What’s on during the second half of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival? Well, for a full listing you’ll need to visit the festival’s website, but here are some of the things I think look particularly interesting:
Kyle-Keddie Sextet. A new edition of one of the best Scottish groups of the early Eighties, co-led by trombonist Brian Keddie (who does the arrangements) and drummer (and Jazz Bar proprietor) Bill Kyle. Colin Steele (trumpet) and Stewart Forbes (alto) complete the front line. Expect interestingly-arranged mainstream post-bop.
Hidden Orchestra plus Red Snapper. Two jazz-electronica fusion bands, one from Edinburgh and one from London.
Evan Christopher and Django à la Creole. A New Orleans-ified version of gypsy swing, featuring one of the Crescent City’s top clarinet players.
Kenny Ellis Trio. Rare outing as leader by bass player Ellis, who’s put together an intriguing-looking trio completed by Brian Kellock on piano and Brian Keddie on trombone.
Joe Louis Walker Band. Leading American bluesman.
Edinburgh Jazz Festival Orchestra directed by Ken Peplowski. Playing the music of Woody Herman.
Martin Kershaw Quartet. Launch concert for his new album The Howness, with Paul Harrison on piano, Euan Burton on bass, and Doug Hough on drums.
Konrad Wiszniewski and Strings. Many jazz musicians have recorded with strings, not always successfully. One attempt which did work was Stan Getz’s collaboration with Eddie Sauter, Focus. Wiszniewski’s going to recreate it here, with help from string players from the RSNO and bassist Michael Janisch; the other half of the concert will consist of original pieces by Wiszniewski written for the same combination of instruments.
Jack Bruce Big Blues Band. Legendary ex-Cream bass player and singer leading a big blues band which includes Paul Towndrow on sax. It’s apparently almost sold out.
Pervoe Solnce plus Jef Neve and Pascal Schumacher. Pervoe Solnce are a Russian septet whose music includes classical, jazz and folk elements. I don’t know much about them, but the videos on their website suggest they might be worth catching: they’ve got a very distinctive sound. Also on the bill is the piano and vibes pairing of Jef Neve and Pascal Schumacher.
Brian Kellock Trio plus Carol Kidd. Kellock opens the concert with a trio set, then accompanies Carol Kidd in a series of duets. His virtuosity as a soloist tends to make people overlook just how good an accompanist he is.
Robert Cray Band. US blues star.
World Premiere Quintet featuring Ben Bryden and Brian Keddie. The Saturday night ad hoc band at the Jazz Bar in Chambers Street this week features the intriguing pairing of trombonist Brian Keddie and saxophonist Ben Bryden (one of a number of fine players to have emerged from the Dumfries area in recent years). Not officially part of the festival, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth a listen.
Maxime Bender Quartet plus John Fleming Quartet. Two bands led by young saxophonists, one from Germany, the other from Scotland. Fleming was last year’s Scottish Young Jazz Musician of the Year.
Curtis Stigers. US singer and saxophonist.
Neil Cowley Trio. Contemporary piano jazz from one of the hottest young bands in the UK.
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be as much on during the afternoons as there has been during some previous festivals, which makes it less worthwhile travelling through from Glasgow to catch some of it. You won’t be able to get to all the concerts mentioned above as some of them are on at the same time.