Preview: Cambridge Jazz Festival




The Brewin Dolphin Cambridge International Jazz Festival promises concerts from Roy Ayers and Soft Machine, an Evelyn Glennie masterclass and much more

The 2017 Cambridge International Jazz Festival, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin and supported by Arts Council England, is the third incarnation of the festival and the biggest yet. Running from 11-26 November the festival features 80 events and workshops across 25 venues including concert halls, bistros, pubs, clubs and churches with international stars, up-and-coming young performers and tributes to Stan Tracey, Charles Mingus, Ella Fitzgerald and Gil Scott-Heron.

Headliners include Roy Ayers (Cambridge Junction, 25 November), Soft Machine (Hidden Rooms, 16 November), Jim Rattigan's Pavillon (Unitarian Church, 17 November), Zoe Rahman (St Catherine's College Chapel, 17 November), Andy Sheppard (Stapleford Granary, 14 November) and Trish Clowes (pictured right) with the Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra (West Road Concert Hall, 24 November).

Evelyn Glennie's workshop - titled What's Your Voice and featuring five invited young musicians - takes place at Fitzwilliam College Auditorium on Sunday 19 November at 2.30pm. Further workshops will be led by performers including Rahman, Pete Churchill and the London Vocal Project, the Blues & Roots Ensemble and guitarist Robin Nolan.

A series of events pay tribute to legends of jazz. The Blues & Roots Ensemble present the music of Charles Mingus, Clark Tracey leads the Stan Tracey's Hexad in a concert of his father's sextet music, Chris Ingham and Joanna Eden present Embraceable Ella, the Andy Bowie Quartet plays the music of Thelonious Monk and Malik and the O.G.s pay tribute to Gil Scott-Heron. Author and illustrator Helen Hancocks will present two shows, especially for children, about the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald.

There's an extensive programme of acts from the UK scene including the 15-piece Beats & Pieces, vocalist Fini Bearman with her quartet, the voice and piano duo of Brigitte Beraha and John Turville, the Alison Rayner Quintet and the London Gay Big Band with the Cambridge Groove Orchestra. NewGenJazz, on the festival's final day, promises to be filled with new young talent. The event, from midday to 11.00pm at the Corn Exchange, will feature 10 emerging acts including the Brass Funkeys, hip-hop and Afrobeat collective Nerija (pictured left), MOBO-winners Binker & Moses with friends, Resolution 88 and Flying Machines.

As well as the wide-ranging concert programme, the festival features screenings of jazz movies such as Straight No Chaser and The Jazz Baroness, talks on jazz and philosophy and jazz and neuro-science, swing dance lessons with Cambridge Lindy Hoppers and Classic Album Sundays focusing on Gil Scott-Heron.

The organisers emphasise that the festival aims to punch above its weight and claim that there'll be "...more jazz than you can shake a stick at".

For further information, including a downloadable brochure, and to buy tickets go to the Cambridge International Jazz Festival website.

Bruce Lindsay


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