasgow Festival to write about all of them.

Saturday 23rd

James Carter Organ Trio. Leading American saxophonist with Hammond organ and drums.
Cecile McLorin-Salvant. First Edinburgh appearance by up-and-coming singer, who won last year’s Thelonious Monk Competition in the United States.

Sunday 24th

Ken Peplowski and Alan Barnes. Mainstream saxophonists.
Ken Mathieson Classic Jazz Orchestra. With Cecile McLorin-Salvant.
Magnus Öström Band. Best known for his work in EST, Öström is here with his new band, which combines elements of jazz, rock and electronica.

Monday 25th

Rene Marie. First of two performances by one of the world’s top jazz singers.
Morten Gunnar Larsen with Stale Ytterli. Larsen’s an outstanding performer of early piano jazz and ragtime. He’s joined here by singer Ytterli to perform songs from Broadway, Berlin and Buenos Aires.
Edinburgh Festival Jazz Orchestra: Miles Ahead. A hand-picked international big band plays music by Colin Steele and David Milligan in the first half, then recreates Miles Davis and Gil Evan’s Miles Ahead in the second.

Tuesday 26th

Rene Marie. Her second concert.
Ken Peplowski Ensemble. Peplowski’s 10-piece group play music from West Side Story.
Tommy Smith’s Karma. Smith’s electric, and electrifying, quartet with Steve Hamilton, Kevin Glasgow and Alyn Cosker.

Details of these concerts, and the many others, are to be found on the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival web site. I’ll preview the second half of the festival shortly.

Merchant City Festival

Nearer home, there’s also some jazz in the Merchant City Festival which is on this weekend.

On Friday 22nd, there’s a special jazz dinner on at the City Merchant restaurant, with live music from Christine Bovill.

Glasgow Jazz Festival are running a Jazz Café at the Tron Theatre on Saturday (starting at 12.30pm) and Sunday (starting at 4pm). There’s no details of who’ll be appearing, though.

The Merchants’ House pub in Bell Street is holding a “Jazz’n’Eggs” brunch featuring young local musicians at lunchtime on Sunday 24th. At much the same time, diagonally across the road, Djangology will be playing Django Reinhardt style gypsy swing on the open air stage outside Blackfriar’s bar.

There’s more gypsy jazz that evening, when Gitane Ecosse are appearing at Cafe Cossachok.

Of course, there’s lots more than just jazz on at the Festival. Details of those and the many other events are on the Merchant City Festival web site.