Preview: Leeds Jazz Festival 2019

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In its third year the Leeds Jazz Festival brings a host of leading jazz names to the city over the long weekend of 18-21 July, including Andy Sheppard, Espen Eriksen, Shai Maestro, Leo Richardson, Andy Panayi and Brigitte Beraha.

Now expanded, and with Arts Council funding, the festival promises to feature something for everyone, from well-known names to up and coming artists plus fringe events in the week preceding the festival. The venues will be Leeds College of Music (co-organisers of the festival with Leeds Jazz) and The Wardrobe in St. Peter’s Square.

Among the main attractions are Andy Sheppard, appearing with the trio of Norwegian pianist Espen Eriksen, whose work has been extensively documented on the Rune Grammofon label, Brigitte Beraha, who brings her subtle, multi-lingual vocals to bear on a new project with pianist Frank Harrison, and ECM recording artist Shai Maestro, well known in the UK for his work with Avishai Cohen.

Marking Britain’s jazz legacy will be a Jazz Celebration of Windrush, including an Anglo-American band formed by Trevor Watkis to present the work of trumpeter Dizzy Reece, who after leaving Jamaica made a significant mark on jazz in London and Paris in the 1950s.

A number of prominent players will feature in a big-band reading of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland album, five decades after its release. The 16-piece Electric Lady Big Band will include Laura Jurd, Yazz Ahmed, Nathaniel Facey and Iain Ballamy in new arrangements by guitarist Denny Ilett inspired by Gil Evans’s Hendrix treatments.

Other artists appearing include Yorkshire musician Bex Burch and her group Vula Viel in interpretations of Ghanaian music, Leo Richardson’s straightahead bop quartet, the sextet of bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado, and local drummer Ronnie Bottomley and his jazz orchestra celebrating his 90th birthday.

For full information and tickets visit the Leeds Jazz Festival website.